Call for Submissions: PLASTIC

tba: Journal of Art, Media, and Visual Culture, is pleased to announce that we are accepting submissions for our upcoming issue, PLASTICtba is an annual peer-reviewed journal organized by graduate students of the Visual Arts Department at Western University in London, Ontario (CA). It provides an interdisciplinary forum for emerging and independent artists and scholars by bringing together studio, art history, cultural studies, theory and criticism, creative writing, and related fields. Academic articles, poetry, short fiction, and artworks are welcome. Experimentation and risk is encouraged.

Topics can include, but are not limited to:

  • Pliability, malleability, plasticity
  • Artistic and curatorial materials, les arts en plastiques
  • Materialisms, historical materialism, new materialism
  • Microplastics, plastics pollution
  • Pollution as colonialism
  • The globalization of plastics, petrocapitalism
  • Toxicity, toxic ecologies, climate crisis
  • Health and plastics – biology and technology
  • Anthropocene, plastics in the geologic record
  • Aesthetics of plastic, plastic surgery
  • The synthetic, the ersatz, and authenticity
  • History of plastics, plastics futurity

To be plastic is to be pliable, moldable, and adaptable to change. It is both a material quality and a conceptual one–plasticity was a commonly used word in the arts, applied to discussions of artist materials like paint and clay but also to techniques and gestures. Today, plastic refers to a diverse array of polymer and monomer combinations mainly derived from oil that have come to replace more expensive applications of natural resins, rubbers, and shellacs, as well as metals, glass, wood, and fibers like cotton and wool. Plastic has become so ubiquitous a material it’s impossible to imagine contemporary life without it. But what we recognize as plastic today isn’t nearly as pliable as the original word implies. Commercial plastics are not designed for durability, but rather for expediency. They crack and crumble into forever smaller pieces, bioaccumulating at the molecular level into all manner of life. Perhaps a redefinition of the term is in order: to be plastic is to be omnipresent, insidious, and even toxic. But not everything about plastic is bad. Plastics have become a necessity for administering vaccines, for providing clean drinking water to remote communities, offering temporary emergency shelters and preserving the shelf life of foods that would otherwise go to waste. For better or for worse, it would seem that plastic is here to stay.

We invite you to submit your work by May 21, 2023. Submissions must be completed through the journal’s websitewhich uses OJS software to ensure contributer/reviewer anonymity. Emailed submissions will not be accepted. If you’re interested in supporting the review process, we are currently seeking peer reviewers–we welcome you to get in touch at with your CV and research area(s).

Emily Cadotte, Editor

Ana Moyer, Associate Editor, Art History

Imogen Clendinning, Associate Editor, Studio

For inquiries, please write