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Nature isn’t Binary, Land isn’t Dry 

Sara Granados (The Bartlett’s Development Planning Unit, UCL) 
Jorge Díaz (Cell & Developmental Biology, UCL) 
Chair: Lisa Blackmore (University of Essex)

*Note: This event will be in Spanish

Living amid environmental crisis, political intolerance, and widespread discrimination necessitates strategies of adaptation and resistance for collective survival. Activist-researchers have long been interested in amphibious cultures, seeking to foster more resilient and collaborative ways of being in shifting territories and more-than-human communities. In the 1980s, Orlando Fals Borda's fieldwork with Colombian peasant communities enabled him to theorise amphibious cultural practices and identities as strategies to survive and resist assimilation into elite/official cultures. Recent debates in the arts have turned to forms of fugue (Fred Moten) and  not-being-composed (Fahima Ife) as examples of generative political errantry defying enclosure. Brigitte Baptiste's work connecting biology and queer theory insists on nature's sexual diversity, calling for a revision of heteropatriarchal and colonial protocols in the natural sciences.

The first GERMINATIONS 2024 event brings into dialogue Sara Granados and Jorge Díaz, researchers engaged in studying amphibious and fluid forms in biology, territorial practices, and strategies of political resistance and activism. Their presentations invite us to consider how transdisciplinary, engaged research can contribute to discussions about social and environmental justice and generative arts, sciences, and community crossings. Through his postdoctoral research into collective cellular migration, Jorge will share the amphibious practices that connect the microscopic visions from his laboratory work and the non-binary nature of the frog cells he studies to broader social contexts of gender dissidence, science communication, and creative collaborations. Sara will offer insights from her fieldwork and arts-based research into the terraforming strategies of amphibious communities, considering how these practices might hold seeds for more just modes of pluriversal coexistence.

Sara Granados (Colombia)
Hybrid researcher in art, ecology and society, with a special interest in collective life in changing environments. Her artistic and geopoetic explorations lead her to investigate the traces of change in the physical and emotional territory, and the sensory experiences with which we try to think/dream/plan/connect collectively, with otherness. Her poetics arise from emotion, from contact with vibrant matter. Her artistic practice is nourished by her practice and activism in governance and food justice, in several countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. From 2023 to 2027 she will be developing a doctoral research Towards the amphibian city, us as collective waters at the University College of London. Bartlett Institute of Built Environment – Development Planning Unit. Her arts-based research aims to investigate the experience of care and governance of hydrocommons in amphibian territories and communities.

Jorge Díaz (he/they, Chile)
Biologist, writer, and sexual dissident activist. Jorge holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Chile and he/they was a member of the University/Utopian Collective for Sexual Dissidence (CUDS). Currently, he is a postdoctoral researcher at University College London, UCL (2022-2025) in Cell and Developmental Biology studying collective cell migration. In the realm of sexual dissident activism and writing, he seeks to carry out transdisciplinary experimentation in collaborative projects that explore biology, art, and feminism, always aiming to cross genders, genres, and frontiers of knowledge. His books include: Inflamadas de retórica (2016), Ojos que no ven (2019), Emancipar la lágrima (2021) and Microscopio invertido (Libros del Cardo, 2022).

All are welcome to attend this free seminar, which will be held online via Zoom at 17:00 BST (UK time). You will need to register in advance to receive the online joining link. Please click on the Book Now button at the top of the page to register.


Thursday 2 May
Nature isn’t Binary, Land isn’t Dry 

Sara Granados (The Bartlett’s Development Planning Unit, UCL) 
Jorge Díaz (Cell & Developmental Biology, UCL) 
Chair: Lisa Blackmore (University of Essex)
*Note: This event will be in Spanish

Thursday 23 May 
Spongy Aquifers, Messy Publics

Speaker: Andrea Ballestero (USC)
Chair: Alejandro Ponce de León (UC Davis/CLACS, University of London)

Thursday 30 May
Amphibious Gazes

Fernando Segtowick (Filmmaker)
Maeve Jinkings (Actress)
Chair: Jamille Pinheiro Dias (ILCS/CLACS, University of London)
*Note: This conversation will be in Portuguese

GERMINATIONS 2024: Amphibious Practice and Research

Zones of emergence in the Environmental Humanities take form in the crossings of disciplines, knowledges and territories. These confluences can make practice and research amphibious in the thematic concerns they probe in liquid ecologies and in their tendency toward non-binary, transdisciplinary methods. In discussions surrounding ecosystems in art, ecology, and the social sciences, such adaptive approaches are particularly generative to think through and care for a world marked not by its fixity but by its flows. Attending to practices that flourish in fluid territories, GERMINATIONS is convening three conversations with researcher-practitioners working across theoretical approaches, arts-science intersections, technolegal landscapes, and cultural production that deal with amphibious modes of being and doing. 

These encounters are an invitation to consider how amphibious practices draw on ecological knowledge, adaptive strategies, and creative resilience to enable ways of living in shifting and indeterminate environments. In the face of pressing issues such as climate change, attacks on diversity and resource scarcity, GERMINATIONS will highlight the ways in which communities resist, safeguarding their distinctive coexistence across amphibious realms as they intersect with evolving legal and technological paradigms emerging in water governance and sociopolitical frameworks. The series also seeks to engage with practices where art and science are interwoven and mutually imbricated, probing forms of life that resist definable categorisation, such as species and gender.

In 2024, the GERMINATIONS series welcomes speakers Jorge Díaz (UCL), Sara Granados (UCL), Andrea Ballestero (University of Southern California), Maeve Jinkings (actress), and Fernando Segtowick (filmmaker, Marahu Filmes). This initiative is hosted and supported by CLACS and is a cross-institutional collaboration convened by Lisa Blackmore (University of Essex), Paul Merchant (University of Bristol), Ainhoa Montoya (CLACS, University of London/CSIC), and Jamille Pinheiro Dias (CLACS, University of London). This year, GERMINATIONS also has the support of Alejandro Ponce de León (UC Davis/CLACS, University of London).

On event listing: Sara Granados, Coral de río, 2022.
Above: Left: Jorge Díaz, cluster of Xenopus (Frog) Neural Crest population of migratory cells. Image produced by immunofluorescence and visualised in The SP8 LIGHTNING confocal microscope (Leica). 
Right: Sara Granados, Rayo de río, 2022.

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