Getting back to BASICS!

Reflections towards an artful ecology of living…

final resting place for an MA show, nr mabe church, cornwall (pward 2012)

Having completed an arduous emotional, intellectual and aesthetic journey on the MA Art & Environment Course at University College Falmouth, (and receiving the highest accolades for my achievements I might add – a distinction and the Sandra Blow Award!!??) I am left in a hinterland of ‘where am I now?’, and how does this new, more informed and experienced me fit into the big wide world beyond the safety of the institution kind-of-feeling? Despite establishing numerous links and contacts, and even possible collaborations and residencies locally and internationally through my determined well-intentioned efforts, I still feel that a period of contemplation, reflection and self-nurturing is necessary before launching once more into the fray. A time of reconnection with and reevaluation of my inherent impulses and tendencies that have brought me thus far into the land of ecology and art…

 nurture, heal and deeply appreciate* (pward 2012)

My current projects include a collaboration with Royal Opera House Associate Choreographer Freddie Opoku Addaie (organized by Dance in Devon), invitations to talk at Aune Head Arts and the Devonshire Association, the research and installation of a permanent display about the locally significant earth pigment Bideford Black for the Burton Gallery, development of the 2013-14 CCANW programme Soil Culture, including a residency in association with Northern Devon’s Nature Improvement Area, continued development of North Devon’s UNESCO Biosphere Reserve’s Arts Strategy, applications for funding to conduct further research in Australia in 2013 regarding indigenous intelligence with Aboriginal Elder Noel Butler and the Floating Land Environmental Arts Festival, work with the Field Studies Council to initiate Art/Science Field Trips, a possible residency at the recently established University of Exeter’s Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI) at Tremough Campus in Falmouth, ultimately leading to a possible Phd research post with RANE to explore the utilization of interdisciplinary and indigenously inspired arts within UNSECO Biosphere Reserves nationally and internationally.

home, westward ho! north devon (pward 2012)

Despite such lofty and well-meaning intentions my own tendency is not to seek out problem areas within the overwhelming ecological and economic circumstance in which we find ourselves and deliberately draw peoples attention to them through art or the offering of artful ‘solutions’, but to explore and celebrate those simple things and essential happenings that offer us a sense of our rootedness and experiential wonder at being part of this planet. The fact that as a species we have survived and evolved this far as part of the ever-changing and unpredictable universe is a miracle in itself. That we might continue to survive, against all the odds and amidst the contradictions and violence that seemingly surround us, is cause for great cultural contemplation and expression. I have been party to many long words (and even longer sentences) and many painful and ridiculous analogies of our current predicament during the last two years, yet the power of cold fresh water on my body or the heat of a simple log fire and food shared with friends, the exquisite sensation of a hand held in joy and love or the making of another like-minded acquaintance is enough to give real hope for the future and a sense that we will do what we must to preserve the beauty and abundance that life provides.

 ponsharden boatyard, penryn cornwall (pward 2012)

Travelling regularly to Falmouth from North Devon to participate on the MA has led to probably the most ‘carbon-heavy’ period of my life, and so to (re)establish a lifestyle more aligned with my political and ecological intentions and its spiritual implications is one of the first considerations I will aim to address. Thankfully the advent, development and prevalence of communications technology will allow a sense of community and sharing to continue. Personally I find motorized travel disturbing (far too much molecular vibration for my liking!). Not simply by the ecological damage it might impose but through its speed and noise, insisting upon a period of grounding and readjustment to each place that one encounters before a sense of balance and peace may be achieved. So what choices may I now make to allow for inspiration, purpose and simplicity to re-enter my life, and for the dis-ease of over-movement and excess to recede? Maybe I will just patiently listen to my situation, to my body and heart, to the place that I live and the relationships within it to find out before I calmly and quietly move on…

 returning back to nature* (pward 2012)

But before I do I would like to most sincerely thank all those with whom I have shared this journey over the last few years, fellow students, tutors, associates and acquaintances alike. May we all find the purpose and meaning our lives require and the means to support and sustain us…





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