Playing with Fire Symposium

🔥 Register here.

October 7-9.
We will explore the pleasures, perils & politics of fire through art, theory, practice, and activism.  On the UCSC campus in the DARC building, room #108. More info

Confirmed speakers and participants include:

Beth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle: Keynote
Roxi Power Zig Zag: Fire Poems
Becca Fenwick: Director, CITRIS Initiative for Drone Education and Research: Presenting UCNRS Fire Data
Karin Bolender: Artist and Director of the Rural Alchemy Workshop (RAW)
Justin Hoover, Artist and Director of the Chinese Historical Society of America
Brandon Smith, Director of the Forestry and Fire Recruitment Program (FFRC)
Benny Fillmore, Washoe Elder and Former Hotshot Firefighter
Laura Smith-Fillmore, Artist and Translator
Helen Fillmore, Environmentalist, Former Hotshot Firefighter
Julie Weitz, Artist: Golem: A Call to Action + Prayer for Burnt Forests
Heather and Michael Llewellyn: Artists and Curators of FORESTFIRE Exhibition
Kim TallBear, Professor of Native Studies, University of Alberta 


Everyone is welcome. The symposium is free.

All events take place at the UCSC DARC building. Google map link here. It's a big campus, be sure to follow our link! There are many food options for purchase on campus, have a look at the cafe link here.  We've also got a great link with directions to the DARC building hereYou can find everything else you need below, but if you have any additional questions, shoot us an email at, and we'll be happy to answer.



WHERE: All events are at UCSC in DARC #108 (Digital Arts Research Center), except where noted.

Friday, October 7

Time Event


Honoring our Environmental Art Ancestors: a Tribute to Newton and Helen Harrison

Presentation by Lauren Bon to celebrate the groundbreaking environmental work of the the Harrison Studio.

Open Mic for sharing stories about the Harrisons

Meet and Mingle with friends and colleagues of the Harrisons as well as with speakers and attendees.

Saturday, October 8

At UCSC in DARC #108 (Digital Arts Research Center)

Time  Event
Morning Gathering

Coffee, tea and breakfast nibbles.

A Warm Welcome & Introduction

Playing with Fire: an overview, Art professor, Beth Stephens, with artist, filmmaker Annie Sprinkle.

Smoldering Embers

Kali Rubaii, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Purdue University: Burn Pits 
Kim TallBear, Professor of Native Studies, University of Alberta, Edmonton, CA->
On Fire
Becca Fenwick, Director of UCSC's CITRIS Program -->
A Drone's Eye View of the UC Natural Reserve System

Lunch Break

Ambient performance. (TBA)

Art and Artists On Fire

Heather and Michael Llewellyn: Artists and Curators of FORESTFIRE Exhibition
Laura Smith-Fillmore Artist and Translator-> Fire: the word for wildfire in Wà:šiw is yengi’iši’ or the plural of ‘running’ or literally ‘everything is running’ 
Justin Hoover: Artist and Curator -> Chinese Funerary Fires
Tracy Brown Artivist AAACC Fellow: Pure Love

Flaming Desires

Nicole Rudolph-Vallerga
Courtney Desiree Morris
Karin Bolender, Artist and director of the Rural Alchemy Studio: T
he Rodeo Queen of the Pyrocene!  

Dinner Break
Feel the Heat: An Evening of Live Art and Film

Sopera de Yemaya, 20 minute film, by Courtney Desiree Morris
Justin Hoover: Two Buckets
Karin Bolender aka Khaw 
Roxi Hamilton: Fire Poems

Sunday, October 9

At UCSC in DARC #108 (Digital Arts Research Center)

Community Open Mike

Hosted by (TBA). Any and all attendees that want to can speak, perform, announce, comment, etc., for five minutes. 

Closing and Final Comments facilitated by Beth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle

Time  Event

Coffee, tea and breakfast nibbles.

Firefighter Stories

Brandon Smith, Forestry and Fire Recruitment Program, FFRP
Julie Weitz, Artist
Benny Fillmore, Wašišiw Elder, Hotshot Firefighter
Helen Fillmore, Environmental Scientist and Hot Shot Firefighter

Lunch Break


Community Open Mike

Hosted by (TBA). Any and all attendees that want to can speak, perform, announce, comment, etc., for five minutes. 

Closing and Final Comments facilitated by Beth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle



Food available for purchase around campus, or feel free to bring your own.


There is a fee to park in the UCSC parking lot. Our beloved parking enforcement team is extremely vigilant. Please follow the link here to avoid an expensive ticket.  


We want you to be warm, comfortable, and cozy. Here are some places to stay:

Camping: The Redwood Resort has free camping for symposium participants and their close guests. This includes shower and restroom facilities. They're great friends of Annie and Beth, and are co-sponsoring this event! Please keep in mind that they're a 40 minute drive from UCSC. The map link is here. If you want to use this option, please contact Beth Stephens

You may also like Henry Cowell State Park. They don't have a website, but the map link and phone number is here.

Hostels: There are lots of options here.

Hotels: A list of all hotels in Santa Cruz can be found here.

We love staying at The Ocean Pacific Lodge. They're offering a 10% discount for our symposium, just mention that you're going to UCSC when you book. We've had a great time there in the past, and it's a nice mid-priced hotel. A google map is here. For a high end experience, we recommend the Dream Inn. Their location is right next to the ocean, with incredible views.


Heartfelt thanks to our collaborators friends and sponsors

Dean's Fund for Excellence and the UCSC Office of Research

Thank you to the Ocean Pacific Lodge, UCSC catering, and India Joez. Thanks also to the incredible technical team of the Digital Arts Research Center.

Special thanks to our generous, amazing hosts: Donna Haraway, Shelly Errington, Nada Miljkovic, Kyle McKinley & Jennifer Gonzalez.

Our dear friends who gave their time to help us with this event: Scott Brandt, Dean Solt, ARI, Center for Science and Justice, Center for Arts and Science, Redwood Resort, Feminist Studies, Jennifer Gonzalez, Jordan Phillibert, Lindsay Moffat, Rachel Smith, Cowell College--Alex, Kristin Grace Erickson, Julie Rogge, Dr. Gary Greenberg.

Thanks also to the amazing UCSC staff.



Thank you everyone who gave their time and resources to help us with this event:

ARI, Center for Science and Justice, Center for Arts and

Science, Redwood Resort,

The amazing UCSC staff.

Thanks UCSC catering,

Thanks again to Nada Miljkovic’s KSQID.

Extra special kudos to Rogge Design for the poster designs.

Thank you all for coming!

Seedbed poster


This multimedia symposium took place from April 26-27, 2018 at the UCSC Fram & Garden. In collaboration with the Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems (CAVS), the E.A.R.T.H. Lab hosted this interdisciplinary event. It featured visual artwork installed throughout campus, performances, interactive activities and meals. Panels were held in the Cowell Ranch Hay Barn exploring a diverse range of topics from microbes to waste management, labor and farming; the magic composting and soil science. Seedbed explored how climate change and human industry have endangered our topsoils – rendering it deadly- as well as the amazing life sustaining potential of what we call “dirt.” 

For more information on this event click here.

Environmentalism Outside the Box

Environmentalism Outside the Box: An Ecosex Symposium

This symposium took place in and around the Digital Arts Research Center on the UCSC Campus from May18-19, 2017. 

E.A.R.T.H. Lab Presents!

Join us for a multi-disciplinary gathering to explore our relationships with the environment and social justice, engage in human/non-human collaboration, critique ideologies and debate new sexualities. What happens when we see the Earth as our lover? Let’s examine where our “bodies” end and “nature” begins.

For more  information click here.