The Art Eco activism in Taldykol, August 2021. Source: magazine. Retrieved online

London Central Asia Research Network

Call for papers

10th Annual Doctoral Research Workshop


29 January 2022


The science and culture of climate and environment in Central Asia


Convened by Sarah Forgesson, UCL


Organising Committee: Dr Katherine Hughes, Dr Gai Jorayev, Sofya du Boulay


This event will be hosted both online and onsite at University College London, Bloomsbury, London


Event sponsored by Nurol Bank

This workshop explores environmental transformations and reactions in Central Asia, including developments in the landscape of modern capitalism and extractive industries, state sustainability politics, and art activism. There is already a well-established history of research exploring ecological catastrophes, water security and other moments of environmental breakdown within Central Asia.  Yet, global as well as regional environmental issues urge the need to focus on the impacts of the ‘Anthropocene’ era, the current climate crisis, and ways to mitigate catastrophe, through science but also through political and individual efforts including activism and social change.

The aim of this workshop, therefore, is to look beyond the architecture of ecosystems per se, instead exploring the environmental trends and evolutions of sustainable production in industrial, urban, and cultural spaces and the philosophy of ecology in a Central Asian context. Environmental and ecological movements are increasingly common in Central Asia. A major achievement was the closure of the Soviet nuclear testing site in Semipalatinsk (Kazakhstan) after mass protests and campaigns in 1989. Today’s environmental activism, e.g. Movegreen ( ) and Biom ( both based in Kyrgyzstan, manifests in different forms, operating in numerous spaces and generating a range of critical discourse across Central Asia.

We, therefore, encourage papers that engage critically with how climate, environment, biodiversity loss and clean energy production is perceived within Central Asia by various actors across diverse disciplines. The current climate emergency is an extensive and complex global challenge that requires cooperation and coordination across all fields. It is our hope that this workshop begins to draw out the realities of these complexities within the unique context of Central Asia, as well as the potential means of innovatively tackling them as a region.  

Submissions are invited along the lines of, but not limited to, the following themes:


  • What are the current and potential future trends in environmental politics and actions in Central Asia?


  • What are the obvious gaps that need to be urgently addressed in light of increasing signs of environmental breakdown?


  • How does environmental activism impact the ecological infrastructure in urban sites of Bishkek, Nur-Sultan, Tashkent, and Dushanbe or elsewhere in the region?


  • What is the role of environmental activism and art forms in helping foster multi and interdisciplinary action and change across Central Asia? Are there any synergies that have or should be developed?


  • What innovative approaches are being taken in Central Asia to mitigate environmental catastrophe, through science but also through political, individual, and social change?


Submission Deadline: 14 December 2021

Submission details:


• Author’s name, institutional affiliation, and e-mail

• A 250-paper summary

• A 100-word bio


Please also state whether you prefer to attend face-to-face or online.


The final aim of the workshop is to prepare journal special issue submission based on

the papers presented at the webinar.


All submissions should be sent to:


London Central Asia Research Network (LCARN) (

Twitter @centralasianres

YouTube )


LCARN is a London-UK based group. Our interdisciplinary research network aims to showcase early career researchers working on Central Asia and its wider region. We believe in collective learning and have built a dedicated group of scholars since 2012 through doctoral workshops.