The mandate of the institute is:

to conduct and produce research-creation on issues of the environment, nature, and ecologies using critical and artistic methodologies;

to provide artist-researchers and the general public with innovative and critical programming through art exhibitions, workshops, residencies, talks and other related events and activities;

to provide training for artist-research fellows in the methodologies and methods, processes, and responsibilities of critical research rooted in anti-oppressive frameworks;

to partner with other arts organizations, institutions, and individuals to collaborate and build a stronger network of groups committed to environmental justice.



The Institute is named for mugwort, Artemisia vulgaris.
Mugwort is a plant used in Western and Chinese herbal medicine. In the western tradition, it is used for a variety of purposes. Often, it is used to induce vivid dreaming. The Institute seeks not only to investigate ongoing issues, but to dream of possible futures. The mugwort plant is also naturalized in north america, something that Potawotami ecologist and scholar Robin Wall Kimmerer has spoken about in relationship to settler-indigenous relationships:

“Being naturalized to place means to live as if this is the land that feeds you, as if these are the streams from which you drink, that build your body and fill your spirit. To become naturalized is to know that your ancestors lie in this ground. Here you will give your gifts and meet your responsibilities. To become naturalized is to live as if your children’s future matters, to take care of the land as if our lives and the lives of all our relatives depend on it. Because they do.”

the basis for critical work about the environment, nature, and ecology requires a foundational understanding of settler colonialism. as the institute engages in theory and practice that uses land-based subjects as a point of inquiry, it is imperative for to be transparent about relationships to the land and commit to a responsibility to those whose territory we live and work on.

glossary of terms

working in between the academy and community based scholarship and practice, it felt necessary to provide some definitions for the terms used to describe the work of the institute.