UCL Anthropocene


Chemical Exposures Workshop - Call for Papers

This conference is a joint partnership between UCL Anthropocene and UCL Health, Mind and Society

University College London, 9th-11th June 2022

chemical exposures water pollution


Professor Sahra Gibbon, UCL
Professor Andrew Barry, UCL
Emilie Glazer, UCL

Keynote speaker:

Professor Michelle Murphy, University of Toronto

Call for papers:

The chemical composition of environments and bodies have been transformed in the recent past, reflecting changes in agricultural production and the expansion of the extractive, petrochemical and nuclear industries. However, while there is now widespread public recognition of the pervasiveness of exposure to toxic chemicals, in the air, soil, and water, the study of chemical exposure remains relatively marginal to the social sciences. This workshop brings together diverse research communities to build on a developing interdisciplinary field of research and reflect upon the impact and implications of the chemical transformation of the planet for health, well-being, justice, and livelihoods. The workshop builds on the ongoing work of the Chemical Exposures group of UCL Anthropocene, which is drawn from across the Departments of Anthropology, Geography, Science and Technology Studies, and Public Health at UCL.

Key questions we aim to explore in this workshop include:

  1. What conceptual frameworks from across the social science (and beyond) are relevant to addressing the geographical, temporal scale and impact of chemical exposures?
  2. How can we better address questions of embodiment, racialisation, materiality, care and kinship, and ongoing forms of colonialism in this context?
  3. How can we understand and intervene on the long-standing inequalities and questions of social and environmental justice that mark the terrain of chemical exposures?
  4. How can we develop collaborative projects between social and natural scientists, artists, and local communities to monitor and address instances of chemical exposure?
  5. What conceptual and methodological challenges does the study of chemical exposures pose more broadly?


Please send us your abstracts by the 22nd April 2022. We will send notifications of acceptance the following week. 

Proposals and conference information:

We welcome proposals that take one of three forms. 

  1. Research presentations of approximately 20 mins. These may be presented face-to-face at the workshop in UCL or via zoom.
  2. Interdisciplinary conversations or round tables focused on specific problems or projects.
  3. Walking tours or site visits in London or nearby locations in south-east England. 

We particularly welcome contributions that involve collaborations across the disciplines, as well as collaborations with researchers beyond the university.

If you would like to propose a paper, conversation or walk please send us an abstract of 150-200 words by 22nd April. 

The workshop will begin on the afternoon/evening of 9th June and continue through the 10th June and morning of the 11th June.

Financial support:

The conference is supported by the Dean’s fund of the Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences.

Attendance at the conference, including lunch, will be free. In addition, we have limited funds to support Early Career Researchers who require support to travel to London.

Please send abstracts to:

Emilie Glazer, Sahra Gibbon, Andrew Barry




For further details please contact UCL Anthropocene strategic projects officer, Zoë Paskett: