AN interactive new art exhibition curated by researchers from Edge Hill University is travelling to locations across the North West to mark Natural England’s 70th birthday.
The From the Land to the Sky exhibition will be at Ainsdale Sand Dunes Natural Nature Reserve from August 1-8 and forms part of Natural England’s 70th anniversary celebrations to help visitors understand what disadvantaged communities have to say about the natural environment.
Professor of Culture, Communication and Screen Studies, Claire Parkinson has brought together artists and disadvantaged groups to produce artworks examining what animals can teach us about landscapes.
Together they explored farms, nature reserves, and allotments to consider the different ways in which people and other species make sense of the world.
Professor Parkinson, who is also Director of the University’s Centre for Human Animal Studies (CfHAS), said: “One of the reasons we have a climate crisis is that we only think about things from our human perspective. This project builds on research undertaken by members of the Edge Hill’s CfHAS which explores our interconnections with other species and highlights the problems of adopting a wholly human-centred view of the world.
“This exhibition is about landscape stories from local communities that imagine interactions with other species, consider the wider environment that we are part of, and make connections between humans and the natural world.”
Using installations, video, sculpture, photography and paintings, the exhibition conveys different landscapes that imagine connections between humans and other species. They use multispecies storytelling to capture the voices of marginalised communities and disadvantaged groups; those who don’t usually have a say in decisions about landscapes and landscape use.
Mike Downey, Natural England’s Senior Adviser for National Nature Reserves said: “It has been fantastic working with Edge Hill to help showcase this project through some of the reserves in the region. The exhibitions offer a great opportunity for communities to connect with nature and our reserves in different ways, and it’s a pleasure to be able to support this as part of our summer long Festival of National Nature Reserves.”
It involved Edge Hill colleagues Professor Brett Mills, Dr Lara Herring and Dr Hannah Parathian, as well as Professor Candice Satchwell from the University of Central Lancashire. They engaged with a wide range of community groups, including Royal Cross Primary School, Furness College, Autus, Burscough Community Farm, and Learning Stars.