Monthly Archives: October 2012

Shrimp Boat Projects: Gone Shrimpin’, 2012

This post comes to you from Shrimp Boat Projects

We are just now emerging from the whirlwind of the 2012 bay shrimp season, a season that had us finally working as fulltime commercial shrimpers, selling our catch in new ways and learning hard lessons at an ever-quickening pace. Among these lessons is certainly the impossibility of blogging and shrimping… frankly it’s impossible to do anything else when you’re shrimping fulltime. With the season now behind us, we’re playing catchup and high on our list is catching you up….

The season that wasn’t

From one angle, we just wrapped up a season that was robust–  full of ups and downs, surprises around every turn, and bursting with new insight and experience on everything from work to seafood economics to regional ecology and weather patterns– but that doesn’t tell much of the story, especially when you’re actually trying to make a living from this, as we were this season. From another angle, this may have been the strangest, most unpredictable, and ultimately most frustrating and disappointing shrimp season on Galveston Bay in memory. And no one, not even those who have worked these waters for the last 40 years, seems to know why.

Perhaps the first clues to an odd season was the brown shrimp crop showing up early in the bay, more than month before the bay season officially opened on May 15. Then there was the spike in jumbo white shrimp in the lower Galveston Bay, washing in from the Gulf for nearly six weeks in May and June. Our restaurant buyers found themselves adjusting their menus to accommodate these fresh beauties that would normally not show up till late summer. Following this, we were again thrown for a loop in mid-Summer when the white shrimp showed up en masse, at a time when the bay season normally has a month-long break from July 15- August 15. “Big Season” for bay shrimping officially commences on August 15 per Texas Parks & Wildlife policy, but biology was working off a much different calendar this season.  After scheduling time off at what should have been downtime in the season, we scrambled to get back to shrimping in early August barely catching what became the high point of the season. By late August, things were already in a downturn leaving most shrimpers wondering if that was it for the season or if we’d see another wave of shrimp moving through the bay. Aside from a handful of unsuspecting days, September was in fact a very frustrating month for shrimping as the shrimp harvest was not only small in volume but also in count at a time when the shrimp should have been at their biggest size. The shrimp were so small for most of September that most shrimpers couldn’t even catch legal-sized shrimp on a typical day. And so the season ultimately petered out for us, as well as many other shrimpers on the bay, in early October even as we kept wondering what the next northern wind or full moon might do to affect the shrimp.

 Introducing Discovery Shrimp & Oyster Company

It was inevitable that to earnestly participate in the local seafood economy, we had to develop a commercial enterprise to help us sell our catch and a branded identity that could help distinguish our efforts. Behold Discovery Shrimp & Oyster Co. ! When you think of Discovery Shrimp & Oyster Co., think FRESH  WILD-CAUGHT SEAFOOD FROM GALVESTON BAY. And never frozen. Since May, we’ve been working to create a new supply chain for fresh shrimp from Galveston Bay by working with the chefs at several great restaurants in Houston and by running a stand at the Urban Harvest Farmers Market on Saturday mornings.

Brown Shrimp Season

In the late spring/early summer, Brown Shrimp show up on the bay and constitute the primary early season crop  of shrimp. Though sweet and very tasty, at this point of the season the brown shrimp are very small in size (think 100-120 count /lb.), not exactly middle-of-the-plate shrimp. We had no idea how we would find a market for shrimp this size unpeeled and head-on (who wants to peel a shrimp that small?). Enter some very talented, adventurous and resourceful chefs looking to work with the most seasonal local ingredients and we began to find a new market for sweet Brown Shrimp in Houston. In the hands of these chefs, including Chris Shepherd (Underbelly), Benjy Mason (Downhouse), Justin Yu (Oxheart),German Mosquera (Roots Bistro), and Hori Horiuchi (Kata Roberta), a series of exciting brown shrimp recipes began to find a place on menus around town. If you’ve never tried a sweet brown shrimp cooked whole, just wait for next season!

 Texas City and Bayport Ship Channels

The ship channels at Texas City and Bayport became our go-to spots for shrimping this season, adding a new level of complexity to this endeavour, expanding our bay geography, and allowing us to catch larger quantities of shrimp. There is not a real clear answer for why there are more shrimp in these channels, there just are. Although it’d be a safe bet that it’s related to the channels being the only places on the bay where you see depths in excess of of 8-10 feet. These are man-made cuts through the bay meant to facilitate the global shipping trade, not shrimping, but that’s exactly what they do.

Less tricky to navigate than the big ship channel that runs from the mouth of the bay to the Port of Houston, but more tricky than the flats (the vast shallow areas where we shrimped last season) we graduated up to shrimping in the Texas City and Bayport ship channels. Still very different places to shrimp, the Texas City channel being in the lower bay, and the Bayport channel being in the upper bay, the season had us jumping from one channel to another as the shrimp stocks kept changing. While the channels differ in terms of geography, they both amounted to a significant uptick in intensity for our typical day on the bay. Whereas in the flats there are few rules for how and where to drag your net, the channels are governed by a specific set of rules and protocols adopted informally among shrimpers over time to insure that shrimping can coexist with the much bigger ships– tankers, container ships, tugs and barges– for which these channels are primarily designed. The rules also ensure that shrimping can coexist with itself, in other words, there’s a simple self-organizing system here that mitigates potential conflicts among shrimpers, dictating how early you drop your net in to start the day, where you shrimp along the channel, what direction you move and how far you are spaced from other boats. That’s not to say that conflicts don’t flare up on occasion. Any perceived deviation from the rules and you can be sure you’ll here it from another shrimper on the radio, as we did several times. But things typically get easily resolved and by the late summer we were calling out other shrimpers as much as they were calling out us. We actually started learning these rules back in 2011 as soon as we knew they existed, basically as soon as we learned we’d need to shrimp the channels to have any chance of making a profit in shrimping.

Welcome to Kemah

By the start of the big season on August 15, we made the decision to move the F/V Discovery to a new home at the Kemah Shrimp Co., right under the big bridge in Kemah. Much closer to the Bayport channel than our previous home at April Fool Point in San Leon, this new berth offered us all kinds of advantages: less diesel needed to get from home to boat and from dock to shrimping grounds, we could now sleep in till 4am instead of our previous 3am departure, and we could unload our catch right at the dock. Less easy to measure are all the intangibles that come with docking next to many of the same shrimpers we pass each morning on the bay; the informal tips on how to set our rig better; the reports on who’s catching what; the advice on when and where to find shrimp; and as the season petered out, a place where we could commiserate on what should have been a better season.

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.

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Nigerian theatre mixes oil and climate, on the ground

This post comes to you from Ashden Directory
Wallace Heim writes:

The Nigerian playwright and academic Greg Mbajiorgu got in touch with us after reading Robert Butler’s blogs on Ashdenizen on the difficulties of writing plays about climate change. Greg sent us his play, Wake Up Everyone, which has a preface quoting from this blog.

Wake Up Everyonebegan as a commission by the African Technology Policy Studies Network, Nairobi, Kenya for their international conference on climate change in Nigeriain 2009.

That policy world is represented in the main character, Maukwe Aladinma, a retired professor of agriculture, now attempting to get the local government in the rural Ndoli area to build flood defences and advising communal farmers on using organic waste and planting stronger, non-GMO seeds. The professor, too, is a dramatist. In a play-within-a-play, the actors of his theatre company rehearse scenes describing the effects of climate change, those happening now and those anticipated: rivers dried, torrential floods, tornadoes, plagues, famines and poverty. The surrounding scenes are of a naturalistic theatre style; the rehearsals are a play to be performed as if in a dream or possessed.

A local official, Chairperson of the Ndoli Local Government Area, Hon. Edwin Ochonkeya, blocks the building of the defences. When the threatened flood sweeps the land, the farmers become an angry mob, running off-stage to extract revenge on the official.

Greg’s writing is purposeful: to support impoverished farmers, to educate, to build resilience against the effects of climate change in rural Nigeria.

The information on climate change is familiar enough, if uncomfortable. The role of the expert in presenting knowledge to farmers is familiar, too, the belief and disbelief, the sometimes awkward juncture of different kinds of experience, the social power implicit in different kinds of knowledge.

The depiction of the official, Ochonkeya, is what startles. His actions are presented as commonplace. A militant against the oil companies, he was on the verge of forming his own kidnapping gang when a massive oil spill damaged his family’s land and killed his father. He employed a lawyer to bring an action against the companies, who settled out of court for three hundred million naira and funded his campaign for local office on the condition that he didn’t make any further case on behalf of affected farmers. He won his campaign with the rhetoric of environmentalism: ‘Before this plague of climate change the oil companies had milked our land dry, but have given nothing to nourish it. All that is left (of my family’s farmland) is thick layers of oil, oil in our waters, oil in our wet lands, oil in our fragile soil, down to the roots of our edible crops, oil and more oil…’

And now, he is stopping any adaptation to or mediation of climate damage.

In a single character, the play conveys the immediate, turbulent, deceptive forces underlying oil production in Nigeria and in Canada, Baku-Tbilisi, Iraq, the Arctic, a world not wholly expressed by the activists against it, working across political boundaries.

It couldn’t be more topical. Last week, in The Hague, four Nigerians and Friends of the Earth began a lawsuit against Royal Dutch Shell Plc for  its environmental record in the in Niger Delta, a case that may set a precedent for claims related to the activities of international corporations.

And on Friday, Wake Up Everyone received a first Individual Award in Arts and Humanities Research at the 5th Nigerian Universities Research and Development Fair in Mina, Niger State.

“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)

ashdenizen is edited by Robert Butler, and is the blog associated with the Ashden Directory, a website focusing on environment and performance.
The Ashden Directory is edited by Robert Butler and Wallace Heim, with associate editor Kellie Gutman. The Directory includes features, interviews, news, a timeline and a database of ecologically – themed productions since 1893 in the United Kingdom. Our own projects include ‘New Metaphors for Sustainability’, ‘Flowers Onstage’ and ‘Six ways to look at climate change and theatre’.

The Directory has been live since 2000.

Go to The Ashden Directory

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miniature horse meets war horse

Celeste and Joey, courtesy the Boston Globe

This post comes to you from Ashden Directory

Kellie Gutman writes:

War Horse opened in Boston on October 10 for a two-week run.  The traveling Broadway production, which originated at the National Theatre a few years ago, is getting all sorts of press.  The day before the opening the main characters – the horse Joey, his owner and his puppeteer – went to the Animal Rescue League in Dedham, Massachusetts to have a play date with Celeste, a miniature horse who had been involved in an animal cruelty case earlier in the year.  Joey is a well-traveled steed.  He has also been to Windsor Castle where he apparently won over the heart of the Queen.  The Handspring Puppet Company cofounders Adrian Kohler and Basil Jones, who designed the War Horse puppets, were featured in a long article about their puppets in the Boston Globe.

“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)

ashdenizen is edited by Robert Butler, and is the blog associated with the Ashden Directory, a website focusing on environment and performance.
The Ashden Directory is edited by Robert Butler and Wallace Heim, with associate editor Kellie Gutman. The Directory includes features, interviews, news, a timeline and a database of ecologically – themed productions since 1893 in the United Kingdom. Our own projects include ‘New Metaphors for Sustainability’, ‘Flowers Onstage’ and ‘Six ways to look at climate change and theatre’.

The Directory has been live since 2000.

Go to The Ashden Directory

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First Grants Announced By Theatres Trust From Its Theatres Protection Fund

The Royal Court in Liverpool, Sleaford Playhouse, Oldham Coliseum, and Wilton’s Music Hall, the Half Moon Young People’s Theatre and the Soho Theatre in London are the first theatres to benefit from grants awarded by Trust’s new Theatres Protection Fund Small Grants Scheme.
 
The Scheme helps theatres address urgent building repairs, improve their operational viability, introduce environmental improvements, and enhance physical accessibility.

The Grade II Art Deco Royal Court Theatre in Liverpool receives £5,000 towards the replacement of its Safety Curtain.

Soho Theatre receives £5,000 towards the replacement of its front doors to improve the physical access of this major centre for new theatre writing.

The Grade II Georgian Sleaford Playhouse receives £5,000 towards its fenestration project which returns this rare playhouse back to its original Georgian appearance and introduces environmental improvements.

Formerly on the Trust’s Theatre Buildings at Risk Register, the Grade II* Wilton’s Music Hall receives £5,000 towards restoring its orchestra pit and carrying out urgent repairs to the timber floor in the auditorium.

Oldham Coliseum receives £2,500 towards the redesign and replacement of this renowned regional producing and touring theatre’s box office, improving access for disabled patrons.

The Half Moon Young People’s Theatre serving young people in Tower Hamlets, receives £2,000 towards a new lift to improve access between its entrance and foyer.

Rob Dickins CBE, Chairman of The Theatres Trust said, “We are delighted to be able to provide valuable help at a crucial time with these projects and further recipient theatres will be announced in the near future.  This would not have been possible without the wonderful generosity of the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation and top producer, Judy Craymer.  I hope that more theatre professionals will follow their lead as I really want to be able to widen the level of financial support The Theatres Trust gives to theatres in need.”

The Trust’s Small Grants Scheme opened for applications in May 2012 and received applications for projects totalling £140,000.  The Trust’s Theatres Protection Fund, which funds the Scheme, has received £50,660 to distribute this year – £25,000 from the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, £25,000 from Judy Craymer MBE and £660 from a collection by J&C Joel from visitors at PLASA 2012.

Trustees of The Theatres Trust will meet again in December 2012 to consider further awards from the Theatres Protection Fund.

For more details contact Kate Carmichael, kate.carmichael@theatrestrust.org.uk

Call for Papers: Geography and Art

This post comes to you from Cultura21

The International Interdisciplinary Conference on Art and Geography: Aesthetics and Practices of Spatial Knowledges taking place at the University of Lyon, Francefrom February 11-13, 2013 is welcoming proposals till the 30th of October.

The conference is at the crossroads of contemporary geography and art. With the latest developments in how space, place and environment are viewed in contemporary art, it is necessary to take a critical look at how relevant geography’s various responses to this “spatial turn” have been and to unravel the implications – in factual, methodological, theoretical and epistemological terms – of the convergence between contemporary art and geography.

Geographers and artists from diverse backgrounds and with varying experiences in the field, as well as liberal arts researchers with similar interests in the spatial/geographical dimensions of art are encouraged to contribute.

For more information on the submission schedule:http://artgeographie.sciencesconf.org/resource/page?id=4&lang=en

For more information on the conference: http://artgeographie.sciencesconf.org/?lang=en

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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Sustainability and Empowerment

This post comes to you from Cultura21

The organizing committee of the International Graduate Conference in Hamburg, Germany invites you to the conference taking place from 22nd till 25th of November.

The theme of the conference is A survey on Latin-American perspectives after Rio+20, focusing on the Latin America continent, in the context of sustainable development and the role civil society can have in it. Examples like the Water War in Bolivia or the Ecuadorian Yasuní-Initiative, have shown, that Latin America can be an innovative region in forming civil responses to sustainability issues.

Keynote speakers will be Gian Carlo Delgado PhD. (UNAM) – author of several books dealing with the relationship among political ecology, imperialism and climate change – and Juanita Castaño PhD. (UNEP) – former member of the UN Secretary-General’s advisory board on water and sanitation and former Chief of the UNEP, who was present at the Rio +20 conference.

For more information on the conference:

http://sustainability-and-empowerment2012.blogspot.fr/2012/09/call4papersenglish.html

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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Sun. October 28: The Nomadic People of Kentifrica

LOS ANGELES – Look for our 1951 Spartan trailer at the Leimert Park Art Walk on Sunday, October 28 where multimedia artist Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle will present “Kentifrican Travel Narratives,” a performance piece exploring  the nomadic cultures of Kentifrica, a continent where the history of Kentucky and the ancestral heritage of West Africa converge. The event will feature a concert with Kentifrican songs for safety on the road and other music performed on instruments made from and inspired by Kentifrican culture.  A café with Kentifrican food will offer food to the public.

Kenyatta Hinkle (Cal Arts, M.F.A. ’12) was the youngest artist to participate this summer in the Hammer Museum’s  “Made In L.A.”  Her work is currently on display at a group exhibit, “BAILA con Duende”at Watts Towers (September, 2012 – January, 2012. )  In October, she will be at the Bindery Projects in St. Paul, MN.  In November her work will be shown at another group exhibit at  The Studio Museum in Harlem.

 Kentifrican Travel Narratives: Transversing Boundaries                                    Leimert Park Art Walk                                                                                                                Leimert Park Village, Los Angeles, CA 91804  map                                                               Sunday, October 28 – 12 pm – 4 pm                                                                                               This event is a co-production with Ben Caldwell’s Kaos Films

This post is part of a series documenting Sam Breen’a Spartan Restoration Project. Please see his first post here and check out the archive here. The CSPA is helping Sam by serving in an advisory role, offering modest support and featuring Sam’s Progress by syndicating his feed from http://spartantrailerrestoration.wordpress.com as part of our CSPA Supports Program.

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Art and Sustainability lecture in Mumbai by Sacha Kagan

This post comes to you from Cultura21

Cultura21′s Sacha Kagan  is presenting the research of his most recent book “Art and Sustainability: Connecting Patterns for a Culture of Complexity” in Mumbai on the 12th of October at the Goethe Hall, Max Mueller Bhavan at 6:30pm.

He is currently in Mumbai with a study group from the Leuphana University Lüneburg.

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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Platform on tour in Glasgow and Edinburgh, 21-24th October

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

Platform on tour in Glasgow and Edinburgh, 21-24th October – Platform London.

PLATFORM, the interdisciplinary social and enviromental practice working across arts, activism, education and research are in Scotland next week contributing to the Human Rights Documentary Film Festival in Glasgow as well as the Radical Independent Book Fair in Edinburgh. 

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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Culture|Futures Club: Vertical Cities

This post comes to you from Culture|Futures

Insights into the Sustainability Culture in slum areas in India

Organised in Copenhagen, Denmark, by Culture|Futures and CPH DOX on 5 November 2012 at the Cinematheque

We show the Indian film ‘Vertical Cities’ by Avjit Mukul Kishore – a movie about slums and ‘megacities’ – and have invited the director of the film as well as the Indian journalist Shastri Ramachandran (Executive Director at the National Centre for Advocacy Studies and former editor and writer at Global Times) to give a keynote speech at the event.

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.
Go toThis post comes to you from Culture|Futures

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