Happy New Year and reminder about deadlines for the 2016 eco-art projects Jane Ingram Allen curates in Taiwan

January 6, 2016 by

Two amazing opportunities from Jane Ingram Allen

Jane Ingram Allen Art Projects

Hello Everyone,

I hope that your 2016 is happy, healthy and adventurous!  This photo shows me working in Izmir, Turkey, on my recent Fulbright Specialist grant project with the Museum of Paper & Book Arts, Ege University, Izmir, Turkey.  My experience as an artist in residence in Turkey was great, and I am looking forward to more adventures in 2016.


I wanted to remind artists to send applications soon for the 2016 eco-art projects I curate in Taiwan. This Spring I will again be going back to Taiwan to curate two environmental art projects that invite international artists to come to Taiwan for a 25-day residency and create site-specific environmental art projects. Selected artists receive a stipend of US$2000, airfare, accommodations, meals and volunteer help.

The deadline for applications is coming up fast for the Cheng Long Wetlands International Environmental Art Project in Yunlin County, Taiwan. All application materials must…

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Reviewer needed: The Green Bloc

January 5, 2016 by


Thanks to James Brady for highlighting this.  We’d very much like to have Maja Fowkes new book ‘The Green Bloc
Neo-avant-garde Art and Ecology under Socialism’ reviewed for ecoartscotland. Given Richard Demarco’s many years engineering exchanges between Eastern Europe and Scotland there may be a thread of particular relevance.  If you are interested in reviewing this book, contact us through email or the comments section below including a link to a previous book review (self-published is fine). We organise to lend you a copy.
Maja Fowkes is co-director of the translocal institute, an important ecoart oriented organisation in Budapest.

What can the arts contribute to a Land Use Strategy for Scotland?

December 22, 2015 by

Woodland cover in Scotland. Image from Scottish Government website

The Scottish Government is consulting on a new Land Use Strategy for Scotland. This builds on the first Strategy (2011) and also on the two pilot studies done (Aberdeenshire and the Scottish Borders).

At the heart of the Land Use Strategy are the ideas of Natural Capital and Ecosystems Services Assessment. and the use of GIS to integrate many different aspects of our understanding of the land.  Dr Aileen McLeod, Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, says in the Introduction to the consultation document,

In the wider context we have seen the development of the natural capital agenda and the formation of the Scottish Forum for Natural Capital, the increased use of an ecosystems approach and significant developments in areas such as the use of spatial mapping tools.

Natural Capital and Ecosystems Services Assessment are problematic both in terms of the financialisation of everything, as well as in the fundamental anthropocentric focus.  But they also shift the framework from ‘single issues’ to ‘systems,’ and the Ecosystems approach recognises the cultural dimension, albeit mostly through a tourism lens.

It is acknowledged that the cultural dimension is particularly difficult to assess in part because it relates to both tangible (e.g. recreational areas, footpath networks, scenic beauty as well as perhaps traditional practices) as well as intangible (e.g. stories, myths and values as well as again traditional practices). Traditional agricultural practices for instance shape the landscape, but are also part of the cultural identity of a landscape. An example of the intangible aspect of this might be the Bothy Ballads of the North East. These form part of the landscape metaphorically, but also can perhaps contribute to understanding the pattern of land use.

But the cultural dimension is not only understanding and valuing the past, it can also be about the present and the future. This has been exemplified in two recent publications. Alec Finlay’s ebban an flowan is a poetic primer for the marine renewable industry and We Live With Water is a vision for Dumfries, where “…tak[ing] an alternative approach and try to imagine a future where increased rainfall, sea-levels and river surges would be seen as an opportunity. We tried to imagine Dumfries as River Town….a place that embraced its environment…a place that Lives With Water.”


As previously highlighted in the blog Land Use Strategy Pilot: What’s it got to do with artists? there are many examples of contemporary arts practices which can contribute to the Land Use Strategy, and we highlighted ones which already work with GIS systems, the spatial planning tool which is at the heart of Land Use Strategy development.

GIS is very valuable for seeing the relations between soil, water quality, biodiversity, ecosystems health and resource extraction. But it is a particular challenge to introduce cultural knowledge into GIS systems both because cultural knowledge doesn’t typically have a spatial character in the way that knowledge about soil type, forest cover, water or agricultural land quality is inherently spatial.

But if we believe that ‘place’ should be at the heart of any Scottish Land Use Strategy then artists and other cultural practitioners across the humanities (cultural historians and geographers, environmental philosophers, anthropologists, literature and language studies and art historians amongst others) need to find ways to contribute to the Land Use Strategy, especially given that the inclusion of the cultural dimension within the Ecosystems Services Assessment legitimises that input.

Moreover arts practices that focus on the systemic, relational and dialogic, artists with social and community, environmental and ecological practices, can make very important contributions. They can ask questions such as,

“What would Scotland’s landscape look like if significantly more people had stewardship over it?”

“Is conservation, and in particular keeping people out, the only way to manage areas of iconic significance?”

“What does a river see when it looks at us?”

“How can brownfield restoration meet more than legislative requirements?”

“What if renewable energy technology was developed by architects, designers and artists for communities?”

You can contribute to the Scottish Government’s Land Use Strategy consultation here.  The questions seem to be very specific and directed at confirmation (or dissent) rather than any sort of open-ended discussion, participatory or deliberative process.

If you are willing to share your thoughts about what you you think the questions are and how the arts might contribute to understanding those questions (or enabling other questions to be asked) with ecoartscotland we’ll publish them to promote a greater understanding of the ways in which artists, producers, curators and cultural managers can contribute to this important issue.

Please include examples: we are particularly interested in examples of arts projects that address ecosystems, eco-cultural well-being, and ways of working with GIS systems (or challenge the spatial technologies).

Chris Fremantle: ‘ The Hope of Something Different’

December 18, 2015 by

Thinking through the relation between social/community and environmental/ecological art practices.

A Restless Art

‘One of the most fundamental rights is to have your understanding of the world recognised and valued’.

Chris Fremantle

Participatory art is a rich and diverse practice. Much of its energy comes from the creative tensions between different theories and visions, as may be seen from some of the reaction to the Turner Prize jury’s choice. But art is not only intellectual and rational. It is felt, perceived, practiced and experienced. Some of the most creative discussions happen within projects, between artists and participants (or, as I’d prefer to say, between professional and non-professional artists). That is why I think of it as a restless art.

And so this project, in its conception and unfolding, is a space for discussion, reflection and development. Other voices are not just welcome: they are intrinsic to what it is trying to do. They are being heard in the meetings and conversations I’m having…

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Local energy economies; where infrastructure fails, innovation succeeds | Nesta

December 17, 2015 by

This article from NESTA, continuing the theme on energy policy, highlights some interesting examples of innovation occurring on the edge, in this case the Scottish Islands. Grid limitations or total lack of grid connectivity have prompted new approaches to better use of energy and better approaches to equality. Very glad to see the social and environmental justice approach taken on Eigg highlighted – community agreed limits lead to better self-management. How can larger communities engage in this sort of participatory energy policy? How can we imagine new ways to make better use of peak energy production from renewables as well as address base-load?


Future Works Changes Everything

December 11, 2015 by

What should our energy mix be in the future? And what was it like in the past?  Really good starting points for thinking at regional scale and developing research.

Future Works

We are Sheffield School of Architecture, MArch Studio Future Works 2015-2016, looking at energy, industry and manufacturing. Over the next six months we will be designing, both collectively and individually for the future of this region. This initial stage of our project has taken our team to several existing factory precedents and allowed us to observe a variety of industrial processes. The studio’s main driver is to explore the typology of ‘Future Factories’ with a particular focus on energy.


The pie charts on the right indicate the current energy situation in the UK.

The majority of energy is currently provided by non-renewable sources. 30% is sourced from coal and 30% from gas. A further 19% is produced from nuclear energy power plants with a further 4 additional plants planned for completion in the near future. At present 19% is supplied by renewable sources.

By 2050 we would love to see…

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Away with the birds

December 6, 2015 by
Hannah Tuulikki, Away with the Birds, 2014, Film still, Daniel Warren

Hannah Tuulikki, Away with the Birds, 2014, Film still, Daniel Warren

Last summer several years’ worth of development culminated in the performances of Away with the birds, written and performed by Hanna Tuulikki and produced by Suzy Glass.

Hanna Tuulikki’s Air falbh leis na h-eòin is a body of work exploring the mimesis of birds in Gaelic song.

Hanna’s vocal composition, Guth an Eòin | Voice of the Bird is the heart of the project. Written for a female vocal ensemble, it reinterprets archival material, fragmenting and re-weaving extracts of Gaelic songs into an extended soundscape. The music emerges from, and responds to, island landscapes and lives. It explores the delicate equilibrium of Hebridean life, the co-existence of tradition and innovation, and suggests the ever-present inter-relationship between bird, human, and ecology.

‘The piece is made from weaving together fragments of traditional songs and poems that imitate or emulate birdsong’ Tuulikki explains. ‘Each of the five movements represents a different habitat and bird community – wader, sea-bird, wildfowl, corvid, and cuckoo. In August we will perform the concert in the historic harbour of the beautiful Isle of Canna, where the music reverberates with the bird-calls and the ebb of the tide. The setting is so important to the piece. The Small Isles are a magical place and, to me, the performance begins as soon as people climb on-board the ferry-boat to make the crossing: the richness of the experience is people sharing a journey.’

Away with the Birds was conceived for and in relation to the Isle of Canna – its ecology, birdlife, history and community. The last custodians of the island, John Lorne Campbell and Margaret Fay Shaw, were renowned folklorists and ethnomusicologists whose extraordinary collection of Gaelic material is housed in Canna House. Steeped in the Gaelic tradition, their hospitality was famous and their home became a hive of creativity, welcoming artists, musicians, scientists and writers from across the world.

Access the interactive score with access to background material, audio and video clips as well as images here.

In this new version of Air falbh leis na h-eòin you become the navigator, steering your own way through Tuulikki’s score. Within its expansive sweep, sound, music, and movement are translated into gesture and precise notation. Words and vocables – sounds without meaning – represent the shapes of individual birds, flocks, skeins, waves and islands, as well as more abstracted forms, suggestive of motion or topography.

You can explore the entire composition in your own time, taking your own course. You can experience the texture of ecology, survey landscape and seascape, immerse yourself in the film, and read detailed notes on the source songs, poems, and birds. This is a prismatic experience that tunes us into a sonic continuum that reaches into the “more-than-human” world.

Should energy be boring?

December 4, 2015 by

Thought provoking questions challenging the assumptions about energy policy. Very relevant to the questions we are asking with the Land Art Generator Glasgow project. Many thanks to Chloe Uden and the Power Culture blog for highlighting.

Future Works

(c) Victor Evans; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

In her speech on a new direction for UK energy policy yesterday, Amber Rudd announced that she thinks “energy policy should be boring”.

Thanks Amber – it already is.

We think energy policy could, and should be, interesting, creative, inspiring…

Amber thinks people shouldn’t have to worry about energy policy, in her words, “energy policy shouldn’t be noticed.”

Energy security she continues, is, “the first priority –  it is fundamental to the health of our economy and the lives of our people”, says Amber.

This is a blanket statement, a warm blanket even.

An energy security blanket statement.

Should energy be something the UK feels smothered in? If it “underpins everything we do”, then acknowledging a bit of energy insecurity would be an important thing – a bit of give and take as in any relationship –understanding the issues and making an effort to work things out – together.


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Land Art Generator Initiative: Glasgow

December 1, 2015 by

Excerpts from a recent Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI) blog,

We believe that there is no better tool for creating a tipping point to strong climate action and 100% renewable energy infrastructure than to present a positive vision to the public of what that could look like and the residual benefits that such policies would bring to cities. The opportunity to bring new energy technologies into city planning and creative placemaking projects is at the heart of LAGI. As a part of the design and implementation of constructed works, LAGI educational programming provides the perfect platform for extensive community engagement and participatory design processes, leading to infrastructures that benefit the greatest number of people. LAGI Glasgow is proving to be the perfect example of this ideal delivery model.

In early 2013, we received an email from Chris Fremantle, producer, researcher, and founder of ecoartscotland. Following on conversations he had as a part of Creative Carbon Scotland’s Green Teas(e) — part of the European Green Arts Lab Alliance project, Chris wanted to know what it would take to bring LAGI to Scotland in 2015. From the start he was interested in customizing the planning of LAGI Glasgow to reflect the complexities of the debate around renewables and their relationship to key environments in Scotland. The success of renewable energy implementation there since the early 2000′s has figured heavily into land use and conservation discussions and has been extremely relevant to the independence debate.

Continue reading here

Elizabeth Monoian and Robert Ferry, LAGI Directors, spoke at the first ArtCOP Scotland event in Edinburgh, hosted by Creative Carbon Scotland.  Read Creative Carbon Scotland’s blog here.

City is a Thinking Machine: activism in the built environment

November 16, 2015 by

Lectures associated with The Geddes Institute‘s The City as Thinking Machine programme.

Accompanying the Exhibition in the Lamb Gallery is a programme of three evening events, the second of which takes place this Wednesday:

Activism in the Built Environment: Media

Wednesday 18 November 2015, 6pm in the D’Arcy Thompson Lecture Theatre, Tower Building, University of Dundee

This double bill should be of interest to architects planners lawyers psychologists, artists and other agitators, anyone interested in the city as the arena in which our social political and legal relations are played out and inscribed in our collective memory.

Mike Small – Geddes and the 5th Estate: Publishing, Citizenship and Cultural Insurgency

Mike Small is the editor of Bella Caledonia, a columnist for the Guardian and a lecturer in Food Citizenship as part of the UNESCO Chair of Sustainable Development and Territory Management at the University of Torino. He founded the Fife Diet local eating experiment which aims to re-localise food production and distribution in response to globalisation and climate change. He worked with the anarchist ecologist Murray Bookchin. He has published widely on Geddes. His lecture will put Geddes’ civics in the context of the contemporary outlier press.

Paul Guzzardo – A Septic Turn in the Space of Appearance: A Brief for the City with Elites in Decline

Paul Guzzardo is a Fellow at the Geddes Institute for Urban Research. He is a media activist, designer, and lawyer based in St Louis and Buenos Aires. He maps the devolving state of the American public sphere. He has published papers in Urban Design Journal and AD: architectural design, and co-authored with Michael Sorkin and Mario Correa Displaced: Llonch+Vidalle Architecture. His installations and theatre pieces have been exhibited and performed the US and the UK. His lecture will focus on the role of digital media in collective consciousness.

The lectures will be followed by questions and answers from the audience.  The questions and answers will be followed by a wine reception in the Exhibition in the Lamb Gallery.

The event will be recorded and posted on the Geddes Institute website.
The event is free and everyone is welcome.
This event is sponsored by the Geddes Institute at the University of Dundee and the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland


Poster to display Geddes Event Poster Media 18 Nov 15


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