In her book The Lure of the Local (1998), art critic Lucy Lippard has written that “space defines landscape, where space combined with memory defines place” (9). The 2012 Association for Literature, Environment and Culture in Canada (ALECC) conference will be focused on “place” as an embodied, embedded, troubling, elusive, contested, personal, political, and ecological site in which space + memory = place, in an astonishingly complex range of ways.
The Okanagan was chosen as the location for this conference as it contains one of the most endangered ecosystems in Canada and it is home to a vital indigenous culture, the Syilx or Okanagan Nation. Place is acknowledged through the co-hosting of the conference by Okanagan College and the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus. The conference (August 9 – 12) will take place in the largest community in the Okanagan—Kelowna—with workshops and events in Penticton at Okanagan College’s internationally acclaimed zero-carbon footprint building and at the post-secondary indigenous educational institution, the En’owkin Centre.
By anchoring the conference in its specific ecological community, ALECC acknowledges place as foundational. The conference will investigate numerous writers’ and artists’ representations of places— both real and imagined- exploring history, image, technologies, and aesthetics from the distant past up to the contemporary world.