Composing Worlds with Elephants

13 - 15 December 2020

An Online Academic Conference Exploring the
Human-Elephant Relationship

This conference corrals together a herd of scholars who are researching communities and environments at the interface of the human-elephant relationship in Asia and beyond.

Whether in domestic or wild settings, through affective relations of care or fear, these worlds can only be grasped through the interacting perspectives and presence of beings situated within historical, cultural, and ecologically specific contexts. 


The conference hosts twenty-four scholars across six panels, and from multiple disciplines across the natural and social sciences. Each panel addresses one dimension of our complex entanglement with this charismatic giant.

Multi-disciplinary Dialogue

Conference speakers have been invited to present their recent and ground-breaking research on human-elephant relations. These are presentations attuned to how humans and elephants are in dialogic relations, acknowledge the lived experience of both beings, and explore in novel ways the intimate, challenging, and surprising possibilities that occur when these two animals live together and co-construct shared worlds.

Panels have been organized to encourage lively and generative discussion between speakers who are engaged with common interests, but address them through conceptual frameworks and methodological approaches developed within their respective disciplines.

The conference aims to further develop a multi-faceted approach to studying human-elephant relations, one that speaks across boundaries and is open to the emergence of new ideas that can occur at the intersection of different points-of-view.  Ultimately, a more complex understanding will help us to live better with these extraordinary beings during these precarious times.


About the Conference

Click to view the event schedule

The conference ran for three days and consisted of an opening event on the 13th December, and six panels that took place over 14th & 15th December. 

The conference schedule, the list of panels, and presentation titles and abstracts are available on the Conference page. Composing Worlds with Elephants conference can be navigated entirely through the website. 


All panels, including presentations and discussions were recorded. They will be uploaded and available for public viewing on January 2nd, 2021.

About the Gallery

In addition to presentations by academic researchers, the conference takes the opportunity to celebrate the remarkable work of a selection of artists who also speak to the themes of the conference. 

For the opening event, we were privileged to have the opportunity to screen the film "Cemetery" by award- winning artist Carlos Casas. The film is no longer available for viewing but you can watch a QnA with the artist. More details can be found through the Conference page.

After the conference opening, "The Gallery" will be  accessible and available to browse. It showcases  innovative and creative works exploring the human-elephant relationship from a variety of mediums, including photography, architecture, and fine art. 



Scientific Programme Committee

Supporting Institutions


Composing Worlds