Yearly Archives: 2014

Sea Stories: Online Cultural Map for Barra

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

Launched on 16th Nov 2013, ‘Sgeulachdan na Mara / Sea Stories’ is an innovative interactive map that reveals Barra’s rich local knowledge, language and culture through the voices and experiences of the local community.


Visitors to the map are encouraged to explore the audio, video, images and stories in any order they like and within a couple of clicks they can learn about Barra’s shipwrecks, listen to traditional songs, view images of the island’s dramatic landscape or even hear stories about lifeboat landings during the war.

Developed by artist Stephen Hurrel and social ecologist Ruth Brennan, in association with Voluntary Action Barra & Vatersay (VABV), central to gathering content for the project was local school pupils interviewing local Barra fishermen and older members of the community – a successful collaboration that’s set to continue in years to come.

Housed in Barra’s Heritage Centre, the Sea Stories cultural map is now a permanent feature within the community and will be updated as further ‘sea stories’ are gathered by Castlebay School’s media students in the future. It will also be accessible to the public at local cultural events and to the wider world online via the project website. Sea Stories: Barra is also featured in the current exhibition ‘Sea Change’ at the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh organised by Cape Farewell.

Sgeulachdan na Mara / Sea Stories was funded through Creative Scotland’s First in a Lifetime programme and Comunn na Gaidhlig with support from The Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland.

The post Sea Stories: Online Cultural Map for Barra appeared first on Creative Carbon Scotland.

Creative Carbon Scotland is a partnership of arts organisations working to put culture at the heart of a sustainable Scotland. We believe cultural and creative organisations have a significant influencing power to help shape a sustainable Scotland for the 21st century.

In 2011 we worked with partners Festivals Edinburgh, the Federation of Scottish Threatre and Scottish Contemporary Art Network to support over thirty arts organisations to operate more sustainably.

We are now building on these achievements and working with over 70 cultural organisations across Scotland in various key areas including carbon management, behavioural change and advocacy for sustainable practice in the arts.

Our work with cultural organisations is the first step towards a wider change. Cultural organisations can influence public behaviour and attitudes about climate change through:

Changing their own behaviour;
Communicating with their audiences;
Engaging the public’s emotions, values and ideas.

Go to Creative Carbon Scotland

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Aesthetics of uncivilisation (call for visual works)

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

By Chris Fremantle

At Carrying the Fire, which was held at Whiston Lodge last year, Dougie Strang had asked me to contribute to the discussions, and I read a section of Helen Mayer Harrison and Newton Harrison’s Lagoon Cycle (1985). The poem evokes the world-wide changes resulting from the increase in heat and consequent decrease in ice. The text ends,

And in this new beginning
this continuous rebeginning
will you feed me when my lands
………….can no longer produce
and will I house you
when your lands are covered with water?
So that together
we will withdraw
as the waters rise?

The Harrisons combine poem and image in artworks that speak to eco-cultural well-being: social and environmental justice. A larger part of this poem and the associated image, a world map where the seas have risen as a result of total ice melt creating a coastline redrawn at the level of 300 feet, is here, and the whole of the book of the Lagoon Cycle is here.

The Dark Mountain project, of which Carrying the Fire is a Scottish branch, seeks ways to speak about collapse: the collapse of our civilisation, the fragile world we live in, the need for a different type of civilisation.  And whilst that collapse might seem distant living in Scotland, it is a constant state for people and ecologies in other places (in the last ten years, Haiti, New Orleans, New York, Fukushima, Sri Lanka and the Philippines).

Dark Mountain publishes edited volumes of writing and visual material, providing a space for thinking and speaking about collapse, not hysterically, but thoughtfully and with care. Charlotte Du Caan has joined the Dark Mountain project as Arts Editor and asked in an introductory blog and call (current deadline 6 Jan 2014) for visual works for the next two editions, “Is there an aesthetics of uncivilisation?”

This is not simply a question of the aesthetics of desolation, of abandonment, an aesthetics well explored particularly in photography. Perhaps what we are looking for is a wider aesthetics of a different future. The Dark Mountain project, a project of uncivilisation (a term it seems they coined), suggests that it is precisely the thing we normally call civilisation that needs to be called into question. The civilisation being addressed is that which separates us, makes us think we can control and consume the ecological systems that we are in every conceivable way part of and from which we are literally inseparable.

Firstly we must understand that the aesthetics that Charlotte and the Dark Mountaineers are calling is a new sort of aesthetics, not an aesthetics of decoration, or of ‘form following function’, but an ethical-aesthetic dimension added to the fundamental characteristics of sustainability, of doing nothing that diminishes eco-cultural well-being for future generations (of all living things).

The idea of an ethical aesthetic relationship with all living things is developed by the Collins and Goto Studio in their current project The Forest is Moving. The Black Rannoch Woods are the southern-most significant remnant of the Caledonian Forest which used to cover Scotland. Black Rannoch is an incredible complex ecosystem from the bugs to the granny pines, but it is also culturally significant as a future indicator as well as a remnant of the past. It could get larger, it could join up to woods in Glen Lyon and further across Highland Scotland. This revitalised Caledonian Forest could provide a different form of landscape experience for people in Scotland. It could inform and address urban challenges such as nature deficit disorder. But the Collins and Goto Studio are also provocatively interested in technology and their work Plein Air uses a range of sensors to enable us to experience trees breathing in a gallery space mediated by audio driven by complex algorithms.

Plein Air, Collins and Goto Studio, 2006-ongoing. With artists’ permission

A key aspect of the aesthetics we might be looking for is focused on reconnecting with nature. Charlotte Du Caan highlights the work of artists including Richard Long, who makes art from walking, art which is not first and foremost about ownership. In fact Long’s fellow walking artist Hamish Fulton says, AN ARTWORK MAY BE PURCHASED BUT A WALK CANNOT BE SOLD. Charlotte cites Derek Jarman’s Garden near the nuclear power station at Dungness, as well as jewellery made from lost keys found on the banks of the Thames, furniture made from scrap metal, but also artists who focus specifically on the detail of plants and patterns of growth. It’s an eclectic mix which might or might not sell and be collected, but speaks of deep and personal explorations of the interrelations of the artist and their environment(s).

Another quite different aesthetic might be exemplified by the recent action by Liberate Tate, a group of activists and campaigners for divestment from fossil fuels by the cultural temples. Liberate Tate have been campaigning for the Tate, the national museum of contemporary art in the UK, to cease to take sponsorship from in particular BP, but more generally from the fossil fuel industry. This work builds on PLATFORM‘s compelling analysis of the ‘social license to operate,’ the oil industry’s programmes to ensure that they can continue to do business regardless of the environmental and social destruction.

On the reopening of Tate Britain’s galleries of British Art, a large group of activists created an unofficial performance, Parts Per Million, of real power and affect. Dressed in black, as attendees at a funeral, they “performed rising carbon levels to the chronology of the Tate Britain re-hang” sponsored by BP, paralleling the history of British Art with the increasing level of CO2 in the atmosphere. The performance started in the ’1840′ room, representing the period when the CO2 generated by the Industrial Revolution in Britain started to make a measurable impact on global CO2 levels. Characterised by choreographed movement reclaiming public space, voiced in the same manner as the Occupy mic-check (one person says something which is then repeated by the collective), this work speaks directly to our relationship with Nature. It disambiguates the historical as well as contemporary connections between art and industrial culture.

The final aspect that might be relevant to an aesthetic of uncivilisation is the work of Penny ClareChris Dooks drew attention to her work and has included it in his forthcoming Phd. Penny’s photographs are taken by her in bed in the darkness. The text that goes with the images on the Pheonix Rising website says,

I was mostly confined to bed in a dark room – for years, and years, and years. At some point, in this isolated sea, I started taking photos. From my bed, in the dark. And my relationship to my illness and circumstances took on a different meaning and found creative expression. It was my way of creating movement.

Bed Deconstructing into its elements, Penny Clare, with artist’s permission

They are not only very beautiful, but also represent an interesting point, being works made with very low energy, in her case low energy resulting from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, but perhaps indicating that low energy might be an interesting wider experience. ME/CFS is a form of personal collapse and Penny’s response is a clue to a wide society experience of low energy or collapse.

All art is a form of mediation and also transformation of the artists’ experiences. We need to be careful in assuming that art has some special ability to bring us closer to nature. In the first instance it brings us closer to art. Some art succeeds in renewing our senses, making us look at the world around us anew.  Some art can reframe our experiences and reconnect our emotions to our understandings.  One characteristic of an aesthetic of uncivilisation might be that it incorporates a new sort of ethical dimension, not necessarily in a simplistic or didactic way, but fundamentally in the interrelation between people, art and environment.

The aesthetic of uncivilisation might also take up some of the characteristics that Suzanne Lacy attributes to the work of Allan Kaprow. He emphasised the importance of process as the “product” of art. He was interested in the meaning-making between people more than the object or activity that is usually identified as ‘the work’.  Ambiguity and questioning are central to the structure of his works, and for Lacy this is a way to balance dealing with prominent issues and distinguish art from politics.  Finally, the blurring of art and life in its various manifestations denies the artist recourse to the assumed authority of talent, or recourse to claiming value simply because it is art.

I hope this last point might be a defining characteristic of the aesthetic of uncivilisation.

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

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E-Waste Recycling Rally: The NFL is Playing for Keeps and Greening Broadway

This post comes to you from the Broadway Green Alliance

The NFL is Playing for Keeps

Author: James Gowen

Before the Super Bowl last year, more than 7.5 million households purchased a brand new television before the big game. Whether viewers are watching to catch the big game, the spectacular halftime show, or even for the striking commercials, everyone wants the perfect display to make their viewing a touchdown. If you’re one of these many devoted Super Bowl fans, you are probably searching for deals during Black Friday or Cyber Monday sales. No matter how you watch your favorite team, don’t forget to bid farewell to your old TV sets responsibly.

NYRP Tree Planting     VZW Electronics Recycling Pile

In the United States, more than 80% of TVs are left to be dumped in landfills. Landfill disposal poses a threat to the environment and well-being of the community. Certain televisions may contain hazardous and toxic materials, such as lead, mercury, and arsenic.

Recycling TVs will not only keep this toxic waste out of the ground, but it will also eliminate the need to extract other limited resources. Once a TV is dropped off to be recycled, it is taken to a special facility where it is taken apart and separated for recycled disposal. The glass from the screens, for example, is ultimately used in other products.

Huddle Up!

Landfill interception! Verizon and the NFL simplified this issue by offering an event for all their favorite fans. People were able to bring their old TVs and other personal e-waste to Verizon’s Recycling Rallies on 1/8 in Times Square and on 1/7 in Fair Lawn, NJ. To find a recycling center located near you, please visit

Enjoy your new devices, but don’t forget to recycle your old ones! Happy shopping!

Greening Broadway

By Rebekah Sale, Coordinator of the Broadway Green Alliance

For the past five years, the Broadway Green Alliance (BGA) — an industry initiative that educates, motivates, and inspires the entire theatre community and its patrons to adopt environmentally friendlier practices — has been working to green-up Broadway. Besides working with theatre owners to replace all of their roof and marquee lights with energy-efficient bulbs, we now have a backstage liaison at nearly every Broadway show, operate a free binder exchange, circulate information on greener, better practices for all areas of theatre, and hold recycling collection drives four times a year.

For Broadway Green Alliance’s next drive, the alliance was thrilled to be partner with Verizon and the NFL Environment Program on a January 8th Electronic-Waste Recycling Rally in Times Square. Take a look at the website,, for event details as well as lots of resources and useful links.



When the Broadway Green Alliance holds electronic waste drives we always save all iPods for our friends at the Broadway Alzheimer’s iPod Drive.  This inspiring program, started by Broadway musician Dave Roth, puts iPods into the hands of area Alzheimer’s patients through the Music and Memory Foundation ( The iPods are loaded with music familiar to these patients and what happens when these patients hear the music they remember is amazing.  As Dave explains,

“My mother spent her life devoted to conducting her folk choir in church for nearly 35 years. Unfortunately she has slipped into the fog of Alzheimer’s disease. She has not only lost memories but also the ability to speak. Using Music & Memory’s idea of personalized music, I decided to bring the music back in her life. The results were astounding because she surprisingly was able to recall lyrics and use words that my family and I hadn’t heard her use in years! “

Dan Cohen, the founder of the non-profit Music and Memory, explains:

“Although it doesn’t work for everybody and it is not a cure, it is turning out to be pretty powerful medicine for persons with dementia and others facing cognitive and physical challenges. Re-connecting nursing home residents with “their” music improves mood and enjoyment, increases sociability, enhances cognition, and reduces agitation.”

Dave Roth elaborated:

“Not only does the patient benefit but the families also feel the rewards from the therapeutic process of reminiscing about their loved ones’ favorite music of their past. It brings families together at a time when they already feel the impacting loss of their loved ones. The Broadway community has banded together and continues to ask everyone to donate their new or used iPods and to remember that ‘every used iPod can bring back a lifetime of memories!”

iPods collected at the January 8th event will go to Music and Memory to provide New York area nursing home residents with iPods with personalized playlists. Currently there is a waiting list of hundreds of residents who are waiting to enjoy their music.

The Broadway Green Alliance was founded in 2008 in collaboration with the Natural Resources Defense Council. The Broadway Green Alliance (BGA) is an ad hoc committee of The Broadway League and a fiscal program of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids. Along with Julie’s Bicycle in the UK, the BGA is a founding member of the International Green Theatre Alliance. The BGA has reached tens of thousands of fans through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other media.

At the BGA, we recognize that it is impossible to be 100% “green” while continuing activity and – as there is no litmus test for green activity – we ask instead that our members commit to being greener and doing better each day. As climate change does not result from one large negative action, but rather from the cumulative effect of billions of small actions, progress comes from millions of us doing a bit better each day. To become a member of the Broadway Green Alliance we ask only that you commit to becoming greener, that you name a point person to be our liaison, and that you will tell us about your green-er journey.

The BGA is co-chaired by Susan Sampliner, Company Manager of the Broadway company of WICKED, and Charlie Deull, Executive Vice President at Clark Transfer<. Rebekah Sale is the BGA’s full-time Coordinator.

Go to the Broadway Green Alliance

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International Uranium Film Festival

From International Uranium Film Festival 


• Rio de Janeiro – New Delhi – Berlin – Window Rock – New York – Copenhagen – LA

In 2013 the International Uranium Film Festival organized festivals in Rio de Janeiro, New Delhi, Mumbai,… Berlin, Munich, in New Mexico and in Window Rock Navajo Nation and showed more than 60 documentaries and movies about the risks of nuclear power, atomic bombs, uranium mining, nuclear waste and depleted uranium weapons: From Hiroshima to Fukushima. Thanks to all friends, partners and supporters the International Uranium Film Festival could show these important films to hundreds and thousands of people in three continents and more than a dozen cities.

Please support the International Uranium Film Festival  in 2014, so that it can continue its important mission. In 2014 the festival will begin in Washington DC (Feb 10-12) and New York (Feb 14-18). Then comes in May, the main event of 2014 – the 4th International Uranium Film Festival of Rio de Janeiro. Further festivals are planned in Nepal, India, Germany, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Greenland, United States and more. The festivals can only be realized with generous support from environmental and socially conscious people, companies and institutions.

For more information on the films shown at the International Uranium Film Festival:
Women of Fukushima
Nuclear Savage: The Islands of Secret Project 4.1
New York Brooklyn Program

Donate directly through Paypal.

Festival Office and Film Entry Address:
Uranium Film Festival
Rua Monte Alegre. 356 / Apt 301
Rio de Janeiro / RJ
CEP 20240-194 – Brazil

Call for Proposals 2014 Power of Words Conference

Call for Proposals 2014 Power of Words Conference.


Transformative Language Arts Network – Power of Words Conference

Call for Proposals-Deadline, January 15, 2014

The Transformative Language Arts Network 2014 Power of Words Conference, is to be held September 19-21 at Lake Doniphan Retreat Center near Kansas City, Missouri, and we are seeking your proposals. You can find the Proposal Form here.

This powerful conference brings together writers, storytellers, performers, musicians, educators, activists, healers, health professionals, community leaders, and more! Together, the conference explores the written, spoken and sung word, seeking to find how it can bring liberation, celebration, and transformation to individuals and communities. The Transformative Language Arts Network invites your proposals for experiential, didactic, and/or performance-based proposals that focus on writing, storytelling, drama, film, songwriting, and other forms of Transformative Language Arts (TLA).

This conference also offers workshops in four tracks: narrative medicine (healing and health related to the written, spoken and sung word), right livelihood (making a living from what you love in service to your community), social change (community building, ecological awareness, activism and more), and engaged spirituality (spiritual and/or religious practices related to TLA). Because the Transformative Language Arts Network is strongly committed to including individuals from diverse backgrounds, they encourage workshop proposals from people of color and all ages.

You will be notified if your workshop is accepted by March 1, 2014. Please note that the Transformative Language Arts Network is unable to offer presenters payment or waivers of conference fee (although we do work work-study and scholarships for conference fee reduction), and that presenters must register and pay for the conference by the early bird deadline of May 1st. For further information, please contact Deb Hensley, TLAN Network Coordinator, 576 N. Palermo Road, Freedom, Maine 04941. 589-944-4039

Keynoters are Kelley Hunt, international touring artist and singer-songwriter; Kevin Willmott, award-winning filmmaker, writer and director; Doug Lipman, storyteller, coach, mentor and author; and Scott Cairns, poet and writer. Artists-in-residence are poet, painter and muralist Jose Faus, and storm and weather photographer Stephen Locke. A special pre-conference reading features five Missouri and Kansas poets laureate: Wyatt TownleyWilliam Trowbridge, Walter Bargen, Denise Low, and Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg.

Read about the whole conference here.
To access the Proposal Form, go here.

The 2014 Power of Words Conference will be held September 19-21, at the beautiful Lake Doniphan Conference and Retreat Center just outside Kansas City, Missouri.

France: Coal mine turned into solar-powered concert hall

This post comes to you from Culture|Futures

France: Coal mine turned into solar-powered concert hall

A onetime coal complex in northern France has produced a building that is alive with the sound of music – a solar-powered concert hall that uses its own walls to create it.


As the first of the large industrial powers in the world, France decided already in the early 1990s to abandon coal mining and shut down all of its coal mines. The last mine was shut down in 2004.

The city of Oignies in north France decided to make a new use of the abandoned coal mining buildings. Visitors are now travelling there to experience how one of its old coal factories have been turned into a concert hall and cultural house whose walls produce and diffuse sounds in harmony with the play of light as an “urban musical instrument”. It serves as a secular bell, signals the beginning of a concert, and produces a peripheral sound space.

24 musical instruments are integrated into the walls, making the building itself a playable instrument. The building’s exterior is sheathed in a steel structure made up of a mosaic of tiles that includes frosted glass, steel, and wood—all of which transmit sound. Photovoltaic panels line its roof and are built into the frame that runs along the building’s back porch.






The 24 ‘house instruments’ were created by musician and sound designer Louis Dandrel

The Metaphase Concert Hall was designed by the architectural company Herault-Arnod

Since its opening in spring 2013, the venue has hosted a variety of musical groups, including rock, rap, and reggae acts and American hardcore punk band Suicidal Tendencies.

In 2012, the former coalmining town of Lens similarly opened “a striking new outpost” on the site of an old coal pit, The Louvre-Lens. The British newspaper The Guardian called it France’s “most important arts event of the decade,” with local politicians heralding it as nothing short of “a miracle”.

Nation of enviromental excellence
French president François Hollande has promised to make France “the nation of environmental excellence”. Because of its efforts with reducing its consumption of fossil energy during the last two decades, the country has long been a consistent low-carbon leader globally.

The French Parliament recently took two significant stands to help combatting the international carbon emissions crisis. On 19 December 2013 they adopted a budget for 2014 which includes a tax on carbon emissions from gas, heating oil and coal, and a few months earlier the country issued an absolute ban on gas mining with ‘fracking’, the hydraulic fracturing mining technique.

The money derived from the carbon tax — which largely targets transport fuels and domestic heating — will be used to reduce emissions through increased installation of renewable energy throughout the country, according to the report. The move is projected to raise €4 billion, or $5.5 billion, per year by 2016, which can then spent on tax breaks for the wind and solar power industries.

The burning of coal today is responsible for a third of global carbon emissions.

Take Part – 17 December 2013:
Once a Coal Mine, Now a Solar-Powered Music Hall
The Metaphone is part musical venue and part musical instrument.
Article by Andri Antoniades

Culture|Futures is an international collaboration of organizations and individuals who are concerned with shaping and delivering a proactive cultural agenda to support the necessary transition towards an Ecological Age by 2050.

The Cultural sector that we refer to is an interdisciplinary, inter-sectoral, inter-genre collaboration, which encompasses policy-making, intercultural dialogue/cultural relations, creative cities/cultural planning, creative industries and research and development. It is those decision-makers and practitioners who can reach people in a direct way, through diverse messages and mediums.

Affecting the thinking and behaviour of people and communities is about the dissemination of stories which will profoundly impact cultural values, beliefs and thereby actions. The stories can open people’s eyes to a way of thinking that has not been considered before, challenge a preconceived notion of the past, or a vision of the future that had not been envisioned as possible. As a sector which is viewed as imbued with creativity and cultural values, rather than purely financial motivations, the cultural sector’s stories maintain the trust of people and society.
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Trees, mother trees and interactions

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

This short film opens up a different understanding of forests and the interactions between trees facilitated by fungi – inspiring stuff reinforcing the importance of respecting the complexity of forests across both species diversity and age diversity.  Professor Suzanne Simard of the University of British Columbia highlights the importance of Mother or Granny Trees in these networks.  Thanks to Jan Van Boeckel for highlighting this video.

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

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