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Request for Contributions

Branch Magazine: The Open Climate Issue 

Update: The open submission process is complete.

Special Issue co-edited by: Babitha George (Quicksand Design, UnBox Cultural Futures Society) and Shannon Dosemagen (Open Environmental Data Project, Open Climate) with Michelle Thorne and Chris Adams (Branch Magazine).

For a special issue of Branch Magazine, we are requesting contributions from fellow dreamers who are imagining more just and sustainable futures. Though the current crises are urgent, we acknowledge the solutions may be slow: there is much to unlearn, to reimagine, to regenerate, to build and debate together. 

We invite people in the open and climate movements to explore how their work might intersect and how we might amplify each other. Broadly defined, the open movement includes people that advocate for the knowledge commons through the use of open licenses and beyond. We are also inspired by a craft approach to technology and community knowledge, as well as people nurturing the commons and making internet and data infrastructures more sustainable. 

Contributors to this issue of Branch Magazine can also exhibit and participate at Ars Electronica in September 2022 in Linz, Austria, if they wish. More details on the festival to come.

Why this special issue

Branch Magazine is an online magazine dedicated to people who dream about a sustainable and just internet. In 2021, organizers of the Open Climate community wrote an article on the role of open communities in supporting climate action. The magazine also featured Decentralizing Digital, a design research project looking into craft technology and community knowledge.

With this special issue of the magazine, we seek to build upon those articles and uplift promising pilots and collaborative ways of working across the open and climate movements. We also want to better understand practices that celebrate craft, local knowledge, and meaningful internet connectivity.

What we’re looking for

We encourage submissions in a broad array of formats—including, but not limited to video, audio, writing, visual art, physical objects and code. Submissions can be original or republished or repurposed works in response to this call. Depending on the format, the work could take different forms in the magazine and at the festival. 

We ask submissions to be responsive to a social imagination that inspires and energizes on the topic of climate change. This special issue is interested in slowness and hope, rather than the daily inundation of media and hot takes that often privilege doom and despair. We will prioritize people and organizations imagining sustainable and just futures that are community-centered, place-based and/or contribute to the commons.

Suggested topics

  • Open practices, craft, and community knowledge to imagine different climate futures.
  • Hi-craft as an alternative to hi-tech. 
  • The power and potential of slowness.
  • The effect of climate change on vulnerable communities. How does privilege play a role in shutting out communities that are most affected? How can community knowledge and lived experiences reimagine futures with hope and craft as tools?
  • Whose knowledge is included and who benefits from what the climate movement advocates for. 
  • Reimagining how the open movement can widen participation in creating and accessing solutions to climate issues.
  • Connecting the open movement and craft as co-productive mechanisms for imagining changed landscapes.
  • Histories of pollution and critiquing how these histories may continue in imagining technological futures.
  • New narratives that contrast with and critique the normalized language of the climate crisis (i.e., Who is resilience for? Is it a coping mechanism, a choice, a convenient political label?) 
  • Sensory experiences of climate (e.g., climate grief through pixel art). 
  • Digital equity, fair and meaningful access to the internet, and community-owned energy and technological infrastructures.   
  • Building bridges across movements for climate justice, digital rights, the open internet and/or the knowledge commons. 

How to Propose Something

Prioritizing Communities

We would like to encourage and will give priority to submissions that work closely with communities (place-based, interest-based and/or online). We also encourage ideas that are nascent and that you would like to build on through this opportunity. We hope that this call also encourages people who are open to collaboration and willing to consider how we might build community together through this project. Thus, if you respond to this call, we request that you participate in a creative jam session with other contributors and friends (details forthcoming).

Honoraria

Writers need to be paid! So we do offer an honorarium of 200EUR for contributions to Branch. However, Branch is still setting up, and as we work to get a bigger budget, we’re prioritizing payment offers to people who self-identify as the following:

  • Most Affected People and Areas, the Global South and/or part of the Global Majority
  • cis and trans women, trans men, non-binary, sexual or gender minority
  • freelancer and/or working with a non-profit
  • financially precarious
  • working on a new piece for Branch rather than republication

Timeline 

  • Call for contributions opens: April 7, 2022
  • Contribution ideas due: April 20
  • Creative jam session with contributors: May (tbd)
  • Draft due: June 1 
  • Final submission due: August 1
  • Magazine draft complete: August 15 
  • Magazine release: September 1 
  • Ars Electronica exhibition: September 7 – 11 in Linz, Austria