Spring Equinox News 2023

This is our Spring newsletter, one of our quarterly newsletters planned around the solstices and equinoxes of the year. The Easter equinox, on March 20th, is the moment of equal day and night. This is a good moment to remember the importance of equality in the struggles in face of the Earth crisis. As a collective of practitioners, we aim to raise awareness of social justice as part of the bigger environmental picture.

Our Winter newsletter shared some gifts with you from some of our collective members. This one aims to give you a Spring-y update of a few of our joint projects, and to tell you some more about our Emerging Practitioners programme and how you can help support us.

Goldsmiths Partnership

We recently delivered the third and final of a series of workshops experimenting with arts-based methodologies for engaging young people with climate & nature. We have worked with five secondary schools as well as students from Goldsmiths. This project is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, generating a collaboration between researchers from Goldsmiths College and several CMUK practitioners including Bridget McKenzie, Lucy Carruthers, Kevin Davidson and Tom Mansfield.

We will now move onto the next phase of the project which includes project evaluation, the production of a website, the publication of a book and arranging a conference on 13th-14th July 2023.

Reflective feedback from young people:

“It was refreshing to see different perspectives as we were talking together about the objects. It built up our understanding.”

“It made me surprised that the noises we ignore daily are beautiful. I will pay more attention to sounds.”

“I liked this because it helped us envision the animals in our heads. The sound made me see. And the cards helped us think more deeply about the state of the world and its destruction and what it needs.”

Imagine Futures

Artist’s impression of five future roles played in the Imagine Futures workshop (illustrations by young artist, Meg McKenzie)

What kind of positive futures can you imagine for the human and more-than-human inhabitants in our places, and how can our creativity help? What are the creative and helpful roles of the future in the face of the Earth crisis? With support of Festival Bridge (Norfolk & Norwich Festival) we ran a trial day-long workshop in February 2023 with local schools, university students, creative practitioners and environmentalists. This used Live Action Role Play and arts-based methods to answer these questions. We will look for opportunities to develop and roll out this workshop, and we have created a website with several other future-imagining methods and lots of professional development resources for teachers and creative practitioners.

Imagine Futures website

South Downs National Park

Photo by Les Chatfield Creative Commons By 2.0

CMUK has been commissioned by the South Downs National Park to do the following:

  • share some of our creative methods of working with young people with their local schools, create a pop-up museum based on our Print It Yourself materials and collections
  • deliver a workshop for the ‘Eco, Young and Engaged’ schools network’s summit next Spring and
  • deliver our ‘Eco Lens on Things’ training to staff in local museums.

The aim of this work is to share CMUK’s knowledge and resources so that more people are able to use them to engage children, young people and local communities in their local area and the effects of the Earth crisis on it, and to take positive action.

Emerging Practitioners

The Emerging Practitioners network and programme aims to provide funding, training, work, and support for young individuals eager to critically explore the potential for ‘eco-social art’ to create a re-generative culture.

The programme has been devised to provide younger adults, particularly with intersectional challenges, with opportunities to:

  • Network with like-minded individuals
  • Receive and participate in structured training featuring guest speakers
  • Connect with more established practitioners, providing possible mentorship opportunities
  • Access resources and opportunities for funding
  • Apply for paid-work opportunities with CMUK partner institutions.

We now have a growing network up and running, co-ordinated by Dorry Fox. Until we succeed in a substantial funding bid to support several paid placements, we invite you to donate to our crowdfunder, to allow our network members to carry out their own small projects.

Who are some of our Emerging Practitioners?

Clémence Aycard
I’m an emerging ecocritical art historian – specialising in using historical art collections to discuss our history with the environment. Most of my projects are still in development, but in 2021 I made this audiotour for Glasgow Museums.

Megan Bowyer
I am an artist working in the northwest of England and in Paris, France, looking at the interdisciplinary histories of landscapes like the Lake District. Most of my work is in drawing and writing, and in 2021 I was Climate Museum Young Associate at Tullie House Museum and Gallery.

Dorry Fox
I first heard about – and became very interested in – the work of Climate Museum UK when I started my PhD in October 2021. My project is a Collaborative Doctoral Partnership between the University of East Anglia and the Science Museum in London. The focus of my research is ‘curating climate change’: analysing and comparing how UK-based science museums and science centres have engaged with the issue in curatorial activities.

Dr Julie Armstrong
I am a creative writer based in Cheshire. My works include: Walking the Celtic Wheel, The Root & the Wing, The Magic of Wild Things and A Wild Calling. My writings in both fiction and creative nonfiction are concerned with drawing attention to climate change and habitat loss whilst celebrating the beauty of the natural world. I have a PhD in Creative Writing and was Programme Leader of Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University, Cheshire Campus, for a decade. I have also written for the Guardian’s Country Diary.

You can support the programme by donating to our crowdfunder

Cultural Assemblies

Allies @CultureDeclares invite you to join the journey this year as they launch a programme of Cultural Assemblies across the country!

They are offering a programme of support, funding & guidance for anyone wanting to get involved too. Find out more

Register your interest in getting involved here

Mini News Round-Up from some of our Associates

  • Bridget McKenzie travelled to York to work with staff from across York Archaeological Trust to develop their programmes with an eco lens.
  • Bridget has also been developing the People Take Action framework, and is running a pilot workshop with Norwich Eco Hub on 22nd March.
  • Julie Armstrong is a recent associate. Her writing practice draws attention to climate change and celebrates the beauty and wonder of the natural world.
  • Sonia E Barrett has a new body of work at the Diaspora Pavillion 2 at Bloc 366 which relates the colonial, the environment, land ownership, industrial pollution and issues of class. Insta: @soniablizabethbarrett

And finally, two Associate media offerings for you

Jaime Jackson is showing Plankton Nomad, a British Council commissioned moving image artwork and presenting his art practice in an artist discussion for Future Fantastic festival in Bangalore, India. This is an AI and Machine Learning generated work based on an archive of plankton images, made following a series of conversations with plankton ecologists and oceanographers from Plymouth Marine Laboratory and Liverpool University. Insta: @salt_road

Hayley Harrison is sharing a new moving image ‘the storm is already here’. This work is a meditation (of sorts) – a meditation of pixels, moonlight, and small pieces of debris landing on the roof of a narrowboat. This moving image and audio is taken from storms Dudley and Eunice which arrived in February 2022.

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