Call for Submissions

Democracy, Borders and Public/Political Engagement:
Challenges for Environmental Communication

The 2017 Conference on Communication and Environment (COCE)
Leicester, UK
June 29 - July 2, 2017, University of Leicester

Twitter: #coce2017
Email: coce2017 at theieca dot org

Conference Chair: Anders Hansen

Leicester Local Organising Committee: Anders Hansen, Julian Matthews, Vincent Campbell, Bernhard Forchtner, Jilly Kay, and Giovanna Puppin.


Conference Theme

Leicester3.jpgThe conference theme will explore the challenges faced by environmental communication as political landscapes and boundaries experience major upheavals and change, seemingly driven by widespread discontent with conventional politics and its institutions. Emerging divisions, fragmentation and polarization in the political landscape, as demonstrated for example in the 2016 UK referendum debate and result with regard to European Union membership, pose urgent challenges for all aspects of environmental communication. The salience of environmental concerns in political agendas is altering as previously stable agendas realign according to shifts in the political landscape and the seemingly deepening societal (political, economic and of course, environmental) divisions these reflect. While environmental disasters clearly underpin the recent forced mass migrations among other causes, they and their wider environmental implications are becoming lost in the noise of the present politics on this issue.

Such changes bring challenges to the scope, character and visibility of environmental discussion. A resurgence of nationalism and national protectionism for example raises questions over the scope of present political imaginations and their ability to discuss environmental policy from a global perspective. Further, new forms of political discourse common to these times appear to be redefining the forms in which political issues can be discussed and debated. A growing challenge for societal dialogues on environmental issues in particular, in an era of post-factual politics, is an apparent loss of ground that expert testimony and evidence-based arguments has conceded to forms of populist rhetoric stoked by anti-establishment resentment and feelings of political disenfranchisement.

We welcome proposals for papers, panels, and posters on all aspects of environmental communication and practice. In particular, we encourage those that relate to the conference theme and/or address one or more of the following areas:

  • Environmental communication and public/political engagement
  • Environmental journalism in the new media environment
  • Environmental communication, social media and fragmentation in the public sphere
  • Democracy and de-politicization/politicization in environmental communication
  • Beyond news: new forms of environmental communication and engagement
  • Environmental activism and new media
  • In-equalities of discursive control/influence in the public sphere
  • Visual environmental communication
  • Extremist/populist appropriations of myths/ideologies of nature
  • Nationalism, protectionism, borders and the politics of environmental communication
  • Media, advocacy and local/global environmental change
  • The mediation of environmental crises and disasters
  • Global news and information flows in environmental communication
  • Media and global environmental change and controversy
  • Environmental crises, spin and news management
  • Tensions between nationalist politics and global environmental concerns
  • Media/social media and counter-factual environmental discourses
  • Science, evidence and credibility in the new (post-factual) media environment


Submission Guidelines

We welcome submissions of scholarly papers, practice reflections, artwork, panels, posters, and workshops.  While we are especially seeking submissions that relate to the conference theme, we will also accept non-thematic submissions. Submitters will be asked to indicate this at the time of submission.

Submissions will be made using online forms, so unless you are submitting an artwork, you don't need to prepare a file for upload.

 All submissions must:

  • Be written in English.
  • Include a cover page with the type of submission; title; author(s)/contributor(s) names, affiliations, and contact information; and a list of 3-5 keywords. AS WE ARE USING ONLINE FORMS FOR SUBMISSIONS, A COVER PAGE IS NO LONGER REQUIRED.
  • Be single-spaced.
  • Be formatted according to APA guidelines when including citations and a references list.
  • Contain no identifying information other than what is on the cover page.

Please, no more than three submissions associated with any one person. In other words, your name should not appear on more than three submissions of any kind. That means as an author, co-author, panelist, etc.

Scholarly Papers

Scholarly paper submissions should be original works of research and analysis that emphasize contributions to knowledge.

  • Submit an abstract of 500 words that clearly explains research questions, methods, conclusions and contributions to knowledge.
  • If you have citations, include a reference list (word count not included in 500 word limit).
  • Do not submit full papers at this time.
  • If accepted, full papers will be expected by June 1, 2017.

Practice Reflections

Practice reflections should be critical considerations by practitioners of their own projects and campaigns, and should emphasize novelty and applicability in other contexts.

  • Submit a self-reflective summary of 500 words on your project or campaign; the reflection should critically examine the goals, strategy, tactics, messages and results.
  • If you have citations, include a reference list (word count not included in 500 word limit).
  • Submissions should highlight new thinking and new developments in the practice of public engagement in environmental communication.

Works of Art                                  

Submissions by artists of their own work (paintings, photography, sculpture, dance, music, comedy, digital art or other new media art, etc.) are encouraged if the work addresses some aspect of environmental issues or human relationships with the rest of the natural world, and especially if it specifically reflects on communication. The art will be considered for exhibition and performance during the conference.

  • Submit a description of your art, including, dimensions, and installation or performance requirements; append photographs as necessary in a PDF file; do NOT submit the original work.
  • When appropriate, submissions should explain the artist’s intentions for the work by way of an “artist’s statement.”
  • If a video is required to explain the work, then provide a link to where the video can be viewed online.
  • If you have citations, include a reference list.


Panel submissions should focus on a unified topic. They can either be panels of scholarly papers, panels of practice reflections, panels of artists, discussion panels or combinations of these. Keep in mind that panels must fit into 90-minute sessions.

  • Submit a descriptive panel proposal of 500 words, including a rationale for the panel.
  • For panels that include individual presentations, include titles and abstracts of 500 words for each presentation.
  • If you have citations, include a reference list with each abstract and the overall panel proposal (word count not included in 500 word limit).
  • List the authors of the individual presentations on the cover page with their titles when appropriate.


Poster submissions can address any area of environmental communication scholarship, practice, or creation and can be submitted in lieu of scholarly papers, practice reflections and artwork.

  • Submit a 250-word abstract or summary of the poster, including any relevant  details described above (depending on type of poster).
  • If you have citations, include a reference list (word count not included in 250 word limit).
  • Include visual elements of the poster where necessary


Workshop submissions should focus on practical training in some area of environmental communication practice, scholarship, teaching, design, or artistic production.

  • Submit a 500 to 1000-word description of the workshop, including time required, a rationale, and learning outcomes.
  • If you have citations, include a reference list (word count not included in 500-1000 word limit).
  • Submissions should explain clearly how attendees will participate, and must include a summary of activities, as well as the names and affiliations of all trainers.


Leicester2.jpgSubmission and Review Process

All submissions except workshops will be reviewed anonymously and rated individually. Reviews will be based on overall quality, as well as the following criteria when appropriate: importance and relevance of topic; potential contribution to knowledge; useful synthesis of current knowledge; potential contribution to practice; creative innovation; and relevance to the conference theme.

Workshop submissions will be evaluated for their potential value to conference participants.

  • Submissions are due by 11:59 PM Eastern Time (New York), Thursday, December 15, 2016.
  • All submissions must be in PDF format in a single file. SUBMISSIONS WILL BE MADE USING ONLINE FORMS, SO HAVE YOUR SUBMISSION READY TO CUT AND PASTE INTO THE VARIOUS FIELDS. FOR ARTISTS UPLOADING IMAGES, please ensure any photos are optimized before creating the PDF.
  • All submissions must be uploaded through the COCE 2017 web site:
  • Author identification should be limited to the cover page.
  • Maximum three submissions associated with any one person.


Important Dates

  • 22 July 2016 - Theme announced and call for submissions distributed
  • 1 10 October 2016 – Online conference submission system available - slight postponement; thanks for your patience
  • 15 December 2016 - Deadline for all submissions
  • 1 February 2017 - Acceptance notification
  • 28 April 2017 May 2, 2017 - Early-bird registration closes
  • 1 June 2017 - Presenters asked to have their papers and posters uploaded to the COCE web site
  • 28 June 2017 - Pre-conference events (optional)
  • 29 June 2017 - Conference begins in Leicester, UK
  • 3 July 2017 - Conference excursions (optional)


Virtual Conference for those who can't make it to Leicester

Conference sessions will be recorded for online viewing and presenters will be able to present remotely. Virtual participation will have to be indicated at the time of submission. Because of this, all submitters should be aware that their presentation will be recorded and may be made publicly available.


Important Things to Know

All conference sessions will be recorded and some may be streamed live to those registered for the virtual conference. If you present, you will be on camera.

We don’t yet know what the conference will cost. We expect to have that information available by the time decisions are made on submissions.

You don't need to be an IECA member to submit, but all conference presenters must be members of the IECA in 2017. So, you'll need to join if your proposal is accepted. All members receive discounts on conference registration. Membership information can be found here:

All conference attendees must pay for their own travel, accommodation and conference registration. All attendees who need them are responsible for obtaining their own travel visas. We will provide invitation letters to those who request them.


About the IECA

Founded in 2011, but with roots going back to 1991, the International Environmental Communication Association (IECA) is a professional nexus of practitioners, teachers, scholars, students, artists and organizations engaged in research and action to find more ethical and effective ways to communicate about environmental concerns in order to move society towards sustainability. Our mission is to foster effective and inspiring communication that alleviates environmental issues and conflicts, and solves the problems that cause them. More at

photo credits University of Leicester