Orionids Workshop, 2024

Second session of these Creative Practice sessions

Date: September 28 - October 4, 2024

Place: Chartres, France

Cosmoimaginaries brings together a range of creatives - artists, poets, designers - with researchers, scientists, anthropologists, and early-career scholars to explore ecological approaches to inner and outer space.

The Cosmoimaginaries Orionids Sessions 2024 will take place when Tsuchinshan-ATLAS is visible in the predawn sky in the ancient town of Chartres in France - a place with a rich history of learning about relations between inner and outer space.

By engaging in dialogue across differences with 'rigour and imagination’, as ecologist Gregory Bateson suggests, we meet in creative community in times of grave conflict and climate disaster, to feel and sense new paths and relational connections in the 2nd space age.


Getting there

27th July - arrivée

Chartres is one hour from Paris by train.

28th September - 4rd October - workshop

Closing session and meal - Saturday 5th September

Cosmoimaginaries - Orionids Workshop 2024

For the second year, we are hosting an exciting summer workshop on emerging practices connecting art and outer space in the town of Chartres in France. A week during the Orionids meteor shower to explore the origins of life, language, and cultural knowledge in warm, creative community.

Following on from 2023’s theme of Lunar Imaginaries, the 2024 focus is ‘Starry Migrations and the new space age’ - an opportunity to learn about relations across place and migrating birds, the planetary, and beyond -inspired by the paths of the migrating birds who traverse France, and the avian myths that feature in many constellations across cultures. The birds are the mediators of the heavens. This theme opens up thinking about the langauge of the birds—‘la langue des oiseaux’— and the flows of life and communication connecting earth and cosmos.

The Orionids Workshop 2024 combines art, science and embodied approaches: including presentations on animal studies and astro ecology, daily sessions for creative practice, and somatic evening and morning sessions - feeling and sensing with the night sky and Tsuchinshan-ATLAS

Across this time, participants will devise creative projects, attend workshops, lectures, social events, and dialogues, growing connections with each other and the ancient hill of Chartres.

In connection to the Emerging Practices Working Group at the Post Detection Hub St Andrews, the week emphasises process-based and creative research in connection with SETI, centring material practices and the many cultural ways of understanding our place in the Universe through relational ecologies.
La Lyre, Le Cigne, Le Lezard, Le Renard - star chart from Jean Fortin's Atlas Celeste de Flamsteed,published in Paris 1776

The constellation Aquila (the eagle) from Aratea, with extracts from Hyginus's Astronomica in the constellation figures, 9th century - Reims, France

Detail from "De Proprietatibus Rerum" by Bartholomeus Anglicus, in the French translation of Jean Corbechon, c.1390
The Black-tailed Godwit: two companions over the sea. Steven Round photography

The programme includes:

Creative practice and process-based approaches, Myth, Storytelling of the stars, science fiction and futures, playful improvisation and futures scenarios, astrophysics and emerging understandings of the cosmos, embodied and planetary sensing technologies, dreaming with meteors, and comparative theoretical work on the foundations of communication and life.

Theme - ‘Starry Migrations and the new space age’

The program engages three broad themes:

  • STS - Mutual study on more-than-human relations in the new space age - Continuing the mutual learning around bird migrations and organic time, this workshop focuses on the black-tailed godwit that will be leaving the Atlantic coast—from Brittany to Bordeaux—during the meeting.  These African-Eurasian migratory shorebirds make the journey Northwards from West Africa stopping along the way in Spain, Portugal and France, pausing in the Wadden Sea and breeding in the Netherlands and Iceland. We will explore entangled histories of the migration of beings and knowledge along these pathways, and how bird populations, migration patterns and the life cycles of migratory birds are shifting with climate change and conflicts.
  • Creative Practice - Expanding cosmic senses - The meeting occurs during the convergence of different space events - the annual Meteor Shower Orionids meteor shower, and the return of Tsuchinshan-ATLAS after 80,000 years. We will explore feeling and sensing, dreaming and painting to make relations with the meteor, and experiment with playful creative modes of relating  to the stars. We will explore the labyrinth journey as an ancient embodied technique, and trace transcultural histories of the “journey of the soul” - in European traditions like Cicero’s The Dream of Scipio and Dante's Divine Comedy.
  • Emerging Practice - Refiguring communication through ecologies and flux - What fresh approaches and hydrated theories can we grow through the entanglement of themes of animal language, cosmograms, the flows of beings and wisdom across land and sea, pilgrimage and forced migration seeking safe passage over borders? How can we evolve creative, pragmatic and useful evolutions of theories of bodies and culture, language and ideas, feeling and sensing techniques in connection to bodies, celestial events and wild weather systems. Drawing on philosophies of vital materialities and deep time, political ecologies and the Environmental Humanities, we bring varied approaches to the search for life in the Universe into dialogue with shifting, changing ecologies in motion.

Deadline for expression of interest: June 4th, 2024

Documents to provide: Short CV/Max 2 pages and a Motivation Letter (via email or the online form)

If you are drawn to this engagement, and would like to know more, please get in contact

We would be grateful if you would spread the work amongst your networks to any folks who might be interested in this opportunity. Thank you.


Backhouse, Janet. The Illuminated Manuscript. Oxford: Phaidon, 1979, fig. 4.

Bateson, Gregory. Steps to an Ecology of Mind: Collected Essays in Anthropology, Psychiatry, Evolution, and Epistemology. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1972.

Cicero, Marcus Tullius, and Pearman, Wd. Somnium Scipionis, the Dream of Scipio Africanus Minor, Being the Epilogue of Cicero's Treatise on Polity. N.p., Creative Media Partners, LLC, 2022.

Dante Alighieri. The Divine Comedy. Paradise. A new translation by J. G. Nichols. Pp. 541. Richmond, Surrey: Alma Classics, 2012.

Dekker, Elly. Illustrating the Phaenomena: Celestial Cartography in Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Oxford: University Press, 2013, pp. 145-46, 148, 150, 159, 163, 167-68, 173, 175, 239.

Galileo. Images of the Universe from Antiquity to the Telescope. Edited by Paolo Galluzzi. Exhibition catalogue, Florence, Palazzo Strozzi, 13 March-30 August 2009. Florence: Giunti, 2009, no. II.4.1.

Morrison, Elizabeth. Beasts: Factual & Fantastic. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2007, p. 49.

Nordenfalk, Carl. Book Illumination: Early Middle Ages. Geneva: Editions d'art Albert Skira, 1995; originally printed as Early Medieval Painting. New York: Skira, 1957, pl. on p. 9.

Ottley, W.Y. "On a Manuscript of Cicero's Translation of Aratus, Supposed to be of the 2d or 3d Century." Archaeologia: Miscellaneous Tracts Relating to Antiquity 26 (1836), pp. 47-214.

The Cosmography of Aethicus Ister. Edited by Michael W. Herren. Publications of the Journal of Medieval Latin 8. Turnhout: Brepols, 2011, p. lxxii, n. 134.

Russell, Charlie J.G. et al. Active European warzone impacts raptor migration. Current Biology, Volume 34, Issue 10, 2272 - 2277.e2

Whitfield, Peter. The Mapping of the Heavens. London: British Library, 1995, pl. on p. 35.

Session Recordings