Monthly Archives: July 2021

What Is Your ‘Tipping Point’ for Collective Action?

By Tessa Teixeira

I recently read the article “As the Climate Crisis Grows, a Movement Gathers to Make ‘Ecocide’ an International Crime Against Humanity” from Inside Climate News. The authors state that “international lawyers, environmentalists, and a growing number of world leaders say that ‘ecocide’ – widespread destruction of the environment – would serve as a ‘moral red line’ for the planet.” French President Emmanuel Macron and Pope Francis add that ecocide is an offense that poses a similar threat to humanity as genocide. And Pope Francis describes ecocide as “the massive contamination of air, land and water” or “any action capable of producing an ecological disaster.” The Pope has proposed making ecocide a sin for Catholics, endorsing a campaign by environmental activists and legal scholars to make it the fifth crime before the International Criminal Court in the Hague.

My art practice has always focused on consciousness and what it means to be a sentient being, exploring ideas around the self, identity, and life and death. This naturally led to narratives addressing collective consciousness. Over the years, tipping points that affected my own consciousness led me towards wanting to change my personal behavior and increased my interest in the power of collective consciousness to effect bigger policy shifts to address the challenges we face for our future on planet Earth.

#2 Degree Celsius, 50 x 35 cm, one-color sugarlift aquatint etching, Fabriano paper

I started focusing on climate change and biodiversity loss in 2015 when I was faced with the possibility of Johannesburg, where I live, and other major cities in South Africa and nearby regions, experiencing a prolonged drought brought on largely by El Nino. On January 17, 2018, the city of Cape Town announced that it had reached “a point of no return” in its water supplies – something that most of us never thought possible. In Johannesburg, we watched the daily news daily in disbelief, while our own supply of water continued to dwindle. Then our local municipal water supplier declared, “Johannesburg is under Level 2 water restrictions.” Suddenly, we had to face this strange and unsettling situation where our water taps weren’t running. The possibility of having no water at all hit our consciousness, and there was a slight underlying unease as everyone rushed to fill up water tanks and buy water. The thought “the next world wars will be based on access to water” crept into my consciousness. The current El Nina weather pattern is bringing the opposite to drought –now it brings more frequent cyclones. Neighboring state, Mozambique, already struggling with extreme poverty, and a lack of adequate infrastructure and clean water supply, has in the past three years experienced three severe cyclones.

Lifeline, 50 x 39 cm, 3-color plate, lithograph, Fabriano paper, 2017

In 2016, I went to Iceland and saw snow, glaciers, and water like never before. A year earlier, the headline of a magazine article, “Land of fire and ice,” caught my eye and ignited a desire to go there. I was deeply affected by this experience, which has informed my artwork ever since. I wrote about it in my blog and posted images I took with my cellphone. The melody of Iceland is harmonized with its many waterfalls. Everywhere I looked, there were waterfalls gushing from the interior, cascading, and thundering down volcanic mountains towards the sea. The sheer power of the Gullfoss, the thundering Sejalandsfos, and the exuberant Skogafoss waterfalls, the majestic picturesque floating ice sculptures of the Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon on the south eastern coast, and the Isgongin glacier tunnel on the Langjokull Glacier were beyond comprehension. I kept asking myself: What can I, an individual, do to contribute to collective behavioral change? Can my artwork add to the awareness of and conversation around climate change in a meaningful way?

An article published in Frontiers in Conservation Science in January 2021 found that “future environmental conditions will be far more dangerous than currently believed. The scale of the threats to the biosphere and all its lifeforms – including humanity, is in fact so great that it is difficult to grasp for even well-informed experts.” The article also states that “the science underlying these issues is strong, but awareness is weak.”

Cold Shower, 2.5 x 2.5 x 3.5 m, mixed media installation

My current work explores these challenges and is influenced by biologist David George Haskell’s statement: “We are all – trees, humans, insects, birds, bacteria – pluralities. Life is embodied network. These living networks are not places of omnibenevolent oneness. Instead, they are where ecological and evolutionary tensions between cooperation and conflict are negotiated and resolved.” This work responds visually to scientific research around increased temperatures and its effect on oceans, coral reefs, forests, extreme floods, droughts and wildfires, and mass internal and external migration. The writer Oliver Sacks wrote: “I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and adventure!” And poet Mark Strand’s memorable words come to mind: “It’s such a lucky accident, having been born, that we’re almost obliged to pay attention.” He said: “We are only here for a short while. And I think it’s such a lucky accident, I mean, we are – as far as we know, the only part of the universe that is self-conscious. We could even be the universe’s form of consciousness. Most of our experience is that of being a witness. We see and hear and smell, I think being alive is responding.”

That pretty much sums it up for me.

(Top image: Scream (detail), 150 x 158 cm, mixed media drawing, 2020)

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Tessa Teixeira was born in South Africa. She graduated from WITS University in 1991 with a BprimED, majoring in Art. She has worked in access for housing projects for lower income sectors, started a NGO and raised the money to build two schools for primary school children, and worked for The Mineworkers Development Agency, addressing rural development needs in South Africa. In 2006, she started her art practice and in 2010, she participated in short art courses in the US and UK. At the end of 2011, she returned to Johannesburg and developed her artwork focused on philosophy, climate and ecology.

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Artists and Climate Change is a blog that tracks artistic responses from all disciplines to the problem of climate change. It is both a study about what is being done, and a resource for anyone interested in the subject. Art has the power to reframe the conversation about our environmental crisis so it is inclusive, constructive, and conducive to action. Art can, and should, shape our values and behavior so we are better equipped to face the formidable challenge in front of us.

Go to the Artists and Climate Change Blog

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Conscient Podcast: e45 abbott

The notion of reality and the way we grasp reality as humans is so deeply subjective, but it’s also socially constructed, and so, as a filmmaker – and this is relevant because I’m also a Zen Buddhist – from both those perspectives, I try to explore what we perceive as reality to untangle and figure out in what ways are we being deluded? And in what ways do we have clear vision? And obviously the more clear vision we can have, the better actions we take to ensure a more compassionate, just and sustainable livable world. I’m all for untangling the delusion while admitting wholeheartedly that to untangle it fully is impossible.

jennifer abbott, conscient podcast, may 6, 2021, british columbia

Jennifer Abbott is a Sundance and Genie award-winning film director, writer, editor, producer and sound designer who specializes in social justice and environmental documentaries. Born in Montreal, Abbott studied political science with a particular interest in radical political thought, women’s studies and deep ecology at McGill University and now live in British Columbia.  

She is the co-director (with Mark Achbar) and editor of The Corporation (2003), the top grossing and most awarded documentary in Canadian history and also the director, writer, editor, sound designer and co-producer of The Magnitude of all Things (2020) and the Co-Director (with Joel Bakan) and Supervising Editor of The New Corporation: The Unfortunately Necessary Sequel (2020), both of which I strongly recommend. 

The Magnitude of all Things is a unique and powerful film. It’s a cinematic exploration of the emotional and psychological dimensions of climatechangethat exploresJennifer loss of her sister to cancer and the profound gravity of climate breakdown and draws intimate parallels between the experiences of grief—both personal and planetary. This film brought me to tears and resonated deeply. I reached out to Jennifer to talk about this important film as well as her other work.

There were many poignant moments in our conversation, including this thought about grief and compassion: 

In terms of why people are so often unable to accept the reality of climate change, I think it’s very understandable, because the scale and the violence of it is just so vast, it’s difficult to comprehend. It’s also so depressing and enraging if one knows the politics behind it and overwhelming. I don’t think we, as a species, deal with things that have those qualities very well and we tend to look away. I have a lot of compassion, including for myself, in terms of how difficult it is to come to terms with the climate catastrophe. It is the end of the world as we know it. We don’t know what exactly the new world is going to look like, but we do know we’re headed for some catastrophe. 

As I have done in all episodes in season 2 so far, I have integrated excerpts from soundscape compositions and quotations drawn from e19 reality, as well as moments of silence, in this episode.

I would like to thank Jennifer for taking the time to speak with me, for sharing her passion for social justice and for her outstanding contributions to environmental activism.

For more information on Jennifer’s work, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jennifer_Abbott

Links

Jennifer Abbott during the filming of The Magnitude of All Things with DOP Vince Arvidson
Jennifer Abbott pendant le tournage de The Magnitude of All Things avec le directeur de la photographie Vince Arvidson.

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La notion de réalité et la façon dont nous appréhendons la réalité en tant qu’êtres humains sont profondément subjectives, mais aussi socialement construites, et donc, en tant que cinéaste – et c’est pertinent parce que je suis aussi un bouddhiste zen – j’essaie d’explorer ce que nous percevons comme la réalité pour démêler et comprendre en quoi nous avons été trompés ? Et dans quelle mesure avons-nous une vision claire ? Et évidemment, plus nous avons une vision claire, meilleures sont les actions que nous entreprenons pour garantir un monde plus compatissant, plus juste et plus vivable. Je suis tout à fait d’accord pour démêler l’illusion tout en admettant de tout cœur qu’il est impossible de la démêler complètement.

jennifer abbott, balado conscient, 6 mai 2021, colombie britannique

Jennifer Abbott est une réalisatrice, scénariste, monteuse, productrice et conceptrice sonore primée par Sundance et Genie qui se spécialise dans les documentaires sur la justice sociale et l’environnement. Née à Montréal, Jennifer Abbott a étudié les sciences politiques avec un intérêt particulier pour la pensée politique radicale, les études des femmes et l’écologie profonde à l’Université McGill et vit maintenant en Colombie-Britannique.  

Elle est la co-réalisatrice (avec Mark Achbar) et la monteuse de The Corporation (2003), le documentaire le plus vendu et le plus primé de l’histoire du Canada, ainsi que la réalisatrice, la scénariste, la monteuse, la conceptrice sonore et la coproductrice de The Magnitude of all Things (2020) et la co-réalisatrice (avec Joel Bakan) et la superviseuse de The New Corporation: The Unfortunately Necessary Sequel (2020), deux films que je recommande vivement. 

The Magnitude of all Things est un film unique et puissant. Il s’agit d’une exploration cinématographique des dimensions émotionnelles et psychologiques du changement climatique qui explore la perte de sa sœur par Jennifer suite à un cancer et la gravité profonde de l’effondrement du climat, et qui établit des parallèles intimes entre les expériences de deuil – à la fois personnelles et planétaires. Ce film m’a fait pleurer et m’a profondément touchée. J’ai voulu contacter Jennifer pour parler de ce film important et son travail en général.  

Notre conversation a donné lieu à de nombreux moments poignants, dont cette réflexion sur le deuil et la compassion : 

Si l’on veut savoir pourquoi les gens sont si souvent incapables d’accepter la réalité du changement climatique, je pense que c’est très compréhensible, car l’ampleur et la violence de ce phénomène sont si vastes qu’elles sont difficiles à comprendre. C’est également si déprimant et fâchant si l’on connaît les politiques qui se cachent derrière et qui sont écrasantes. Je ne pense pas qu’en tant qu’espèce, nous gérons très bien les choses qui ont ces qualités et nous avons tendance à détourner le regard. J’ai beaucoup de compassion, y compris pour moi-même, quant à la difficulté d’accepter la catastrophe climatique. C’est la fin du monde tel que nous le connaissons. Nous ne savons pas exactement à quoi ressemblera le nouveau monde, mais nous savons que nous nous dirigeons vers une certaine catastrophe. 

Comme je l’ai fait dans tous les épisodes de la saison 2 jusqu’à présent, j’ai intégré dans cet épisode des extraits de compositions de paysages sonores et des citations tirées de la e19 reality, ainsi que des moments de silence.

Je tiens à remercier Jennifer d’avoir pris le temps de s’entretenir avec moi, de partager sa passion pour la justice sociale et d’avoir contribué de façon remarquable au militantisme environnemental. 

Pour plus d’informations sur le travail de Jennifer, voir https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jennifer_Abbott.

Liens

– The Great Derangement par Amitav Ghosh

The post e45 abbott appeared first on conscient podcast / balado conscient. conscient is a bilingual blog and podcast (French or English) by audio artist Claude Schryer that explores how arts and culture contribute to environmental awareness and action.

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About the Concient Podcast from Claude Schryer

The conscient podcast / balado conscient is a series of conversations about art, conscience and the ecological crisis. This podcast is bilingual (in either English or French). The language of the guest determines the language of the podcast. Episode notes are translated but not individual interviews.

I started the conscient project in 2020 as a personal learning journey and knowledge sharing exercise. It has been rewarding, and sometimes surprising.

The term ‘conscient’ is defined as ‘being aware of one’s surroundings, thoughts and motivations’. My touchstone for the podcast is episode 1, e01 terrified, based on an essay I wrote in May 2019, where I share my anxiety about the climate crisis and my belief that arts and culture can play a critical role in raising public awareness about environmental issues. The conscient podcast / balado conscient follows up on my http://simplesoundscapes.ca (2016–2019) project: 175, 3-minute audio and video field recordings that explore mindful listening.

Season 1 (May to October 2020) explored how the arts contribute to environmental awareness and action. I produced 3 episodes in French and 15 in English. The episodes cover a wide range of content, including activism, impact measurement, gaming, arts funding, cross-sectoral collaborations, social justice, artistic practices, etc. Episodes 8 to 17 were recorded while I was at the Creative Climate Leadership USA course in Arizona in March 2020 (led by Julie’s Bicycle). Episode 18 is a compilation of highlights from these conversations.

Season 2 (March 2021 – ) explores the concept of reality and is about accepting reality, working through ecological grief and charting a path forward. The first episode of season 2 (e19 reality) mixes quotations from 28 authors with field recordings from simplesoundscapes and from my 1998 soundscape composition, Au dernier vivant les biens. One of my findings from this episode is that ‘I now see, and more importantly, I now feel in my bones, ‘the state of things as they actually exist’, without social filters or unsustainable stories blocking the way’. e19 reality touches upon 7 topics: our perception of reality, the possibility of human extinction, ecological anxiety and ecological grief, hope, arts, storytelling and the wisdom of indigenous cultures. The rest of season 2 features interviews with thought leaders about their responses and reactions to e19 reality.

my professional services

I’ve been retired from the Canada Council for the Arts since September 15, 2020 where I served as a senior strategic advisor in arts granting (2016-2020) and manager of the Inter-Arts Office (1999-2015). My focus in (quasi) retirement is environmental issues within my area of expertise in arts and culture, in particular in acoustic ecology. I’m open to become involved in projects that align with my values and that move forward environmental concerns. Feel free to email me for a conversation : claude@conscient.ca

acknowledgement of eco-responsibility

I acknowledge that the production of the conscient podcast / balado conscient produces carbon. I try to minimize this carbon footprint by being as efficient as possible, including using GreenGeeks as my web server and acquiring carbon offsets for my equipment and travel activities from BullFrog Power and Less.

a word about privilege and bias

While recording episode 19 ‘reality’, I heard elements of ‘privilege’ in my voice that I had not noticed before. It sounded a bit like ‘ecological mansplaining’. I realize that, in spite of good intentions, I need to work my way through issues of privilege (of all kinds) and unconscious bias the way I did through ecological anxiety and grief during the fall of 2020. My re-education is ongoing.

Go to conscient.ca

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Habits and Habitations

By Patricia Hanlon

Twelve years ago, my husband, Robert, and I began swimming the creeks and channels of the Great Marsh, the largest continuous stretch of salt marsh in New England. Its 25,000 acres of cordgrass marshes, barrier beaches, and mudflats extend from Gloucester, Massachusetts, to Seabrook, New Hampshire. We have lived near its southeastern corner since 1978, and over the years explored these waterways with our three children: first in an eighteen-foot sailboat, then a fourteen-foot motorboat, and, later, ocean kayaks. But it wasn’t until the children were grown and had become visitors in our lives that we started regularly swimming the estuary’s creeks and channels. Over the years, our boats had become smaller and smaller, until finally our own bodies were our most frequently used watercraft.

We made a pact with each other to swim every time we possibly could. After a summer idyll of blue skies and marsh lawns as lush as Kansas cornfields, we swam later and later into the fall, matching the dropped temperatures with thicker and thicker layers of neoprene. We took it for granted that we’d eventually hit a wall that would stop the swimming until the ocean warmed up again the following year. But as we swam in rain, darkness, and slushy water just above freezing, we discovered that walls are relative. “Walls have doors,” Robert said one evening after a December swim, peeling off his “6/5” wetsuit (six millimeters of neoprene at the core, five at the extremities). Even the coldest and stormiest conditions were navigable with the right gear and the mutual desire to be there

Swimming to the top of the tide, Walker Creek, Gloucester, Massachusetts.

Humans are story-telling creatures. Early on I began jotting down notes about where and how long we swam, along with tidal and weather conditions. It was pretty basic stuff at first, largely concerned with “suiting up” for cold-weather swimming. But over time, the journal entries evolved into a series of essays exploring what happens when you immerse yourself in the same ecosystem over and over, through the daily changing of the tides and the yearly rotation of the seasons.

You get to know the non-human inhabitants of a tidal estuary, along with their routines. Great blue herons, white egrets, and banded kingfishers hunted for minnows in the same channels where we gathered mussels for our own dinner. Turkey vultures circled above us in Eben Creek (named for a 19th century boatbuilder, Ebenezer Burnham), looking for carrion. Once, floating downstream on a perfect July day, I was surrounded – for a minute or so that seemed much longer – by a school of silvery minnows. Perhaps they thought I’d be good camouflage.

At low tide, the Essex River Basin empties like a bathtub, revealing its muddy foundations.

You also look more closely at the salt-marsh environment itself. Because marsh cordgrasses (Spartina alterniflora and Spartina patens) have adapted to handle immersion in salt water, they dominate the coastal marshes, converting enormous amounts of solar energy into grass. Though few creatures directly eat the grass, as it decomposes it becomes a vast, nutrient-rich environment for bacteria, algae, and fungi. These organisms, in turn, are food for snails, shrimp, oysters, clams, and hermit crabs – and so on up the food chain to muskrats and foxes and humans.

Even aside from their roles as feeders and protectors of species, salt marshes are also shock-absorbing barriers to storm surge. Break open a hunk of marsh wall and you’ll see dark, peaty stuff bound together with the pale-yellow gnarls and filaments of cordgrass roots, a structure that answers the question of how marsh walls can be so relatively lightweight and yet hold their shape so well, how spongy and soft can also be strong. You can see exactly how it traps and binds together plant remains, silts, and clays, forming spaces and interstices – habitats – for life-forms ranging up and down the size spectrum.

At high tide, the watery boundaries of three Massachusetts towns– Ipswich, Essex, and Gloucester – converge in the Essex River Basin.

It’s interesting to me that the word “habit” is derived from the Latin habitare: to live, dwell, stay, remain. By the time we’d swum full circle into the following summer, our practice had become what Wendell Berry has called a “journey of one inch, very arduous and humbling and joyful, by which we arrive at the ground at our own feet, and learn to be at home.”

Over time, the series of essays was slowly becoming a book. I would eventually title it Swimming to the Top of the Tide. (My publisher, Bellevue Literary Press, would add the subtitle: Finding Life Where Land and Water Meet.) More and more I understood – not just with my mind but with my body – that the daily tides and routines of a salt marsh are embedded within much longer tides, much more consequential narrative arcs. The turkey vulture is shadowed by the 747. The Jet Skis that disturb the peace of perfect summer beach days are just noisier versions of our own daily commutes. When you swim a saltwater creek as the tide nears high, you have a visceral sense of what could happen if the tide just kept on rising.

Increasingly I saw myself as part of a much larger wave of anthropogenic alterations to the Earth. I was, in fact, born in 1954, during the post-World War II “Great Acceleration,” when fossil-fuel consumption increased exponentially and wartime technologies were reengineered to produce consumer products. Increasingly, the Earth’s carbon reserves were not just being burned as fuel but spun into a stunning array of new materials, structures, and containers. These innovations both extended the natural reach of the human body and narrowed the gap between human desire and its fulfillment.

The book, and those that may follow it, is my small contribution to what will surely be an ongoing conversation and reckoning.

Adapted from Swimming to the Top of the Tide: Finding Life Where Land and Water Meet. Copyright © 2021 by Patricia Hanlon. Published by Bellevue Literary Press. Reprinted by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.

(Top image: Aerial view of the Great Marsh in Massachusetts. Photo by Doc Searls.)

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Patricia Hanlon lives with her husband, Robert, in Gloucester, Massachusetts, at the edge of New England’s Great Marsh. As a visual artist, she has painted this beautiful ecosystem. In Swimming to the Top of the Tide: Finding Life Where Land and Water Meet (Bellevue Literary Press, 2021), she has switched to narrative mode, focusing on the story of the marsh – its past, present and possible futures. She is now working on another book, Watershed.

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Artists and Climate Change is a blog that tracks artistic responses from all disciplines to the problem of climate change. It is both a study about what is being done, and a resource for anyone interested in the subject. Art has the power to reframe the conversation about our environmental crisis so it is inclusive, constructive, and conducive to action. Art can, and should, shape our values and behavior so we are better equipped to face the formidable challenge in front of us.

Go to the Artists and Climate Change Blog

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Creating future visions for the seas of the Outer Hebrides

This spring, Creative Carbon Scotland worked with the MarPAMM – Seas of the Outer Hebrides project, Taigh Chearsabhagh arts centre in North Uist, and local artist Kirsty O’Connor, to support a series of creative family workshops titled “Seas our Future”.  

The activities followed the structure of past, present and future (in Gaelic: An-dè – yesterday, An-diugh’s – today, and A-Màireach – tomorrow) relationships to the sea and invited children and adults living across the Outer Hebrides, as well as mainland Scotland, to explore their visions for its future protection.

The sessions complemented ongoing stakeholder engagement around Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in the Outer Hebrides, and participants were invited to share their visions through Taigh Chearsabhagh’s Message in a Bottle project, which is taking place in the lead-up to COP26 in Glasgow this November.

Through creative activity and conversation, the group explored how islanders’ relationships to the sea have changed over time, what aspects are most important to them now, and their visions for its future protection. Over the longer term, we hope this work will contribute towards the development of a community-led vision for the seas and MPAs in the Outer Hebrides.

Key themes

There were a number of important themes that emerged from the discussions including:

  • The sea as a provider of employment and connection (physical via transport, and emotional
  • Environmental changes observed in the Outer Hebrides such as increased coastal erosion, changes in weather patterns, and increases in marine pollution
  • The important role the sea plays in supporting wellbeing (physical and mental), derived from activities including seashore and creative activities, swimming, water sports and wildlife observation
  • Valuing of the natural world including marine habitats (such as maerl beds and coral reefs) and wildlife (such as crabs, dolphins, whales, birds and fish)
A collage of six art works made with inkpad stamps featuring, fish, shells, whales and a kayaker
Stamps made by participants of their favourite things about the sea, including scallop shells, otters, dolphins, starfish, sperm whales and kayaking

The development of future visions for the sea reflected a range of responses as well, such as:

  • Curiosity and wonder at the sea
  • The sense of wellbeing it provides
  • The need to support sea life
  • Addressing marine plastics
  • Choices, action and care
  • Coastal erosion
  • Acknowledge the difficulties and challenges as well as the positives
  • Encompassing different voices and users of the sea

The discussions reflected the passion and care that participants felt for the marine environment and a strong desire to see it protected for generations to enjoy and benefit from in the future.

There was also interest in finding out more about the scientific evidence informing Marine Protected Areas, practical actions participants can take to address the challenges identified and questions about what happens next.

Read our full report of the activities and workshop feedback undertaken at the time. 

Project learning on creative digital engagement

The activities were a chance for the project team to test out the benefits and challenges of running creative engagement in an online setting, which will be applied to future planning.

Some of the key reflections on the process were:

Challenges
  • Supporting a mixed age group in an online setting and ensuring that the pace of activities and depth of conversation suited all ages – some methods, such as the writing exercise, were perhaps easier to support in an online setting
  • Providing sufficient core information about the objectives of the project over a digital platform without compromising the creative and engaging format
  • Natural limitations of screen-based engagement and how long a session can hold people’s attention, including providing one-to-one support
Benefits
  • Collaborating with local delivery partners familiar with their audience facilitated higher quality engagement in the themes and in a format that works for participants
  • Greater reach to a cross-Outer Hebrides audience – previously events were held in separate locations making it harder to support conversations across the islands
  • Piloting and learning from different methods such as pre-recorded demonstration videos and sharing platforms ‘Padlet’
Next steps

The MarPAMM – Seas of the Outer Hebrides team thanks everyone who took part and to Kirsty O’Connor and Taigh Chearsabhagh for supporting the design and running of these activities. We are currently processing participant feedback and the ideas generated during the workshops to inform future engagement activities and hope to continue working with the group over the coming months.

In the meantime, participants are encouraged to complete and send their future visions to the Message in a Bottle project at Taigh Chearsabhagh. Follow the instructions on the page.

Outer Hebrides residents are also invited to watch this short film with local presenter, Kate Macleod, and share views on how we can protect the marine environment for future generations in this short survey.  

Further information on MarPAMM – Seas of the Outer Hebrides

You can explore the network of Marine Protected Areas in the Outer Hebrides at this recently launched Storymap

More information about the project is available on the MarPAMM website.  

For more information about the upcoming creative engagement activities please contact – Gemma Lawrence at gemma.lawrence@creativecarbonscotland.com or Owen McGrath at Owen.McGrath@nature.scot  

This work was undertaken as part of the MarPAMM project which is supported by the EU’s INTERREG VA Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body.   

The views and opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect those of the European Commission or the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).


MarPAMM – Seas of the Outer Hebrides is part of our culture/SHIFT programme, which supports collaborations between arts and sustainability practitioners to address the climate emergency.

MarPAMM is a cross-border environment project, funded by the EU’s INTERREG VA programme, to develop tools for monitoring and managing a number of protected coastal marine environments in Ireland, Northern Ireland and Western Scotland.

Marpamm and interreg logos for Seas of the Outer Hebrides project

The post Creating future visions for the seas of the Outer Hebrides appeared first on Creative Carbon Scotland.

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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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Joyce Yamada: Contemplating the Human Species

By Etty Yaniv

Painter Joyce Yamada grew up on the West Coast. She spent her childhood vacations in the beautiful national parks of the US and Canada where pristine forests and the Pacific coast were imprinted in her visual memory. Although as a teenager she realized that art was what she wanted to do, struggling to survive on minimum wage led her to medical school, which she completed. She subsequently became a diagnostic radiologist. 

This science background has fed her mind and artwork ever since. Yamada says she is a painter because she conceptualizes in images rather than in words: “When puzzled, my mind juxtaposes or fuses unexpected images, often leading to new work.” An early series, Body, Earth, came to her in art school. While she was looking at the hills across the bay from San Francisco, she saw the low rounded hills as the reclining body of a woman. The juxtaposed imagery meant to her that we are intimately and indivisibly part of earth and nature, that what we do to the earth we do to ourselves. She has subsequently seen this idea expressed in Indigenous cultures, and it became central in her work.

Shado-nine forest, detail

Let’s start with the impact of science on your artwork. What drew you there and how is science reflected in your process and imagery?

Science is a way of understanding how the physical world actually works. Its methods of review and verification appeal to me strongly. I also love the exploration of the natural world that science spearheads; I am inspired by imagery from space and from the deep oceans. My interest in ecology and the environment began in earnest in the early 1990s after pivotal trips to the temperate rainforests of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. Flying over Oregon on the approach to Seattle, and then driving from there to the rainforests revealed how utterly rapaciously we are destroying our forests. From that experience came the first body of work, Truncated Landscapes, that felt deeply personal. The process that birthed that series is typical of how I work. I was struck by the geometric patterns of logging – huge rectangles of forest had been cut out of still intact forest growing on steep hillsides. The first painting in the series was Shado-nine forest, which closely mirrored the actual landscape. This evolved into cubical cut-outs of forests that were deracinated, literally cut off from their roots, floating in a human-induced wasteland and dripping blood while at it. This was from my Cassandra period of quiet environmental protest.

Rainforest Green Stream, 36″ x 24”, acrylic on canvas, 2003 

Images of trees are recurrent throughout your work. Let’s take a look at two images, one from 2003, Rainforest – Green Stream, and the more recent one from 2018, Green Burial. Can you tell me about the genesis of each? What were your ideas and how do the two images differ?

Green Stream came directly from a visit to the Hoh National Forest in Washington. A beautiful, complex stream meandered through old growth forest, the entire scene a beautiful green, the air clean and enlivening. This painting was a straightforward celebration of a specific place, though the details were entirely invented. After being inspired to read about temperate rainforest ecology, I also understood it as a demonstration of how old growth forests filter water through intact fallen tree branches, which also provide excellent nurseries for baby fish. Green Burial had a longer conceptual genesis that includes numerous recent drawings and paintings; it was inspired by a photograph of a huge tree in Ireland that toppled over, revealing a human skeleton embedded in its enormous roots. This felt mythological to me – an image of the human animal entwined in the roots and the very substance of the World Tree, a contemplation of the human in relation to nature. Recent related paintings include Yorick Root, Communicant, and Wood-wide Web.

Green Burial, 9″ x 12”, oil on Yupo, 2018
Communicant, 51″ × 68”acrylic on canvas, 2019

Your paintings can be read as landscapes. How do you see them in the context of art history?

I made a decision during art school to stop conceptualizing my work in terms of art history because doing so was messing up my art-making process. This enabled me to stand outside of current trends without caring too much. I can’t therefore speak very knowledgeably about art history. I rarely paint actual locations. I often paint trees because they are the non-human, non-animal life form to which I relate most strongly. Trees and forests tend to be my shorthand for Nature. For many years, I also played with tree and human anatomy – trunks and limbs – to make our interconnections literal. I also use landscapes as evidence of human misuse, abuse, and ignorance of how to survive sustainably. Every place on Earth is a current or near-future ruin though if we act quickly enough, much can still recover. I have been contemplating the place of humans within nature, and therefore within the landscape.

Tell me about your series Hominidae.

Over the past 15 years, I have invented two different symbolic humans. The first was Waterhuman, a human made entirely of water, prone to evaporation and shimmering as it walks through the world; examples include Heaven’s Net and W.H with Furfish. My current version is Yorick, a living skeleton who will journey through natural scenes on Earth as well as through imaginary scenes in the wider cosmos. A symbolic human is a storytelling stratagem – a way of contemplating the human species in the wider world. Hominidae is the scientific nomenclature for the family that contains us humans – Homo sapiens. Using the term emphasizes our intimate connection with other creatures. Science reveals that we are a very young species evolved from related animals, not de novo Masters of the Universe. The family Hominidae includes the Great Apes and the various ancient hominids, of which only our species now survives. The other members of the family include orangutans, gorillas, chimpanzees, and bonobos.

Yorick Root, oil on linen2018
Waterhuman in Truncated Landscape, 44″ × 68”, oil on canvas, 2006

We have been through a rough time period globally. How has your work been affected by the pandemic?

Early on I did several pandemic paintings – APRIL 2020 and Corona – by way of coping. Since then I have been painting favorite animals for solace. The pandemic’s associated social unrest, our weird violent weather, and melting polar icecaps indicate that human civilization and climate will be changing ever more cataclysmically on a global scale. I am inspired to forge ahead with new work while I still can.

What are you working on now?

I am curating an environmental group show for January 2022, as well as preparing a solo show in November 2022, both at the Amos Eno Gallery in New York City. I have been wanting to paint Yorick wandering about like a character in Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, mostly on Earth (which is truly wondrous and odd if you look closely at its creatures), but possibly also in outrageous outer space scenarios. It should be fun.

Real Good Power of Nature, 32″ × 20”, acrylic on canvas, 2019. Photo courtesy of Grant Johnson.

(All photo courtesy of the artist unless otherwise indicated.)

This interview is part of a content collaboration between Art Spiel and Artists & Climate Change. It was originally published on Art Spiel on December 21, 2020 as part of an ongoing interview series with contemporary artists.

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Etty Yaniv works on her art, art writing, and curatorial projects in Brooklyn. She has exhibited her immersive installations in museums and galleries, nationally and internationally. Yaniv founded the platform Art Spiel to highlight the work of contemporary artists through art reviews, studio visits, and interviews with artists, curators, and gallerists. Yaniv holds a BA in Psychology and English Literature from Tel Aviv University, a BFA from Parsons School of Design, and an MFA from SUNY Purchase.

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Artists and Climate Change is a blog that tracks artistic responses from all disciplines to the problem of climate change. It is both a study about what is being done, and a resource for anyone interested in the subject. Art has the power to reframe the conversation about our environmental crisis so it is inclusive, constructive, and conducive to action. Art can, and should, shape our values and behavior so we are better equipped to face the formidable challenge in front of us.

Go to the Artists and Climate Change Blog

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Call for Submissions: Mindselo Young Creators Program 2021 #Creators4Change

We must have heard the philosophical lines that Life is the best school and experience is the best teacher but we hardly ever join the school of life. Our primary source of education is our family, society and early age schools that educate us about life which we are experiencing for the very first time but these primary systems of life education seem to be broken nowadays and its consequences are shocking in the form of the rising number of life-failures every day. Our education system is no longer making us life ready so here is the best alternative: Mindselo – The School of Happiness.

Mindselo is India’s fastest-growing personal growth company that seeks to Transform Ideas into Wisdom. We want to create conscious minds connected to the world by our education system.

Young Creators Program 2021 is a Mindselo initiative where we aim to bring young visionaries to talk about personal growth, human transformation, the art of living and the future of education. The true purpose of this initiative is to spread great ideas, lively inspiration and effective solutions around the planet to teach people the essential lessons of life that our school and colleges forgot to teach and push humanity forward.

Mindselo wanted to create a dynamic content moment to spark a conversation around Love, peace, compassion, personal development, emotional wellbeing, mental health, economy, passion, relationships, humility, joy, happiness, human values, gratitude, resilience, universal brotherhood etc and inspire the viewers to take action.
We are inviting video entries from all around the planet by young creators to apply for this unique impact program. Please find the video guidelines on the application submission page of this program.

Benefits:

  • Opportunity to get selected for the Mindselo Creators Team
  • The best videos will be featured on the Mindselo Social Media & Blogs
  • Monetary Rewards for the selected creators
  • Get Recognised by Mindselo for your work & Impact
  • Mindselo Sponsored participation in our various other programs
  • Certification & Special Invitation for our Invite-only events

Eligibility:

  • The applicant should be aged between 15 to 35.
  • Applicants should be available for a minimum period of 3 months if they get selected.
  • No Regional Restriction.

Application Process:
You can apply for this program using the apply now button. Remember that you need to submit your video in the application form so be ready with that. Kindly find the video guidelines on the application submission page of this program.

APPLY HERE

For Further Queries:
In case you have any queries, contact at aman@mindselo.com with “Query MYCP 2021” mentioned in the subject line for easier communications.

Official Link: https://www.mindselo.com/mindselo-young-creators-program-2021/

Conscient Podcast: e44 bilodeau

Note: photo of Chantal Bilodeau by Yadin Goldman

I think of the arts as planting a seed and activism as being the quickest way you can get from A to B. So activism is like, this is what we’re going to do. We have to do it now. This is a solution. This is what we’re working towards and there’s all kinds of different solutions, but it’s about action. The arts are not about pushing any one solution or telling people, this is what you need to do. It is about saying here’s a problem. Let’s think about it together. Let’s explore avenues we could take. Let’s think about what it means and what it means, not just, should I drive a car or not, but what it means, as in, who are we on this earth and what is our role? How do we fit in the bigger ecosystem of the entire planet? I think the arts are something very good to do that and they are good at changing a culture.

chantal bilodeau, conscient podcast, may 11, 2021, new york

Chantal Bilodeau is a playwright and translator originally from Tiohtiá:ke/Montreal, but now based in New York City, the traditional land of the Lenape People. In her capacity as artistic director of The Arctic Cycle, she has been instrumental in getting the theatre and academic communities, as well as audiences in the U.S. and abroad, to engage in climate action through programming that includes live events, talks, publications, workshops, national and international convenings, and http://www.climatechangetheatreaction.com/, a worldwide distributed theatre festival. 

I first heard about Chantal’s work while I worked at the Canada Council. Whenever someone spoke of theatre and climate change, Chantal’s name would come up as a leader and source of inspiration. I admire her work as a playwright, activist and educator, notably her work as co-curator, with Sarah Garton Stanley, of The 2019-20 Final Cycle: Climate Change and as an editor at Artists and Climate Change.

As I did with all episodes this season, I have integrated excerpts from previous episodes in this case, from e19 reality in this episode, including moments of silence. 

I would like to thank Chantal for taking the time to speak with me, for sharing her deep knowledge of theatre, her perspectives on the role of art in the climate emergency and a climate activist work ethic that is second to none.

For more information on Chantal’s work, see https://www.cbilodeau.com/ and https://www.thearcticcycle.org/.

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Pour moi, les arts sont un moyen de semer une graine et le militantisme est le moyen le plus rapide d’aller de A à B. Le militantisme, c’est comme : voilà ce que nous allons faire. Nous devons le faire maintenant. C’est une solution, c’est ce à quoi nous travaillons et il y a toutes sortes de solutions différentes, mais il s’agit d’action. Les arts n’ont pas pour but de promouvoir une solution particulière ou de dire aux gens que c’est ce qu’ils doivent faire, mais de dire qu’il y a un problème. Réfléchissons-y ensemble. Explorons les voies que nous pourrions emprunter. Réfléchissons à ce que cela signifie et ce que cela veut dire, pas seulement, dois-je conduire une voiture ou non, mais ce que cela veut dire, comme dans, qui sommes-nous sur cette terre et quel est notre rôle. Comment nous situons-nous dans le grand écosystème de la planète entière ? Je pense que les arts sont un excellent moyen de le faire et qu’ils sont capables de changer une culture.

chantal bilodeau, balado conscient, 11 mai 2021, new york

Chantal Bilodeau est une dramaturge et traductrice originaire de Tiohtiá:ke/Montréal, mais maintenant basée à New York, la terre traditionnelle du peuple Lenape. En sa qualité de directrice artistique de The Arctic Cycle, elle a joué un rôle déterminant dans l’engagement des communautés théâtrales et universitaires, ainsi que du public aux États-Unis et à l’étranger, en faveur de l’action climatique par le biais d’une programmation comprenant des événements en direct, des conférences, des publications, des ateliers, des réunions nationales et internationales, et http://www.climatechangetheatreaction.com/ , un festival de théâtre distribué dans le monde entier.

J’ai entendu parler du travail de Chantal pour la première fois lorsque je travaillais au Conseil des arts du Canada. Chaque fois que quelqu’un parlait de théâtre et de changement climatique, le nom de Chantal revenait comme un leader et une source d’inspiration. J’admire son travail de dramaturge, d’activiste et d’éducatrice, notamment son travail de co-commissaire, avec Sarah Garton Stanley, de The 2019-20 Final Cycle: Climate Change et en tant que rédactrice a Artists and Climate Change.

Comme je l’ai fait pour tous les épisodes de cette saison, j’ai intégré des extraits d’épisodes précédents dans ce cas, de 19 reality dans cet épisode, y compris des moments de silence. 

Je tiens à remercier Chantal d’avoir pris le temps de s’entretenir avec moi, de m’avoir fait part de sa profonde connaissance du théâtre, de ses perspectives sur le rôle de l’art dans l’urgence climatique et de son éthique de travail d’activiste climatique hors pair.

Pour plus d’informations sur le travail de Chantal, voir https://www.cbilodeau.com/  et https://www.thearcticcycle.org/.

The post e44 bilodeau appeared first on conscient podcast / balado conscient. conscient is a bilingual blog and podcast (French or English) by audio artist Claude Schryer that explores how arts and culture contribute to environmental awareness and action.

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About the Concient Podcast from Claude Schryer

The conscient podcast / balado conscient is a series of conversations about art, conscience and the ecological crisis. This podcast is bilingual (in either English or French). The language of the guest determines the language of the podcast. Episode notes are translated but not individual interviews.

I started the conscient project in 2020 as a personal learning journey and knowledge sharing exercise. It has been rewarding, and sometimes surprising.

The term ‘conscient’ is defined as ‘being aware of one’s surroundings, thoughts and motivations’. My touchstone for the podcast is episode 1, e01 terrified, based on an essay I wrote in May 2019, where I share my anxiety about the climate crisis and my belief that arts and culture can play a critical role in raising public awareness about environmental issues. The conscient podcast / balado conscient follows up on my http://simplesoundscapes.ca (2016–2019) project: 175, 3-minute audio and video field recordings that explore mindful listening.

Season 1 (May to October 2020) explored how the arts contribute to environmental awareness and action. I produced 3 episodes in French and 15 in English. The episodes cover a wide range of content, including activism, impact measurement, gaming, arts funding, cross-sectoral collaborations, social justice, artistic practices, etc. Episodes 8 to 17 were recorded while I was at the Creative Climate Leadership USA course in Arizona in March 2020 (led by Julie’s Bicycle). Episode 18 is a compilation of highlights from these conversations.

Season 2 (March 2021 – ) explores the concept of reality and is about accepting reality, working through ecological grief and charting a path forward. The first episode of season 2 (e19 reality) mixes quotations from 28 authors with field recordings from simplesoundscapes and from my 1998 soundscape composition, Au dernier vivant les biens. One of my findings from this episode is that ‘I now see, and more importantly, I now feel in my bones, ‘the state of things as they actually exist’, without social filters or unsustainable stories blocking the way’. e19 reality touches upon 7 topics: our perception of reality, the possibility of human extinction, ecological anxiety and ecological grief, hope, arts, storytelling and the wisdom of indigenous cultures. The rest of season 2 features interviews with thought leaders about their responses and reactions to e19 reality.

my professional services

I’ve been retired from the Canada Council for the Arts since September 15, 2020 where I served as a senior strategic advisor in arts granting (2016-2020) and manager of the Inter-Arts Office (1999-2015). My focus in (quasi) retirement is environmental issues within my area of expertise in arts and culture, in particular in acoustic ecology. I’m open to become involved in projects that align with my values and that move forward environmental concerns. Feel free to email me for a conversation : claude@conscient.ca

acknowledgement of eco-responsibility

I acknowledge that the production of the conscient podcast / balado conscient produces carbon. I try to minimize this carbon footprint by being as efficient as possible, including using GreenGeeks as my web server and acquiring carbon offsets for my equipment and travel activities from BullFrog Power and Less.

a word about privilege and bias

While recording episode 19 ‘reality’, I heard elements of ‘privilege’ in my voice that I had not noticed before. It sounded a bit like ‘ecological mansplaining’. I realize that, in spite of good intentions, I need to work my way through issues of privilege (of all kinds) and unconscious bias the way I did through ecological anxiety and grief during the fall of 2020. My re-education is ongoing.

Go to conscient.ca

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Job: Administration officer

Creative Carbon Scotland seeks a suitably skilled and enthusiastic person to join the team. To apply, please complete the form at the bottom of this page.

In brief

Role: Administration officer
Salary: £13,200 (£22,000 pro rata for 0.6FTE), plus a contribution to a personal pension of 3% of salary
Hours: This is a part-time post at 0.6FTE. This means a 22.5-hour week.
Start date: As soon as possible for a fixed term to 31st March 2022, with potential extension depending on funding.

NB: due to the fixed-term nature of the role and Creative Carbon Scotland’s circumstances, this opportunity is only open to those who already have the right to work in the UK.

Deadline for applications: 11.59pm, Sunday 8th August 2021

Read summary details of the role below and download the PDF of the full job description and person specification.

About this role

Creative Carbon Scotland supports the cultural sector in contributing to Scotland’s transformation for a climate-changed world. We are seeking a technically minded and suitably experienced individual to take responsibility for the organisation’s everyday administration as well as IT systems and tools, including one day per week contributing to the administrative work of our Green Arts Initiative. Our new colleague will be highly organised and detail-oriented, self-motivated and good at making effective decisions following appropriate criteria. They will be an excellent communicator and a positive collaborator. We are looking for someone with flair and imagination.

Creative Carbon Scotland promotes a diverse and inclusive working environment. We welcome applications from everyone with suitable skills and experience and we will make reasonable adjustments where necessary to enable people with particular needs or requirements to work with us. Our Equalities policy and Safe Working Statement are both available on our website.

Please complete the form at the end of this page to apply.


Job description

Main purpose of job:

  • Deliver CCS’s routine administrative requirements (65%)
  • Assist with administration of our Green Arts Initiative (30%)
  • Contribute to CCS team initiatives and discussions (5%)

Responsibilities:

  1. Maintaining administration and finance administration systems and records (20%) by:
    • processing invoices and payments, working with the bookkeeper, and managing online finance files
    • developing, maintaining and improving existing office systems and resources, and proposing and creating new ones as required
    • monitoring expenditure and income relating to our IT subscriptions and reporting regularly on these
    • ensuring that we comply with GDPR and equalities legislation
    • assisting with data collation from internal records for external reporting requirements
  2. Managing and developing our remote-working tools and systems to enable the charity to operate effectively (20%) by:
    • ensuring that our Microsoft Office Sharepoint, Teams, document management, communications and other IT systems are up to date and working at the highest level
    • ensuring that equipment and resources are fit for purpose, fully functional and comply with relevant health and safety standards
    • supporting team members in effective and safe home-working, providing guidance and training when required
  3. Ensuring internal communication is effective (20%) by:
    • organising and minuting weekly team meetings and monthly leadership team meetings
    • managing incoming contact via the corporate email
    • organising quarterly Board meetings
  4. Supporting CCS’s Transformation of Culture officer in the administration of the Green Arts Initiative (30%) by:
    • maintaining membership records
    • managing recruitment and on-boarding of new members
    • setting up events
    • running surveys
  5. Participate in CCS team initiatives and discussions on strategic, ethical and practical challenges (5%)
  6. Other duties as required (5%), including ensuring that our Equalities, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan is considered and acted upon in all the above areas.
Person specification

We will use evidence of these skills and experience in your application to select candidates for interview. Please make sure that you fit the requirements and demonstrate this in your answers to the questions on the application form.

Essential characteristics

  1. At least two years’ experience in an administration role
  2. Excellent IT understanding and skills, with in-depth knowledge of Microsoft Office suite (including Sharepoint and Teams), virtual and remote working software and tools and wi-fi connectivity solutions
  3. Excellent interpersonal, oral and written communication skills
  4. Excellent knowledge and understanding of best practice in: data protection and information security; equalities, diversity and inclusion; and reducing the environmental impacts of desk-based work
  5. A high level of transferable skills, including attention to detail, problem solving, time management, confidentiality and discretion
  6. Flexible and proactive with the ability to prioritise effectively and learn quickly
  7. Flair and imagination

Desirable characteristics

  1. An interest in and knowledge of Scotland’s cultural sector
  2. An interest in and knowledge of the climate emergency and Scotland’s response to this
  3. An interest in and knowledge of climate justice as a focus for tackling the climate emergency
How to apply

Applications will only be accepted via the application form below unless alternative arrangements are made. If you wish to make alternative arrangements or have any problems in using the site (for example, if you are experiencing digital exclusion or have specific accessibility requirements), please contact Ben Twist or phone/text 07931 553872 to seek assistance in good time before the closing date of 11:59pm BST on 8th August 2021. Your interactions with us on accessibility will remain confidential and will not be shared with the recruitment panel.

Please read carefully and then follow the instructions in the application form below. The form will ask you to make clear why you are interested in this role and to demonstrate how your experience and skills match those outlined in the full job description and person specification document.

As part of your application, please complete our Equal Opportunities Monitoring Survey. The application form will ask you to confirm that you have done so. NB: This is anonymous and the information provided will not affect your application in any way.

If you would like to discuss the role or have any questions, please contact Ben Twist.

The closing date for applications is 11.59pm on Sunday 8th August 2021.

Interviews will be held remotely via MS Teams on Tuesday 17th August.

APPLY HERE

The post Job: Administration officer appeared first on Creative Carbon Scotland.

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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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Opportunity: Creative Carbon Scotland seeks embedded artist

Creative Carbon Scotland is recruiting a creative practitioner for an Embedded Artist role. The role will focus on exploring the intersection of climate justice, culture and society, in the context of the development of a Climate Emergency and Sustainability Plan for Creative Scotland (the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across Scotland). 

  • Eligibility: Open to any creative practitioner of any discipline based in Scotland
  • Time commitment and fee: 19.5 days between September – December 2021 for a fee of £6000 (£307/day)
  • Application: 2-question online form; equal opportunities monitoring form.
  • Deadline: 8th August 2021 at 11.59pm
Climate emergency, Creative Scotland and the cultural sector

Creative Carbon Scotland has been asked by Creative Scotland to develop a strategic Climate Emergency and Sustainability Plan for the organisation. This plan will explore how Creative Scotland can achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045 (in line with Scottish Government targets) and adapt to the impacts of climate change as they are experienced across Scotland. As a major funder of the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland, this plan will also explore the role of Creative Scotland in supporting the equivalent actions of the cultural sector in its own achievement of net zero emissions and adaptation. The plan will be developed through an iterative, interactive method, working with Creative Scotland staff, partners and stakeholders in the cultural sector.

Climate justice

This Embedded Artist role will be part of the small team exploring the potential influencing role of culture in leading and supporting how we address our climate emergency. In particular, the Embedded Artist will focus on exploring the relationship between climate justice and our cultural sector.

‘Climate justice recognises humanity’s responsibility for the impacts of greenhouse gas emissions on the poorest and most vulnerable people in society by critically addressing inequality and promoting transformative approaches to address the root causes of climate change.’ Professor Tahseen Jafry, Centre for Climate Justice, Glasgow Caledonian University

The term ‘climate justice’ expresses how climate change is a social and political issue as much as a technical or environmental one. Climate change exacerbates existing inequalities.  Action to address climate change can help to create a fairer society, but there is also a risk of actions discriminating or deepening inequalities. Discrimination and inequality prevent effective action to tackle climate change. In recognising climate justice, we seek to design climate solutions to overcome this challenge, whilst also tackling inequity in society.

Many of the inequities addressed through the principles of climate justice are mirrored in the barriers to participation in Culture. This embedded artist role will therefore connect strongly with existing equality, diversity and inclusion knowledge, experience and activities within the cultural sector.

The opportunity
What is an embedded artist?

An embedded artist role is not a residency, nor is it a commission. It does not seek to create a physical artistic output. Instead, an embedded artist uses their creative and cultural skills and approaches to address a challenging problem in a new context.

Person specification

This role is imagined for an experienced and established individual artist or cultural practitioner, working in any discipline, looking to use their creative skills to contribute to wider society. We anticipate an individual with 5 or more years of experience in the cultural sector will be most appropriate for this role. It is possible to apply to the role as a partnership or collective.

The types of skills and experience that will be beneficial for this project include:

Experience

  • Experience of making strategic contributions to initiatives: making connections and communicating with different ‘audiences’. For example, being a Board member or Trustee of an organisation, being an active member of a union or membership organisation, contributing to grassroots initiatives or collectives;
  • Experience of working with disadvantaged or marginalised communities:doing so may not be part of the work of this project itself, but socially engaged work with these communities would provide useful background knowledge and experience;
  • Interest and experience of working collaboratively with diverse groups and in non-arts contexts. For example, regeneration, environmental, educational, social, healthcare, community contexts;

Skills

  • Skilled in facilitating creative ways of thinking and working within teams and groups.
  • Imaginative thinking and the ability to work with complexity and varying degrees of scale.

Knowledge

  • A strong understanding of equalities, diversity and inclusion (EDI). In particular, awareness of the concept of intersectionality, mainstreaming of EDI and overcoming barriers to participation in the cultural sector.
  • Knowledge of or demonstrable interest in climate change. In particular, the impacts and implications on the cultural sector or the concept of climate justice.
Equalities, diversity & inclusion

The focus of this role reflects our commitment to climate justice: addressing the climate emergency in a way which makes society fairer and more equitable, and which includes all parts of society in deciding this future. We recognise that a diverse and inclusive movement is critical to solving climate change and that we must ensure that those directly impacted – particularly those who have been excluded in the past – are at the centre of the movement for change. We therefore want to increase the diversity of our team to widen our range of views and experiences, and particularly encourage applications from disabled people, those who are D/deaf, Black/+ People of Colour, those from minority ethnic communities, or from a low-income background.

Creative Carbon Scotland is committed to actively promoting equality and diversity in all of our work. All applications will be anonymised during the initial shortlisting to guard against unconscious bias, and our Equal Opportunities Monitoring Survey is anonymous and completely separately from your application. You can read our Equalities policy on the Creative Carbon Scotland website.

How to apply

The closing date for applications is 11.59pm on Sunday 8th August 2021.

  • Please read the full Embedded Artist brief carefully and then follow the instructions in the online application form below. The form will ask you to make clear why you are interested in this role and to demonstrate how your experience and skills match those outlined above. If you are not able to complete the online form, please get in touch to request a Word document version.
  • As part of your application, please complete our Equal Opportunities Monitoring Survey. The application form will ask you to confirm that you have done so. NB: This is anonymous and the information provided will not affect your application in any way.
  • If you would like to discuss the role or have any questions, please contact Catriona Patterson.
  • Shortlisted candidates will be contacted during the week of 9 August, and interviews will be held remotely between 17th – 19th August 2021.

Download the Embedded Artist brief

APPLY HERE

The post Opportunity: Creative Carbon Scotland seeks embedded artist 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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Loren Eiferman: Drawing in Wood

By Etty Yaniv

Loren Eiferman sees her work as the “ultimate recycling.” She collects sticks and branches that have fallen to the ground and typically forms her sculptures by joining together hundreds of small pieces of wood into a cohesive whole through a unique technique she has developed for over 25 years.

What brought you to sculpture?

I seem to be wired for sculpture. Even as a young child, I was always making things out of the simplest materials. Discovering art at a young age, I studied sculpture throughout my high school and college years. In high school, I even took evening and weekend clay and sculpture classes at Brooklyn College and at The Brooklyn Museum Art School. After class each week, I would wander through the museum, captivated by the African and Egyptian collections. It was a true education. After graduating from college, I traveled throughout Mexico and Central America, drawing and painting in my travel notebook. Upon my return to New York City, I moved into a tiny 300 square foot apartment in Little Italy. I turned one of my three small rooms into my art studio, focusing on large 4’ x 6’ paintings on paper. One very hot and humid August day, my three walls were covered with completed paintings that weren’t able to dry due to all that humidity. Unable to paint that day and looking for a creative outlet, I picked up a piece of balsa wood that was on my drafting table and a straight edged razor blade and started whittling away. Literally eight hours passed as if it were a mere moment, without any interruptions (these were the days before the internet and Instagram). Realizing that I’m more at home as a sculptor rather than as a painter was an epiphany.

Tell me about your material and how do you work with it?

I start out each day with a walk, collecting tree limbs and branches. I then bring them up to my studio and let these sticks sit for a period of time to make sure the wood is dry and cured and won’t check or crack. I have what I like to call a “sea of sticks” in my studio. This is the raw material that I work with. I usually start out with a drawing of what I want my sculpture to look like. I then search for shapes within my stick pile that correspond to the shapes in my drawing. Obviously, I will never find exactly the right shapes and forms in nature that perfectly correlate to my drawing, so I start creating the form from scratch. I cut small shapes of wood and then join these small shapes together using dowels and wood glue. My work is not steam bent. Instead, it is made from many (frequently hundreds) of small shaped pieces of wood. I then fill all the open joints with a wood putty, wait for it to dry and sand it. This puttying process usually needs to be repeated at least three times until the final sanded work looks as if it was born in nature and the line is continuous. It’s a very time-consuming process and each sculpture takes me a minimum of a month to build, frequently more. I often think of my sculptures as drawings but in wood.

Mandala/Quasicrystal, 33” x 33” x 10”, 266 pieces of wood with oil paint, 2014.

Most of your sculptures are abstracted and resonate with natural, geometric, decorative, or even calligraphic forms. Your figurative clay work from 2010-2011 seems to depart from that. What is the origin of this series and how do you see it in context of your overall work?

My husband is a filmmaker who made a documentary in 2009 called Crude: The Real Price of Oil about a decades-long environmental class action lawsuit brought by five Indigenous tribes from the Ecuadorian Amazon against Chevron. The suit alleged that massive pollution led to the creation of a cancer death zone the size of Rhode Island due to the oil drilling practices of and by Texaco from the late 1960s to the early 1990s. Chevron merged with Texaco in 2000, so Chevron inherited the lawsuit. Because my husband had behind-the-scenes access to the plaintiffs’ lawyers in the case, Chevron subpoenaed all of the outtakes from his film. My husband believed that as a journalist he was constitutionally protected under the First Amendment from handing all that footage over, so he fought the subpoena. This legal case became a big First Amendment battle, which got very ugly and caused us a lot of unfair financial stress and concern for our wellbeing. 2010 therefore was a harrowing year for us.

During this stressful time I had trouble creating my wood sculptures. They require many hours of very intensive labor and all I had was an hour here or there to work in my studio. I had a hard time focusing as I began ruminating on how corporate power has eroded our basic liberties and the wellbeing of the country, from Citizen’s United to climate change denial. So I picked up some clay that was in my studio and started sculpting these heads. The first work I created during this period was a multi-part sculpture called They Robbed Us Blind. This work shows portraits of 12 imaginary corporate CEOs with their noses up in the air, sitting on top of a slab of gold bullion with the name of their fictional corporations etched into a brass plaque that is reminiscent of actual companies. This was a way to get my anger channeled into something more creative.

But after making many of these works, it occurred to me that I don’t want my work to come from a place of anger. That is not who I am. The last piece I created in clay during this period was a work called Dreams of Our Ancestors. I sculpted the portraits of seven amazing women from history that either started or had an impact upon a world religion. These women are all gathered and lying on top of a pillow. They were phenomenal beings from Kateri Tekakwitha (the first Native American saint canonized by the Roman Catholic Church) to Sun Bu’er (one of the seven Taoist masters). Strangely, after I completed this work, I truly felt the strength from these women guiding me back into working with my natural wood sculptures. 

Dreams of Our Ancestors, 17″ x 21″ x 6″, clay with iron metal coating and rust patina, and pillow2011.

Tell me about Nature Will Heal, specifically Detritus (2016) and Barbie Convertible. What is the genesis of the work and how do you see the relationship between the pieces?

I truly believe that Mother Nature has the ability to heal this planet. One day, I was cleaning out my basement and found these large plastic bags filled with plastic toys from my daughters’ childhood. I thought, this is insane: plastic within more plastic. I thought, what are we doing on this planet creating all these pollution-laden toys for our children? So I started the series Nature Will Heal for which I built plant-like forms where the “seeds and seedpods” are made from discarded junk. These seeds could be a plastic Barbie convertible car or a Polly Pocket hunk of plastic or even a seedpod that is made entirely from obsolete electronic parts. But, in all these works, the plant is growing around this garbage, consuming and transforming what was once junk and turning it into a new form.

The Barbie Convertible was a particularly tough one to create. It was physically difficult to build because the form is complex – and it was also emotionally difficult. My youngest daughter really loved that red Barbie plastic convertible car but it had been sitting broken, literally gathering dust in our basement for five years. Despite having outgrown it, I still had to plead with her to lend it to me for my work. She finally agreed, and now it’s encased in wood and transformed into a new life. Detritus was literally the detritus that had fallen to the bottom of those plastic bags. This sculpture is filled with bits of plastic from party favors given out at countless children’s birthday parties, as if these discarded plastic bits were invaluable objects imbued with some purpose or meaning. I then wrapped the outside layer of the “flower” in colorful plastic shopping bags. This detritus is now all encased into a strange wood flower, planted and growing from the earth.

Nature Will Heal/ Detritus, 27” x 14” x 11”, 89 pieces of wood with plastic toys, burlap, earth, matte medium, straw, and plastic garbage bags, 2016.

What is the idea behind the Voynich Manuscript?

For the past several years, I have been inspired by a mysterious manuscript from the 15th century called the Voynich Manuscript. Currently housed at the Yale’s Beinicke Library, the manuscript was written in an unknown language, by an unknown author, for an unknown purpose. Over the centuries it has eluded all attempts at deciphering its purpose and text. When I found a copy of it on the internet, I felt an uncanny connection to it. The drawings within its pages feel reminiscent of many of my drawings from older journals. Although the subject matter feels related to our world, it also has an otherworldly and timeless quality to it, as if peering into the mysteries of the universe. It’s this timeless aspect to the work, as well as the universality of it, that remains intriguing to me.

The manuscript is divided into five sections, and for years now I have been in the process of transposing the illustrations found in the first “herbal” section into three-dimensional sculptures. These are plants that don’t actually exist in nature. The plant-like forms that are found within the pages of the manuscript are filled with oddly shaped rhizomes and roots, and parts of plants that are very strange with disproportionately shaped leaves or flowers. With this series I am bringing the unknown into the known, while also shedding light on the mysteries that have been with us since the late Middle Ages.

7r, 42” x 25” x 10”, 166 pieces of wood, linseed oil, earth, graphite, and matte medium, 2017. Photographed at The Dorsky Museum, “New Folk” exhibit, 2020.

What are you working on now?

Just yesterday I finished a new Voynich piece that feels different than the ones that came before it. I still have new forms to discover inspired by this manuscript. Each sculpture that I create must have something new in it for me to discover in order to sustain my interest. I tend to work within a set of parameters that I’ve set for myself – and those parameters determine how long I work on each series. I could work on a specific series for a couple of months or years. My Voynich Manuscript series has been going on five years now, and counting, and I’m still inspired working with it.

50r, 46” x 20” x 12”78 pieces of wood, pastel, linseed oil, earth and matte medium, 2021.

(Top image: The artist in her studio.)

This interview is part of a content collaboration between Art Spiel and Artists & Climate Change. It was originally published on Art Spiel on April 26, 2021 as part of an ongoing interview series with contemporary artists.

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Etty Yaniv works on her art, art writing, and curatorial projects in Brooklyn. She has exhibited her immersive installations in museums and galleries, nationally and internationally. Yaniv founded the platform Art Spiel to highlight the work of contemporary artists through art reviews, studio visits, and interviews with artists, curators, and gallerists. Yaniv holds a BA in Psychology and English Literature from Tel Aviv University, a BFA from Parsons School of Design, and an MFA from SUNY Purchase.

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Artists and Climate Change is a blog that tracks artistic responses from all disciplines to the problem of climate change. It is both a study about what is being done, and a resource for anyone interested in the subject. Art has the power to reframe the conversation about our environmental crisis so it is inclusive, constructive, and conducive to action. Art can, and should, shape our values and behavior so we are better equipped to face the formidable challenge in front of us.

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