Francesca Brunetti

I am an artist and scholar, and am currently employed as a Teaching Fellow in Design Foundations at the Institute of Creativity and Innovation at Xiamen University in China. I completed a PhD in Visual and Performing Arts at the University of Texas, Dallas, as well as a MA in Communication Design from the Glasgow School of Art and a MA and BA in Philosophy from La Sapienza University of Rome.

I have exhibited my work in several group and solo shows in the USA, UK, Italy, China, and Japan; held teaching appointments at American, European, and Asian universities; presented my artistic projects at international academic conferences; and published articles about my work in peer-reviewed journals.

Feminist theory informs my studio art practice while my artworks provide additional elements to my theoretical investigations into feminism and ecology. I use 2D analogue and digital artistic techniques, feminist philosophy, and ecocriticism to explore the relationship between female subjectivity and her material existence, the ecocritical approach to visual cultures, and the representation of women in cultural productions.

The Mushrooms of Plato’s Cave

This project is about an illustrated, re-designed, posthuman, ecofeminist narrative of Plato’s Myth of the Cave and other selected seminal narratives representative of western thinking. Plato’s Myth of the Cave has been interpreted by contemporary thinkers as emblematic of Plato’s philosophy and western culture and its anthropocentric and domineering approach to reality. By using watercolor and digital painting in my project, I transform this myth into an alternative eco-feminist visual narrative. The protagonist of my transformed myth is a person who—instead of going up, in the direction of the sun and abstract thinking, as does the male prisoner in Plato’s myth—goes down, underground, in a world populated by fungi, worms and bacteria. Through imagination and drawing, I create a visual description where the protagonist of my transformed Plato’s myth discovers a way to relate to her material world that challenges traditional western anthropocentric approaches to reality. In addition, my fictional character participates in other counter-narratives related to traditional western viewpoints. In these counter-narratives, traditional western ways of relating to existence—based on a self-centered understanding of the self, the division between body and mind, the understanding of matter as homogeneous and passive and the importance of rationality and control—are replaced with actions and feelings that promote the protagonist’s embeddedness in her material world, her understanding of her interconnection with the elements composing reality, and the transformative potential of ecological joy. By exploring nature’s agency and creativity, the protagonist of my myth gains energies and resources to understand and transform her material existence.


Brunetti, F., forthcoming. Raging Women and Green Energies. The Southern Italian Woman’s Ecological Fury”. Cogent Arts & Humanities.

Brunetti, F., forthcoming. Eco-imagination as a strategy to deconstruct Italian gender stereotypes. In: Italian Feminist Thought Today and Tomorrow, edited by G. Parati & J. Guzzetta.

Brunetti, F. 2022. Delicious Bodies, Beautiful Food, Powerful PleasureExchanges: The Interdisciplinary Research Journal 9(2), 56–82.

Brunetti, F. 2022. Drawing as a Strategy to Deconstruct Gender Stereotypes. The Case of the Southern Italian WomanVisual Culture & Gender 17, 6–18.

Brunetti, F. 2022. Marbles. Art Journal 81(4), 126–141.


A More-than-Human Humanities Research Group