KEYNOTE Tuesday March 7th, 5:30-9pm


Ruth Lapp, PhD Student, Queens University, Cultural Studies

Robert Lovelace, Continuing Adjunct Queens University, Global Development Studies, and retired Chief of the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation

Description of Talk: The garden is both spatially and temporally suited for considering the meaning of and engaging in insurrection.  In this presentation we will explore the phenomenon of the garden as history/story, sanctuary/dwelling: a site of provisioning and renewal.  We will consider how the meaning of ‘rising up’  – insurrection – occurs at multiple spatial and temporal levels of the garden – including with soil, the plants (weeds and domesticated) with the humans that tend it — within the historical and global context of colonization.  This presentation will seek to integrate the theoretical and practical aspects of what it means to ‘rise up’ in order to enact processes of re-indigenization and decolonization.


Robert Lovelace is a Continuing Adjunct Lecturer in the Department of Global Development Studies, Queen’s University. Robert is a retired Chief of the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation. His current research explores the relevance of Indigenous culture in developing economic and social trends. Robert has been an activist in the struggle to preserve Aboriginal sovereignty in Canada and Human Rights globally. He lives at Eel Lake in the traditional Ardoch Algonquin territory where he operates a small organic home farm.


Ruth Lapp is a PhD student in the Cultural Studies program at Queens University. Her research interests include sustainable food systems, the historical legacy of colonialism in Canada, the theories and practices of decolonisation that are emerging from grassroots resurgence movements, and community-based research. Ruth has been an organic farmer in Nova Scotia for 18 years.






10am – 1pm Soil Microscopy workshop

Description of Workshop: Bring in or borrow a soil sample to examine in the INCUBATOR Lab


Dr. Jennifer Willet, Associate Professor in the School for Arts and Creative Innovation at The University of Windsor (Canada) is an internationally successful artist and curator in the emerging field of bioart. Her work resides at the intersection of art and science, and explores notions of representation, the body, ecologies, and interspecies interrelations in the biotechnological field. In 2009 she opened a bioart research and teaching lab INCUBATOR: Hybrid Laboratory at the Intersection of Art, Science, and Ecology at the UofW.


PERFORMANCE – Kacie Auffret – reawakening

Bio: Kacie Auffret has completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the University of Windsor, where Auffret’s focus was on Intaglio printmaking with the subject matter of animal studies.  In 2016, Auffret completed her Masters of Fine Arts at the University of British Columbia – Okanagan focusing on Critical Animal Studies. The thesis exhibition consisted of vinyl mapping, motion sensor videos and 140 wooden crows. Auffret completed her Master Reiki certification in 2017 and has given over 60 Reiki treatments. Auffret believes Reiki is an important aspect to life.


PANEL 1 – Wednesday March 8, 2-4pm

Nicole Clouston – PhD student; York University, Visual Art – The Enmeshed Self

Description of Talk: In this talk I will be exploring what can happen when we acknowledge, through an embodied experience, our connection to a world teeming with life both around and inside us. To do so I will be will be discussing my practice-based research on microbial life and in particular my ongoing project Mud.


Bio: Nicole Clouston is a practice-based researcher currently completing her PhD in Visual Art at York University. In her practice she asks: What happens when we acknowledge, through an embodied experience, our connection to a world teeming with life both around and inside us? How can Bio Art help us understand and come to terms with the resulting shift in the boundaries of the self? Nicole has exhibited her work across Canada in Victoria, Toronto, Edmonton and Montreal. Nicole was awarded a SSHRC Canada Graduate Research Scholarship and was the recipient of the Anne Lazare-Mirvish Award. Further information on Nicole and her practice can be found at


Steve Green, Windsor Community Garden Network, Above, below

Description of the talk: We think about our life above soil. We believe ourselves separated from the soil beneath our feet. Our health, our well-being is interconnected with the life within the soil. We are not apart, different. We are with, made of, included, and woven into the cycle of soil. The story of soil is our story too.



Bio: Steve is an avid gardener, grower, producer of food in the urban environment. He is currently engaged in launching an urban agriculture social enterprise in the City of Windsor. He teaches in the Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Windsor.





Dr. Jeffrey Howard, Associate Professor, Department of Geology, Wayne State University –Anthropogenic Soils in Urban Settings

Description of talk: Anthropogenic soils found in urban areas vary as a function of land use and city structure. They are primarily classified as Technosols, the central concept of which is a soil formed in human-transported material (HTM) characterized by an abundance of technogenic artifacts.   Urban soils in residential areas are Urbic Technosols containing artifacts indicative of human habitation, whereas those associated with industrial land are Spolic Technosols with an artifact assemblage comprised of industrial wastes. Urban soils typically have an ^Au-^Cu profile, although cambic-like horizons may form in 18 to 70 years. They are characteristically heterogeneous and often suffer from excessive compaction, excessive artifact content, diminished biological activity, and reduced infiltration due to surface crusting or water repellency. They generally have elevated levels of pH, exchangeable bases, and carbonate content, but levels of organic C, N and P tend to be very low in recently deposited HTM. Melanization results in the formation of ^A horizons in as little as 12 years under an udic moisture regime with a cover of grass. Under such conditions, urban soils are resilient and may re-establish properties similar to those of natural soils in 30 to 100 years.

jhowardBio: Dr. Howard obtained a BS degree in Geology (1976) and a MS degree in Soil Science (1979) from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and a PhD in Geology from the University of California Santa Barbara (1987). He has been a professor in the Department of Geology at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan since 1987. Research interests include provenance analysis of conglomerates, paleoseismology of southern California, and genesis, morphology and classification of anthropogenic soils.



MOVEMENT WORKSHOP – Wed March 8th, 6-8pm

Anh Nguyen, Artistic Director HMN Dance Company – Earth Moves Workshop

Description of Workshop: Earth Moves is a movement workshop exploring the vast world below the earth surface. We’ll go from thinking, talking to moving; we’ll use our whole bodies as instruments of art and communication to express ideas sometimes too abstract or wondrous for words. We’ll use simple props to add to our mini performances that we’ll do for each other. This 2hr workshop is intelligent, playful and full of collective creativity. Recommended attire: comfortable, movable clothing; barefoot.


Bio: Anh Nguyen is a choreographer and composer based in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Currently he is the artistic director and technical trainer of HNM Dance Company; he also makes regular guest appearances with other progressive dance companies, symphony orchestras, art galleries, and universities including American Ballet Theatre, Dancetheatre David Earle, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, South Dakota Symphony Orchestra, Michigan Opera Theatre, Detroit Institute of Arts, University of Michigan, and Wayne State University. In recognition for his contribution to artistic and cultural life, Anh was given the Mayor’s Award of Excellence for Outstanding Artist. The Globe & Mail describes his work as “Brilliant”.


PANEL 2 – Thursday, March 9, 10-11:30am

Dr. Maria Cioppa– Associate Professor, Earth and Environmental Sciences U Windsor – Soils of Essex County: geology, glaciers and wine!

Description of talk: This talk will provide an overview of the wide variety of soils in Essex County and the geological events that created such differences over timescales of hundreds to billions of years.    We will all examine soil samples from several different wineries in Essex County, comparing and contrasting features such as the colour (red, brown, black, yellow) grain size.  Finally, we will consider why differences in soils could cause changes in the same variety of wine.


Bio: Dr Maria Cioppa is an Associate Professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences here at the University of Windsor.  She obtained her PhD from Lehigh University, and has been faculty at Windsor since 2001, after being awarded a University Faculty Award from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council.   Her main interest is the Earth’s magnetic field, and her  research in the environment focusses on the use of iron and iron minerals as a measure of soil-forming processes, erosion of beach sediments, ecological assessment, and mining pollution distributions. After living in Essex County for many years, she has become fascinated by the interplay between the county’s soil, climate and wine!


Lisa Hirmer, Independent Artists  – Pile, Hole, Bog

Description of talk: Spanning photography, participatory surveying and absurdist performance, this talk will share a range of Hirmer’s works that encounter the soil as both a material and living entity. Her “Dirt Piles” series of photographs (recently exhibited at Dalhousie Art Gallery), explore the piles of soil that linger around construction sites after grading–matter out of place that marks both what once was and the act that changed it. The collaborative performance work “The Hole” encounters soil as a material form of labour, against which performers struggle and measure progress, while in “Peak Peat” soil become a potential store of value. Across these works soil is an active entity, deeply entangled in the economic, political and social lives of humans.

Bio: Lisa Hirmer is an inter-disciplinary artist based in Guelph, Canada. Much of her experimental practice is focussed on exploring and responding to the nebulous, complicated reality of public opinion (acknowledging this is itself a complicated idea). Through collecting then working with publicly-sourced material, she aims to both explore collectively-held beliefs and to disrupt them. Operating both within gallery and non-traditional settings, she has created projects across Canada and internationally, including at Harbourfront Centre (Toronto), University of Lethbridge Gallery, Peninsula Arts (U.K.), Flux Factory (USA), Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery, Nuit Blanche (Toronto), CAFKA (Kitchener-Waterloo) and Doris McCarthy Gallery (Toronto). Recent residencies include the Centre for Contemporary Art & the Natural World (U.K.), Time_Place_Space by Arts House (Australia), the Santa Fe Art Institute, and the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation. She is a graduate of the University of Waterloo.



Theresa Sims – Upper Mohawk, Turtle Clan, elder for Two-Spirit community in Windsor region; Cultural Resource Coordinator, Can-Am Indian Friendship Centre, Windsor. Theresa is a traditional teacher and resource person for the Ontario Native Literacy Coalition and the Ontario Provincial Police, and has been a cultural teacher at Kingston and Bath Penitentiaries, elder for the Local Health Integration Network, and Traditional Teachings and Cultural Safety Preceptor for the University of Windsor, Greater Essex County District School Board, McMaster University, and Fort Erie and Hamilton Indian Friendship Centres. Theresa is also a drummer and singer at local events and ceremonies.

1 – 4pm  Deep Earth Treatment Centre Workshop

Description of Workshop: The Deep Earth Treatment Centre  stages projects, interactions and interventions exploring relationships between human bodies and soil. It is a collaborative project by Amanda White and Alana Bartol. For the final event of Life in the Soil, this workshop will examine modes of approaching and interacting with, and re-mediating soil through body, mind and spirit.


alanaAlana Bartol is an interdisciplinary artist from Windsor, Ontario. Investigating alternate epistemologies within and beyond the human body, her site-responsive works propose dreaming, walking, and divination as ways of understanding across place, species and bodies. Through performance, video, drawing, dialogue, research, and participatory art, her site-responsive works aim to make visible the unseen forces and histories in everyday environments. Bartol’s work has been presented and screened at galleries and festivals in Canada, USA, Romania, and Mexico. Recent projects and residencies include Water-witching for Wonderers (and Wanderers) a public art commission with The City of Calgary, A Woman Walking (the City Limits) created for the M:ST 8 Festival, and In Blood and Bone, a series of site-responsive performances at abandoned oil well sites in Alberta supported by the Canada Council for the Arts. She currently lives in Calgary where she teaches at Alberta College of Art+Design.

Amanda White

white_amanda_175Amanda White is an interdisciplinary Toronto-based artist, writer and PhD candidate in the Cultural Studies program at Queen’s University. Her practice incorporates site-specific, participatory and collaborative elements as well as research and writing, examining cultural imaginings of nature. She has presented her work in galleries including the Harbourfront Centre, The Banff Centre, PlugIn ICA, the Ontario Science Centre, Nuit Blanche-Toronto, Forest City Gallery and Modern Fuel ARC, as well as independently producing many public interventions and engagements. She has participated in residencies at the Banff Centre for the Arts, The Neighborhood Spaces Residency Program in Windsor, ON, and most recently at KIAC in Dawson City, YT.  Amanda received an MFA from the University of Windsor and a BFA from OCADU.