The Web of Life Foundation (WOLFoundation.org) is issuing the first call for essays for its 2013 essay competition.
WOLFoundation is dedicating to stimulating new thinking in the field of sustainability and socio-environmental issues. Within this context, the theme of this year’s essay competition is “An Aspirational Future”.
Essays should be up to 2,000 words of prose in any non-technical style (including fiction) and are meant for a general readership.
From the Guidelines: “Any and all views on the specified theme are welcome and encouraged. We would like to see entries that address all perspectives creatively. Just avoid giving us tired ideas that have been hashed out many times before.”
The winning essay will receive a cash prize of $1,500 and $500 is awarded to the second placed entry.
This post comes to you from An Arts and Ecology Notebook
Museum of Nature, 2004 by photographer Ilkka Halso
This is my 100th post on my art & ecology notebook site – amazing! I’m as shocked as probably you are and its made me realise that I have created quite an archive of the different means where arts and ecology intersect.
new ecoartfilm site
What started out in 2008 as a small personal notebook has grown – it initially was a place to put inspiring art & ecology projects and resources that I came across in one place and also a means to house the beginnings of my own long term art & ecology project. From a small rural location the site has allowed me to gather and make visible projects that often fall outside the mainstream agendas of many galleries and it has allowed my own practice to travel to many unexpected destinations. For newer readers my artistic work is about creating small audiovisual works that touch on the small forest that surrounds our house that we are transforming from a monoculture conifer plantation into a permanent mixed species forest. Mostly my own work is about how we engage with ‘nature’ in general and its led me to pursue the idea of whether audiovisual video works can be used in a more ecocentric way, if that is possible (if you are interested my research on this topic can be found here). My art & ecology site been quite an odd jumble of things and early posts were a bit random, but my readership has steadily grown even though my posts can appear a bit infrequently. Thank you for all the comments along the way too – you have no idea how this small site has enabled my work to develop and connect with others!
new archive page
Anyway, to mark this blogging milestone I’ve spent a little bit of time and created an illustrated Archive page and a new dropdown Category section on the home page where you can easily see all the art
disciplines for instance that I have written about; from film to dance, to music to policy papers on culture and sustainability. You are more than welcome to share any of these posts along.
Some of you might also be aware that I wrote a research paper on networking the arts to save the earth earlier this year. It was a whopping 8,000 words, designed to reach out and comment on how cultural practitioners of all types could best use online social media networks. Social media is something I’ve worked with for several years in a past job where I helped develop a large online arts community. A lot of the paper was me trying to figure out the potential or not of social media, amongst all the hype and suddenness in which these
a new article
technologies have now appeared in our lives, and examine their value for art & ecology practitioners. The paper seemed to have struck a nerve – I expect it was probably the fact that many working in this field are both isolated geographically but also isolated on the fringes of contemporary art practice. A much shortened form of the article was printed in the Aug 2011 Irish Visual Arts Newsheet. It was then picked up by one of the editors as a feature article on the international
site HerCircleEzine.com – an online site that for the last 6 years has been dedicated to women’s socially engaged practice. I was surprised and delighted – to tell the truth the research paper had been turned down originally for an academic journal (not that I was too surprised about this as it was my first attempt) but of course, a paper on social media, should be circulating on social media not stuck in some academic journal. I’ve created a resource page of the many various art & ecology networks too – please feel free to tell me about other networks not listed. There’s more too, I’ve also been asked to write a regular column on the HerCircleEzine site about art & ecology and my research practice, starting in November which I must say is a bit daunting as if you examine the site you’ll see the articles written are of a very high standard.
Hollywood - smallest close-to-nature forest in Ireland (pictured: Holly at the forest entrance)
You might have also noticed the blue forest image above – the Museum of Nature created by Finnish photographer Ilkka Halso. I found this image intriguing; its from a larger body of works by Ilkka called Restoration (2004). While I don’t like the idea of putting a forest in a cage I could identify with this artist’s interest with forests. I have also come across a number of artists who describe their art & ecology works as ‘restoration’ environmental projects.It’s not a term I use for my own forest project; while restoration of sites is obviously important I think much more needs to be addressed. Undoubtedly we can learn much from restoring sites/habitats, but for me, I think there is something more interesting in transformation; transforming the ideas and practices of how we relate to nature (a tricky area when one begins to examine it though) and hence, transforming how we behave on this one finite earth. You might be wondering why I’ve added this paragraph at the end of this post – I was saving the best for last . My tiny forest, nick-named ‘Hollywood’ has been getting some attention. ‘Hollywood’ is now listed on the new Irish database for forests that are being managed in a permanent way – its the smallest plantation undergoing ‘transformation’ to become a forest, in Ireland. We manage the forest following close-to-nature principles ( a low impact management system that follows nature’s own dynamics). As it is an ecological type of forest management it means that the forest is sustainable not only for our use (we get firewood, birdsong, oxygen, sanity etc from it) but as it will never be clear-felled; the overall biodiversity, soil fertility and carbon-sink values on the site will only ever increase.
Funny, how this writing about transformation has slipped into this post, as I often have a lot of difficulty in talking about my creative work – in fact, I think its much better presented by the forest itself (click on the image below if you can’t see the film).
If you have any comments, do write in!
An Arts & Ecology Notebook, by Cathy Fitzgerald, whose work exists as ongoing research and is continually inspired to create short films, photographic documentation, and writings. While she interacts with foresters, scientists, and communities, she aims to create a sense of a personal possibility, responsibility and engagement in her local environment that also connects to global environmental concerns.
Go to An Arts and Ecology Notebook
The strategy is to create enough of a mass movement to make people feel it’s OK to make changes in their life, and to give Ed M. the kick in the pants he requires to move forward. I’m not sure how successful the event was in achieving that. It was great to get the front page ofThe Guardian and a page in The Sun but because news of the event was sprung on most people yesterday, the event seemed a little thinly attended. It didn’t feel like the mass movement we need – not yet anway. It felt mostly like people a bit like me.
It’ll be interesting to see how many people have signed the pledge online…
[Takes a look]
6,472 so far. Less than one in ten thousand.
It may be early days, but given how well it was publicised, and the readership of media partners, The Sun and The Guardian, I would say that’s a little disappointing but I’ll leave the last word to the hardcore transitionist at the end who said, “When you see lots of other people getting involved it gives you confidence that you’re not a freak, you’re not out on your own.”
Maja and Reuben Fowkes interviewed in Antennae Magazine – the whole issue can be downloaded from their site as a pdf
Antennae: The Journal of Nature in Visual Culture, was founded in September 2006 by Giovanni Aloi, a London-based lecturer in history of art and media studies. The Journal combines a heightened level of academic scrutiny of animals in visual culture, with a less formal and more experimental format designed to cross the boundaries of academic knowledge, in order to appeal to diverse audiences including artists and the general public alike.
Ultimately, the Journal provides a platform and encourages the overlap of the professional spheres of artists, scientists, environmental activists, curators, academics, and general readers. It does so through an editorial mix that combines academic writing, interviews, informative articles, and discussions with an illustrated format, in order to grant accessibility to a wider readership.