ClimateCultures editor Mark Goldthorpe introduces a new feature — with thanks to one of our members, artist Jennifer Leach, whose conversation first sparked off the idea that has quickly become Quarantine Connection!
With the Covid-19 pandemic reshaping the way we lead our lives — at home and in the world, as artists, curators or researchers — many of us are rethinking how we adapt, what we offer our communities, and how we can best tap into our support networks. In this new social environment, we’re all getting used to keeping a physical distance while looking to maintain and enhance our connectedness. And we’re all looking for the end of this terrible illness and its risks, while at the same time feeling painfully aware that any ‘return to normality’ should offer ways to address our environmental perils anew and not just perpetuate the ‘business as usual’ that’s deepening our ecological and climate predicaments.
Stay at home
As Louis Netter, a senior lecturer in illustration, pointed out in a recent piece on The importance of art in the time of coronavirus during our experience of physical isolation at home, “People are dying, critical resources are stretched, the very essence of our freedom is shrinking – and yet we are moved inward, to the vast inner space of our thoughts and imagination, a place we have perhaps neglected. Of all the necessities we now feel so keenly aware of, the arts and their contribution to our wellbeing is evident and, in some ways, central to coronavirus confinement for those of us locked in at home. For some, there are more pressing needs. But momentary joys, even in dire circumstances, often come through the arts and collective expression.”
Over the past three years, ClimateCultures has grown into a valuable presence for people facing up to our ecological and climate predicaments with a creative heart. We now have over 160 members around the world. With Covid-19 in mind, ClimateCultures offers this new Quarantine Connection as an opportunity for our members to help us all fight isolation during these times when our physical cultural spaces are closed or restricted for the usual sharing of art, knowledge and experience. While our blog focuses on bringing you new content, Quarantine Connection aims to tap into the wealth of our members’ existing work, sharing it afresh to bring new connections, inspiration and conversation here on the site and through social media.
Bring the world in
In medieval Italy and elsewhere during times of contagion, ‘quarantine’ meant a literal 40 days of isolation. Although none of us knows how soon the pandemic can be brought to an end — and the physical restrictions we’re working under will relax at different paces in different countries — Quarantine Connection is a marker: ’40 days’ as a statement of shared hope and of solidarity!
And we’re taking our quarantine five days at a time: 40 days over the next eight weeks, starting on 13th April. From Monday to Friday, we’ll share small pieces of work each day, starting with one a day and maybe more as we go along. An image, a poem, an audio or video piece, a short story, a research snippet, an event or exhibition programme, an extract from a longer piece… So check back every day as the collection and the connection grows, and do share your responses here and on our Twitter and Facebook!
Quarantine Connection Week 8 features work from …
- Dave Pritchard — an independent advisor with special interest in intersections between culture and environment, coordinating the Convention on Wetlands’ Culture Network and chairing CIWEM’s Arts & Environment Network. Dave is based in Northumberland, England.
- Hanien Conradie — a fine artist working with human/nature connections and ‘Place’. Hanien is based in Cape Town, South Africa.
- Jaime Robles — a writer and visual artist who has created several environmental poetry installations and collaborated on a dance–poem juxtaposing the natural world and the city in movement. Jaime is based in San Francisco, USA.
- James Roberts — a poet, essayist and artist, and founder and art director of Zoomorphic, a creative hub celebrating and defending wildlife and the more than human world. James is based in Clyro, Wales.
- Robynne Limoges — an artist who uses photography in a search for illumination, playing out the metaphysical question of just how little light is required to dispel darkness. Robynne is based in London, England.
Quarantine Connection Week 7 featured work from …
- Alan McFetridge — a photographer exploring forced migration and where will we go, as a species, when we can no longer inhabit lands we have since our beginnings. Alan is based in London, England.
- Cathy Fitzgerald — an artist and researcher exploring eco-social wellbeing by bringing art and non-art practices together in creative practice and offering ecoliteracy learning for the arts. Cathy is based in County Carlow, Ireland.
- Jennifer Leach — an artist, theatremaker and director of Outrider Anthems, who sees creativity as a powerful means of opening ourselves to vistas and energies beyond our limited vision. Jennifer is based in Reading, England.
- Patricia Tavormina — an educator and researcher networking with artists and scientists on climate change and currently writing climate fiction in an effort to make climate science more accessible. Patricia is based in southern California, USA.
- Sally Moss — a writer, editor, researcher and activist exploring the cultural shift required to live regeneratively and adapt well to the Anthropocene. Sally is based in Liverpool, England.
A Creative Pause
- With the completion of Week 6, we are 3/4 of the way through — and we’re building in a little break, postponing Week 7 for one week.
Quarantine Connection Week 6 featured work from …
- Clare Best — a poet whose subjects include landscape, environment and human activity in place. For Springlines she collaborated with a visual artist to explore hidden and mysterious bodies of water. Clare is based in Suffolk, England.
- Jo Dacombe — 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. Jo is based in Leicester, England.
- Julien Masson — an artist whose works are all, in some way, related to technology and our relation with it and wishes to expand notions of what is art. Julien is based in Southampton, England.
- Lola Perrin — a composer, pianist and collaborator on keyboard conversations about climate change with economists, lawyers, scientists, artists and other thinkers across the world. Lola is based in London, England.
- Sue Lovell — a teacher of ethics, literature and academic writing, interested in narrative theory, embodiment, affect, ecocriticism, and climate change narratives relating to future identities in critical posthumanism. Sue is based in Queensland, Australia.
Quarantine Connection Week 5 featured work from …
- Evgenia Emets — an artist intersecting land-art, sound and visual poetry through experiences, forests, artist books, calligraphy, performance, objects and community engagement, and whose ‘Eternal Forest’ integrates ecological thinking. Evgenia is based in Ericeira, Portugal.
- Julian Bishop — a former journalist, environment reporter and tv news editor who writes poetry about eco issues and was runner-up in the 2018 Ginkgo Poetry Prize. Julian is based in London, England.
- Kelvin Smith — a writer and campaigner engaging publishers in the Climate Crisis, to act now for decisive moves to repurpose publishing for the new age of climate adaptation. Kelvin is based in Suffolk, England.
- Rajat Chaudhuri — a bilingual writer and activist whose works include eco-disaster novel The Butterfly Effect and has worked with international NGOs and the UN Commission on Sustainable Development. Rajat is based in Calcutta, India.
- Selva Ozelli — an environmentalist working as an artist, writer, international tax attorney and public accountant, who has curated a Climate Change Art Show at Balat Culture Center, Istanbul. Selva is based in Istanbul, Turkey, and New York, USA.
Quarantine Connection Week 4 featured work from …
- Dave Hubble — an artist and former ecologist exploring how people will be creative in a future that looks increasingly bleak, but tinged with hope that it won’t be. Dave is based in Southampton, England.
- Deborah Tomkins — a writer of long and short fiction and articles, who started writing about climate change to answer the question – ‘How, really, will it be?’. Deborah is based in Bristol, England.
- Indigo Moon — an activist and writer specialising in environmental, LGBTQ+, animal and human rights, whose online platform uses creativity as a tool to influence and encourage positive change. indigo is based in Bath, England.
- Rob La Frenais — an independent contemporary art curator, working internationally and creatively with artists entirely on original commissions, directly engaged with the artist’s working process as far as possible. Rob is based in London, England.
- Tessa Gordziejko — a writer, performer, creative producer and activist making work about the climate crisis, whose socially engaged, collaborative arts projects connect citizens and communities with deep themes. Tessa is based in Yorkshire, England.
Quarantine Connection Week 3 featured work from …
- Anne Krinsky — a visual artist in analogue and digital media, fascinated by the ways built and natural structures change over time, currently exploring the ephemeral nature of wetlands. Anne is based in London, England.
- Anthony Bennett — a multidisciplinary artist whose work, often collaborative, is inspired by difficult contemporary and future sociological concerns surrounding issues such as food security and migration. Anthony is based in Sheffield, England.
- Arran Stibbe — Professor of Ecological Linguistics at the University of Gloucestershire, and a writer on language, reconnection with nature, the stories we live by, and founder of the International Ecolinguistics Association, a network of 600 ecolinguists from around the world. Arran is based in Cheltenham, England.
- Bridget McKenzie — an independent researcher and creative curator, founding Climate Museum UK as an emerging mobile kit of ‘loose parts’ that creatively stirs responses to the climate emergency. Bridget is based in London, England.
- Mike Hembury — a writer, musician and photographer, with a regular column on climate change, whose novel, New Clone City (2018), features environmental themes in an urban setting. Mike is based in Berlin, Germany.
Quarantine Connection Week 2 featured work from …
- Adam Ledger — co-artistic director of The Bone Ensemble and senior lecturer in Drama and Theatre Arts, interested in how art practices can bring empowering messages about climate. Adam is based in Birmingham, England.
- Brit Griffin — author of two near-future cli-fi novels and a writer of poetic/story musings, whose interests lay in reconciling with non-humans and exploring the human/creature boundaries. Brit is based in Cobalt in Ontario, Canada.
- Hilary Jennings — a freelance project manager and Director of the Happy Museum Project, investigating how the museum sector can respond to the challenge of creating a more sustainable future. Hilary based in London, England.
- Jacqui Jones — a multi-media artist immersed in current social, political and scientific thinking, whose work encourages thought, conversation and action, focusing on the climate crisis and single-use plastics. Jacqui is based in Norwich, England.
- Rebecca Chesney — a visual artist interested in the relationship between humans and nature, how we perceive, romanticise and translate the landscape and our influence on the environment. Rebecca is based in Preston, England.
Quarantine Connection Week 1 featured work from …
- Hayley Harrison — an artist examining our disconnection with ‘nature’ and each other via discarded materials, text, performance and video. Hayley is based in London, England.
- Helen Moore — an ecopoet, author, socially engaged artist and educator. Helen is based in Somerset, England.
- Mary Woodbury — a fiction writer, researcher and curator of websites exploring ecology in fiction. Mary is based in Nova Scotia, Canada.
- Peter Reason – a writer linking the tradition of nature writing with the ecological crisis of our times. Peter is based in Bath, England.
- Philip Webb Gregg — a writer of fiction and non-fiction. Philip is based in London, England.