Yearly Archives: 2012

Creating climate change parks – greenspace scotland

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

A new e-resource launched today by greenspace scotland, in partnership with Scottish Natural Heritage, will help park and greenspace managers respond to the challenges of climate change by creating ‘climate change parks’.  Full story at creating climate change parks – greenspace scotland

ecoartscotland is a resource focused on art and ecology for artists, curators, critics, commissioners as well as scientists and policy makers. It includes ecoartscotland papers, a mix of discussions of works by artists and critical theoretical texts, and serves as a curatorial platform.

It has been established by Chris Fremantle, producer and research associate with On The Edge ResearchGray’s School of Art, The Robert Gordon University. Fremantle is a member of a number of international networks of artists, curators and others focused on art and ecology.
Go to EcoArtScotland

McDonalds and Sustainability

This post comes to you from Cultura21

– come to think of it…

McDonalds and Sustainability. Sounds extremly logical, doesn´t it? These days, the construction of the first sustainable McDonalds store, comes to an end in London. Does that mean, that in the future the well known Fast Food Chain won´t be the place anymore where uncritical and environmentunfriendly voices are still welcome? Probably not. It does sound great at first, but in no way believable. The ¨green¨ turn is placed in the context of the Olympic Summer Games in London this year. The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) had the vision of an all-around effective event, not to miss out on the offered food. Luckily McDonalds is one of the main sponsors of the Games, besides well known cola and beer brands, and announced to make the vision real and serve high quality British food.

To put that to effect, the group built four supersize stores in the Olympic quarter. Needless to say, that part of the furniture can be recycled and reused later in one of the 15 new planned stores around the island. Pointed out very clearly is the dedication to energy efficiency, apparently something new for the chain. All these arrangements are in the spirit of sustainable development, which means there is nothing keeping the event from being anything else but sustainable… Except for the usual menu, rich on meat and fat, just as in every other such restaurant. But why not overlook this fact? After all the chocolate is going to be fair trade and the menu extended to fruit smoothies. That is all you need for being sustainable: Healthy, diverse food, the creation of 2000 jobs during the summer…

But wait a minute: 2000 employees selected from all over the world will get the chance to take part in making the world a better place. Certainly every single one of them is willing to charter their own plane to get to London; who cares about the environment more? At long sight, the most sustainable action of this Green Washing Campaign will be the dismantling of the four restaurants in Fall. And then, maybe, there will be some room for slowing down.

Elisabeth Lena Aubrecht – Elisabeth Lena is studying Cultural Studies (B.A.) at Leuphana University Lüneburg, Germany. She is doing an internship at Cultura21. / Elisabeth Lena ist Studentin der Kulturwissenschaften an der Leuphana Universität Lüneburg und Praktikantin bei Cultura21.

Cultura21 is a transversal, translocal network, constituted of an international level grounded in several Cultura21 organizations around the world.

Cultura21′s international network, launched in April 2007, offers the online and offline platform for exchanges and mutual learning among its members.

The activities of Cultura21 at the international level are coordinated by a team representing the different Cultura21 organizations worldwide, and currently constituted of:

– Sacha Kagan (based in Lüneburg, Germany) and Rana Öztürk (based in Berlin, Germany)
– Oleg Koefoed and Kajsa Paludan (both based in Copenhagen, Denmark)
– Hans Dieleman (based in Mexico-City, Mexico)
– Francesca Cozzolino and David Knaute (both based in Paris, France)

Cultura21 is not only an informal network. Its strength and vitality relies upon the activities of several organizations around the world which are sharing the vision and mission of Cultura21

Go to Cultura21

Time of the Clock, Time of Encounter

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

If practitioners of environmental and ecological arts have become expert in the critique of spatial politics and practices, should they also be able to develop and use critiques of time?

ecoartscotland is a partner in an AHRC funded workshop programme entitled Time of the Clock, Time of Encounter. This forms part of a cluster of research projects focused on the theme ‘Connected Communities’.

The ‘Time of the Clock, Time of Encounter’ project has been put together by:

ecoartscotland, Woodend Barn, Encounter Arts and Holmewood School are community partners.

The aim of the project is to destabilise assumptions about temporality and to activate alternatives. The group believe that the arts and humanities have particular forms of knowledge around temporality that are of potential use to communities (e.g. those directly involved as well as in the wider sense).

There are some key experiences related particularly to the arts which are known, but perhaps not activated as tools of critique, such as ‘nunc stans’ (the experience of time standing still), ‘flow’ time when the process takes over all sense of time. But we should also note Helen Mayer Harrison and Newton Harrison’s use of ‘the urgency of the moment’, that sense of a particular time when culture is maleable, when new stories of futures can be imagined. In contrast Elaine Scarry’s discussion of pain and the loss of any sense of time is also relevant.

Perhaps one of the key cultural projects which focused on temporality was Futurism, and we now have its corollary, the Slow movement.

Amy Lipton recently posted a question to the ecoartnetwork asking artists to highlight projects which are open to the public during June 2012. Her intention was to make this information available to the Outreach Officer at the Environmental Protection Agency for inclusion in a calendar associated with the White House Initiative ‘Great Outdoors Month’.

The question is of course driven by ‘The Time of the Clock’ (or at least the calendar), but the example provokes reflection on temporality in relation to ecoart projects.

We might offer a number of other questions which might relate to clock/calendar as well as encounter:

How long did the project take?

What experience of time does the work encourage in the minds of those involved?

Ecoart projects tend to assume the wider agency of other species and systems – what is their relationship with temporality?

Did any of the artists in any way attempt to use creative strategies to affect community sense of temporality?

Are these projects ever ‘closed’ in other than a practical sense of visiting them?

ecoartscotland is a resource focused on art and ecology for artists, curators, critics, commissioners as well as scientists and policy makers. It includes ecoartscotland papers, a mix of discussions of works by artists and critical theoretical texts, and serves as a curatorial platform.

It has been established by Chris Fremantle, producer and research associate with On The Edge ResearchGray’s School of Art, The Robert Gordon University. Fremantle is a member of a number of international networks of artists, curators and others focused on art and ecology.
Go to EcoArtScotland

Turning the Tide, or at least trying to

This post comes to you from Shrimp Boat Projects

The shrimp fleet at Hillman’s Seafood on Dickinson Bayou. One of the few remaining visual cues that shrimping was once a thriving industry on Galveston Bay.

We just got back from Foodways Texas‘ annual symposium event, an incredible gathering that brings together a real variety of people whose work and interests connect them to food as a cultural force. As we learned in attending last year’s symposium in Galveston, this event ends up being much more than a discussion of food traditions and regional culinary practices (although that would probably be pleasant enough). What this event fosters is a rare conversation that engages the key questions of regional culture both broadly and specifically– what is it? why does it matter? where does it come from? what are people doing to appreciate it? It’s a true interdisciplinary discussion that requires a real cross-cutting knowledge.

We were honored to be asked to give a talk about our project within this year’s symposium theme “Preserved”, but humbled by the challenge of this.  We always acknowledge that we are not trying to save the shrimping profession, we are not trying preserve its culture as an artifact, and frankly, we don’t even like to freeze the shrimp we catch!

Of course preserving something, does not need to imply that it becomes static. And with this, we could acknowledge that what we are interested in preserving are the conditions–political, economic, social– that once allowed primary producers (farmers, ranchers, as well as shrimpers and other commercial fishermen) to earn a decent living in confidence, as these ways of working in direction connection to the land are the root of dynamic regional culture. Or alternatively, how do we preserve regional culture as something that is dynamic and not rendered as the content of static museums?

To help us answer these questions, we had met Priscilla Weeks last spring just as we were embarking on our project. An environmental anthropologist working with the Houston Advanced Region Center (HARC), Pris has done a ton of research over the years on coastal communities, both on the Gulf Coast and elsewhere, which tries to assess the threats to fishing-reliant communities and the consequence of declining fishing industries, not just economically but also socially and culturally. Her research, both in the data she’s accumulated and the frameworks she’s developed for understanding the situation, really help clarify that the decline of small-scale commercial shrimping here on Galveston Bay is not unique. It’s part of much larger pattern and really, very little is being done to turn the tide of this. We thought that if we could offer any food for thought to a gathering of food-minded people, it would be to both explain what is exactly at stake in losing the work of bay shrimping and so many other small-scale food production industries, and what we believe needs to happen to truly reverse the trend.

So we asked Pris to join us in making this case and we all went up to Austin to present a talk entitled “The Work of Gulf Coast Regional Food Culture”, which was a small nod to a great essay by Wendell Berry entitled “The Work of Local Culture” where he explains that the existence of local culture relies on the accrual of knowledge that comes from working on the land and dedicating yourself to a place.

With this introduction, here’s an excerpt from our talk (the part delivered by Zach):

“Well so the state of the Shrimp Fishery is clear, it is in rapid decline and in all likelihood will end as a way of life with the next generation of shrimpers not joining the fleet.

We are here today because we believe that embodied in the demise of the shrimp industry is the demise of regionally specific cultures in the face of global capitalism.   With this demise we are not just losing one of the major parts of life that makes it interesting ( “variety as the spice of life” if you will) but also our identities and the potential for an ecologically responsible future.  We are interested in preserving the specificity of gulf coast culture and its potential for a better future.

How do we do this?  What is Gulf Coast culture?  Who gets to define it?
We are more clear on what we do not want to do.  We do not want to save a defined cultural identity. Cultural preservation should not be limited to the practice of curating the cultural attitudes, behaviors, and artifacts of a subjective definition of the region.   This way of looking at culture creates static museums where cultural artifacts lose their meaning to everyday life and become relics of an imagined past.  It turns what we value into commodities to be sold back to us. It allows others free reign to essentialize and degrade what we value.

For defining culture we are interested in culture as an idea, understood through examining our relationship to the land.  Gulf Coast culture is then the relationship to the specific landscape of our region with all of the problems and beauty that we express onto this land.   We do not want to preserve this either as we do not want more refineries or wetlands lost.  Instead we want to preserve the potential for a better future, a richer culture, one that maintains and strengthens a relationship with the land.

We believe that the only way to preserve this potential for culture, as some of you might, is through food.  Not by preserving recipes or even ingredients but by saving small scale food production. We believe that if we want an ethical, sustainable, regionally specific culture we need to preserve the ability for people to have a way of life producing food through a connection to the land.  These are the ways of life that make regional culture specific and unique and with their connections to the land they hold the potential for an ecologically responsible future.  These ways of working are threatened from all directions as you have heard today about shrimping and they need to be preserved.

The local food movements and organic food movements make claims towards a connection to producers but these movements do not have the potential to save regional culture as a living and dynamic part of modern life. This is great work don’t get me wrong.  It has been the only way we could keep shrimping.  But these movements are not enough to save regional culture for two reasons:

First of all the profits and markups of these new markets are not making it to primary producers. The markup is at the distributor and at the restaurants. In addition these markets are tiny only allowing a few people in at a good price. With a little competition the price falls out again. The farmers, ranchers, and fishermen,  I know who have been able to gain access to these markets still just barely hang on.  As a primary producer going organic and/or local does not shield you from global commodity markets.

Secondly these movements have the potential to turn the remnants of these ways of life into more sanitized versions of working class cultures.  (Eric and I being prime examples) A culture connected to the land should be able to thrive on its own not just through the benevolence of consumers. We want culture to be dynamic, participatory, and just.  To do this we need to recreate the circumstances for small scale primary producers to be able to make a living from their connection to the land.

The demise of these ways of working is not natural, there are specific policies, laws, and enforcement priorities that are ending these ways of life.   No one but huge conglomerates turning food into industrial commodities are able to survive.  Food prices are artificially low, with subsidies and the true cost of production being pushed off onto future generations through the destruction of our environment and onto our healthcare system.

Saving the uniqueness and potential of regional culture is a political issue.  It will take organizing and advocacy to save these ways of life as a part of our cultural heritage and future.     For gulf shrimping to be a viable fishery we need to change and/or enforce international trade policies and our own laws.   This will include higher tariffs for subsidised shrimp farm imports, the banning of cancer causing chemicals in shrimp imports, and full accounting of the environmental degradation of these farms.  Then domestic wild caught shrimp can compete on an even playing field.

So in conclusion we ask for the focus of those who value the variety of regional cultures to focus their efforts towards changing the policies that are destroying the ways of life of primary producers.  Doing this will help to maintain the conditions to continue creating distinctive regional cultures and the potential for a  deeper relationship with the land.”

Shrimp Boat Projects is a creative research project that explores the regional culture of the Houston area. The primary site of the investigation is a working shrimp boat on Galveston Bay which serves as a catalyst for labor, discussion and artistic production. Shrimp Boat Projects is co-created by Eric Leshinsky and Zach Moser, artists-in-residence at the University of Houston Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts.

Go to Shrimp Boat Projects

Funded PhD: theatre and learning for sustainability

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

‘Sustaining the imagination: theatre and learning for sustainability’

3 year funded PhD hosted by the School of Culture and Creative Arts at the University of Glasgow in partnership with Catherine Wheels Theatre Company – Further informationClosing date 9th July 2012.

Theatre Studies at the University of Glasgow is seeking to award one fully funded PhD studentship to commence 1 October 2012.

The studentship, which will support three years of full-time study, is funded through the AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Awards Scheme. Within the wider School of Culture and Creative Arts, the studentship will be based in the Theatre Studies’ subject group. The studentship is with non-academic partners Catherine Wheels.

The student will undertake a critically informed and contextualised practice-based doctoral thesis exploring how site-orientated theatre can facilitate children’s engagement with sustainability learning. Reviewing the landscape of theatre that connects with environmental and climate change agendas, the research will suggest original ways in which place-based rather than issue-based performance can engage children in developing everyday sustainability practices. Through the partnership with Catherine Wheels Theatre Company, the student will have an opportunity to acquire a range of creative industry skills and knowledges whilst developing critically-informed work which aims to respond to one of the greatest and most pressing challenges of our time. Working directly with Catherine Wheels, and supported by its Artistic Director Gill Robertson and Company Producer Paul Fitzpatrick, the student’s practice-led research will be developed at and respond to two contrasting sites: a primary school located in an urban context (Glasgow) and another in a rural context (East Lothian). 

ecoartscotland is a resource focused on art and ecology for artists, curators, critics, commissioners as well as scientists and policy makers. It includes ecoartscotland papers, a mix of discussions of works by artists and critical theoretical texts, and serves as a curatorial platform.

It has been established by Chris Fremantle, producer and research associate with On The Edge ResearchGray’s School of Art, The Robert Gordon University. Fremantle is a member of a number of international networks of artists, curators and others focused on art and ecology.
Go to EcoArtScotland

ALECC 2012 Biennial Conference

This post comes to you from Cultura21

The Association for Literature, Environment, and Culture in Canada / Association pour la littérature, l’environnement et la culture au Canada (ALECC) is a non-profit organization focused on the creation, appreciation, discussion, analysis, and dissemination of knowledge about the work of nature writers, environmental writers and journalists, eco-artists of all disciplines, ecocritics, and ecotheorists in Canada. Collectively they are interested in artistic, critical and cultural studies work on activism, animals, ecology, the environment, environmental justice, geography, land, landscape, mountain literature and culture, nature and nature writing, natural history writing, plants, region, regionalism, the rural, sense of place, transborder environmental issues, wilderness and wilder places, and much more.

 2012 ALECC Conference

The 2012 ALECC Conference will be focused on “place” as an embodied, embedded, troubling, elusive, contested, personal, political, and ecological site in which space + memory = place, in an astonishingly complex range of ways.

The Okanagan was chosen as the location for this conference as it contains one of the most endangered ecosystems in Canada and it is home to a vital indigenous culture, the Syilx or Okanagan Nation. Place is acknowledged through the co-hosting of the conference by Okanagan College and the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus. The conference (August 9 – 12) will take place in the largest community in the Okanagan—Kelowna—with workshops and events in Penticton at Okanagan College’s internationally acclaimed zero-carbon footprint building and at the post-secondary indigenous educational institution, the En’owkin Centre

Publication

The ALECC publishes twice a year an online journal, The Goose, with diverse sections, reflecting the contributions and suggestions they receive:

  • Editor´s Notebook
  • Reviews and Lists of New/Upcoming Publications
  • Edge Effects
  • Canadian Regional Feature
  • The Graduate Network:
  • Scatterings

If you want to know more about The Goose, contribute or read their previous issues, visit http://www.alecc.ca/goose.php

Cultura21 is a transversal, translocal network, constituted of an international level grounded in several Cultura21 organizations around the world.

Cultura21′s international network, launched in April 2007, offers the online and offline platform for exchanges and mutual learning among its members.

The activities of Cultura21 at the international level are coordinated by a team representing the different Cultura21 organizations worldwide, and currently constituted of:

– Sacha Kagan (based in Lüneburg, Germany) and Rana Öztürk (based in Berlin, Germany)
– Oleg Koefoed and Kajsa Paludan (both based in Copenhagen, Denmark)
– Hans Dieleman (based in Mexico-City, Mexico)
– Francesca Cozzolino and David Knaute (both based in Paris, France)

Cultura21 is not only an informal network. Its strength and vitality relies upon the activities of several organizations around the world which are sharing the vision and mission of Cultura21

Go to Cultura21

What book would you take for a walk…?

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

Received this email from Dee Heddon:

What book would you take for a walk…?

In 1794, John Hucks and Coleridge walked to North Wales. Hucks carried with him the poems of Thomas Churchyard.

In 1802, Coleridge walked through Cumberland, carrying with him ‘a shirt, a cravat, two pairs of stockings, tea, sugar, pens and paper, his night-cap, and a book of German poetry wrapped in green oilskin.’ He apparently read the Book of Revelations in Buttermere.

In 1818, Keats travelled the Lake District and up to Scotland with his friend Charles Brown. Keats’ carried Dante’s Divine Comedy, Brown the works of Milton.

In 2012, Dee Heddon and Misha Myers will walk across Belgium, carrying Werner Herzog’s Of Walking in Ice, Nan Shepherd’s The Living Mountain, Rebecca Solnit’s A Field Guide to Getting Lost etc. etc. …

During August and September, Dee Heddon and Misha Myers are joining the Sideways Festival, walking from the West to the East of Belgium. For the length of the walk, they will carry a walking library – rucksacks filled with books that are good to take on a walk. The library will support a peripatetic reading and writing group and will be donated to Sideways at the journey’s end.

Dee & Misha are in the process of building the library. They welcome suggestions of books to take on a walk (including details of books taken on a walk by illustrious walkers/writers).

Please email suggestions to Deirdre.Heddon@glasgow.ac.uk

Many thanks

Dee & Misha

Dr. Deirdre Heddon

Reader

Theatre, Film and Television Studies, University of Glasgow, G12 8QQ

0141 330 6286

Dean of Graduate Studies, College of Arts

http://40walks.wordpress.com/

ecoartscotland is a resource focused on art and ecology for artists, curators, critics, commissioners as well as scientists and policy makers. It includes ecoartscotland papers, a mix of discussions of works by artists and critical theoretical texts, and serves as a curatorial platform.

It has been established by Chris Fremantle, producer and research associate with On The Edge ResearchGray’s School of Art, The Robert Gordon University. Fremantle is a member of a number of international networks of artists, curators and others focused on art and ecology.
Go to EcoArtScotland