A Justice That Sees – Request for Proposals

As part of the 2023 Transatlantic Forum for Environmental and Climate Justice, we’re issuing a Request for Proposals for research posters that make visible an idea or experience related to environmental and climate justice. The posters will be exhibited during the forum and printed collectively as a zine.

Undergraduate and graduate students in the DC area are encouraged to submit a proposal. Those selected will be invited to present their posters at the forum at Georgetown University on October 27, 2023.

The Forum is a POCACITO initiative in partnership with the BMW Center for German and European Studies at Georgetown, and supported by the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Washington, DC. The full-day event brings together organizers, activists, academics, and policymakers from across the United States and Germany working to ensure that environmental and climate action is rooted in justice.

The Transatlantic Forum for Environmental and Climate Justice is free and open to the public. You can find more information about how to attend, as well as the lineup of speakers and a detailed event schedule, on our registration page.

For more information about the Request for Proposals and the poster exhibition A Justice That Sees, please see – and share! – the attached document or the text below.

Request for Proposals – Research Posters

As part of the Transatlantic Forum for Environmental and Climate Justice held at Georgetown University on October 27, 2023,

A Justice That Sees, a research poster exhibition and zine publication, welcomes submissions that seek to make visible an idea or experience related to climate and environmental justice.

The Problem

It’s been axiomatic in legal circles for centuries that justice in its purest form is blind. Blind justice, we are told, is not weighed down by the biases and stereotypes that inevitably afflict a person who sees. This inability, or refusal, to see difference is the basis for a system of justice in which the laws that govern society are administered equally, creating a continuity undistracted by contingencies.

But if the ableism in the term ‘blind justice’ weren’t enough to question its prevalence in twenty-first-century discourses, a recent article by Desmond Manderson suggests that the origins of this ideal, and the reverence that followed, stem from a delayed misreading of satire:

“The first known image to show a blindfolded justice comes from a woodcut, possibly by Albrecht Dürer, published in Ship of Fools, a collection of satirical poems by fifteenth-century lawyer Sebastian Brant. This 1494 image is not a celebration of blind justice, but a critique. A fool is applying the blindfold so that lawyers can play fast and loose with the truth.”[1]

It is this consequence of the blindfolding of justice, particularly as it pertains to climate and environmental justice, that we are looking to challenge.

How do we make the truth of climate and environmental injustice so clear, so palpable, so real that it cannot be ignored?

How do we ground climate and environmental justice in discrete experience so that the powerful and well-connected cannot play fast and loose with it?

How might we differently perceive environmental and climate justice? What does a justice that sees, feels, hears, tastes, and smells look like?

The Procedure

Abstracts will be accepted from current undergraduate and graduate students in any field of study at a DC-area university. Posters should be predominately visual and fit a 36in x 48in format; horizontal and vertical orientations are accepted. A separate explanatory text will accompany selected posters, but is not required for the abstract submission.

The posters will be presented at the Transatlantic Forum for Environmental and Climate Justice. Those able to attend the conference will be invited to present their posters to conference attendees. A zine will be published to include the selected posters. 

Here are the key dates in the process:

  • September 29: Request for proposals published
  • October 9: Abstract submissions due
  • October 11: Selections announced
  • October 20: Poster and accompanying text drafts due
  • October 24: Final versions due
  • October 27: Conference at Georgetown University

The Particulars

To submit an abstract for consideration, write up to 300 words addressing the following four items:

  • What aspect of climate or environmental justice will you make visible?
  • What kind of visual will you create?
  • How is the information or message related to the way it is represented?
  • What is a possible title for your poster? (This can change, but we want you to think how you will relate your concept to a broader audience.)

You may also provide a preliminary sketch or design with your abstract, but submissions will be evaluated on the written component only.

A 500-word explanatory text and 100-word creator biography will be requested for accepted posters.

Send your inquiries and submissions via email to Brendan O’Donnell at brendan@pocacito.org.

The 2023 Transatlantic Forum for Climate and Environmental Justice is an initiative of POCACITO in partnership with Georgetown University’s BMW Center for German and European Studies with funding from the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Washington, DC.

[1] Desmond Manderson, “Blind Justice,” McGill Law Journal 5 Vol. 66, no. 1 (September 2020). Emphasis in original.