Call for Papers: Conference: Digital Ecologies in practice, 28-29 July 2022, University of Bonn & online


When: 28-29 July 2022
Where: hybrid – online and in-person: University of Bonn, Germany


Following the success of the inaugural Digital Ecologies 2021 conference, we are announcing a call for papers for the Digital Ecologies 2022 conference to be held in Bonn, Germany on 28th and 29th July. The theme of the conference is: Digital Ecologies in Practice. We encourage scholars and practitioners to demonstrate, share, and reflect on the deployment of digital technologies, the development of digital methods, and other creative and critical digital engagements with the nonhuman world.

Researchers and practitioners across multiple disciplines are increasingly experimenting with the affordances of digital technologies for producing novel human-nonhuman relations, inaugurating new modes of environmental governance, and being attentive to nonhuman perspectives. Digitisation offers novel opportunities for generating knowledges concerning the nonhuman world, enabling previously inaccessible ecological encounters, and fostering communities with shared eco-centric goals. However, digital technologies, and the data-driven approaches they enable, are not without their problems. They give rise to new avenues for exploitation and marginalisation, and can entrench relations of power embedded in market-based and technocratic responses to environmental issues.

The digital as pharmakon is neatly encapsulated in the recent development of VR for dairy cows. While the developers purportedly have the animals’ emotional wellbeing in mind, the deployment of this technology does little to break the violent paradigm of animal agriculture and exploitation. Indeed, while such technologies explicitly recognise the sentience of these animals, manipulation of this very sentience is used to reinforce the status of the cow-as-commodity. In search of profit, cows are granted the view of fields but not the sounds, smells, and sensations that come with grazing outdoors. Such experiments raise important questions about who the digital is for and what it can do. Meanwhile, cows are being integrated into the bovine Matrix.

Geographers, and other scholars across the social sciences and environmental humanities, have drawn much-needed critical attention to the ways in which nonhuman life is digitised and to what ends (Blue, 2016Davies, 2000Dwyer, 2021McLean, 2020Nelson, 2017Nost and Goldstein, 2021Ritts and Bakker, 2021Sandbrook et al., 2015Stinson, 2017Turnbull et al., 2020Verma et al., 2016von Essen et al., 2021). However, we see further opportunity for work to explore how geographers can develop digital ecologies in practice. Inspiration can be gleaned from scholars like Clara Mancini who is designing digital technologies for and with nonhumans to support multispecies objectives (Mancini, 2017North and Mancini, 2016), and Jennifer Gabrys (2019) whose Citizen Sense project designs air monitoring devices to democratise environmental action.

With these aims in mind, we arrive at several questions. How can digital methods be deployed – meaning methods appropriate for studying digital human-nonhuman relations, and methods that themselves involve digital devices and practices – within the field of digital ecologies? How do digital technologies allow scholars, practitioners, and artists to experiment with novel modes of representation and participation, and creatively cross disciplinary and species boundaries? Which problems are solved, created, or exacerbated by the use of digital technologies in such research? We are particularly drawn to approaches that consider and mobilise digital technologies that further environmental justice and decolonising objectives (Vera et al., 2019Vargas-Ramirez and Paneque-Galves, 2019), and that support nonhumans in their flourishing.



We invite paper contributions relating, but not limited, to the following thematic areas:

  • Innovative digital methods for sensing, representing, and studying environments

  • Projects experimenting with forms of environmental data justice, citizen sensing, community-based and Indigenous approaches to digital ecological practice

  • Wildlife tracking, sentinels, surveillance, and other forms of bio-monitoring

  • (Nonhuman) user-oriented design

  • Digital environmental governance

  • Speculative design for more-than-human worlds

  • Art-science and interdisciplinary collaborations involving digital technologies

  • Digital ecologies in virtual and augmented realities

  • Projects involving nonhumans as participants/collaborators

  • Social media and digital ecologies

  • Methods for sonic and acoustic digital ecologies

  • Multi-sensory digital methods including taste, touch, smell

  • Speculative design for more-than-human worlds

  • Creative approaches to digital ecologies in practice

  • Papers generally relating to the theme of digital ecologies are very welcome

Please submit your abstracts to Abstracts should be no more than 250 words in length. We welcome 15 minute paper presentations or 5 minute lightning talks. In your proposal, please state your name, title, current position, presentation format, and abstract.

In addition, please state whether you intend to attend in-person or online only, whether you will be attending both days or day two only, and whether you would like to apply for funding to attend in person (see below for details on this).

Deadline for abstract submissions: 15/04/2022



Digital Ecologies in Practice will be a two-day hybrid event, held both in-person and online.

Day One (in-person only) will involve several practical outings and exhibitions. Participants will get hands-on experience with a range of digital technologies, including immersive VR nature experiences, a demonstration of digital fences, and a ‘digital urban ecologies walk’. On this day we are delighted to host a range of immersive exhibitions and talks with design practitioners engaging digital methods and technologies to explore themes of ecology.

Day Two (in-person and online) will follow a more standard conference format, consisting of several panels and a keynote event (tbc).

In-person participants will have the option of dining together at the end of each day. We have a limited amount of funding available to cover the travel costs of several participants. In your proposals, please indicate whether you would like to apply for this funding. Participants are encouraged to seek funding from their institutions, funding bodies, and departments. Priority will be given to PhD candidates, early career researchers, and non-tenured academics.

We encourage scholars and practitioners from a range of disciplines to apply: social scientists; natural scientists; humanities scholars; artists/designers; and beyond. Interdisciplinary collaborations are highly encouraged.



Following the conference, we will submit a proposal for a special issue of cultural geographies in practice. Contributions will document and reflect on creative, practical, and experimental uses of digital technologies and mediation in relation to environmental governance and knowledge production, human-nonhuman encounters, and digitised more-than-human worlds more broadly. The editors of CGiP have already expressed their support for this endeavour.


Digital Ecologies in Practice is co-organised by the Digital Ecologies team and Dr Julia Poerting, with financial support from the University of Bonn, the German Research Foundation (project number 446600467), the Economic and Social Research Council, and the European Research Council.

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