Sunday, January 07, 2024

Northern Star Symposium 2024: Mending


The Northern Star Symposium 2024: Mending

May 6th – 8th, Bodø, Norway


Call for presentations:

A more sustainable future is one where we consume less and mend more. This mending can be very literal, the mending of clothes, of fences and of local environments, but it can also be used about mending relationships, friendships, communities and systems.  

Mending is an act of repairing what is broken, but it can also be about making something new from the disintegrating parts of the past. In small ways we can mend a challenged ecosystem by planting flowers and creating composts, to reuse scraps to nurture and maintain the biodiversity, we can use the resources of nature, picking berries and fishing from remote, unused lakes, collecting garbage and clearing beaches, to connect sustainably with our environments, or just connecting with the humans around us, being part of bringing a community together rather than breaking it apart. We can care for our own clothes and those of the family, rather than supporting a lifestyle of rampant consumption, and we can use old computers and support older software, or look at strategies for designing games for older hardware, finding ways to make technology serve for longer, breaking the cycle of planned obsolescence. Sharing knowledge about techniques, skills and resources that can give individuals agency and self-sufficiency is part of this step towards the ability to better care for our small part of the world.

Around us, the world appears to be falling apart. Armed conflicts are in progress on all continents, and North America, which appears to be at peace, has seen more than 20 000 people killed in gun violence in 2023 in the US. The climate fails, natural resources that have been stable for generations shift, and our society disintegrates. As small people in a big world, it is hard to see what can be done. This symposium is an attempt to look towards something more constructive and beautiful, towards mending within our reach.

We can, and must, keep mending the broken trust between humans. In Norway, the reconciliation report is trying to mend the relations between the indigenous population of the north and the other groups inhabiting and native to the same and bordering areas. In Poland there is extensive work in progress to protect and conserve the Jewish heritage that keeps being uncovered in the cities. Mending can be both a personal choice, an institutional strategy and a political choice on the global arena.

We ask how we can use our resources both in social or private settings, but also through media, social media, games and qualitative and quantitative methods to mend and preserve, rather than to consume, exchange or break. How can we make choices, at the micro-, meso- and macro level that aims are preserving, repairing and reusing, rather than letting everything fall apart? How can we turn towards mending?

We invite contributions on subjects including, but not exclusively, to bridging gaps, darning fabrics, bringing people together, mending the divide between humans and animals, the cohesive whole, new assemblages, Kintsugie, garbage, manure, composting, rebuilding, holistic thinking, repairing, patching, reusing, healing, maker spaces, 



We invite abstracts of up to 500 words (not including literature lists), for the following formats:

Paper, work in progress, reflection.

Reflections: This is a flight of fancy, a description of potential ideas and connections that the concept mending fosters.

Paper abstract: This is a summary of a relevant research project you have done, and which you would like to present to the others.

Work in progress: This is work you would like feedback on.

We also invite more formats: experiences, performance, experimentation and roleplay.

Feedback: You will get a commenter, and be asked to provide feedback on the work of another person.



Early deadline 10th March. We start accepting from this date.

First date of decisions: 13th of March. 

Late deadline 10th April.  

Submit by email to


Selection process:

Submissions are not anonymously reviewed. Program decisions will be made by the program committee, Torill Elvira Mortensen, Tomasz Majkowski, Egil Trasti Rogstad, Matilda Ståhl, Kristian A. Bjørkelo


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