Call for Contributions: New Materialist Informatics 2021

In recent decades, new materialist thought has emerged as a transversal field of inquiry that successfully brings together and constructs hybrid spaces between the social sciences & the humanities and the natural & technical sciences & engineering. Within those spaces, engagement with the concerns around “the digital” has figured prominently.

Increasing computing power and technological advancements that power the 4th industrial revolution as well as contribute to the 6th extinction highlight further need to account for the material basis as well as material consequences of informatics and to ask how techno-politics and techno-epistemologies can be reconfigured for these complex times. In this context, it is also particularly salient to further build hybrid research spaces spanning information sciences and the (post)humanities. “Materialist informatics” (Haraway, Hayles, Colman) thus can be seen as precisely such a field that highlights the inter- and intra-connectedness of computing and worldmaking, and the material stakes of such intra-connectedness.

Confirmed Keynotes

  • Shaowen Bardzell, Professor of Informatics in the School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering, Indiana University, USA.
  • Maaike Bleeker, Professor in Theatre Studies in the Department of Media & Culture Studies, Utrecht University, Netherlands.
  • Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, Canada 150 Research Chair in New Media at the School of Communication, Simon Fraser University, Canada.
  • Felicity Colman, Professor of Media Arts and Associate Dean of Research for the London College of Fashion, University of the Arts, London, UK.
  • Aimi Hamraie, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Health, and Society and American Studies at the Center for Medicine, Health, and Society, Vanderbilt University, USA.
  • Safiya Umoja Noble, Associate Professor in the Department of Information Studies, University of California UCLA, Los Angeles, USA.

About the Conference

This 11th new materialist conference invites participants to investigate the possible intersections between, and beyond, new materialism and informatics. How can new materialism and informatics be brought together in ways that help build liveable and sustainable techno-lifeworlds? What new perspectives with regard to contemporary crises might emerge at such intersection and beyond? What kind of conceptual and methodological tools are needed for new materialist informatics design and research? This conference wishes to include and go beyond the new materialist readings of computing and computational artefacts and generate innovative perspectives on how techno-worldings can be performed from a new materialist perspective.

Conference Themes 

The conveners of New Materialist Informatics invite to approach these questions from a multiplicity of disciplinary perspectives, including humanities and social sciences, design, engineering and computer science. Suggested topics for abstracts for papers, panels as well as workshops and demonstrations include (but are not limited to):

  • Theoretical and conceptual frameworks for new materialist informatics
  • Material conditions and effects of informatics
  • Informational matters, matter as informational
  • Artistic research and material(ist) informatics
  • Environmental and medical informatics from a new materialist perspective
  • Methodologies for new materialist informatics research
  • New materialist design of computational artefacts: propositions, case studies, approaches, methodologies
  • HCI and new materialism
  • Transdisciplinary translations and their vocabularies: computer science – engineering – design – new materialism
  • Material intersections of informatics and race, dis/ability, gender, class and sexuality
  • Informatics beyond the global North: indigenous and post/decolonial computing
  • Contemporary concerns for new materialist informatics: pandemic reconfiguring of matter and technology, material intersections of race and informatics, technologies of protest,  matters of high-tech borders, viral technopolitics

Contribution Forms and Specifications

For papers and panels, please submit an up to 300-word abstract as well as name(s), biographical note(s) (150 words) and affiliations of author(s).

For workshops, please submit an up to 300-word abstract including suggested workshop plan; name(s), biographical note(s) (150 words) and affiliations of author(s); specifications for technical and material needs; maximum expected number of participants.

For demonstrations, please submit an up to 300-word abstract and visualisation(s) or detailed description of proposed work; name(s), biographical note(s) (150 words) and affiliations of author(s); specifications for technical and material needs.

Please submit your contributions through the conference system, available via, after July 10, 2020.

Conference Timeline

  • July 10, 2020 – Abstract submission system opens
  • November 2, 2020 November 19, 2020 – Deadline for submission
  • December 1, 2020 – Notifications of acceptance
  • December 15, 2020 – Registration open
  • March 23-25, 2021 – Conference

We expect that the conference will take place in Kassel. We are aware that the situation might change, depending on the status of the COVID-19 pandemic. The organizers therefore will remain open to digital participation options for keynotes as well as paper presenters.

Organizers and Contact

The conference is organized by Gender/Diversity in Informatics Systems Research Group (GeDIS) and Research Center for Information System Design (ITeG), University of Kassel, Germany. If you have any questions, please email us at NMI2021 [at] uni-kassel [dot] de.

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