Imaging Nature II
In June 2004, more than 70 people came together at Cradle Mountain for the Imaging Nature conference to examine representations and framing of nature in art, advertising, news media and tourism marketing. With snow falling outside in the World Heritage Wilderness Area, academic researchers, industry practitioners and policy makers across a range of disciplines including fine arts, park planning, media studies, literary studies and geography considered, among other issues, how natural environments and wilderness had become commodified in the service of the media, tourism and cultural industries. As ecologist Professor Jamie Kirkpatrick said in his conference wrap-up, speakers repeatedly accused wilderness of being inaccurately portrayed as benign, ‘as equivalent to the hunting grounds of the aristocracy, as a wish-fulfilment fantasy’. ‘From my unimaginative perspective it seemed simply a word that described land without human inhabitants of fixed abode and not much different in its appearance than before the European diaspora,’ he said. ‘Little did I suspect the palimpsest of suspect meanings a simple word concealed.’
Eight years later, the Arts and Environment Research Group* at the University of Tasmania will host Imaging Nature II, to be held at the Tarraleah Lodge, a former hydro electricity village on Tasmania’s Central Plateau, from 21-23 June 2012. Like its predecessor, this interdisciplinary conference will seek to place nature within the context of cultural, political, technological and social change, and to explore emerging ‘images’ of environment, landscape and place within what is now a rapidly expanding research field.
We welcome papers drawing on a range of disciplinary backgrounds and approaches. In particular, we are interested in contributions that consider representations of contested/feral/hybrid landscapes and environments, and/or explore the question: Is ‘wilderness’ dead?
William L. Fox, Director of the Center for Art + Environment, Nevada Museum of Art.
Please forward abstracts of approx. 300 words and any further queries to Stephanie Cahalan at Stephanie.Cahalan@utas.edu.au by 31 March 2012.
*The Arts and Environment Research Group was formed in 2011 as an interdisciplinary initiative of the Faculty of Arts. Its leadership team is A/Prof David Stephenson, A/Prof Libby Lester, Dr Elizabeth Leane, Prof Noel Frankham and Prof Marie Sierra.