UK and Australian wetlands collaboration puts Arts Council England funding to work
The changing environments of two of the world’s internationally recognised wetlands are under the microscope in an exciting collaboration between artists, land managers and environmental specialists in the UK and Australia.
The Mosses and Marshes project questions how we think about and value natural environments through works centred on the raised peat bogs of Fenn’s Bettisfield and Whixall Mosses NNR on the border between England and Wales and the iconic Macquarie Marshes in New South Wales, Australia.
The project has just been awarded a grant from Arts Council England, which combined with funding secured in Australia, will allow the artists involved to create artworks and run events and exhibitions in their respective local communities, as well as nationally and internationally. The project will be launched via social media and project websites on World Wetlands Day, 2nd February 2021.
Andrew Howe (UK) and Kim V. Goldsmith (Australia) are co-leading the project exploring each unique site and environmental challenges we face on opposing sides of the planet. Andrew Howe is partnering with Shropshire Wildlife Trust and Natural England as they carry out their scrapyard restoration and peatbog conservation projects, while Kim has been partnering with the Macquarie Wetlands Association, as well as tapping into the knowledge of various wetland and water management specialists to explore elements of the Macquarie Marshes.
Andrew says “We are delighted and hugely grateful to Arts Council England for this public funding from the National Lottery. This enables us towork with five other artists: Elizabeth Turner and Keith Ashford, Sue Challis, Kate Johnston and Lydia Halcrow, artist/curator Gudrun Filipska of Arts Territory Exchange, Mediaactive Projects CIC and local partners Wem Youth Club and Shropshire Wildlife Trust.”
After being introduced to each other through international remote collaboration organisation, Arts Territory Exchange in 2018, the two lead artists have used scientific research, site visits and field recordings to develop ideas, exploring some of the more hidden values of the wetlands; those values not often considered in the fight to preserve them.
Kim says, “Andrew and I use similar processes to explore sites, really getting to know both human and ecological perspectives by spending time there – while my focus is the use of technology to dig deeper into the landscape, Andrew is a walking artist working in a range of media. We’ve both been very interested in weaving the stories behind the wetlands into the works, drawing out the commonalities that often have to do with shared hopes for the future of these environments.”
The artists hope this will develop into a longer-term project, establishing a platform for future artist residencies. The first phase includes new artworks for public exhibition, workshops, walks and talks, and a project publication due for release prior to the first exhibition at Qube Gallery, Oswestry in October. Australian exhibitions in Coonamble, NWW and Canberra will follow in 2022.
MEDIA CONTACT: Andrew Howe, +44 7808 726548 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Instagram: @andhowenow @goldsmithsstudio
Notes to editors:
Arts Council England is the national development agency for creativity and culture. We have set out our strategic vision in Let’s Create that by 2030 we want England to be a country in which the creativity of each of us is valued and given the chance to flourish and where everyone of us has access to a remarkable range of high quality cultural experiences. We invest public money from Government and The National Lottery to help support the sector and to deliver this vision. www.artscouncil.org.uk
Following the Covid-19 crisis, the Arts Council developed a £160 million Emergency Response Package, with nearly 90% coming from the National Lottery, for organisations and individuals needing support. We are also one of the bodies administering the Government’s unprecedented £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Funds. Find out more at www.artscouncil.org.uk/covid19
And a big thank you to everyone who has assisted us so far including our project partners and funders: