Art at Net Zero Festival London

“The transboundary nature of digital art has allowed me to participate in fifteen international art shows during September.”

Selva Ozelli has been busy making art shows and interviewing artists, museums and international NGOs to support Net Zero Festival London and its aims to be a catalyst towards a net zero, equitable and resilient future. 

“Our planet needs everyone to work together, including the public, policymakers, academia, artists, business, community, civil society, NGOs and museums.”

Selva Ozelli is an environmentalist working as an artist, writer, international tax attorney and public accountant, who has curated a climate change art shows with various organisations.

 

Running parallel to the United Nations General Assembly — holding its 76th annual meeting between 14th and 30th September in New York City to bring countries together at a critical time for marshalling collective action to tackle the global environmental crisis which has worsened the COVID-19 Pandemic — the Net Zero Festival London aims to cover the full breadth of the green industrial revolution. I have prepared a new art show and collaborated with artists, museums and an international NGO on three themes.

Theme 1: Green, fair and resilient recovery from the pandemic

2021 – The International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development – has witnessed the rapid spread of the highly transmissible delta variant of Covid-19, as well as a new coronavirus variant, with multiple mutations amidst the worst wildfire season. But then, akin to pollution and corona, the transboundary nature of digital art has allowed me to participate in fifteen international art shows during September, with the theme of a sustainable and resilient recovery from the pandemic with my ‘Art in the Time of Corona’ series of art shows that were published by CUHK Jockey Club Museum of Climate Change

Theme 2: Road to  COP26

200 of the world’s leading health journals released a joint statement pleading with global leaders to cut greenhouse gas emissions to mitigate climate change, which they say is the greatest threat to public health.

New World Health Organization Global Air Quality Guidelines provide clear evidence of the damage air pollution inflicts on human health, at even lower concentrations than previously understood. The guidelines recommend new air quality levels to protect the health of populations, by reducing levels of key air pollutants, some of which also contribute to climate change. Air pollution is one of the biggest environmental threats to human health, alongside climate change.
   
Ambitious climate action has now become a matter of urgency according to the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
. Especially since the initial NDC Synthesis report showed that the world is not on track to reach the Nationally Determined Contributions in accordance with the Paris Agreement to address climate change.

With thousands of companies now committed to delivering net zero emissions and the UK set to host the critical COP26 Climate Summit this November, the Net Zero Festival will provide both invaluable practical guidance on how to navigate the economic and technological shifts that are already underway and an exploration of how to accelerate decarbonization strategies towards a green recovery from the pandemic. My Net Zero Festival Booth is here.

Theme 3: Whole of society climate action

Our planet needs everyone to work together, including the public, policymakers, academia, artists, business, community, civil society, NGOs and museums. Ahead of Net Zero Festival London, I interviewed Viviane Gosselin for TiredEarth. Viviane, Director of Collections and Exhibitions for the Museum of Vancouver and a member of the Advisory Group for the Coalition of Museums for Climate Justice, explained “I just want to stress that it’s clear […] that social and environmental justice are interconnected.”


Net Zero Festival London runs from 29th September to 1st October and aims to cover the full breadth of the green industrial revolution. You can find Selva’s digital art shows the festival here. Selva’s Art in the Time of Corona, was originally published by CUHK Jockey Club Museum of Climate Change.

In the UK, The Lancet published the joint document, Call for emergency action to limit global temperature increases, restore biodiversity, and protect health (4/9/21).

Selva’s interview with Viviane Gosselin, Director of Collections and Exhibitions of the Museum of Vancouver and a member of the Advisory Group for the Coalition of Museums for Climate Justice, is published at TiredEarth.

Imminent: a Zine on Emergency and Connectedness

“I wanted to start the zine because I needed the outlet for myself, to try to connect with other people through my own rage and hope. I found that many others needed this too.”

Jo Dacombe‘s IMMINENT explores the experience we’re on the edge of: climate emergency, nature connectedness, working together, grief, loss, determination, optimism.

“You hold in your hand the texture of a tree. This is real. Hold it carefully.

Trees and writing are bound together through their etymology. The beech gave us the word for book. Some say this is because the beechwood was originally used as tablets for the inscription of runes by the Nordic peoples, that early form of writing which seemed to carry magic in its lines. To people that had never encountered writing, lines marked in bark that hold meaning must have seemed a strange power.”

Jo Dacombe is a multimedia artist creating work, installations and interventions, interested in mapping, walking, public space, sense of place, layers of history and the power of objects.

My opening lines to IMMINENT Issue 1 expressed why I did not want to make this thing online. There is something about holding the publication in one’s hand which I felt was important, because the tangible and material world is what the work is all about.

For many years my work has been about how we, as humans, relate to the natural world and the landscapes within which we find ourselves. My concerns over climate change and the effects that our society have on the environment have grown with my understanding of it. I had used my art to open discussions about some of these issues, I had spoken about it at conferences, run workshops and written numerous letters to politicians as well as supermarkets. I supported environmental charities, I planted my garden with pollinator plants and I tried to live well with less impact. But still I felt the huge task ahead and felt a deep tension, a frustration that bubbled inside me as it does in so many people, to express something somehow, to make some contribution. As an artist, writer and creator, what should I be doing?

I should write, create and make art, of course. And so I began creating IMMINENT. I wrote to artists and writers that I knew. I asked them if, like me, they felt moved to want to speak to people through words and images about the state of the world we find ourselves in, to please consider contributing. I was amazed by the response and generosity of the work that flooded in.

I wanted to start the zine because I needed the outlet for myself, to try to connect with other people through my own rage and hope. I found that many others needed this too. Both issues so far, by chance, have been produced under lockdown conditions: the first was ready for publication in March, but had to be delayed until June; the second was published in November. The sense of connection, at times when we all had to stay in our homes, was even more important and the exchange of ideas that has come about in making IMMINENT has been a lifeline for me.

In putting together both issues, I have found that loose themes emerge from the collection of contributions. This inspired my own writing, and I try to draw together the threads throughout each issue through my own words and images. The first issue introduced the reason for the publication to be a physical thing, to reconnect us with the material world at a time when much of our connection is increasingly virtual. The second issue is blue, and the poetry and images had blueness running through them; ideas of water, snow and ice, that most important element reacting to world temperatures, both essential for life but also deadly as it transforms our landscapes.

IMMINENT is about the experience that we are on the edge of. IMMINENT themes are about the climate emergency, nature connectedness, how we work together in collaborative, un-capitalist ways, how we can re-use things, what our future holds, about grief and loss, and about determination and optimism. It will both celebrate our world and rage against environmental injustice. Sometimes it will just breathe and sing.


Imminent is a 12 page, A5 zine
 costing just £2 + p&p and is available direct from Jo Dacombe online.

Issue 1 (June 2020) includes contributions from Linzi Bright, Jim Caruth, Jo Dacombe, Mark Goodwin, Mary Hayes and Andy Postlethwaite. 

Issue 2 (November 2020) includes contributions from Jim Caruth, Jo Dacombe, Peter Dent, Helen Goodwin, Mary Hayes, Rupert M Loydell, Penelope Shuttle, Mita Solanky, Deborah Tyler-Bennett.

Haumea Online 7-week Essential Ecoliteracy for Creatives & Art Professionals

“This is a comprehensive introductory course, as ecoliteracy is a big topic. It means becoming familiar with ecological philosophy, ethics, law, psychology, science and economics that an ecological worldview advances and I share examples of creatives pioneering this path.”

Cathy Fitzgerald‘s online learning offers a means to rapidly bring ecological literacy to the creative sector.


“Just as in her own art, where she is growing a forest, in her teaching she draws together the disparate roots, branches, leaves, seeds and flowers, leaving a healthy forest to flourish for itself. I am very grateful. ”
Shane Finan — a visual artist in Wicklow, Ireland — took part in Cathy Fitzgerald’s Haumea Online Essential Ecoliteracy course for Creatives and Art Professionals in 2020.

Cathy Fitzgerald is an artist and researcher exploring ecosocial wellbeing by bringing art and non-art practices together in creative practice and offering Ecoliteracy learning for the arts.

My background in research science, art professional development and doctoral-level knowledge of ecological art practice means for several decades I have been keenly aware of the vast cultural dilemma we face. In 2016, when submitting my Creative Practice-led doctoral thesis —The Ecological Turn: Living Well with Forests… — I realised that economically challenged art education institutes would have little ability to pivot towards training their staff, reorientating their curricula to encompass ecoliteracy. Having an MA in new media, and experience of fostering online professional development for creative communities, I briefly speculated that online learning might offer a means to rapidly bring this knowledge to the creative sector.

This idea never left me. In 2019, with support from the Irish Carlow Local Enterprise Office and Carlow Arts office, I was able to get some fantastic international mentoring on best practice in online course development and delivery, and online business strategy. The only thing was, I had never taught before!

Nevertheless, with my mentors’ encouragement, I began by surveying established creative practitioners for their needs in this area and this formed the topic areas that I developed into seven weekly modules. This is a comprehensive introductory course, as ecoliteracy is a big topic. It means becoming familiar with ecological philosophy, ethics, law, psychology, science and economics that an ecological worldview advances and I share examples of creatives’ work who are pioneering this path.

Survey responses from the creative sector when I researched the course, also indicated that many in the sector wanted psychosocial supports to address the overwhelm that awareness of the ecological emergency brings. From my experience, I knew this is crucial to safeguard against depression and burnout.

By some odd coincidence, after trialling the modules in a live workshop, I found myself launching my pilot in early 2020 just as Ireland’s first pandemic lockdown began. Somehow, the Haumea Online Ecoliteracy course and our weekly live zoom meetings thrived. Also, I am very grateful that my friend, mentor and educator in California, ecological philosopher Dr Nikos Patedakis, co-hosts the weekly meetings with me and shares his deep knowledge of the world’s wisdom traditions and recent research of psychosocial supports.

During 2020, we have hosted five courses, and from the start, we have welcomed participants from Ireland, the UK, the US, Europe, Scandinavia and China.

For 2021, we are excited to be offering the Haumea Online 7-week Essential Ecoliteracy for Creatives and Art Professionals again — 5th January to 23rd February — whilst trying to consolidate and grow our ecoliteracy offerings further (no easy thing in this economic climate). As we are committed to a supportive online learning experience, our class size is a maximum of 20 participants. We are looking to build a larger audience around the course material, perhaps through a possible podcast series, and members network, friends of Haumea supporters scheme, and we are open to exploring collaboration with other education providers.

Best of all, sharing my knowledge has brought me joy in a challenging year, and increased my motivation for my ongoing ecosocial art practice and research. From the solitary years of doing a PhD in a rural area, I now have the coolest new friends from across the world who share a vision that creatives have a vital role to inspire a better world.


Haumea Online 7-week Essential Ecoliteracy

You can find out more about Cathy Fitzgerald’s Haumea Online Ecoliteracy course and advisory ecoliteracy policy consultancy at Haumea. See what others are saying about the course here.

You can also download Cathy’s thesis The Ecological Turn: Living Well with Forests… (National College of Art and Design, Dublin, Ireland, 2018), and explore the workk of ecophilosopher Dr Nikos Patedakis at Wisdom Love and Beauty.