The Exploring Human-Animal and Multispecies Relations: Risk Taking in Research Methods Symposium takes place at the University of Brighton 6th and 7th June 2024. The abstracts for the event and details of the programme can be found below.


Abstracts (arranged by panel) & author biographies



Thursday 6th June AM

10.15-11.15 Keynote 1ROOM G4 / Professor Claire Parkinson / Three methods to listen-with: encounters with nonhuman animals / Co-Director, Centre for Human Animal Studies (CfHAS), Edgehill University, UK


Critical animal studies (CAS) is an approach that can provide fresh insights into shared relationships and histories of communities of other living beings, advocating for methodologies that challenge anthropocentric paradigms, prioritise animal agency, scrutinise animal-human entanglements, and dismantle human/nonhuman animal binaries. In this talk, I discuss the methodological complexities and risks inherent in conducting research in the field of critical animal studies, highlighting insights gleaned from three projects, each of which revolves around a different type of encounter with nonhuman animals.

I will reflect on the challenges of writing animal biographies, a methodological endeavour that involves capturing the lived experiences and narratives of individual animals, finding a platform to amplify nonhuman voices. Second, I will discuss the use of participatory arts-based methods to investigate shared landscapes inhabited by human and nonhuman animals with the aim of fostering inclusive dialogue and facilitating the co-creation of knowledge. Lastly, I will talk about the use of photography as a means of exploring agency within the context of walking with dogs, examining questions of consent, autonomy, and communication within human-animal relationships.

11.45-13.00 PANEL A – ROOM M2


Charlotte Hankin & Hannah Hogarth / Becoming-with multispecies phantasies: co-creating animal-human fabulations to disrupt anthropocentrism in education​ phantasies: co-creating animal-human fabulations to disrupt anthropocentrism in education / University of Bath, UK

A robin flies in at the same time every week, just as the children line up to leave the urban park in London, UK, and return to the classroom. The robin notices. The robin responds. A weekly dance we share, in this, our common world. What happens when we notice robin noticing us? 

The children do not notice the lizard as it lands softly on the floor of The School, Bali. It quickly scurries off behind a chair and climbs the wall, moving away from us, avoiding, camouflaging, protecting; sensing in ways that are intangible, magical, unknown to us. Is it our heartbeats? The noises our feet are making? The scent from our skin? 

“We” inquire into our (shared) world/s in different ways. Robin and lizard are always there: knowingly, ‘knowledge-ing’ (Taylor, 2021) in ways beyond human ways for knowing the world.

Are we ready to listen to what robin and lizard must teach us?

Education is a traditionally anthropocentric praxis, building physical and metaphorical walls and doors that separate children from the world/s around them. Over time, some adult-human-animals have actively created stories to replace the relations that schooling has severed. We are calling these stories “multispecies fantasies” as they cultivate anthropocentric attitudes and practices that de-liven animal-human relationships.

We draw on our post-qualitative research that explores childhoodnature play and nature relations in an urban forest school in London (Hannah) and animal-child relations in an international school in Bali (Charlotte) to decentre the adult-human-animal through practices of fabulation. We enact risk taking through co-crafting new multispecies fantasies with animals and children as co-authors, illuminating how other-than-adult-human-animals can be co-creators in knowledge-ing practices. This theory-practice invites a disruptive, more generative, hopeful and enlivening speculation to explore the diverse ways that animal-humans become-with (Haraway, 2016) in education.

Kethaki Wijesinghe / Beyond Boundaries: Shaping the Future of Conservation and Co- existence / University of Brighton

In a world often viewed through anthropocentric lenses, many humans perceive themselves as intellectually sophisticated beings capable of moulding the natural world to their desires. This belief in human exceptionalism, along with individualism, tends to overshadow the intricate relationships shared with nonhuman species, creating tensions and frictions that destabilise the balance needed to support coevolution and coexistence.  The Human-Elephant Conflict (HEC) in Sri Lanka serves as a poignant exemplar, highlighting the unique challenges faced by the island’s elephant and human populations. The current conservation landscape in Sri Lanka is hindered by historical conflicts of agency and outdated practices, necessitating a paradigm shift towards evidence-based management and community engagement.

This study emphasises a dichotomy between lethal and non-lethal approaches of HEC mitigation, delving into the transformative impact of incorporating non-dualist perspectives in anthropology. It discusses the importance of utilising indigenous knowledge in conservation practices, challenging oversimplified cultural relativism and prevalent Euro-Western frameworks. It highlights inter-species relationships and introduces ‘convivial relations’ to infuse ethical and political depth into the conservation discourse.  Acknowledging the profound interdependence of human and non-human life advocates a revolutionary shift towards relational perspectives in conservation and co-existence. It initiates a thorough re-examination of nonhuman sensory perception and their cognition, and promotes for the authentic inclusion of nonhuman voices.

Transforming local communities into citizen scientists involves fostering collaboration and ensuring cultural relevance. Utilising technology such as GIS and real-time tracking allows effectively addressing HEC. This initiative inspires communities to adopt conservation practices, contributing to the well-being of elephants and environmental stewardship. Additionally, it assists conservationists in identifying and safeguarding vital habitats, migration routes, and corridors by promoting active community engagement in conflict mitigation. It contributes to policy-making, encourages continues researches and fostering collaboration while ensuring the sensitivity of ‘nature-culture.’

Alice O’Malley-Woods / Human, interrupted: exploring entangled “borderline” identity through ecopoetic autø/gnøsis / University of Brighton

Derrida notes the way in which ‘the other’ is always at the core of both language and identity, exposing the notion of the isolated self as an impossibility. My practice-based research deconstructs narratives of self and identity, rejecting the assumption that “the other/s” at the core of “the self” must be human. Instead, this work acknowledges a self that is, to echo Donna Harraway’s terminology, a compost of multispecies experiences and relations.

This presentation argues that borderline epistemologies are vital in scholarship that aims to reimagine multispecies relationships. I develop this argument through my own status as a borderline (someone diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, or BPD), which is central to my experience of identity as relational, entangled, and unstable. Among other symptoms, BPD symptoms include extreme identity disturbance, with an inability to see the self as fixed, or indeed as existing outside of relationships. The lived borderline experience rejects dualistic and neoliberal logics that “would have us believe we are seperate..bounded objects…” instead “living in open and dynamic entanglement with the world, acutely aware of the contingency of boundaries and the co-constituting nature of any encounter” (Lewis, 2023). As borderline identity is constructed and experienced fluidly and relationally, I argue that the identity of the borderline who builds meaningful relationships with non-human animals or plants can be experienced as multispecies.

While remaining critical of the violent misogynistic history associated with diagnoses of BPD, my research acknowledges that some borderlines share an existential experience, and echoes contemporary nueroqueer scholarship which frames “borderline knowing [as] a valid (and valuable) standpoint of knowledge (and emotion) production” (Redikopp). Francesca Lewis coins the term autøgnøsis to refer to knowledge (gnosis) derived from the subjective borderline self (auto). This approach differs to autotheory or autoethnography in its dedication to articulating the unfixed of both self and knowledge. This is indicated by the use of the empty set symbol “ø”, which, as Lewis clarifies, is a variable used in mathematics that is “not nothing and not something, an indeterminate space of possibility” (Lewis, 2023).

As such, I present a methodological framework for ecopoetic autøgnøstic enquiry that responds to an absence of borderline knowledges in crip and queer ecologies, and also to a moral dedication to credit non-human contributors in research. This methodology utilises walking methods as part of an embodied more-than-human approach, (Springgay and Truman, 2018) and freewriting, inspired by Helen Cixous’ reflections on voicing “the other” through writing. The resulting poetry will be presented as a multispecies co-authored text, and as work that exposes “the self” as an entanglement of multispecies others.  N

11.45-13.00 PANEL B – ROOM G4


Bjorn Sommer, Harry Hosker, Tori Simpson / Exploring More-than-Human-Centered Design: Interdisciplinary Approaches and Collaborative Futures / Royal College of Art, UK

The presented work is an initial exploration into the inclusion of species other than humans across the design landscape from arts-based research through to leveraging emerging technologies in experiential design. These works are inherently interdisciplinary, and community centred, focussing on shifting perspectives and engaging individuals from different disciplines in the conversation surrounding more-than-human-centred design.


The foundation of this community was built through two completed projects. The first, a series of arts-based workshops held in collaboration with Kyushu University, Fukuoka Zoo, and Omuta Zoo which took place in the summer of 2023 and explored human-avian relationships, and how we might imagine futures in which there is a more holistic relationship between humans and the species with which we share our space. The second, a VR embodiment of the aforementioned drawings. For this work, sets of drawings were translated into a VR scene to test whether this technology has the potential to provide a greater immersion experience and create an impactful perspective shift in participants. This work was presented at the SDnA-EVRV conference 2024 and the Royal College of Art in San Francisco, USA, and London, UK, respectively.


By presenting at this symposium, we aim to evidence the need for interdisciplinary collaboration in this space, towards a shared biological and ecological understanding, that can foster community led conservation and drive impactful outputs. Through presenting these projects and discussing the importance of this work, we are hoping to develop a network of people dedicated to the subject and willing to collaborate to further develop projects and associated methodologies.

Edit & Edward Wells / How Do I Look? / University of Brighton


Edit, the principal researcher in Edward’s thesis, will offer for discussion, facilitated by Edward, a brief reflection on a few cues and cautions regarding multi-species relations that have arisen as a white-tailed deer working on a PhD dissertation focused on unreadability with partial origin in narrative fiction. Beginning with an immersive exploration of perception, Edit will guide an interactive exercise in viewing the world, complemented by work focused on how human genders view the world differently (Chaney and Tovar). This will segue to concerns Edit has experienced regarding for instance their understanding of William, the horse who narrates Sweet William: A Memoir of Old Horse, coupled with invitation from the audience to discuss. Edit’s sense of caution is then brought into focus via Karin Daniellson’s work on unreadability and the alterity of non-human minds. Lastly, Edit presents considerations regarding cautions of multi- species relations from the work of Donald Hoffman et al into the program of research generally referred to as conscious agent theory which integrates considerations of the fitness beats truth theorem in (human) perception and interface theory of perception.

Considering the cautions raised for Edit by this body of creative and critical work, Edit then invites the audience to discuss whether an effective cue, or point of focus, in doubt of certain objective access to the external, particularly minds of others, and especially the minds of other species, might be to simply sit together and perhaps observe how we each observe the world rather than jump to presumptions of interpretation or comprehension.

Marina Wainer & Sam Nester (with Isabelle Hupont-Torres & Lucia Iglesias-Blanco) / Synocene – Beyond the Anthropocene / France, USA and Spain based independent artists & researchers

Synocene is an art-science project developed by independent artists, a Joint Research Center specialist in AI, and a policy officer overseeing the Natura 2000 Network at the Directorate-General for Environment of the EC. This work is part of Resonances IV, the aim of which is to explore contemporary societal concerns through a transdisciplinary approach. For this edition, Resonances’ theme and curatorial concept is NaturArchy: Towards a Natural Contract.

Over the two years Synocene has been in development, we have worked as a multidisciplinary team, through in-person residencies and remotely. This collaboration has resulted in a series of citizen engagement workshops, an artwork opening in Brussels this May, and a scientific paper forthcoming in the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems.

In the framework of the symposium, we aim to present both the different outcomes and methodologies we have taken. The artwork is an immersive 360° spatial sound installation that explores a de-centered view of our anthropocentric experience of the natural world. This collaborative work engages local communities, the beings in Natura 2000 forests, and the contributions of artificial intelligence to create an ever-evolving attempt at human/non-human/more-than-human perception of the natural world. Audiences to this work will discover the many narratives created by human experiences of nature in a hybrid writing with AI, along with forest soundscape recordings from within Natura 2000 sites.

To achieve the installation, a citizen engagement workshop took place in the Glengarriff Harbour and Woodland (Ireland) with a local community. Participants were invited to explore new forms of interaction within their local forest through a transformed state that questioned their appearance and perception. Following this experience, participants worked with an artificial intelligence engine to investigate relationships with the more-than-human world against the backdrop of a pivotal moment – the passage from the Anthropocene to the Synocene. A new era where all ‘other voices’ come together. A time when human activity moves from having a significant impact on the planet’s ecosystems and our relationship with the world shifts.

These thoughts, ideas, and stories were recorded in audio and paired with site-specific forest soundscape recordings. This work forms the basis of a sound installation as an attempt to approach a de-centered anthropocentric experience of natural landscapes. This is designed as a space of contemplation, perception, and reflection on our relationship to the natural world.

As this project looks at re-examining ecosystems from a de-centered anthropocentric position, AI’s role in exploring these possible futures is critical if we are to consider the multiplicity of beings in our world – human/non-human/more-than-human.
The collaboration has given rise to a scientific paper about entering a yet uncharted territory in the field of AI: anthropocentric biases towards nature.

This is a continuously developing work, with a goal to replicate the process throughout a diverse selection of forests and communities. By undertaking additional citizen engagement workshops, Synocene will also further expand the data repository for AI, growing its understanding and perception of nature on a broad scale.



Pallavi Das, Vineet K.Giri / Exploring the Interplay of Human-Animal Relationships: A Historical Analysis of Locust Swarms in Nineteenth-century Colonial India / University of Delhi, India

In the summer of 2020, amid the COVID-19 pandemic in India, the nation confronted an additional crisis with the arrival of desert locusts from the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. This event, labelled the ‘largest locust swarm’ in South Asia in the 21st century, emphasized the need for a deeper comprehension of human-animal relationships. Our research emerged from this pivotal moment, seeking to explore the historical context of this phenomenon.

By delving into historical records, our study adopts a comprehensive approach that acknowledges non-human elements as integral factors in comprehending socio-economic dynamics. Focusing on locusts as significant non-human agents, we examine their impact on colonial India and their role in shaping historical trajectories. Specifically, we scrutinize the development of locust control policies in mid-19th century colonial India, highlighting the threat posed by frequent locust invasions to the British imperialist regime’s dependence on Indian agriculture for revenue and the importance of trans-regional dialogue in shaping these policies.

Through empirical analysis and historical inquiry, our research addresses three primary themes. Firstly, we investigate the relationship between monoculture farming practices and locust infestations, questioning whether British agrarian policies exacerbated this issue. Secondly, we explore the evolution of colonial locust control tactics, emphasizing the role of trans-imperial networks and exchanges with regions like Cyprus, which offered valuable insights from their experience. Lastly, we examine the repercussions of locust invasions on marginalized communities in Western India, drawing comparisons with vulnerable groups such as Afghan pastoralists and minor peasants in Cyprus.

By situating human-animal interactions within a broader trans-regional framework, our study illuminates the interconnectedness of environmental, socio-economic, and political factors. It underscores the significance of incorporating non-human actors into historical narratives and prompts reflection on the implications of past experiences for contemporary challenges in managing human-animal relationships.

Micol Rispoli, Lara Giordana, Lisa Maria Zellner / Dialoguing Species. What if fish were epistemic companions in our research? / DIATI, Politecnico di Torino – Free University of Bozen-Bolzano (Italy)


Our proposal stems from joint reflections that emerged within the framework of a research project, titled “Dialoguing Species – Designing Common Worlds through Ethnography”, in which we are involved as social scientists and designers (divided into two groups, one at the Politecnico di Torino and the other at the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano). Part of the project sees us engaged in an ethnographic analysis of the practices of engineers and biologists who study fish swimming performances through the use of particular devices. Their research work is aimed to collect data that will presumably enable other engineers to design and construct more effective fish passes and ladders, in order to mitigate the disturbance created in the fluvial habitat by human-built barriers. Embracing a multispecies perspective, we are interested in exploring: i) what ways of knowing fish these scholars articulate through their practices and techno-scientific devices; ii) how fish respond or resist to such ways of questioning and knowing them. Particularly, some crucial questions for us are the following: how can we learn from these scholars to interrogate fish while keeping a critical gaze on their ways of knowing?  For instance, initial interviews showed how they label the attitude of some groups of fish that appear to be uncooperative as “weird behaviour”. For that, these groups are discarded. What can we actually learn from the resistance of these fish? What if fish were epistemic companions in our research? How can we help to develop new methods and devices – by combining social research with creative practice (Marres et al. 2018; Estalella and Sánchez Criado 2023) – for interrogating fish that may also be relevant to them (Despret 2016)?

Niloofar Solhjoo / Extracting Meaningful information from Studying Multispecies Families / Victoria University of Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand

I aim to share the story of my doctoral research in Information Science, which seeks to understand how understanding, or simply daily living, is shaped among companions from different species (i.e., human, cat, and dog) within a multispecies family. Part of the findings of this study has already been published in an empirical paper (Solhjoo et al., 2024). In this methodological presentation, I particularly want to present my reflective analysis approach on experiential data I gathered from multispecies families. In Information Science, we study the universe of living through an information lens and try to understand what information is and how it is used (an approach known as Information Experience).

A combination of cats, dogs, and humans, forming ten multispecies families living across New Zealand, participated in my doctoral research. They were purposefully identified and chosen based on the full establishment of the human-animal bond and the successful integration of the companion cat/dog into the family’s daily practices and spaces. I employed the methodologies of multispecies ethnography and reflective phenomenology to reorient from human to more-than-human subjectivities and agencies. So, the empirical data gathering included walking interviews, direct observations (in the form of video tours or day-in-the-life videos), and photo diaries.


The subsequent phase of my research involved reflective inquiry about how to uncover the embedded meaningful information within the experiences of the participating families. I want to discuss the implementation of reflective methods I used, such as phenomenological thematic analysis, visual and haptic viewing analysis, and thematic narrative writing. I and other human participants extend beyond our human-centric perspectives and try to encompass animality by viewing, sensing, and simply being with cats/dogs, and establishing a genuine connection with them as independent participants. In the research design, humans were the ones who gathered the visual and sensory data from the animals, but animals and their interactions were the ones who shaped the data, narrated them through their movements and actions, and contributed to discussions between the humans (researcher and participants). Humans become informed with animals and interpreted the essence of layers of information shaping the daily of their families through their engagements with animals.


Thursday 6th June PM


13.45-15.00 PANEL D – ROOM M2


Harriet Croome / Walking-with-in Mukogodo Forest to explore changing multispecies relations / University of Birmingham

Drawing on research conducted in Northern Kenya, this paper will explore how walking oral history as a method can shed light on multispecies entanglements, and provide opportunities for nonhuman nature to shape how these entanglements are observed, analysed, and understood. The research sought to understand the conditions that promote or undermine peace between pastoralists, livestock and wildlife, from a more-than-human perspective. While walking-with-in Mukogodo Forest – a dryland forest located at the nexus of Il Ng’wesi, Maiyanat, Shulumai and Lekurruki community lands in Laikipia County – domestic and wild animals, including goats, bees and elephants, became active contributors to the research. Their presence, or traces of their presence, redirected our paths, encounters and conversations, giving rise to understandings of human-animal relations that would otherwise have remained invisible. At various times while walking, the act of encountering animals and navigating those interactions, posed questions that might otherwise have evaded me or felt too sensitive to bring up, demonstrating the important role animals and plants play in mediating social interactions, particularly in a cross-cultural research setting. Following migratory paths, crossing dry river beds, stopping under shade trees, and clambering through broken fences, centred animal experiences as much as it did the experiences of the pastoralists whom I was guided by. This paper will reflect on the exciting potential and versatility of walking oral history as a more-than-human methodological approach, in addition to some of the challenges experienced during fieldwork in Kenya. These challenges include the need to be attentive to all kinds of multispecies encounters, not just those that ‘get in the way’ while walking; to consider carefully how the identities and lived experiences of human participants shape the inclusion of animal experiences; and to acknowledge the inherent unpredictability of the method, which brings both risk and reward.

Jim Wilson & Matt Adams / Diorama drama: Modelmaking as Narrative Method / University of Brighton, UK


This presentation explores the exhibition Pavlov and the Kingdom of Dogs, an arts-based research collaboration between a designer and maker with experience in model making (Jim Wilson) and an academic researcher (Matthew Adams). The exhibition employs modelmaking to convey complex animal-centred historical and theoretical narratives. We discuss the conceptual framework of our work, situated between the nostalgic model train sets of Hornby and the provocative dioramas of the Chapman Brothers. We describe how modelmaking can serve as a powerful storytelling tool, drawing on the cultural identity of dioramas and dollhouses, deeply ingrained from childhood, to facilitate viewer engagement. Specifically we account for how our work utilises this cultural familiarity to create a contrast between the charming aesthetics of the models and the disturbing realities they often depict. We discuss how this method spotlights the experiences of experimental animals, facilitates viewer interaction with and empathy for animal stories, and draws attention to the ethical, historical and socio-political contexts that underpin them. Finally, we critically reflect on the effectiveness of our dioramas in bridging the limitations of text-based narratives of animal and human animal histories.

Abigail Burt / Seagrass and Us: Using creative practice to address the politics of ecology in the Solent / University of Portsmouth

This research considers the relationships between a multiplicity of persons, human and other-than-human, cohabiting the mosaic of ecosystems that form the Solent. Art practice provides a methodology through which to investigate existing relations, interrogate alternative forms of knowing, provide space in which to generate social change and create artefacts imbued with the power to influence a wider public attention of care.

In this particular case study, the research considers the socio-ecological-political microcosm of sailors and seagrass in the Solent. Across the globe, ecosystems are entirely disappearing as those that need to act fail to do so, often unintentionally. There is a global public desire to act in the face of the climate crisis, however there frequently exists a disconnect between the data produced by scientists and the public understanding of what they can do to help. Creative practice can bridge the gap and enable the paradigm shift necessary for a more just transition into a sustainable future.

Seagrass and Us is formed around the implementation of regular creative workshops over several years. Through a practice-based methodology Abigail is researching the possibility that participatory practice can lead to long-term behaviour change. The behaviour being considered is the anchoring of sailors in seagrass meadows. The workshops are a collaboration with Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust in response to their agenda for the Solent Seascape Project.

Applying a post-humanist lens, a multiplicity of voices are acknowledged as key actors, including the seagrass, the other-than-human species who come and go from the meadows, the local community of Wildlife Trust marine volunteers, marine scientists, and the sailing community. How can we get to know the seagrass species more deeply, so that sailors can empathise with this species looking up from the ocean bed at the ships casting their shadows, and feel so aware of their presence that they do not want to drop their anchor down and damage them?

Taking inspiration from the Seagrass rhizomes, each Seagrass and Us workshop is growing from the previous one, and each workshop provides the space for new knowledge and ideas to take root and grow.

13.45-15.00 PANEL E – ROOM G4


Jes Hooper (University of Exeter), Meri Linna & Saija Kassinen (Harrie Liveart duo), Jonathan Salvage (University of Brighton) / Embodied Perspectives: Becoming With Coffee Producing Civets

Civet coffee (often known by its Indonesian name “kopi luwak”) is coffee that is produced through the digestive tract of palm civets (family Viverridae). It is highly acclaimed as the most expensive, rare, and unique coffee in the world. Yet civet coffee is most commonly produced through civet capture, caging, and force feeding. This research applies a transdisciplinary and transnational approach between visual artists, anthrozoologists, and biological scientists to problematize the acclaimed status of civet coffee, both its methods of production and authentication.

Whilst multispecies scholars often advocate for “becoming with” their non-human interlocutors in a bid to move beyond anthropomorphic, and thus anthropocentric, interpretations of the non-human world, becoming with animals enmeshed in exploitative systems involves more challenges of separation than is presented merely by taxonomic class. Not only does civet coffee occur in spaces hidden from public view, witnessing alone presents its own ethical issues. Through the act of spectatorship researchers can themselves become unwitting participants within Foucauldian biopolitics of bodily control and surveillance. In such cases, the researcher remains separate from the animal whom they seek to understand whilst integrating themselves into the anthropocentric hierarchies they may intend to contest.

In our art-science research we first attempted to gain an embodied perspective of animal mechanization, by using our own bodies to ‘become with’ our civet informants. By adhering to the same procedure as civet coffee production, we created 80g of human-digested coffee. Secondly, we followed a scientific protocol utilized for civet coffee authentication, in which we examined samples of our product using scanning electron microscopy, the results of which we then compared to previously published findings for civet coffee. Our results illustrate the complexities involved in multispecies world making whilst highlighting the significant ethical issues surrounding digested coffee production and the flawed authentication process.

Siobhan I. Speiran / Primates in Proximity: The Lives of Monkeys in Costa Rican Sanctuaries / York University, Canada

The stakes for animals in the wildlife tourism industry have never been higher; the expansive, profitable market serves those who desire closeness to nature while leading to a mass of multispecies suffering. Grounded in tourism studies, multispecies geographies and ethnographies, animal welfare and conservation research, I highlight animal interests, welfare, and sanctuaries as sites with potential to offer sustainable tourism through a case study of the lives of monkeys in Costa Rican wildlife sanctuaries. Fieldwork involved visits to eight sanctuaries around the country in 2019, with extended stays at three focal sites where I engaged in mixed socio-ecological methods, including participant observation, behavioural observation of primates, document review, tourist surveys, and interviews with key informants and members of the host community. I explore the labour-based roles, circumstances and experiences of monkeys at these sites. I also assess the extent to which sanctuaries satisfy ‘sustainability’ criteria in terms of animal welfare and conservation outcomes through a non-invasive, field-based Conservation Welfare Assessment Framework (CWAF), which I designed and implemented in collaboration with the sanctuaries. I intend this transdisciplinary methodology to investigate, interpret, and meet the needs of non-humans involved in wildlife tourism, encouraging a more agentive, intentional community of care in the sanctuary context. Put simply, I explore how to ‘stay with the trouble’ by ‘bringing the animals in’ through these collaborative multispecies methods. Though more empirical research is needed, my findings support the supposition that– when buttressed by ethics of care, sustainability, and justice for animals– wildlife sanctuaries have the potential to offer kinder, more ethical forms of tourism.



Francis Marion Moseley Wilson Taxidermy & Body Modification: Risk, Vulnerability, and Body Materiality in the Anthropocene / Independent artist, Ohio, USA


Francis Marion Moseley Wilson’s practice-based research is primarily concerned with combining taxidermy (from Latin, meaning ‘arrangement of the skin’) and body modification practices function within a live art context to reveal, trouble, subvert, and question both the epistemological and physical boundaries between human and animal bodies, including artist and audience. This presentation focuses on her body of work as it pertains to concepts of risk and vulnerability. Valuing the inclusion of animal death in art does not mean that these inclusions are not without discomfort, ethical and personal challenges, inelegance, controversy, or second-guesses; as will become evident in this thesis, performing taxidermy requires, considers, and embraces risk. Her research addresses how taxidermy processes facilitate moments of intimacy and risk between human and non-human animal that in turn create familiarity, rather than alienation, as bodies living and dying in the current geopolitical era. This includes older works within the presentation such as cuddle (2014), FUOS (2018), and immaculate confection (2018), as well as more recent research incorporating body modification and bodybuilding practices, such as its getting harder to keep this ship afloat (2024). Her research works directly with the tension of risk and danger, both in small material intimacies and in the greater implications of ‘shared vulnerability’ in the Anthropocene.


Yuri Imazu (Yonsei University, South Korea), Darren Chang (University of Sydney, Australia) / Navigating Risks in Conducting Multispecies Ethnography at Farmed Animal Sanctuaries: Across Transnational Contexts

This presentation features Yuri Imazu’s ethnography of two ranches for aged horses in Japan, and Darren Chang’s ethnography of a farmed animal sanctuary in Australia. Yuri’s multispecies ethnography faced two major risks. The first risk relates to the added complexity from studying two distinct ranches: one being a ‘Yoro ranch,’ a facility that accommodates retired horses, predominantly thoroughbreds formerly used in racing, and the other being a sanctuary (previously a ‘Yoro ranch’). Comparing both sites illuminate the intricacies in the non-Western context of animal protection practice, where such activities do not often stem from animal rights activism and philosophy. The second risk relates to the potential misrepresentation of animals due to significant reliance on human narratives, which may not accurately capture the ‘true’ experience or feeling of animals themselves. While this concern calls for introducing innovative methods to study human-animal relationships, the research underscores the value of considering the narratives that arise from the humans deeply involved in animal protection. The distinct narratives crafted with the resources gathered in the two fields about what motivate protection activities prompt us to consider what kinds of animal stories we could create.

In Darren’s ethnography, founders of a farmed animal sanctuary in Australia identify their sanctuary as distinct from many others that are more closely aligned with the increasingly mainstreamed vegan animal rights movement mired in the problematic nonprofit industrial complex. Operating through a framework shaped by ecofeminism and anti-oppression struggles, this sanctuary illustrates the implications of respecting Indigenous sovereignty as settlers in a settler-colonial context and taking seriously the autonomy and privacy of their nonhuman residents to the utmost extent. The sanctuary embodies a radical (and risky) departure from the mainstreamed animal movement in the shift of their priorities and directions over a decade resulting from their critical reflections.


Together, our two studies suggest that the varying risks in conducting multispecies ethnography, depending on diverse geographical contexts, would yield distinct forms of knowledge about interspecies relations, informing us about the multiple paths and genealogies of sanctuaries, as well as a non-unitary concept of multispecies justice that complicate the more globalized and dominant discourses of animal advocacy and protection.

15.05-16.20 PANEL G – ROOM M2


Joint Panel Session: Hannah O’Regan (University of Nottingham), Sophy Charlton (University of York), Andy Kesson (University of Roehampton) / Box Office Bears: Archaeology, Archives, Performance


How can animal bones and ancient archives bring the past to life? What methods can be used to help tell the tales of bears and dogs who lived and died long ago? The AHRC-funded Box Office Bears (BOB) project brings together a wide range of fields from biomolecular archaeology, archival analysis and theatre and wrestling performance, to explore the early modern practice of bear-baiting from multiple different perspectives. This baiting practice involved the setting of dogs on bears for human entertainment, thereby involving multi-species interactions and complex human-animal relationships.

Our team has examined records of baiting from across England, particularly focusing on the physical remains of animals that have been uncovered on Bankside, London, dating between AD 1540-1680. In this panel, we will introduce this research through three different fields – biomolecular (Charlton), archaeological and archival (O’Regan) and texts and performance (Kesson). We will discuss how such varied fields can work together with expert practitioners to explore baiting in an ethical way. A part of this is our documentary ‘Ruff Play’, where the team worked with Wrestling Resurgence, a modern wrestling company based in Leicestershire, to pool our knowledge of animal history, injuries identified on the animal bones, and staging, to ultimately perform an early modern eyewitness account of animal baiting from 1584, with a team of eight professional wrestlers. We will discuss how this activity changed our perceptions of our research, having watched people embody animals that died over 450 years ago. We end by discussing the importance and effectiveness of arts, science and performance collaborations, and how research of this kind can provide new insights into human-animal relationships.

15.05-16.20 PANEL H – ROOM G4


Neha Arora / Trucking Tails: The emotional and material geographies of animal companionship in road haulage / University of Oxford, UK

This research interrogates the multispecies workplaces constituted by heavy goods vehicle (HGV; also known as ‘trucks’ and ‘lorries’) drivers in the UK and their animal companions. Situated at the interstices of labour geographies, multispecies / animal geographies, mobilities studies and feminist queer studies, the research extends understanding of mobile labour, through the lens of multispecies companionship and care in the road freight industry, a crucial link within global supply chains.

Despite the integral role that HGV drivers (colloquially called ‘truckers’) play in sustaining logistical networks across spatial scales (from the global to the local), their everyday working conditions often result in significant compromises to mental and physical well-being. This situation is characteristic of supply chain capitalism, where human vulnerabilities are often overshadowed by the demand for logistical efficiency. The workforce, predominantly middle-aged and male faces work conditions that include prolonged periods of isolation, geographical distance from social networks, and inadequate roadside services. To mitigate the impacts of these work conditions, a fascinating trend has been observed: drivers creating a unique form of multispecies labour arrangement by traveling with animal companions. Over 40% of HGV drivers in Canada and US are estimated to travel with animal companions. While there are no statistics available for the UK context, preliminary research on the topic is currently underway and shows evidence of the practice in the UK.

While geographical and sociological studies increasingly recognise the labour and life-affirming care and support provided by non-human animals in domestic settings or specialised roles such as therapy and guide dogs, they overlook their potential in work environments like trucking. This research aims to bridge this gap by examining how caring – for, with and by – animal companions contributes towards quintessentially human, gendered and mobile work, such as trucking. An ethnographic approach is suggested that incorporates visual, physiological, interview and textual methods so as to be attentive to both human and non-human participants in the mobile workspace. Some methods explored are interviews and ride-alongs, and animal-initiated photography (triggered through heart-rate monitor).

Maria Howard / No longer rampant: A reparative engagement with Glasgow’s lion statuary / Glasgow School of Art, UK


He pauses to stretch, loosening more than a century of stiffness, feeling the last remnant of mineral become animal. He has abandoned his post on heraldic crests, on sandstone plinths, his doubles coming together to form this creature that is alive even if declawed, imperial influence no longer rampant, four paws firmly planted on cobbled streets and cigarette butts.

Employing methods such as site writing and critical fabulation (Hartman, 2019), this paper considers the stone lions that inhabit Glasgow in order to map the relationship between colonialism and climate in a unique context. Found on buildings, plinths and fountains, these Georgian and Victorian sculptures enact a taming of the ‘wild’ non-human animal in order to perform a message of empire and, by association, dominion over the Other. Today they continue to act as oblique monuments to a colonial past that saw enslaved people treated as ‘brutes’ (Conrad, 1899) and ‘beasts’ (Akomfrah, 2015), and that endures in the loss of life and habitats caused by climate change and the inequity of ‘climate colonialism’. Fixed in stone, these passive lions also speak to extraction and extinction in their materiality.

Engaging with recent posthumanist and decolonial thought, and the field of ‘heritage ecologies’ (Bangstad, Pétursdóttir, 2021), this paper will take the form of a reparative narrative in which the imperial lion, now beleaguered, is given agency – he stalks the back lanes of the contemporary city, considering the ‘second city of the empire’ through a non-human lens. This research aims to answer the urgent call for ‘a diversity and plurality of tactics’ (Wretched of the Earth collective, 2019) in the struggle for climate justice. The use of site writing and critical fabulation – methods that are poetic as well as critical – allows the connection between colonialism and climate to be both reexamined and reimagined alongside a reconsideration of the human-animal relationships embedded in public art.

Lee Christien / Reading Umwelt and Process in the Zoological Archive / Bath Spa University, UK

This paper responds to this exciting call for papers by exploring and deploying two conceptual frameworks (Lorimer 2015; Thompson 1963) for the purpose of contributing an interdisciplinary methodological approach that perceives and analyses human-animal multispecies encounters within the zoological archive. While it is true that exemplary objects, artworks, and paradigm-shifting manuscripts may reside in the zoological archive, what is indeed found in its ever-shifting and sedimented abundance are collections, runs, and series of pro formas and quotidian documents (Brown 2017). And, as this paper argues, the development of such an interdisciplinary methodological approach —which responds to the biopolitical nature of the zoological archive— enables a critical interrogation of the messy and entangled development of human-animal relations tout court.

The critical frameworks of Jamie Lorimer’s engagement with the term Umwelt (2015) and E.P. Thompson’s conceptualisation of process as an analytical category (1963) offer the opportunity for the development of a productive and critical reading of archived ephemera –its materiality, context, and content. This is an interdisciplinary approach that seek to address both ‘sides’ of human-animal relationships –entanglements, engagements, enclosures, and encounters. Therefore, the research question of the paper asks, how do we untangle and unlock accounts of human-animal agency and experience from the zoological archive?



Rebekah Gregory / how dogs appointed as domesticated companions were impacted by the coronavirus pandemic / University of Plymouth

considered as ‘man’s best friend’, people in a state of liminality are willing to place their wellbeing at risk and engage in selfish pursuits. Throughout the pandemic, panic buying occurred. This mixed with the fact that people were restricted from contacting others indoors, meant that the culture of ‘click and collect’ boomed. Puppies were shipped across the country to individuals who had conducted little if any prior research, who had never met the puppy or the puppy’s mother before, and who were uneducated on how to look after the ‘animal’ and protect their five freedoms.


Whilst we like to believe that we care greatly for our companions, after conducting research in the field of green criminology in the time of the coronavirus pandemic, it became apparent that we still, often subconsciously, see these ‘animals’ as products to consume, to use and to manipulate all for human progression. May that be in order to gain income in an unstable climate, to advance our popularity, or to even increase our physical freedom in a time of lockdown restrictions.


Subsequently, even though the pandemic brought many of us closer to those who we love (including ‘animals’), now that the social restrictions have lifted and life has gone relatively speaking back to ‘normal’, the actions and practices that we adopted during the years of 2020-2022 are still having an impact today.

Melvin Chan, Leesa Fawcett / Entwining ‘ethno’ and ‘etho’ methodologies to learn affectively with rabbits / York University, Canada

We are deeply interested in multi-species methodologies that honour the agency of rabbits and the affective exchanges between rabbits and humans (and amongst themselves). The agency and behaviour of the rabbits in learning-teaching interactions is a key focus and we will discuss our preliminary research in three sites of public pedagogy: animal shelters, rabbit rescue sanctuaries, and urban “wild” settings. We are experimenting with a combined institutional ethnography, animal ethology, phenomenological engagement, and field philosophy approach. Institutional ethnography seeks to unpack and make visible the hidden social systems—or institutional processes—that organize everyday/everynight lives and experiences, but its failure to notice the contributions of other-than-human bodies and objects plants the methodology within an anthropocentric frame. Here, integrating ethology, phenomenological engagement, and field philosophy—as different means of interpreting, feeling, and thinking with animals—can position rabbits as creative individuals with unique lives, experiences, ontologies, and epistemologies and provide a departure for understanding what rabbits are doing by and amongst themselves and in interactions with humans. We argue that by linking these methodologies together, we are better able to not only study embodied learning-teaching interactions but also explore how such embodied interactions are socially organized, shaped, and produced.

Émilie Crossley / Meaning in motion: Risking interpretation among Japan’s captive red foxes / Hokkaido University, Japan

Red foxes are popular animals in Japan, valued for their cultural significance and cute appearance. Growing consumer demand for embodied encounters with kawaii (cute) animals has led to the emergence of specialised wildlife tourist attractions featuring captive red foxes. Some of these attractions offer commodified ‘fox hugs’, which are a form of wildlife selfie tourism. During fox hugs, docile red foxes are removed from their cages/enclosures, carried away by staff, and then forced to sit on customers’ laps while commemorative photographs are taken. Given the potentially exploitative nature of this practice, I argue that fox hugs are deserving of greater scrutiny. Drawing on findings from a multispecies ethnography of captive red foxes in Japan’s tourism industry, this presentation attempts to explore and evoke the subjective experience of red foxes used for fox hugs through an analytic focus on their physical movements. Using qualitative data generated via a combination of visual methods and participant observation, I show how vulpine movement (or lack thereof) is used by red foxes to co-construct, negotiate and resist their interactions with humans. Following Buller (2012), I suggest that these movements can be read as embodied communicative acts that transcend the species divide and provide humans with potential glimpses into the experiential world of captive foxes. As such, I advocate the use of visual methods in multispecies ethnography that are capable of capturing and representing the often fast-paced motion of non-human animals. I conclude by critically evaluating the ethics of fox hugs in light of the ethnographic findings and suggesting avenues for future research.

16.45-17.45 Keynote 2 – ROOM G4 / Matterlurgy (Helena Hunter & Mark Peter Wright) – Sensitives Stream


How do river organisms sense and signal environmental change? How might this contribute to a broader understanding of river health?


Artist duo Matterlurgy (Helena Hunter & Mark Peter Wright) will present and reflect on their online artwork Sensitives Stream. The work fuses video and poetics, science and sound to explore how the presence or absence of river-dwelling organisms indicates broader stories concerning ecosystems, environmental stress and human activity. Matterlurgy will present insights into this cross-disciplinary project across ecological and artistic registers. Blending scientific and sensory modes, they will share methods and approaches to fieldwork that informed the project and their collaboration with river ecologists at the University of Sheffield. They will dive into practices that underpin the production of environmental data and explore the role of media and poetics as ethical-aesthetic tactics for enfleshing quantitative science. The project reveals river organisms as both sensitive indicators of change and world-making actors that perform sentience and knowledge in ways that exceed the human. Topics relating to art and science methods, the production and analysis of data, as well as industrial pasts and chemical futures, will be interwoven throughout the talk.

35 North Gallery – special evening opening of the exhibition Pavlov & the Kingdom of Dogs: A Secret History Matt Adams & Jim Wilson

Pavlov and the Kingdom of Dogs is an art installation exploring the extraordinary life and times of Russian scientist Ivan Pavlov (1849–1936). The exhibition aims to shed new light on Pavlov’s experiments and spotlights the many human-animal entanglements involved and the experiences and agencies of the countless dogs involved. We explore the lesser-known stories behind Pavlov’s industrial-scale enterprise—intriguing, often disturbing tales from the early days of psychology, led by a unique and complex personality. Through a series of scale models and artefacts, the exhibition invites you to observe different elements of Pavlov’s sprawling St Petersburg (later Leningrad) laboratory complex, spanning a fifty-year period in the late 19th and early 20th century, a time of enormous social and political upheaval. Across all of the models, dogs take centre stage.  The exhibition is produced and designed by Matt Adams and Jim Wilson. Both work at the University of Brighton. Matt Adams is a Principal Lecturer in Psychology in the School of Humanities and Social Science. Jim Wilson is a Technical Project Manager for the School of Art and Media.


More info:


Friday 7 June



10.30-11.30 Keynote 3 – ROOM G4 / Kim Stallwood / Topsy the Elephant: An Elephant Biography / Animal Rights Author & Independent Scholar


If anyone knows anything about Topsy, it’s from the film, ‘Electrocuting an Elephant,’ of her public execution on Coney Island, New York in 1903. Topsy was poisoned with 460 grams of potassium cyanide before 6,600 volts of electricity surged through her body in front of a paying crowd of more than 1,000 people. The one-minute film by the Edison Manufacturing Company attracts more than 1.5 million views on YouTube. Topsy was portrayed by newspapers as a villain. She was a “man-killer” who attacked and killed men. But, in truth, she was a victim who defended herself against the cruelties of men who betrayed her. She stood in the way of the United States as it emerged as a global industrial power and producer of mass public entertainment, and when the international trade in wild-caught animals fed the growing international demand for elephants to exhibit in zoos and perform in circus rings. My presentation will focus on Topsy’s life story, expose the myths told about her, and explore my approaches to writing her animal biography.

11.30-12.45 PANEL J – ROOM G4


Olivia Knapton / Human-insect encounters: the unwanted agency of insects / Kings College London, UK

Insects and other bugs are often experienced by people as pests or as an inconvenience rather than as animal species to respect and live alongside. While there are numerous studies on public perceptions of insects, there is very little research on how insects are represented in public discourse and what implications this might have for human-insect relationships.


The handful of studies that have touched on insects in discourse concur that insects and other invertebrates are typically depicted performing biological functions, such as eating, moving or reproducing, and are not ascribed actions that require intent, desire or agency. In this talk, we use qualitative discourse analysis to show that insect agency is in fact present in public discourse, and that insect agency is often portrayed as harmful and intentional, such as deliberate actions of invasion and destruction. Furthermore, we show how human-insect encounters are often framed around insects’ perceived ability to breach spatial boundaries and to transform places of safety into places of danger and disorder. We discuss how these perceived boundary-breaches occur at multiple sites: the body, the home and national borders; clearly framing insects and bugs as an unwanted, highly agentive, ‘other’.


Data come from two sources: 1) interviews with women who have insect/bug phobias and 2) media reports on invasive insect species in the UK. The data are analysed using novel, qualitative discourse analysis methods that focus on linguistic framing, in particular examining which actions are attributed to insects and other bugs. We speculate on the consequences of these discourses in light of the global decline of insect numbers and the crucial role of insects in ecosystems.

Bentley Crudgington / In the Wake of Granny Woolf: Immersive theatre exploring multispecies death and dying / SATSU, University of York, UK

With grief, joy, pride and feelings yet to be named, we announce the death of Granny Woolf. Those close to them, as we all became, will mourn their death deeply. We gathered together to plan the end of the life of Granny Woolf. We gathered to plan the good death, the best death we could offer.

Granny Woolf had been informed that they are in the final stages of life, resulting from complications with abdominal trauma and extremely rare presentation of gastrointestinal stones. Granny Woolf could not or would not discuss their end of life plan. It fell upon us to decide how best to respect and care for them at the end of their life.(Excerpt from Longsite Eulogy. Feb 2024.)

In the wake of Granny Woolf is a touring immersive experience that explores what happens to our notion of a good death when viewed from a multispecies perspective. Drawing from qualitative research interviews between veterinary and medical end of life care professionals, through the lens of posthumanism and feminist care ethics, we used our theory of strategic betrayal as ethical praxis to create an experiment in multispecies empathy. In never disclosing Granny Woolf’s gender or species participants had to constantly interrogate their normative assumptions of a good death and what it might mean to live and die well together.

Participants were invited to a wake, or sorts, where each course was served with an ethical interruption. These discussions were subsequently used to write a unique eulogy for each performance. These were then used to design a multispecies end of life tarot deck to encourage future community discussions.

This presentation will show how creative methodologies in narrative and immersion can make visible what happens to the potency of advocacy, and clarity of ethics, when you encounter what was previously only a hypothetical.

Catherine Will (University of Sussex) & Mark Erickson (University of Brighton) / Engaging the public on AMR: a ‘classical’ approach

Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) is a complex and contested area in both public health and public engagement with science. Despite the pressing urgency of raising awareness of AMR there is a paucity of accessible materials that address the history, complexity, depth and range of AMR research and AMR implications.


Drawing on history of science, science and technology studies (STS) ethnographies of microbiology laboratories, interviews with public health scientists, and classical Greek theatre this presentation reports on the construction of a play that recounts the story of Escherichia coli’s role in the foundation of microbiological research and its ongoing role in public health interventions and processes, and AMR research.


The play, funded by Wellcome, is designed to engage a wide range of audiences – specialists, general public, school students, public health officials – and is designed to be ‘read at different levels’ such that audiences can interact with different elements to explore and reveal the complexities of microbiological research pertaining to AMR.

11.30-12.45 PANEL K – ROOM M2


Anasuya S Borah / Monkey Matters: Relationships by monkeys and with monkeys / Canopy Collective, India


In an urbanizing rural space, the proximity of the hills and jungles results in encounters with the ‘wild’ often, large herds of elephants stationing themselves for days, resident storks that human residents safeguard, etc. In this picture, where do the everyday encountered troops of monkeys t? They evoke varying emotions, considered nuisance, contenders of humans’ hardworking harvest, and form relations of kinship, and care. This work is driven by the relationship of monkeys with humans and ‘guard’ dogs, and in between the latter two relationally with the monkey. Interviews, sketches, photography, and lifelong observation structure this ethnographic piece into place, covering homes, farms, forests, and elds in a heterogeneous Assamese village in North East India. Monkeys and dogs nd place in symbolisms, cultural artifacts and religious scriptures of the region and frame an understanding of the many relationships, generationally, and juxtaposed to today, within mutual ecologies (Fuentes, 2010).

From the comical narration of certain Macaque encounters to overheard conversations of impending violent routes to sentiments of angst against the primates, a range of stories showcase the equally diverse range of complexity of these relationships. But what leads to multifaceted relations? Studying human-monkey entanglements historically, and within this landscape, primarily from the perspective of agrarian disturbances, land use patterns, contemporary agriculture and agricultural populations (Sprague, 2002), the attempt is to understand the adaptations the nonhuman species have acquired in the transforming village and how that in turn, transforms relatedness to their human cohabitors. This provides an opportunity to trace the becoming (or not) of behavioural traits attributed to urban monkeys (Govindrajan, 2018) and study relations (eg. humans with monkeys) with relations (eg. humans and land use), deriving from Strathern (1992). Situated within the politics of the village, and the larger political lives of nonhuman animals in India, it is an inquiry into relationships in an urban-rural continuum of a species closer to human behaviour, a companion species and humans.

Etienne Bourel / What scope for others-than-human in an ethnography of human/macaque relations in zoos? / Université Paris Cité, France

This paper will present an ethnographic approach aiming at understanding interactions between humans and primates in a zoo. It will explain the methodological ways in which I am considering others-than-humans as part of my field research, which I am conducting in close collaboration with ethologists. The purpose will be to discuss the propensity of social anthropology to consider actors that are not humans, in this case Barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus).


The fieldwork I am currently doing is part of a collective interdisciplinary research project involving biologists specialising in primate behaviour and social anthropologists. The goal is to better understand the interactions that macaques have with visitors passing by their enclosure in a private French zoo. I regularly spend time in the field with a young biologist researcher who uses various methods and tools (ethogram, trombinoscope, recordings of frequencies and durations of activities) to understand the behaviour of the macaques, and who is extending her methods to the visitors’ behaviour in order to capture the sequences of multi-species interactions.


For my part, I use various ethnographic methods to document visitor behaviour (ad libitum notes, floating observation, audio recordings, photographs). However, throughout my research, I quickly came to the question of extending these methods for studying the behaviour of macaques: I felt it was necessary to produce a ‘macaque ethnography’ in order to get the best possible grasp of what is at stake in this research (understanding visitor/monkey interactions) and to try and achieve a certain symmetry with the scope of the study planned by my biologist collaborators (who draw up ethograms of human behaviour). However, this extension of ethnographic practice beyond humans poses a range of methodological and heuristic challenges (restricted knowledge about primates, relevance of observations and interpretations, extension of human relational issues to primates). This paper will discuss these points and show how they are put into practice in the specific context of interdisciplinary fieldwork.

Ana Paula Motta / Multispecies dwellings and bush walking: A bi- constructivist approach to study human-animal relationships in Indigenous rock art / University of Western Australia, Australia

Indigenous Australian folklore is populated by recounts of a common origin for both humans and animals. Many of these stories have as a central theme the creation of the Land, people, and animals during Dreamtime (or at the beginning of time) by spirit Ancestors. These shared histories between the landscape, humans and animals still persist today and can be perceived in the many contemporary Indigenous art forms, but these are also engrained in the landscape in the form of rock art images found all over Australia, created up to 20,000 years ago. Indigenous rock art traditions are rich in iconographic depictions showing humans, animals, material culture, plants and supernatural beings engaged in multiple ways, across time.  However, interpretations on animal depictions have often lingered on their economic value, thus neglecting in this process how human and animal populations co-exist, co-evolve and become together. In other words, animals have been studied under a Cartesian paradigm that sees human beings at the centre of the world and extending a mantle of dominance over other species.


Here, I am interested in deconstructing the ontological footing of humans and animal in northeast Kimberley rock art, with a special emphasis on those compositions where human and animals are engaged with each other (e.g., dancing, hunting, etc.). These associations are interpreted under a relational framework that highlights the transformability of things, where the line that separates humans from animals is blurred. In line with this aim, I am interested here in developing a more nuance method that views depictions and their execution from both a synchronic and diachronic point of view, while simultaneously considering Indigenous ontologies. In order to do so, a bi-constructivist frame of reference from which to interpret human-animal relationships, grounded on the intersection between iconographic, anthropological, archaeological, behavioural, and statistical methods of analysis, is developed here.

13.30-13.45 PANEL L – ROOM G4


Katie Cunningham, Kethaki Wijesinghe, Dani Eaton / Human-animal relationships & multispecies entanglements in Postgraduate Sustainable Design Research / University of Brighton

This panel features three MA Sustainable Design students, including one alumnus and two current students. Each panellist engages in a unique design mode to engage with the subject of human-animal relations in their sustainable design research. This panel provides a forum for the panellists to discuss these approaches and how they integrate ideas of human-animal relations into their design practices.  During the panel discussion, each panellist will present their research and discuss how they incorporate ideas of human-animal relations into their respective design practices. This panel offers diverse perspectives on the intersection of sustainable design and human-animal relations, showcasing the innovative ways contemporary design researchers address environmental challenges while promoting knowledge making and respect for planetary life worlds. Through their research and design practices, the panellists demonstrate the transformative power of design to imagine and work towards more sustainable futures.

13.30-13.45 PANEL M – ROOM M2


Gizem Haspolat / The touched cow: Doing and undoing the commodified cow through care / Rice University, USA

In defining cows as globally traded commodities, legal and veterinary regulations allocate the legitimacy of touch over their bodies. While the legal regulations distinguish between “licit” and “illicit” forms of touch (Rosenberg 2017), veterinary medicine often legitimizes tactile interventions on cows’ bodies by emphasizing the notion of care. In both contexts, touch becomes desirable as it contributes to the (re)production of cows for/as a commodity. Yet, the touch also introduces uncertainty in certain contexts, where care can disrupt or create a dent in the productivity regime. By analyzing two instances of ‘touch’ over cows’ bodies in Turkey’s production and circulation process, I would like to explore the uncertainty introduced by touch, establishing a differentiation between veterinary and zootechnical care. While veterinary care and caring forms of touch create a reciprocal indeterminacy that can suspend the commodity form, zootechnical care solidifies control. The indeterminacy introduced by veterinary care can both undo and reinstitute the commodity form, aligning care with the broader “economies of touch” (Ahmed 2000) governing cows’ bodies through zootechnical means.

Kaisu Koski / Picnic Methodology: Rethinking Multispecies Relationships through Alfresco Meals / Sheffield Hallam University, UK

This presentation introduces a speculative “picnic methodology” emerging from site-specific performative picnics with a herd of reindeer. I am asking what the embodied practice of “alfresco” meals can do ecologically, artistically, and in restoring human-animal relationships. To connect to the justice-oriented picnic tradition and to address our damaged relationships with the more-than-human, the project involves setting up a series of picnics to re-imagine multispecies relationships in the wintery Arctic, starting with our relative, the reindeer. The picnic blanket is offered as a meeting place for more-than-human and human ways of being, thinking, and knowing. Rooted in the practice of performance art, the presentation explores how the picnic with the reindeer and the narrative about it can become fruitful occasions for disruption of the (human-)established hierarchies between species. Through purposefully uncomfortable picnics, the project is a contemplative and playful gesture to decenter the human and give the reindeer a voice.

The urgency and objectives of the picnic methodology originate from its global context of the climate crisis. The Arctic is impacted by global warming four times as fast as the rest of the world (Rantanen et al., 2022), heavily impacting the reindeer and herders. My work aligns with views in which climate breakdown is seen as a human behavioral crisis (Mertz et al., 2023) and a relationship problem (Mind & Life Institute, 2021) instead of a solely carbon emission problem. As a result, the multispecies picnics envision wholesome alternatives for our problematic ways of being human and existing human-animal hierarchies. To further elaborate on how the picnic methodology comes to life, I will draw the making process of my short film City Reindeer (2022), created during a month-long art&science residency at the Kilpisjärvi Biological Station, as it utilizes picnic methodology in practicing and reflecting on multispecies relationships in the Arctic.

Bidyum Medhi / The Panther vanishes: Landscape, Dwelling, and the more-than-human Entanglement / John Hopkins University, USA

On March 25, 2022, a panther appeared in Mangaldai, a town in India’s northeastern state of Assam. With its unexpected presence, the panther unsettled the neighborhood for a week and then vanished into thin air without any trace. The animal also unsettled this author (myself) hailing from the same neighborhood in an extraordinary way. Its sudden appearance caused an upsurge of excitement and emotion as well as created a web of past encounters with the panther spanning from literary landscape of Rilke and Kipling, and native writers to real life encounters. This going back in time gradually turned into a revelation about the lost multispecies lifeworld. The traditional ‘baari’ or the private backyard forested tract of the Assamese household was once home to a wide variety of wildlife ranging from jackals, civets, wildcats to the ‘elusive’ clouded leopards and leopards. Over time the massive housing constructions replacing this space resulted in the disappearance of most of the wildlife from human proximity. This change tells of a lost multispecies space functioning as an animal corridor parallel to the reserved forests. The ubiquity of colonial categories in ongoing discourse of wildlife conservation and human-animal conflict in the state comes at the cost of glossing over how indigenous and animal life-worlds interacted and impinged upon one another over time. In his essay “Why look at Animals?” (1980) John Berger argues that metaphors have gradually supplanted real animals heightening alienation between humans and animals in modernity. Centering on Berger’s disappearing animals this paper will undertake a dynamic engagement with the panther to illuminate the space and mobility the forested tracts once offered the wildlife. The paper will explore how such stories of animal im(mobility) shed light on lived realities of one’s place of belonging and expresses a more-than-human shared experience for an environmental future.

Closing discussion – ROOM G4


Biographies – keynotes


Claire Parkinson is Professor of Culture, Communication and Screen Studies, Co-Director of the Centre for Human Animal Studies and Associate Head of the English and Creative Arts department at Edge Hill University. Her publications include the books Animal Activism On and Off Screen (2024), Animals, Anthropomorphism and Mediated Encounters (2020) Beyond Human: from animality to transhumanism (2012) and Popular Media and Animals (2011). Her recent research has included two AHRC-funded projects on multispecies methodologies and landscape, and funded research on public perceptions of dangerous dogs. She has also led funded research projects on public responses to pro-vegan messaging, and worked on the multi-council funded UK National Ecosystem Assessment: shared, plural and cultural values of ecosystems.

Kim Stallwood is an animal rights author, scholar, and curator with nearly 50 years of personal commitment as a vegan and professional experience in leadership positions with some of the world’s leading organizations. The British Library in London acquired the Kim Stallwood Archive in 2020. Tier im Recht, the Zurich-based animal law organization, established the Kim Stallwood Collection in 2022. He is a member of the Culture & Animals Foundation board of directors and served as the volunteer executive director of Minding Animals International from 2012 to 2017. His book, Growl, was published by Lantern in 2014. He is a contributor to various academic anthologies. Currently, he is writing the biography of Topsy, the female Asian elephant electrocuted to death on Coney Island, New York, in 1903.


Matterlurgy is the artist duo of Helena Hunter and Mark Peter Wright. Their practice incorporates site-responsive installation, sound, video and sculptural works, collaborating across the sciences to examine ways of sensing and translating environments. They have produced projects about river health, air pollution, waste, flooding and ocean modelling. Artworks have been made in relation to sites including a hydropower station, disused steelworks, a laboratory for ice simulation, an abandoned copper mine, as well as galleries and museum collections. Collaborations have involved working with scientists at The University of Cambridge, University College London, King’s College London, National Oceanography Centre UK, University of Sheffield, University of Turku (Finland) and Royal Holloway, University of London.


Matterlurgy’s work has been commissioned, exhibited and screened across venues and partners, including Delfina Foundation, Arts Catalyst, Tate Modern, Raven Row Gallery, Gazelli Art House, Whitechapel Gallery, ICA, John Hansard Gallery, The Showroom Gallery, Watermans, UK Green Film Festival, Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, (UK). They have shown their work internationally at Onassis Stegi (Athens), Bòlit Contemporary Arts Centre (Spain), Medialab Matadero (Spain), Mains d’Œuvres (France), ONOMA, HIAP Frontiers of Retreat, Titanik Gallery (Finland), Dalane Kulturfestival, Rogaland Kunstsenter (Norway).


Their work has been featured in: The Guardian, Art Monthly, MAP Magazine, Third Text, Wild Alchemy Journal and academic publications such as Technoetic Arts by Justyna Stępień (Intellect) and Remain by Ioana B. Jucan, Jussi Parikka and Rebecca Schneider (University of Minnesota Press). Their project Beneath the Signal and Noise is included in the UK Green Guide: Creative Responses to Sustainability, published by Asia-Europe Foundation. Matterlurgy were shortlisted for the Paul Hamlyn Awards for Artists 2023.



Biographies – presenters


Charlotte Hankin & Hannah Hogarth are PhD researchers in the Department of Education, University of Bath. Charlotte’s doctoral inquiry explores animal-child relations to consider how international schools might shift from human-exceptionalism to more regenerative pedagogical practices. Hannah’s post-qualitative inquiry explores the possibilities of/for childhoodnature play in an urban forest school in London, UK. Hannah and Charlotte employ posthumanist and feminist new materialist theories and practices to co-create multispecies research using messy, arts-based approaches.


Alice O’Malley-Woods I am a writer, educator, and Techne funded PhD candidate based at the University of Brighton. My research is practice-based, working towards the development of a poetic memoir that acts as a crip ecofeminist reflection on trauma, bereavement, and eco grief. As well as an interest in the non-human as plant and animal, my work explores the inhuman through notions of hauntedness, spectrality, monstrosity, and the supernatural. As themes that hold a particular relevance to experiences of mental illness, these notions are explored through a nueroqueer lens, and negotiated alongside understandings of eco-trauma as an experience of the uncanny.

Bjorn Sommer is Research Tutor at the Royal College of Art and Year Lead of Innovation Design Engineering. He co-organized multiple conferences and workshops (e.g., Integrative Bioinformatics 2023, EuroVis MolVA 2023, VizBi 2022/2021).

Harry Hosker is studying Innovation Design Engineering at Royal College of Art. With Tori, he has organised a number of co design workshop in the context of avian species together with Kyushu University.

Tori Simpson is studying Global Innovation Design at Royal College of Art, and is a co-lead on the workshop and was a co-organizer in a number of the Kyushu-based design workshops

Edit is currently working on a PhD dissertation, a critical and auto-writing work focused on unreadability with partial origins in narrative fiction, under the supervision of Urquhart and Urquhart at the University of the City and the Tower. Edit recently presented from their dissertation on the intersection of unreadability and climate change at ReWild 2023, hosted at the University of Brighton. And their fiction recently appeared in The Text journal.

Edward Wells holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and is a Part-time Faculty of English at Coconino Community College, USA and Lecturer at University of Brighton, UK. Edward is working on a PhD thesis, a narrative fiction, in Humanities. Wells’ poetry is forthcoming in Impost (2024) and recently appeared in Quail Bell (2023).

Marina Wainer is a Paris-based multidisciplinary artist. For the last 20 years she has been making interactive art. Her work explores contemporary issues and spaces of representation, with a sensitive approach, imagining experiences where the audience is at the heart of the work. The interaction proposed in her projects, which encourages participation, has sometimes turned into collaboration, involving the public upstream and working with various communities. Throughout the years, Wainer has been developing transdisciplinary collaborations with artists, researchers and scientists. Her pieces were shown in different cultural and academic contexts in France, Argentina, Iceland, England, Colombia, Finland, and Taiwan.

Sam Nester is a trumpet player, composer, and sound artist based in New York. He has been the artist-in-residence for the US National Parks in Hawai’i, Bruny Island (Australia), the Festival Arts Design Acerenza (Italy), and is currently the inaugural artist-in-residence at the Center for Genomics and Systems Biology at NYU Abu Dhabi. He has received commissions for the creation of site-specific environmental sound installations and musical compositions from the US State Department, Colby College, George Mason University, New York University, EcoArt Project, Metropolis Ensemble, the National Parks Arts Foundation, and the City of Hobart (Australia).

Isabelle Hupont-Torres is a researcher on AI with 15+ years of experience in the field. Since 2010, she holds a PhD on affective computing. She has worked at institutions of different nature: academic (Affective Lab University of Zaragoza; Sorbonne University), technological institutes (Aragon Institute of Technology, Spain; Institut des Systèmes Intelligents et de Robotique CNRS, France), and private sector (Herta). Her research interests have always focused on AI: affective computing, facial analysis, face recognition, human-machine interaction. She is currently a scientific project officer at the Joint Research Centre in Seville (HUMAINT team), exploring the policy side of AI and contributing to establish the path towards trustworthy and ethical AI.

Lucia Iglesias-Blanco is a forestry engineer inspired and specialized in protected areas management. She has been working in the National Parks Network in Spain for 15 years, then moved to Brussels in 2019 (European Commission, DG Environment, Unit of Nature conservation), to work on the implementation of nature conservation policy (Habitats and Birds Directives). She is also involved in promoting the EU Natura 2000 network; protected areas and its achievements through the Natura 2000 Award scheme; and the use of the Natura 2000 logo in goods and services.

Pallavi Das is a recent PhD graduate from the University of Delhi, specializing in the history of medicine. She has presented papers at esteemed institutions globally and participated in international workshops on medical history and ‘non-human’ histories.

Vineet K.Giri is a Doctoral Researcher at the University of Delhi, specializing in environmental history. He was also a research assistant for the Wellcome Trust-funded project ‘Lungs of the City’ at the University of Kent. Collaboratively, they work on investigating the history of locust infestations in colonial India, with a journal paper and web article already published and another academic publication in progress.

Micol Rispoli is Postdoctoral Researcher at DIATI – Department of Environment, Land and Infrastructure Engineering, Politecnico di Torino. She graduated in architecture and obtained a PhD in Philosophical Sciences from Federico II University of Napoli. She also holds a master’s degree in Museum Curation from IED – Rome. She undertook a research stay at the Stadtlabor for Multimodal Anthropology – Institute for European Ethnology, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. Working at the crossroads of architecture and science and technology studies, she has been investigating the impact that ANT, feminist technoscience and approaches to technical democracy can have on architectural practice. From 2022 to 2023 she taught at BAU College of Arts and Design of Barcelona.


Lara Giordana is Postdoctoral Researcher at DIATI – Department of Environment, Land and Infrastructure Engineering, Politecnico di Torino. She holds a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Torino, where she has been Adjunct Professor of Anthropology of Nature for three years. Her fields of research include Anthropology of environment, Multispecies ethnography and bio-social relationships, and Island Studies, referring in particular to Pacific Islands and OCTs.


Lisa Maria Zellner (born 1991, Bocholt, Germany) is a designer and researcher who lives and works in Bolzano, Italy. Through a multidisciplinary artistic method of working and engaging, Zellner stages experiments and research on socio-political, socio–logical and natural conditions, especially focusing on: How can we deal with an extinction of species in a world full of possibility and research in order to jointly drive forward an eco-social transformation and still “loving in a time of extinction”.(Tsing, 2010:200)

Tsing, Anna. 2010. “Arts of Inclusion, or How to Love a Mushroom.” Manoa 22 (2): 191–203.


Niloofar Solhjoo is a young information scientist, originally from Iran, driven by a profound passion for human-animal relationships. She holds a Master of Information Management from the University of Tehran, Iran, and recently earned her PhD in Information Systems from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. Solhjoo’s dedication to animals shines through in all aspects of her work and academic pursuits. She has actively engaged with academic associations working at the intersection of human interactions with animals and information, such as the Association for Veterinary Informatics and the International Conference of Animal Health Information Specialists. Notably, she initiated the first academic panel on “Multispecies Information Science” at the  2023 annual meeting of the Association of Information Science and Technology in London. Her contributions to scholarly discourse are reflected in numerous publications spanning theoretical, methodological, and practical dimensions of information within human-companion animal coexistence.

Harriet Croome is a doctoral student and political ecologist whose research examines how conservation, development and conflict (re)shape complex social-ecological interactions. She is based in the International Development Department at the University of Birmingham and a student of the Forest Edge Doctoral Scholarship Programme and Birmingham Institute for Forest Research. Harriet brings professional experience in both international wildlife conservation, donor, and ecotourism organisations to her research, reflecting critically on how these actors and institutions mediate relations between human and nonhuman-nature.

Jim Wilson is a designer, maker and educator based primarily at the University of Brighton. He works at all scales from jewellery to architectural and has a particular passion for sustainable design and ethical manufacture. He is the primary collaborator working with Matt Adams on the art installation / exhibition Pavlov and the kingdom of dogs: A secret history.

Matt Adams is a Principal Lecturer in the School of Humanities and Social Science, University of Brighton. He is interested in climate and ecological crisis, human-animal and multispecies relations, the posthumanities and critical animal studies. His most recent book is Anthropocene Psychology: Being Human in a More-then-Human World (Routledge). He is currently exploring the potential of visual art and communication in these areas. He holds an AHRC Research, Development & Engagement Fellowship (award no. AH/W006219/1) titled Pavlov and the kingdom of dogs: Storying experimental animal histories through arts-based research.

Abigail Burt’s social practice is formed around material process and storytelling. Recent projects include Lost Wax for Lost Species for which a wide audience was invited to sculpt endangered species from wax. Yorkshire Sculpture Park hosted an iteration of the project in 2023, drawing attention to local species such as the Great Crested Newt- YSP. Abigail’s ongoing project Green Flash, initially Arts Council England funded, creates connections between marine citizens through the ritual of bringing them a story-gathering sculpture by sailing boat. Abigail is undertaking a practice-based PhD on the role of art to communicate marine science to a public audience for the climate crisis, working between the Faculty of Cultural and Creative Industries and the Institute of Marine Science at Portsmouth.

Jes Hooper is a multispecies ethnographer, Anthropology PhD Candidate at the University of Exeter, and member of the IUCN SSC Small Carnivore Specialist Group. Jes’ research focusses on the trade of civets for gastronomic, tourism, and conservation industries, which serve as a lens through which to explore species loss in the Anthropocene. Jes’ research draws from anthropology’s “animal turn” and is inspired by multispecies and transdisciplinary scholarship. Her work has been supported by several funders including the Culture and Animals Foundation, the Finnish KONE Foundation, and has been disseminated in art exhibitions, scientific journals, conferences, seminars, and edited book volumes.


Saija Kassinen and Meri Linna. The duo Harrie Liveart is a long term collaboration between the visual artists Saija Kassinen and Meri Linna. Their work utilizes several aspects from multiple areas of the visual arts such as video, sound, installations, sculpture and performance art. Both duo members hold a master’s degree in Fine Arts from the University of the Arts Helsinki, Academy of Fine Arts. They reside in Finland.


Siobhan Speiran is a postdoctoral visitor in The Lives of Animals Research Group at York University (Faculty of Urban & Environmental Change). A wild animal welfare scholar and animal geographer, she conducts transdisciplinary research at the intersection of animal welfare, conservation, and sustainable tourism. Her research explores the lives and labour of monkeys in Costa Rican wildlife sanctuaries with respect to their care and conservation. She disseminates her work through journalistic and social media (@theanimalwelfarist), including the Costa Rican Monkey Interest Group she established while conducting her Ph.D. research– generously funded by the SSHRC Bombardier Doctoral Scholarship at Queen’s University.


Francis Marion Moseley Wilson is a multidisciplinary artist who works primarily with digital media, live/body art, and taxidermy. She has performed at festivals and institutions internationally, including Chicago’s Rapid Pulse International Performance Art Festival; Montreal, arts-interculturels (MAI)’s Prendre Place/Taking Place; and Guerrilla Zoo presents: Modern Panic X in London. She works closely with themes of risk, intimacy, vulnerability, and grief, particularly as it pertains to interspecies, material bodies in the current geopolitical era.


Yuri Imazu recently completed her master’s degree in the Department of Cultural Anthropology at Yonsei University in South Korea. Her master’s thesis centered on ethnographic research conducted at a farm animal sanctuary and a ‘Yoro Ranch’ in Japan, a facility dedicated to retired racehorses. With a strong interest in exploring intersectional critiques of the horse racing industry, she is currently eager to delve deeper into the subject.


Darren Chang is a PhD candidate in Sociology at the University of Sydney. His research interests broadly include interspecies relations under colonialism and global capitalism, practices of solidarity, kinship, and mutual aid across species in challenging oppressive powers, social movement theories, and multispecies justice. Through political (and politicised) ethnography at animal sanctuaries, Darren’s PhD research project explores potential alignments and tensions between animal and other social and environmental justice movements. The multispecies dimension of this project also considers the place, positions, and subjectivities of nonhuman animals in relation to anthropogenic social movements.


Hannah O’Regan is Professor of Archaeology and Palaeoecology at the University of Nottingham. Hannah has always had a very wide range of research interests, and Box Office Bears allows her to explore them in full. Her main areas of research have been osteology (bones), large carnivores and cave archaeology, human-animal relationships, and zoo history. All of these feed into BOB, as bears sometimes den in caves, and have been kept in menageries for centuries, as well as being used in entertainments such as baiting and dancing.

Sophy Charlton is a Lecturer of Bioarchaeology at the University of York, specialising in the application of biomolecular techniques to archaeological materials. Her research is particularly focused on determining human and animal lifeways in the archaeological past, including analysis of diet. She also has a keen interest in how we can explore human-animal interactions and relationships within the archaeological past.

Andy Kesson is Reader in Renaissance Literature at the University of Roehampton, the author of John Lyly and Early Modern Authorship, the co-editor, with Emma Smith, of The Elizabethan Top Ten: Defining Print Popularity in Early Modern England, and the editor of the Shakespeare Studies 45 (2017) special issue on 1580s drama. He was the principal investigator for Before Shakespeare, and is currently working with the theatremaker Emma Frankland on a diversity-positive production of John Lyly’s Galatea. He also runs A Bit Lit, a public forum celebrating research and creativity of all kinds.

Neha Arora I am a human geographer working at the intersection of labour and animal geographies. I am currently a researcher on the project ‘Pets in the Cab’ funded by the University of Oxford’s John Fell Fund ( I have previously completed a MSc in Sustainable Urban Development at University of Oxford and will be starting a DPhil in Human Geography in October, 2024.

Maria Howard is a British-Italian writer and artist, and a PhD candidate at Glasgow School of Art. Her practice-based research has been presented at the University of Glasgow, at the Association for Art History’s Summer Symposium and at the University of Lancaster. She is the recipient of a Gillian Purvis Trust Award for New Writing and The Yellow Paper Prize. She has also been shortlisted for the Fitzcarraldo Editions Essay Prize, and longlisted for the Ginkgo Prize for Ecopoetry. She is a co-editor of Nothing Personal magazine.

Lee Christien is currently an Associate Lecturer at Bath Spa University. His latest published peer-reviewed article for Culture and Organization is available via open access here 

Rebekah Gregory – I am a Lecturer in Criminology and undertaking my PhD (at the University of Plymouth, UK) studying how dogs appointed as domesticated companions were impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. My research specialism covers areas such as green criminology, ‘animal’ welfare and ‘animal’ and environmental law, with particular interest in how consumerism impacts upon these. I am passionate about challenging the status of ‘animals’ and interrogating our relation to the environment in the 21st century, and about producing welfare improvements for ‘animals’ now and for years to come.


Melvin Chan is a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change, York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Dr. Leesa Fawcett is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change, York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Émilie Crossley is a Researcher at the Center for Advanced Tourism Studies (CATS) at Hokkaido University in Japan. She undertook a JSPS Postdoctoral Fellowship for Research in Japan in 2020–2022, which explored kawaii (cute) animals in tourism through multispecies ethnography with a particular focus on captive Ezo red foxes. Émilie holds a PhD from Cardiff University in Wales and has previously written about volunteer tourists’ emotional responses to poverty, ecological grief in tourism, and qualitative research methodologies.

Olivia Knapton is a Senior Lecturer in Linguistics in the School of Education, Communication and Society at King’s College London. Her research uses qualitative discourse analysis to explore issues related to human-animal relationships and the representation of animals, as well as subjective experiences of mental health problems, focussing in particular on women’s narratives of anxiety and the body. Across her research, Olivia strives to find innovative ways to combine cognitive and discursive approaches to meaning, such as through the use of metaphor and narrative methods.

Bentley Crudgington is an artist, producer, and creative facilitator who specialises in producing interdisciplinary responses to the social, cultural and ethical complexity of science and technological research and living well in more- than-human worlds. They have a particular interest in welfare and care and using creative strategies to apply the latest research from medical, veterinary and social sciences to deliver more inclusive and meaningful research and policy change.

Catherine Will is Professor of Science and Technology at the University of Sussex. Catherine is currently Principal Investigator on a Wellcome Investigator Award with the title ‘Marginalisation and the microbe: how can we attend to health inequalities while mobilising against antimicrobial resistance’.


Mark Erickson is Reader in Sociology at the University of Brighton. Mark is the author of Science, Technology and Society: Understanding Science in the 21st Century (Polity 2017) and Work in Crisis (with Steve Williams, Bristol University Press 2024).


Anasuya S. Borah is a researcher and practitioner working in the diverse and connected elds of political ecology, rainfed agrarian livelihoods, social enterprises and producer groups and women’s nancial security. Currently, as a mentor at Green Hub India to a range of conservation projects and attempts to document and rebuild indigenous culture and education practices, Anasuya re-engages with communities closer to home in North East India after working for three years in the Central Indian drylands. She holds a Master’s degree from the School of Human Ecology, Ambedkar University and a Bachelor’s in Botany from Delhi University.


Etienne Bourel is a post-doc in social anthropology at the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle (Paris, France). He holds a PhD from the Université Lumière-Lyon 2. After some fieldwork in Gabon on forestry issues (working and living conditions on logging sites, how sustainable development is taken into account, alternatives to illegal forestry), he is currently conducting an ethnography of human/primate relations in a private French zoo as part of the PRIMAZOO project (funding granted to Audrey Maille,

Ana Paula Motta is Honorary Research Fellow at The University of Western Australia. Her PhD explored human-animal relationships and social identity in Kimberley rock art, Australia. She has an MSc in Palaeoanthropology and Palaeolithic Archaeology from University College London and a BSc in Anthropology and Archaeology from University of Buenos Aires. She is interested in the intersections between Indigenous knowledge and the ontological turn, decolonising approaches, multispecies ethnographies, and heritage conservation. Her most recent publications are included in ‘Unsettling Subjects and Decolonizing Animals’ and ‘One world anthropology and beyond. A multidisciplinary engagement with the work of Tim Ingold’.


Katie Cunningham graduated from the MA Sustainable Design program in 2022. With a background in Archaeology, Katie brings a distinctive perspective to sustainable design, drawing upon insights from natural histories, biodiversity, and peatland ecosystems. A central theme of Katie’s research is the recognition of humans as integral components of ecological systems rather than separate entities. Katie advocates for rewilding initiatives to restore ecological processes, enhance biodiversity, and promote physical and mental well-being for human and non-human species.


Kethaki Wijesinghe‘s research explores creative responses to mitigate human-elephant conflict in Sri Lanka, rooted in respect for the interconnectedness of all life. With an inclusive approach fostering active participation and collaboration within diverse communities, Kethaki’s work empowers local residents to become citizen scientists who champion elephant conservation. Kethaki’s advocacy for non-dualist perspectives and ethical-political dimensions in conservation challenges outdated paradigms and underscores the interconnectedness of human and non-human life. By embracing Indigenous philosophies and leveraging advanced technologies, Kethaki manifests a systemic and inclusive approach to conservation.


Dani Eaton is another current MA Sustainable Design, University of Brighton program student specialising in multispecies approaches to design. In her exploration of co-designing with the forest, Dani reflects on the transformative potential of embracing multispecies perspectives in the discipline of design. Through her immersive experiences in forest environments, she has cultivated a deep appreciation for the agency and creativity of non-human beings, challenging traditional notions of design authorship and communication. Furthermore, Dani emphasises the importance of amplifying the voices of non-human collaborators in design practices, advocating for a paradigm shift towards more inclusive and empathetic approaches.


Gizem Haspolat is a PhD candidate in Anthropology at Rice University. Her areas of interest are critical animal studies, animal geographies, and human–nonhuman animal relations. Her current research explores live animal trade as a site that intensifies the translations between ‘animal’ and capital, through an investigation of Turkey’s live cattle imports.

Kaisu Koski – I am a cross-disciplinary artist with a background in performance, film, and biological materials. My work focuses on the climate crisis, multispecies relationships, and the art- science methodology. My work has been exhibited and performed in gallery shows and theatres in over 30 countries and received multiple awards in the film festival circuit. In 2020, I initiated the Citizen Surgery Collective, an interdisciplinary practice-based research group consisting of artists, critical posthumanists, and anthropologists. Our work concerns surgical literacy, sensory skills acquisition, and the relationship between (non)human animal bodies and food.

Bidyum Medhi is a doctoral candidate (currently ABD) in the German section of Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at Johns Hopkins University. He is scheduled to defend his dissertation entitled ‘’Animality and Ecology in Post-war and Post-colonial German and Assamese Literatures’’ in 2024. Deepening his engagement with the figure of the non-human animal, this paper will draw from the author’s current work on post-colonial Assamese literature and aim to contribute to the rich vein of recent scholarship on human-animal conflict with an interdisciplinary approach. In his dissertation, the author emphasizes that colonial understandings of space and ecology loom large over today’s wildlife conservation efforts as well as efforts in resolving ongoing human-animal conflict in the Indian state of Assam. The paper is aimed at developing a more extensive discussion on the ever-deteriorating human-animal conflict in the region.


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