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IOS Fair Transitions / LANDac Conference 2023 – Call for sessions

Fair Transitions and the Politics of Land

Institutions and imaginaries for inclusive futures

IOS Fair Transitions – LANDac Annual International Conference 2023

Save the date:  28-29-30 June


Deadline: 15th of February 2023!

We are happy to announce the joint IOS-Fair Transitions-LANDac International Conference at the crossroads of the fair transitions and land governance debates in the context of climate change. The conference is structured around the joint challenge of finding ways to make transitions fair and inclusive, for human and non-human life. We look forward to an exciting transdisciplinary collaboration that we hope will draw many of you to Utrecht, The Netherlands. The conference will be held on site with a limited offer of hybrid possibilities.

Intended audiences

This conference aims to bring together the professional fields associated with fair transitions and land governance in the context of climate change. Over the past 12 years, the LANDac International Annual Conference has offered a podium for researchers, policymakers, and practitioners working on land governance for equitable and sustainable development, representing a wide range of backgrounds and concerns. The Institutions for Open Societies (IOS) Fair Transitions Platform seeks to engage scholars from the Humanities, Geosciences, Law, and Governance, as well as all those engaged in issues of sustainability.

Core concerns of the conference

Questions about how land is governed and controlled in the context of multiple crises are key to debates about fair transitions. The energy transition, net-zero ambitions, nature protection, and food system transformation all involve claims on land, water, and forests. How these claims are framed, analysed, and governed, how access to land is organised, and who gets a seat at the table to discuss key decisions are questions of urgent concern from both a fair transitions perspective and a land governance perspective.

More than ever, land is scarce and the transitions on the agenda take place in a context of high inequality at multiple scales and levels. Exclusionary pathways of transition lead to highly unfair distributions of ‘costs and benefits’ of the effects of climate change and mitigation measures. Under the current conditions of capitalism and authoritarianism, climate, food security, and biodiversity imperatives may lead to the loss of access to land and resources, and propel a deepening of existing social, economic, and political inequalities. Feminist, (post-)colonial and intersectional critiques from across the globe suggest ways to rethink these wicked problems and expose false solutions. The growing awareness that fair transitions in our times have to take into account non-human life in all of its articulations, asks for a serious change of perspective. Rethinking justice and inclusion from this perspective is hugely challenging- in land governance and beyond.

The current situation raises urgent questions as to how these transitions will and should be governed, and how dynamics of deepening exclusion and inequality should be addressed and prevented. The challenges ahead call for theoretical, historical, legal, and empirical analysis, feeding smart and sustained action. Key global concerns are: How much land do we need for what transitions? Who is able to claim what part, on what basis, and at whose expense? What (legal) frameworks should guide decision-making? With this background, the questions guiding this conference are: How could transitions be made fair for both human and non-human life? What role is there for land governance actors and (formal and informal) institutions? Who will have a seat at the table and what knowledges are taken into account? How will non-human interests be represented? Could transitions be a lever for promoting equity?

To explore these questions, we invite session proposals around any of the below themes:

I Transition pathways and the question of inequality | The climate crisis has disproportionate impacts across the globe and within societies. Transitions risk reproducing and deepening inequalities at multiple scales and levels. Access to land and property is a key dimension of socio-economic, political, gender, generational, and racialised inequalities. Inequality is reflected in outcome (unequal sharing of the burden of risks and benefits) but also process (who gets a seat at the table). We invite sessions that analyse these connections; that theorize, historicize and critique current norms and pathways of transition from the vantage point of (in)equality; or that propose ways to use transitions creatively as a lever to reduce inequality.

II Rethinking inclusive transitions from a more-than-human perspective | The consequences of our human-centred ways of thinking (we call it humanism, or anthropocentrism), have had major consequences for how we speak of the earth, of non-human forms of life, and of course for how we envision ourselves. The good news is that, at the start of the 21st century, in theory, but also in literature and in the arts, in law and of course in activism, this more-than-human (or posthuman) world has become increasingly important. Today, many would agree, that thinking about fair and inclusive transitions necessarily requires a more-than-human  perspective, but how are the interests of non-human beings represented and how are human and non-human interests negotiated? How can we realise, politically, socially and ethically, a use of land that is fair for all?

III Transition squared: Rethinking land governance, land rights, and responsible investment | The claims generated by the energy transition, climate change mitigation, carbon capture, food production, and nature conservation, translate into considerable challenges for land governance for which current institutions are only partly equipped. Key concerns are with the role of formal and informal institutions for conflict mediation and the protection of land rights in view of multiple claims on the ground; and upstream measures related to responsible land use planning and due diligence requirements.

IV Activism: Trusted alliances and unusual collaborations | Forging fair transitions will not be possible without active engagement from different sectors of society. In terms of activism these are both challenging and exciting times. There is much to learn from the experience of local and transnational activism built up in the fields of (more-than-) human rights and environmental justice. At the same time, the climate imperative has motivated many young people to engage, renewing repertoires of activism, using the possibilities of social media. We invite sessions that explore these developments and the unusual alliances that emerge, between long-standing social movements, ‘activist’ politicians, youth activism, but also investigative journalism and the use of documentaries.

V Building new imaginaries for fair transitions | Today’s multiple challenges require crossing disciplinary boundaries and professional divides, to imagine what fair and inclusive futures might look like. We are particularly interested to host sessions that reflect on the cross-fertilisation of different kinds of knowledges, on creative interventions that connect literature, musicology, media and performance studies, and on diverse ways of knowing and thinking represented in artistic research, with the sciences (think of bio art), but also in how makers are interested in juridical speculation (in performance, in drama).

Conference format

The conference will be concentrated on-site, in Utrecht city centre. Limited options for hybrid sessions will be available. in We will stream keynote sessions. We will have the possibility to host a limited number of sessions in hybrid format.

The conference programme will include several keynote lectures and plenary discussions, in addition to hosting a range of parallel sessions. Slots for parallel sessions are 1,5 hours. We welcome a variety of formats: paper presentations, panel discussions, round tables. For updates on keynote speakers, accepted sessions, and other details on the programme keep an eye on the LANDac website.

Key dates

This Call for sessions will open on 21 January 2023 and the deadline for session proposals is February 15, 2023

Submission of abstracts for papers opens Feb 28 and closes on March 20, 2023.

Submitting session proposals

The window for submitting session proposals is now open and closes by February 15. Session proposals must be submitted in English via email to: You can download the format for session proposals here.


Please note: session organisers need to indicate which of the key theme(s) their session relates to; what would be the format of the session; and if they open up to submission of abstracts (or select all presenters themselves). The organisers should also indicate if they would want to host the session in hybrid format, please note that this would require one of the session organisers to be physically present.

The Organising Committee will review the session proposals. Session organisers will receive communication as to whether their session proposal has been selected by February 28.

Registration and fees

Registration for the conference will open in February-March and close mid-June 2023. Details about fees will be communicated shortly.

Organising Committee:

Guus van Westen (UU/LANDac/IOS Fair Transitions, chair of OC); Wytske Chamberlain (UU & LAND-at-scale); Mayke Kaag (African Studies Centre Leiden); Barbara Codispoti (Oxfam); Joanny Bélair (Bureau du Québec, Rabat); Gemma van der Haar (WUR/LANDac); Annelies Zoomers (UU); Rick Dolphijn (UU, IOS Fair Transitions); Richard Pompoes (UU, IOS Fair Transitions).

Summer School: Land Governance for Development

The conference takes place back-to-back with the LANDac/Utrecht University Summer School Land Governance for Development, which will take place 3-14 July 2023 in Utrecht. For more information and to register, please visit the Utrecht Summer School website.