Call for Papers | “Unstructured entanglements of human leisure and non-human animal life”, special session at the World Leisure Congress 2023 | Dunedin, New Zealand, December 11–15, 2023. Call ends April 4, 2023

Structured entanglement with turtle. (Shutterstock/Maridav)

For a special session at the World Leisure Congress 2023, to be held in Dunedin, New Zealand, Paul Tully, Neil Carr, Carol Kline, and Kate Dashper are seeking abstracts for paper presentations, lasting 20 minutes.

People at leisure regularly encounter animals. In areas such as wildlife tourism attractions, cat shows, horse trials, pet therapy sessions, dog walking, and more, humans interact with animals in highly structured ways. This occurs via mediation techniques, such as enclosures, signage, restraints, expert guidance, human skills, and technological equipment. Recent animal-leisure research, driven by the greater recognition and valuing of animal sentience in society, has explored these structured entanglements and drawn focus to the human and animal experiences, the social construction of animals, animal welfare, and the rights of animals, amongst other themes.

Yet human leisure also interweaves with animal life without any pre-design or mediation. People at leisure can tangle with animal life as they walk in city spaces, casually garden at home, relax in parks, trek in the countryside, or eat at the seaside. Human leisure entangles with animal life in multifarious non-structured ways in these and other settings. These entanglements create outcomes that may be welcomed or not, beneficial or not, dangerous or not, divisive or not, for all participants, both human and non-human.

This session will explore these unstructured entanglements. It aims to continue knowledge creation on the role, experience, treatment, welfare, and rights of animals in human leisure. By addressing this vast array of unstructured entanglements, humans will continue to learn about their role in animal lives and vice versa, which will assist people and animals to live well together.

Potential topics are wide-ranging and include, but are not limited to:

      • Encounters between leisured people and stray animals
      • Perceptions of ‘pests’ in the leisure environment and the associated implications
      • Issues of human health and wellbeing from unstructured animal entanglements
      • The unstructured touching and feeding of free-roaming animals
      • Animals’ role in inspiring a sense of awe
      • Theories of animal welfare, the rights of animals, and humans’ moral obligations
      • Conflicts – between people over animals, between people and animals, or between animals
      • Disruptions to human or animal leisure
      • The realities of animal life – death, illness, sex, and defecation as perceived by leisured people.
      • Selfies and the unstructured animal entanglement

We invite abstracts to be submitted via the World Leisure Congress website here. Informal enquiries are welcome via

Key dates for the session

Call for abstracts close – 4 April 2023 at 11:59pm NZST
Abstracts presenters notified – From 25 May 2023
Abstract presenters’ deadline to register – 15 August 2023
Congress – 11 to 15 December 2023

Contact Info

Enquires can be made to Paul Tully at The congress website is at

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