New Materialisms

New Materialisms SIG 

Location: Illini Union 211

Concepts as bricks: building a New Materialist home 

Thursday, 18th May 9-12.30 

In physically returning to ICQI after the pandemic, we wonder what can enhance a sense of community among scholars living in different parts of the world? What if we were to build a home where we felt welcome, comfortable and secure in our uncertainties? Which concepts as bricks would a New Materialist home have? What would be hidden in its attic and what used everyday in the kitchen? The SIG will engage with those questions and provocations in the hope to put concepts at work! 

9-10 Laying the foundations 

We will hear from those that are a strong presence at the conference prior to the long gap of the pandemic but that this year won’t be able to attend ICQI.  They will help us create the foundations for our New Materialist home, by sharing a short video each, mounted into a film, where they will play with a series of provocations around the theme of rooms-concepts-bricks. 

Video clips contributions by: 

Jonathan Wyatt 

Bronwyn Davies 

Lisa Mazzei 

Gail Boldt 

Andrew Gillot 

Ken Gale 

(and others) 


10:20-12.00 Home building 

After the video-input, we will work together to create a floor plan. Once we have established what kind of rooms our home might have, we will divide into small groups, actively using concepts to build the walls of our theoretical home. Each group will work on a specific room; a series of provocations will guide the home building as well as its decoration.  

12-12.30 Sitting together 

We will finally get together (maybe around what would be our dining table?) to present and discuss the rooms created and share visions for the future. 

* * *

This SIG on the ‘new materialisms’ (Coole and Frost, 2010: St. Pierre et al, 2016) aims to provide inclusive, exploratory opportunities for both emerging and established scholars. It will provide an interdisciplinary space in which we can engage with each other in addressing the pressing issues of our time (both within and beyond the academy) through and with new materialist, and related, bodies of theory and research. Such scholarship, in Barad’s terms, is ethico-onto-epistmological, and it engages with the space-time-mattering of the world, in which all our actions and utterances matter. Think (for example) Karen Barad, Jane Bennett, Deleuze and Guattari, Kathleen Stewart, and many more, each putting concepts to work in new ways, opening up exciting new possibilities for knowing-in-being. 

Rebecca Coleman and colleagues write: 

Until recently, the new materialisms have mainly constituted a conceptual field, viewed as ‘high’ theory. However, contemporary work is beginning to explore and develop a range of research methods and practices that both put new materialist concepts to work, and reflect on them, reshaping what new materialisms means as an approach, what it does, what it can do… [This is an] emerging field of methodological and practice work that has not been fully mapped. (Coleman, Page & Palmer, 2019, np.)

They go on to say our current task is to consider and expand “the making and mattering of feminist new materialisms” (Coleman, Page & Palmer, 2019, np.)

This SIG, therefore, both during its pre-congress day and through the main congress itself, will seek to (continue to) put the new materialisms to work and to explore the possibilities and potentialities of what they do, and what they can do, in this moment. All are invited to: (a) attend the pre-congress event, (b) sign up for Thursday workshops that relate to the new materialisms, and (c) submit papers to and/or attend ICQI Friday/Saturday panel sessions sponsored by the SIG.

SIG organizers: 

Fiona Murray

Giulia Carozzi


Coleman, R., Page, T., & Palmer, H. (2019). Feminist new materialist practice: The mattering of methods (Introduction to special issue: Feminist New Materialist Practice). MAI: Feminism and Visual Culture, 4. Retrieved, 20 August 2019. 

Coole, D., & Frost, S. (Eds.). (2010). New Materialisms: Ontology, Agency, Politics. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

St Pierre, E. A., Jackson, A. Y., & Mazzei, L. A. (2016). New empiricisms and new materialisms: Conditions for new inquiry. Cultural Studies <=> Critical Methodologies, 16(2), 99-110.