Conference theme

10th International Adventure Conference

7 -9 June2023, Treuchtlingen, Germany

Being-with and being-well with nature: Our tentacular adventures 

The idea of adventure is inevitably intensely human, socially construed, and is rooted in the emergence of our species as it struggled to survive, to move and to procreate. For early humans, every day had elements of risk, discovery, and connection, and understanding of a material and more-than-human world was essential. These simple ideas have informed conference themes emanating from an anthropocentric perspective for most of our past nine events. There have been lots of ideas about the benefits of careful risk-taking, of outdoor exercise, of adventure tourism’s potential in benefitting remote rural, coastal and mountain communities. And, increasingly, the idea of outdoor leisure, adventurous and fast or slow, is presented as a salve for many of the societal ills of our times: obesity, depression, heart disease, screen addiction and so forth. We therefore wish to draw some of these ideas together in this call for contributions to the tenth IAC. We want to expand the notion of the ‘being’ in well-being, and also to reverse the term – hence, ‘being-well’. However, implicit in ‘being-well’ here is a nod to Haraway’s (2015) challenge and critique of the Anthropocene and Capitalocene, and her insistence on the acknowledgement of a Chthulucene, which in some ways parallels Bennett’s (2010) work on Vibrant Matters (2010), in which she argues for an acknowledgement and embrace of a wider material world filled with agency – being-with.

"I propose a name for an elsewhere and elsewhen that was, still is, and might yet be: the Chthulucene. I remember that tentacle comes from the Latin tentaculum, meaning “feeler,” and tentare, meaning “to feel” and “to try”; and I know that my leggy spider has many armed allies. Myriad tentacles will be needed to tell the story of the Chthulucene" (Haraway, 2016).

In other words, the world, and the stuff in it, from trees and bacteria to plastic bottles and hamburgers, are all powerful actants which enable or constrain the ways in which humans go about their lives. As a climber, if the rock is wet, or loose, it has agency over how or if we climb (Stinson and Grimwood, 2022). Rough seas, wind against tide, melting snow or the formation of ice all also underscore the fact that, whilst human
agency has predominated in thinking about environmental degradation via the Anthropocene, we dearly need new ways of being-with. We therefore encourage papers in this call which will explore ways in which outdoor leisure and learning, and adventure tourism, can embrace a ‘being-with the trouble’ - the trouble being more than environmental degradation and destruction, and the satisficing nonsense of paying our way out of guilt. The trouble comes from the high mindedness of anthropocentric thinking, and the power of capitalism which distances us from our place with and amongst other materialities and beings on the planet. How is a sense of wonder to be invigorated which takes us beyond our focus on the thing-ness of skiing, climbing, kayaking or whatever to a practice of worlding?

We welcome all forms of representation at the event, from performance (poetry, song, dance or whatever) to more traditional research papers and everything in-between. Please take the time to look at Haraway’s synopsis - and her spider account – reference below. How can we as academics and practitioners be ‘with’ the world and
engage in more tentacular (connected, networked) thinking?

"The unfinished Chthulucene must collect up the trash of the Anthropocene, the exterminism of the Capitalocene, and chipping and shredding and layering like a mad gardener, make a much hotter compost pile for still possible pasts, presents, and futures" (Haraway, 2016)


Conference Sub-themes

Please think about the following sub-themes when submitting your paper:

  • Embodied practices – snow angels to white / wild water swimming
  • Materials, plasticities and affects in adventure
  • Inclusive practice in adventure – including the more-than-human
  • Beyond cognition: being-with via feelings, felt memories, senses and more
  • Conjoined materialities – wild foods and food in the wild
  • Spiders, spontaneous plants and beings in our worlds of adventure
  • Intimate immensities– the smallness of being human-in-the-world

Also consider our regular paper tracks:

  • Inclusive and accessible outdoor spaces
  • Inspiring outdoor learning
  • Being-well and adventure tourism
  • AI and adventure tourism
  • Positive Ageing and outdoor life
  • Nature protection and visitor management
  • Degrowth and adventure tourism
  • Wilderness and adventure therapies