December 15, 2022

Synthetic Histories: Plastics, Climate and Colonialism

Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art

A collaborative event convened by the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art and V&A Dundee, hosted at V&A Dundee and online.

Bringing together thinking from V&A Dundee's latest exhibition, Plastic: Remaking our World and the Paul Mellon Centre's multi-year project, Climate & Colonialism, this symposium explores the complex past, problematic present and possible futures of plastic. Following a private viewing of the exhibition, participants will join international researchers, designers, artists and activists in a series of discussions, presentations and more to consider plastics, climate and colonialism as sets of interconnected material and extractive relations.

The symposium will ask: Where did plastic come from? How do we understand its colonial histories? How are art, craft and design practices implicated in these extractive processes, and how do they challenge them? What is the ongoing impact of climate injustice and the unequal impact of global waste streams on people and the planet? Is there a future post-plastic? What role do artists, designers and environmental humanities researchers play in creating such futures?

Synthetic Histories: Plastics, Climate and Colonialism is convened by Sria Chatterjee, (Paul Mellon Centre); Nichol Keene, Charlotte Hale and Laurie Bassam (V&A Dundee). Participants include: (some in person and some online) Heather Davis, Alia Farid, Max Liboiron, Alice Mah, Elizabeth Darling, Alexander Davidson, Charlotte Matter, Hoyee Tse, Amy Woodson-Boulton, Nanjala Nyabola and Jessica Varner.

Bursaries: Ten bursaries are available to support individuals who may not otherwise be able to attend. Bursaries can cover the ticket price, travel and some expenses (including childcare). If you would like to be considered for a bursary, please email [​at​] with Synthetic Histories Bursary in the subject field, outlining your request for a supported place by December 31, 2022. Please detail what specific support is needed and the expected cost, no further details are required.

Tickets: To attend in-person at V&A Dundee please purchase tickets here. To attend the conference online book your place here.

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