OPEN CALL: Ecologies of Creative Activism

Venue: College Art Association Conference, Media Lounge
Exhibit Date: February 6, 2016 @ CAA Conference in Washington, D.C.
Deadline to Enter: 8/31/15
Entry Fee: FREE
Eligibility: Open to international artists ages 18+.

The New Media Caucus is programming a session for the ARTspace Media Lounge entitled Ecologies of Creative Activism, under the theme of VISIBLE/INVISIBLE at CAA 2016 in Washington, DC.


This year’s theme, VISIBLE/INVISIBLE explores the legacy of identity and representation politics, considered in the context of our present culture where individuals, organizations and ideas can be easily captured, tracked, exposed, appropriated from the circulation of digital material which simultaneously feeds capitalist media assembly lines and alternative economies. Through Media Lounge programming we aim to foster a dialog centered on emerging artistic sensibilities that mix art and a politics of representation amid a transforming sociopolitical landscape.

Session Theme:

In response to the larger theme of the the New Media Lounge program, VISIBLE/INVISIBLE, the New Media Caucus will present, Ecologies of Creative Activism. We seek artworks that engage the connections between the language we use to define identity and representation politics as they mirror the language of ecology, particularly the tendency to describe “landscapes” within socio-political spheres, the concept of microcosm/macrocosm in reference to activism and politics, as well as works exploring ecological issues from a scientific standpoint.

Ecologies of Creative Activism asks how do the theories of ecology apply towards activism? Is the internet an ecosphere for activists? Can Twitter and Facebook be seen as ecosystems for activism? The term “ecology” references both the study of how organisms relate within an environment and those relationships themselves, but it has also come to be synonymous with political activism on behalf of those systems. However, not all ecology is activism. The committee wishes to encourage exploration of works that leverage aesthetics of biospheres, ecospheres, and ecosystems from a scientific standpoint as well. We wish to find works that creatively engage with the systems ecology studies and works that practice creative methods of activism. These works may forge ties between art, activism, and ecologies as well as comparing and contrasting these models.

This session encourages alternative means of presentation. In seeking to present alternative modes of communication we discourage the straightforward presentations of papers in favor of small workshops, roundtables, performances, happenings, and other creative responses.

Works may respond to the topic in various ways including and not limited to the following:

  • internet as ecosphere
  • how activists function creatively within systems such as Twitter/Facebook/how those structures encourage a particular style of engagement
  • how activists relate differently within particular environments such as the internet, city, remote locations, etc
  • political activism as artistic practice
  • Ecological activism
  • works that use macrocosm/microcosm analogy/explorations
  • works that examine biospheres, ecospheres, and ecosystems in scientific ways
  • works that creatively engage with ecological systems
  • works that practice creative methods of activism
  • study of activism within specific online/offline environments and how those environments shape activism
  • ways in which activists hack or transform systems to suit their needs
  • relationships between activists across networks/environments/multiple platforms and how these environments shape activism
  • which platforms/systems/environments (ecosystems) foster particular type of activist/activism: how/why?
  • micro/macro systems in ecology/art/activism as they intersect and/or individually


  • This panel is for a 2-hour New Media Caucus sponsored panel session in the CAA Media Lounge.
  • Panelists must be New Media Caucus members. 
There are no membership fees. JOIN NMC
  • Panelists do not need to be College Art Association members.
  • New Media Caucus does not fund conference fees, transportation, or hotels for panelists.
  • Presenting during a 1.5 hour session does not disqualify you from chairing a panel or serving as a panelist in 2.5 hour session at CAA.

Submission must include: 

  • 3-page CV, submitted as PDF
  • 300 – 600 word abstract describing the artistic or scholarly work
  • Documentation of art

Publishing Requirement:

Media-N Journal of the New Media Caucus will publish a conference edition after the CAA conference, showcasing conference proceedings sponsored by the NMC. To this end, Individuals are required to submit materials for the journal edition. Media-N offers flexibility regarding how to achieve the publishing requirement. Once invitations are accepted, the Editor-in-Chief of Media-N will contact the chair(s) to further discuss and plan for the publishing requirement. All materials for publication must be completed by mid-April after the conference.

Peer review will occur shortly after the deadline. 
Notification of acceptance will be late September.

Email submissions by August 31, 2015 to Submissions must include “Ecologies of Creative Activism Submission,” in the email subject line.

Selection Process and Criteria:

A jury of New Media Caucus members will consider the submissions in a broad context of our overall theme that looks for connections between the works. Works and presenters will be selected based on their ability to contribute to creating a dynamic, diverse, and interactive new media experience. Notifications will be made by the end of September.


ARTspace is a conference within the conference that is tailored to the interests and needs of artists but is open to all attendees. ARTspace is organized by CAA’s Services to Artists Committee.

The Media Lounge is a space for innovative new media programming in conjunction with ARTspace at the College Art Association’s Annual Conference.

The New Media Caucus is a College Art Association Affiliate Society and an international non-profit association formed to promote the development and understanding of new media art.