Climate Change Impacts

Cape Farewell’s second Sea Change expedition will set sail around Scotland’s Northern Isles

SEA CHANGE 2013: Next week 27 international and Scottish artists and scientists will set sail across Orkney and Shetland to explore climate change impacts, adaptation and resilient behaviours among Scotland’s island communities

On 19th August Cape Farewell’s second Sea Change expedition will set sail around Scotland’s Northern Isles.  27 leading artists and scientists will explore technologies, projects and practices supporting the resilience of Scotland’s island communities, ecologies and cultures. First launched in 2010 Sea Change is a four year programme that brings together artists and scientists to investigate the relationship between people, place and resources and what it means to care for one’s ‘place’ in the context of climate change.  This latest expedition, and the 2011 voyage, will form the basis of a major exhibition at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh in November 2013, bringing together for the first time the work of artists and scientists who sailed to the Western and Northern Isles of Scotland as part of Cape Farewell’s Sea Change project.

27 artists and scientists, including the dramatist Bryony Lavery, singers Karine Polwart and Inge Thomson, visual artist Ruth MacLennan, textile artist Deirdre Nelson, photographer Jennifer Wilcox, artist and sculptor John Cumming and the sailor Jo Royle – best known for sailing from America to Australia in a catamaran partly made from plastic bottles – will sail on the 113-year-old community owned Shetland Fifie ‘The Swan’ around Scotland’s most northerly coasts and islands. They will visit on and off shore renewable energy sites on Orkney and Shetland, artisanal and commercial fisheries, Fair Isle’s Bird Observatory, archaeological sites, and local art centres and community projects based on stewardship of the island’s terrestrial and marine ecologies, economies and cultures. To find out more about the expedition visit www.capefarewell.com/2013expedition

Brought together by Cape Farewell, which has been at the forefront of climate change art since 2001, the aim is to investigate the multiple impacts of climate change on the cultures and ecologies of Scotland’s island communities, and their approaches to sustainability, resilience and the concept of ‘faring well’ in times of change.  Islands are significant repositories of the world’s terrestrial and marine biodiversity and home to one tenth of its human population. Their ecosystems are diverse, complex and extremely fragile. Over the last century island biodiversity has been subject to increasing stresses associated with invasive species, resource depletion, pollution and climate change.

The Northern Isles of Scotland are made up of hundreds of miles of spectacular coastline, one of the world’s largest peatlands, important seabird colonies and magnificent landscapes shaped by thousands of years of human interaction with the environment. These outlying ‘bellwether’ islands are vulnerable to extreme weather events and to the economic impacts of the decline of habitats and species vital to local industries and tourism. However, the islands have become pioneers in terms of sustainability programmes, wind, wave and tidal technologies and adaptation projects, and they offer exciting, new approaches to the relationship between place, stewardship and community.

Leading the voyage is Ruth Little, Cape Farewell’s associate director. She said: “Like boats, Scotland’s island communities and ecologies offer palpable and symbolic evidence of the reality of resource constraint; the relationship between needs and limits that is the stuff of climate change.  These islands, with their exposure to natural forces, deep human histories and rich and fragile ecologies, remind us that we face the same challenges across the planet. Together the artists and scientists will explore community projects that strive to deliver economic, social and environmental diversity and resilience. ‘Their journeys will help shape new art-science collaborations, residencies and projects which will culminate in exhibitions and events in 2013 and 2014.”

Speaking about the expedition the sculptor John Cumming said: “Living in the Northern Isles, I have become increasingly aware of the extent to which climate change is impacting on our lives. My art is grounded in this culture, and I feel the need to respond. Sailing northern waters with a group of enquiring and creative people provides an ideal opportunity to observe, reflect and discuss.”

Textile artist Deirdre Nelson said: “I joined the expedition as I am interested in ways that artists and scientists can develop ideas together in order to draw attention to issues concerning the environment, community and climate change.  I am looking forward to exploring the seas and islands around Shetland – this will provide a rich learning experience and new insight into islands I have had a connection with for some time through research into textiles there.”

The boatbuilder Ben Duffin said: “As a traditional boatbuilder working with long term unemployed people in Glasgow with the GalGael Trust I have a strong interest in community development, maritime heritage and social resilience. A chance to explore these themes from the deck of a traditional boat was too good to pass up.”

Artist Ursula Biemann said: “After doing fieldwork in desert zones of northern Africa for several years, this will be the first opportunity for me to head north and do a project at Sea. I would like the ancient land and seascapes to take me back six thousand years when rising sea levels submersed the first settlements along Shetland Island’s shores. This post-glacial period resonates beautifully with today.”

Cape Farewell is a pioneering arts programme set up by artist and photographer David Buckland in 2001.  It works in partnership with scientific and cultural institutions to deliver an innovative programme of public engagement – challenging audiences to think differently  about climate change and the natural systems we inhabit. The organisation has worked with over 140 world-renowned artists, musicians and writers, including Rachel Whiteread, Jarvis Cocker, Ian McEwan, Yann Martel, Sophie Calle, Marcus Brigstocke and Antony Gormley which has resulted in the creation of a broad range of climate focused art and public dialogue. More information about future projects and exhibitions can be found by visiting www.capefarewell.com

Sea Change is a four year programme of research and making across Scotland’s western and northern isles.  It is supported by Creative Scotland, Arts Council England, Compton Foundation, Lighthouse Foundation, the Bromley Trust, Esperamos Films, Edinburgh College of Art and Jon and Nora Lee Sedmak.

Call for Papers: Media and Climate Change

This post comes to you from Cultura21

Papers are welcomed for a special issue of the journal Environmental Communication: A Journal of Culture and Nature (Official Journal of IECA) to be published in March 2014 on the topic ofMedia Research on Climate Change.

Acknowledging the vast amount of academic research done over the past decade on the media coverage of climate change and its various results, questions of how to continue in this research field have risen. What conclusions can be drawn from the existing works and how can the research move into the next phase? In which direction should the field orient itself, theoretically and empirically speaking?

Possible themes papers may address include:

  • The development of theoretical and conceptual frameworks for media studies on climate change
  • (New) methodological procedures for media studies on climate change
  • Particularly important empirical aspects of future media studies on climate change, such as online representations and/or the role of communications campaigns/persuasive communication
  • Ways in which media studies on climate change can be integrated into interdisciplinary collaborative research aimed at mitigating and adapting to climate change impacts

Deadline for submissions: 28 February 2013

For more detailed information on the journal and how to submit the paper, click here.

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

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Conference “Cultural Dimensions of Climate Change and the Environment in North America”

This post comes to you from Cultura21

The Conference will take place at the  Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (KWI) in Essen, Germany (June 28-29 , 2012)

Climate change is an inherently global problem. However, climate change impacts as well as mitigation efforts are always perceived and dealt with locally and in a culture-specific way. Global warming interacts in multiple ways with North American ecological and social systems. On the one hand, the U.S. and Canada belong to the world’s largest per capita emitters of greenhouse gases. On the other hand, the Arctic north of the continent as well as the Deep South is already heavily affected by a changing climate. Despite the US’s and recently also Canada’s rejection of international binding climate targets, on the local and regional level, some of the world’s most ambitious climate initiatives can be found in North America.

Striking about the symbolic representation of climate change in the USA is a relatively huge cultural variety. While in Europe climate change deniers are largely marginalized and without influence on mainstream politics, American views on climate change and the environment become increasingly polarized according to political beliefs. And whereas the U.S. hosts some of the world’s leading climate science institutions, religious explanations of why global warming is or is not happening, repeatedly have found supporters in media and politics, too.

How can these contradictions be explained? The participants will deal with these questions in the course of the conference that focuses on the human dimensions and cultural representations of climate change and the environment in North America.

You can read the program here.

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

New Online Maps: Population and Climate Change Hotspots

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

Population Action International’s mapping website shows how climate change and population dynamics will change the world over time. New features on the site include country profiles which contain maps, graphs, videos, and additional resources that offer a closer look at population, gender, and climate change trends in Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Nepal, and Peru.

High rates of population growth and climate change consequences overlap in many countries. Interactive maps illustrate how climate change impacts, demographic trends and the need for contraception are likely to affect countries’ abilities to adapt to climate change.

The maps identify 26 population and climate change hotspots – countries that are experiencing rapid population growth, low resilience to climate change, and high projected declines in agricultural production. Many hotspots are currently experiencing water stress or scarcity, a condition that will worsen with continued rapid population growth. And in many countries, a high proportion of women lack access to reproductive health services and contraceptives. Investments in family planning programs in these hotspots could improve health and well-being, slow population growth, and reduce vulnerability to climate change impacts.

The newly-updated interactive mapping website can be viewed here.

The brief guide to the population and climate change hotspots can be downloaded here.

Related themes of population, gender and climate change are highlighted in Population Action International’s new 15-minute documentary film, Weathering Change: Stories About Climate and Family From Women Around the World. The film takes viewers to Ethiopia, Nepal, and Peru to hear the stories of women as they struggle to care for their families, while enduring crop failures and water scarcity. The film shows how women and families are already adapting to the climate change challenges that threaten their health and their livelihoods. As the world’s population hits 7 billion in 2011, the film calls for expanding access to contraception and empowering women to help families and communities adapt to the effects of climate change. The film and related materials can be viewed at http://www.weatheringchange.org

 

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

Cape Farewell and the Scottish "bellwether" islands

This post comes to you from Ashden Directory

Cape Farewell known for its seafaring expeditions to the Arctic to study climate change, with scientists and artists aboard, is taking a journey closer to home.Kellie Gutman reports on Cape Farewell’s latest voyage.

For four weeks starting July 15, a rotating crew of thirty-two artists and nine scientists will sail around Scotland’s coastal islands to investigate the effects of climate change on the island cultures and ecologies.  A recent report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation warns about the ‘severe impact’ rising sea levels are likely to have on the coastline of the UK, and the Outer and Inner Hebrides are the ‘bellwethers’ for the coast. Each week will have a theme: Gaelic language; island musical tradition and story-telling; marine and environmental science; local resources and the built environment.

Cape Farewell associate director Ruth Little comments:

‘One of the aims of the project is to challenge the widespread assumption that climate change impacts are only relevant to coastal communities in the global south.  The environmental, social and economic situation in Scotland’s island communities resonates strongly with that of other island and coastal cultures worldwide… [We] will seek to develop new forms of communication for the human experience of climate change, and new forums for collaboration and bold imaginative response to the profound changes we all face.’

The islands have a wide range of sustainability projects ongoing, and Cape Farewell will use these as a starting point for a four-year plan of artist residencies to document, disseminate and bring together
islanders around the issues of sustainability.

The expedition blog can be followed on the Ashdenizen blogroll in our left-hand column.

“ashdenizen blog and twitter are consistently among the best sources for information and reflection on developments in the field of arts and climate change in the UK” (2020 Network)

The editors are Robert Butler and Wallace Heim. The associate editor is Kellie Gutman. The editorial adviser is Patricia Morison.

Robert Butler’s most recent publication is The Alchemist Exposed (Oberon 2006). From 1995-2000 he was drama critic of the Independent on Sunday. See www.robertbutler.info

Wallace Heim has written on social practice art and the work of PLATFORM, Basia Irland and Shelley Sacks. Her doctorate in philosophy investigated nature and performance. Her previous career was as a set designer for theatre and television/film.

Kellie Gutman worked with the Aga Khan Trust for Culture for twenty years, producing video programmes and slide presentations for both the Aga Khan Foundation and the Award for Architecture.

Patricia Morison is an executive officer of the Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts, a group of grant-making trusts of which the Ashden Trust is one.

Go to The Ashden Directory