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Accepted Paper:

Solarpunk: Imagining and working towards hopeful futures  
Ivy Scurr (University of Newcastle, Australia)

Paper short abstract:

This paper discusses solarpunk, a movement of art, writing, and activism responding to climate crises and impending dystopia by imagining hopeful alternative futures centring sustainability, equity, and an ethics of relation with the more-than-human world, that people can relate to and work towards.

Paper long abstract:

This paper presents a discussion of solarpunk as a movement focused on imagining and working towards hopeful futures. The paper is based on my ongoing digital ethnographic fieldwork with solarpunk artists, writers, and activists from around the world, exploring their responses to climate crises and the prevalence of dystopian thinking. Solarpunk is a global distributed movement shaped through and enabled by digital social media technologies through which solarpunks connect to share their perspectives, skills, climate news, tech developments, art and fiction. Solarpunks draw upon this diversity of shared resources, experiences, and cultural knowledges to inform their imaginings of hopeful futures built around the core values of environmental and social justice. Solarpunk art and stories are an example of radical imagining, involving a rethinking the ethics of how we relate to each other, other non-human beings, our economic and institutional frameworks, and the physical environment. The ethics of relation these solarpunk imaginings promote is explicitly anti-capitalist and anti-colonial, drawing upon different Indigenous perspectives that centre kinship and reciprocity with the entire more-than-human web of life we are embedded within. These principles inform how technological and social changes work together to address climate and social issues in solarpunk futures. In this paper, I interrogate how imagining hopeful solarpunk futures is more than escapist fantasy. I argue that solarpunk, whilst global in its constitution, incorporates practical community empowering processes whereby solarpunks work within local communities to collaboratively envision more positive futures for their local areas and the potential paths to implement these futures.

Panel P072
Hopeful chronopolitics: contemporary art and ethnography
  Session 1 Tuesday 26 July, 2022, -