Call for Submissions

Living with the Anthropocene anthology

On the Great Barrier Reef, corals bleach white, across the inland, farmers struggle with shifting rainfall patterns, and in suburban gardens, new birds drive out established residents. There is growing scientific consensus that the Earth has entered a new epoch, the Anthropocene, in which human activity is transforming the places we live in and love.

How are Australians experiencing this time of ecological crisis and cultural change? How do everyday material worlds evoke and express these experiences? How might we respond – materially, emotionally and socially – to the challenges of the Anthropocene? How do we discover shared experience and common purpose in the face of an uncertain future?

The Sydney Environment Institute in collaboration with the National Museum of Australia is producing a new anthology book exploring these questions. Focusing on personal reflections on the intersection of materiality, place, time and emotions, the collection will include essays from established and emerging writers, as well as ecologists, curators, walkers, farmers, ornithologists, artists and community activists.

We are now inviting proposals for first-person essays, memoirs and reportage of 3–5,000 words that consider how everyday materialities and life events are entangled with planetary scale environmental transformation. We are particularly interested in essays that engage with how Australians are responding to the changes around them, through, for example, grieving, caring or forming alliances.

We are also seeking short ‘object stories’ of 3–800 words that consider how particular artefacts, images, sounds, texts or landscapes evoke personal recognition and understanding of local environmental change. Further information and examples can be found in our Gallery.

Submissions of essay proposals are due as Word documents by 21 December, 2018. Successful proposals will be notified by 10 January, 2019. Object stories and full essay submissions are due by 22 February, 2019.

Please direct enquiries and email submissions to: submissions@everydayfutures.nma.gov.au

Editors of the collection are

  • Kirsten Wehner (Photo Access/Sydney Environment Institute)
  • Jenny Newell (Australian Museum)
  • Cameron Muir (National Museum of Australia/University of Sydney)

Advice for the proposal

The proposal should be short, more a pitch than an academic abstract: a few paras, and definitely no more than a page. Let us know the subject, the place, themes/s, who is in it (if more than you), and your thoughts on how you’ll tell the story. It shouldn’t be onerous to do – we’re just after a rough idea to help with planning the spread of themes, objects, places (and representation in terms of gender, etc).