Diagrams That Build Worlds is a workshop for the POLLEN (Political Ecology Network) developed and presented in collaboration with Louise Emily Carver.
Visual devices in the form of diagrams (models, schematics) have been subjected to considerable critical theorization, noted in particular for their production of truth conditions, politics of scale and potential to prefigure realities of policy and practice. Diagramming can be dangerously abstractive, performative and value-laden—narrowing the directionality of approaches and/or reproducing colonial, capitalist or racist logics substantive to the policy or scientific topics they address. The agency of such devices may lie in cementing and conserving certain value systems, epistemologies, politics and funding allocations, while occluding and negating more emancipatory, just and/or radical alternatives. Diagrams have the added power of heightened mobility, speeding up and shaping perceptions and circulating through policy scales rapidly.
The Diagrams That Build Worlds workshop convenes researchers with interests in the role of visual schematics, and hosts active discussions and exercises around the possibilities of critical design and artistic research intervening in the policies and practices of political ecology. Visual models from participants' own research and projects (in political ecology, earth science and media/art theory domains) and collective experimentation in iterating and composing new diagrams takes place. Group and individual research tasks co-learners to ‘bring back’ examples from diverse areas of interest in order to analyze, discuss and experiment with alternate possible renderings and forms, together.