Open Call: Clean Unclean

Cleanliness, they say, is close to godliness. And the pig has long resided in the realm of the unclean. Even today: “It’s like a pigsty in here!” – as if the pig has much choice in how he lives…

More than ever do we feel the urgency of cleanliness: clean hands, clean homes, clean minds. Clean rivers and clean energy. Clean feathers (because animals clean too). A clean slate. If Modernism was associated with the quest for purity, and postmodernity embraced the impure, what now? Is it time to clean up our act?

At the same time, the rewilders are calling for a return of untidiness – the neglected and the unmanaged. Our cleanest hospitals are sites for some of the deadliest infections. Our cities are being sterilised. What gets designated as unclean? Or who? And what does this division between the clean and the unclean say about our relationship to the environment? And to each other?

The Learned Pig is currently seeking submissions that respond thoughtfully to the division between the clean and the unclean. This can be in any form: from photography to philosophical essays, from illustration to exhibition reviews, art, poetry, interviews, creative non-fiction and beyond. We’re interested in how the clean/unclean dichotomy has been seeded – across science and society, nature and culture – and how it may flourish or wither in the future.



Please send all work to The Learned Pig’s Editor, Tom Jeffreys:

There is no word limit for written submissions. Please send as Word documents, not PDFs. For art and/or photography, please send no more than eight JPEGs, each no bigger than 1MB. We will get back to you within three weeks. Please note: we are unable to pay contributors.

The deadline for submissions is 15th February 2015.
The Learned Pig
The “Clean Unclean” open call is in addition to The Learned Pig’s usual programme of editorial. Please do continue to contact us with any ideas or completed works that fit somewhere within our four areas of interest: Art, Thinking, Nature, Writing. For more information please take the time to read a bit more about us and then get in touch.


Image credit: Sir Stanley Spencer, Rickett’s Farm, Cookham Dene, 1938


The Learned Pig

The Learned Pig

Launched in November 2013, The Learned Pig is an online arts magazine with a love for plants and animals. Our thinking has grown out of our engagement with landscape aesthetics and environmental ethics and these days we try to bring together multiple perspectives on bodies and places, interspecies interactions, and alternative conceptions of that which has rather too frequently been defined as “nature” or “the animal”.