Elastic Spaces Research Group
Thinking Allowed project from March to October 2023

Today, we face urgent, often overwhelming social and environmental challenges – displacement of people, loss of biodiversity, and human-induced climate and landscape change.

“Thinking Allowed” will allow researcher/creators to have conversations with each other and with the public, across knowledge paradigms and virtual and in-person sites to counter both technocapitalism’s extractivism –which views natural and human resources as commodities to be monetized (Gómez-Barris), and the epistemic violence of coloniality (Quijano) – in order to address environmental and social justice issues and thus contribute to a new “ecological futurism” (ecological, from oikos, meaning ‘home place’).

A book publication will arise out of the research encounters and out of the drawing, photo and video documents, with essays and poetic texts emerging from our dialogues. From March to October 2023, the Elastic Spaces lab at Concordia, in conjunction with a research team across six other universities and three community organizations, will take on the work of connecting all of us, with the use of the many digital and analogue tools at our disposal.

“Thinking Allowed” will bring artists and curators across the media and visual arts together with scientists from the fields of ethnobotany, forestry, climate change and the environment to address urgent issues facing us as artists, as citizens, publics, scientists and researchers. PI Sujir and five co-applicants – Sarah Turner and John Latour (Concordia); Gisèle Trudel and Paul Landon (UQÀM); and Alain Cuerrier (U of Montreal / MBG) – will join with collaborators who have previously worked together on SSHRC-funded projects: Anita Taylor and Anthony Head (U of Dundee), Emily Pelstring, Sunny Kerr, and Gabriel Menotti (Queen’s), Maria Lantin and Rita Wong (Emily Carr University of Art + Design [ECUAD], Haema Sivanesan (The Banff Centre), and Janine Machessault (York). Together, this team — with thirty-eight invited guests, researchers from different generations, disciplines, institutions and communities — is committed to coming together, to collectively shape a platform of artistic, scientific and Indigenous knowledge engagement addressing urgent questions around social justice and the environment.