Wicked Problems and Speculative Futures: Writing the Anthropocene

How do we write the Anthropocene?

We are living in a period where we are reaping what we have sown since we first started pumping carbon into our atmosphere. The return of the repressed is erupting into the present with violent force in the form of climate catastrophe. So how are our artists and critical theorists engaging with the climate change and its material effects? What are the most appropriate literary forms and genres to be tackling the issue, and how are artists bending them to their own needs?

Wednesday 22– Thursday 23 June 2022
In-person sessions will be held in the Michie Building (9), Level 6 and The UQ Art Museum. Please refer to the program details for the specific room of each session. Registrations essential for in-person attendance. 


Click on each date to view the published recordings of the sessions


Timothy Morton has termed global warming a wicked problem, ‘one you can rationally diagnose but to which there is no feasible rational solution’ (2016: 36). For Morton, living in the Anthropocene comes with an uncanny knowing – a ‘weird weirdness’ – underpinning our awareness that this wicked problem is one of our own making. Theatre scholars Carl Lavery and Clare Finburgh have gone so far as to suggest that this wicked problem is an Absurd one – ‘Absurd’ with a capital ‘A’ – calling for a rethinking and a ‘greening’ of the Theatre of the Absurd. According to their analysis, we are once again, like our post-war forebears, living in existential times, and need to re-read that movement through the eco-critical lens of the present. Morton’s sense that we are living in uncanny times  of weather, indeed of a planet and its behaviour – that is at once deeply familiar but behaving deeply strangely lends itself also to a Gothic reading of literature, theatre, film, and visual art depicting the Anthropocene. 
For the 2022 CCCW Symposium we have invited individual proposals from critical and creative writers for papers that address themes, topics and questions as they pertain to the wicked problem of writing the Anthropocene. 

The CCCW is very proud to announce that keynote speeches will be provided by international climate fiction theorist Professor Adeline Johns-Putra (Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, Suzhou, China) and internationally-acclaimed Australian novelist James Bradley. We will also host a special in-conversation-with session between Noongar speculative writer Claire G. Coleman and author Isobelle Carmody, and another with journalist-activists Garry and Anne Charnock and UQ’s Dr Helen Marshall. In addition we will have a Q&A session with Australian author Laura Jean Mckay. 

*Due to UQ Art Museum capacity restrictions you must register separately for James Bradley's talk via: bit.ly/CCCWkeynote

Presented in partnership with UQ Art Museum’s Blue Assembly, an ambitious multi-year program exploring our relationship with the ocean by gathering “blue” approaches to research. Blue Assembly aims to upend our assumptions about the ocean, its role in human life, and its future in the hope that we might inform policy around climate and the future of global communities.”

UQ Art Museum