The Confluence Lab, in conjunction with the University of Idaho's Prichard Art Gallery, is seeking creative, visual works for an online exhibition series, Stories of Fire.
As part of The Confluence Lab’s Pacific Northwest Stories of Fire Atlas Project, these exhibitions will highlight the manifold ways artists and designers are marking, mapping, engaging and articulating personal and community experiences of wildfire in the region. Organized into three parts, Ground Truths, Fuel Loading and Sightlines, each exhibition is loosely framed by a particular disciplinary lens— cartography, fire management and urban planning—and the range of ways artists express and explore parallel concerns.
call for artists & designers
Fire depends on the fuels that feed it. Together with topography and weather, the density and spatial arrangement of fuels determine a wildfire’s behavior: how hot it gets, where it burns, and how quickly it spreads. Fire managers use the term “fuel loading” to categorize the amounts and types of fuels through which fire moves. Dry grasses, shrubs, dense stands of conifers, logging slash: the accumulation of fuels onto the landscape reflects both ecological processes and the cultural and social imperatives that shape land management. Whether historical policies of fire suppression and industrialized land use, continuing structural racial and economic disparities, or contemporary calls for environmental stewardship and Indigenous fire sovereignty, all these fuels load onto the landscape as uneven densities, distributions and renewals.
As the second of the Stories of Fire Online Exhibition Series, Fuel Loading will showcase creative works that reckon with the accumulations of fuels–both material and social– in the Pacific Northwest and surrounding regions. We seek creative works that engage a broad conception of landscape fire and its contributing fuel loads.
works by artists featured in the Stories of Fire Online Exhibition Part I: Ground Truths. from top left clockwise: 1. David Paul Bayles & Frederick J. Swanson 2. Enid Smith Becker 3. FIPL Overlook Field School 4. Laura Ahola-Young
How can the densities and arrangements of fuels be measured?
What build-ups, what residues, what sparks need to be
recognized and articulated?
How is fire moving through these fuels and
across these cultural, social and ecological landscapes?
How do fire and justice converge?
Fuel Loading jurors:
Stacy Isenbarger’s artworks provoke viewers through dynamic interplay between media, perceived tensions, and open space. Isenbarger simultaneously investigates ideas and materials, transforming the familiar into forms that challenge our assumptions of our environment and cultural barriers we build for ourselves. Her sculptures, installations, & mixed-media drawings have been shown throughout the United States and in India. Stacy Isenbarger is an Associate Professor of Art + Design at the University of Idaho. Currently she shares her time between Moscow, Idaho, USA and Cardiff, Wales. When she's not teaching or making—and sometimes when she is—she's usually dancing since the act continuously validates her joy of community acceptance and shaking up space.
Sasha Michelle White is an interdisciplinary researcher whose work is informed by art, herbalism, field ecology and prescribed fire practice. Her creative investigations center the coloristic and medicinal properties of fire-adapted plants as a way of understanding human and other-than-human relationships with fire and fire-prone landscapes. Sasha studied printmaking and book arts at Bowdoin College, Maine College of Art and Cranbrook Academy of Art, has held fellowships at the Scuola Internazionale di Grafica in Venice, Italy and the Lloyd Library and Museum in Cincinnati, Ohio, and earned a master’s degree in Environmental Studies at the University of Oregon in 2021. She is a member of the Fuel Ladder art research group and a Mellon Foundation Predoctoral Fellow with the University of Idaho’s Confluence Lab.
Erin James is Professor of English and Affiliate Faculty of Environmental Science at the University of Idaho. She recently published Narrative in the Anthropocene with Ohio State University Press. The Storyworld Accord: Econarratology and Postcolonial Narratives (University of Nebraska Press 2015) won the International Society for the Study of Narrative’s (ISSN) 2017 Perkins Prize and was a finalist for the Association of the Study of Literature and Environment’s (ASLE) Ecocriticism Book Award that same year. She is Co-Founder and Co-Director of The Confluence Lab.
Megan Davis is a graphic designer passionate about the roles of art and design as key players in social change. She seeks to use design as not only a medium for spreading awareness but as an active agent. In result, her practice has become increasingly oriented around audience engagement and in some cases, utilization. Davis has earned her bachelor’s degree in graphic design, worked professionally as a designer in Seattle for 5 years, has held a variety of design volunteer and intern positions ranging from nonprofits in Colorado to Kenya, and is now earning her MFA at The University of Idaho while also teaching in the Art + Design Program.
eligibility & terms:
Artists & designers may be residents of the states of Idaho, Oregon, Washington, tribal sovereign nations of the region, or any artists responding to fires within the Pacific Northwest and adjacent regions. Some of the artists selected for the Stories of Fire series may be invited to participate in the Stories of Fire Atlas, a brick-and-mortar exhibition (gallery construction pending), and other Confluence Lab opportunities.
There is no submission fee or age expectation.
Works submitted may be of any genre and must be original work. There are no size restrictions for work, but in line with an online exhibition, quality documentation is paramount.
Interested participants are welcome to submit up to 5 works for consideration. Accepted works must have been created in the last 5 years.
First, fill out the online Submission Form. Within it you will be asked to include:
Short Artist or Collaborative Group Biography (Please no more than 250 words.)
Responses to the following prompts:
How does your submitted work relate to wildfire and to your conceptions of “Ground Truth”?
Briefly discuss your work’s connection to the Pacific Northwest.
Next, email the following to email@example.com:
Images files (we suggest keeping images files to 4MB each) or direct links to entries
Title, Media, Dimensions, and Year Created for each work submitted
Up to 5 works may be submitted for consideration, however an alternative angle or detail image is welcomed with each submission.
(10 submission images total)
Submission Deadline: August 15th
Jury Notifications: August 31st
Exhibition Opens: September 15th
upcoming Stories of Fire call:
part III: Sightlines
As the flames die and the smoke lifts, a transformed landscape reveals itself: in the post-fire landscape, individuals and communities sift through what was lost, what was changed, what was gained. This third and final part of the Stories of Fire online exhibition series will seek creative works that explore (collective) emotional and material resilience by (re)imagining human relationships with fire across the Pacific Northwest.
More information forthcoming. Call opens Fall 2023.
Stories of Fire call for writers
The Confluence Lab in association with the University of Idaho English Department is seeking essays, textual maps, commentary, interviews, fiction, poetry, and multi/cross-genre pieces from anyone based in or writing about wildfire, especially those in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, and the Pacific and/or Intermountain West.
Deadline: July 1st
Submission Inquiries? Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The Confluence Lab’s Pacific Northwest Stories of Fire Atlas Project preserves personal stories of encounters with fire in the region to document changes in human relationships with fire over time and help imagine healthy ways of living with fire in the future. In partnership with local communities, the Atlas gathers, tracks and maps stories and images of wildfire, especially those that foreground connections between fire, social and environmental justice, and traditionally underrepresented rural voices. It seeks to bridge history and speculative futures and link the origins and effects of the physical and social fires of the Pacific Northwest, by centering the question: “What lines has fire crossed in your community? What does that crossing undo, what does that crossing generate?” Funding for the Stories of Fire project made possible from generous grant from the Mellon Foundation’s “Just Futures” Initiative for the Pacific Northwest Just Futures Institute for Racial and Climate Justice, University of Oregon.