Four Endangered Landscapes Programme Artist Residencies announce extensions

Posted: 24th May 2023

Photo: Marius Sumlea

We are delighted to announce the Endangered Landscape Artist Residency extensions in four of our restoration landscapes. Building on the quality of engagement with people and nature through the artist’s initial residency, this extension will provide artists further access to restoration practices and connections to communities to support the production and presentation of new artworks.

Following the success of the first round of the Endangered Landscapes Programme’s Artist Residencies, four artists/collectives have been invited to extend working in their respective landscapes until December 2023. They are Natela Grigalashivili (Iori River Valley, Georgia), Robbie Synge, Elizabeth Reeder and Amanda Thompson (Cairngorms Connect, Scotland), Nico de Transilvania (Carpathia, Romania) and Antony Lyons, Barbara Carvalho and Jesse D Vernon (Greater Côa Valley, Portugal).

The Artist Residencies draw upon the cultural renewal implicit in restoration, and explore the relationships people have with their surroundings. Environments rich in nature and culture are deeply linked to community and individual well-being, and the arts have a key role in instilling such connections. Creative approaches can be used in the critical work of engaging, supporting and sustaining local communities, by developing participative and immersive approaches to the arts that build on local traditions of music, performance, craftwork and storytelling. In many ways, stories, and how they are told, are a foundation for understanding the challenges people face living in landscapes threatened by change.

Natela Grigalashivili – Iori River Valley, Georgia

Image: Natela Grigalashivili.

Observing how humans alter and shape their surroundings and vice versa is an important detail for photographer Natela Grigalashivili. Working closely with SABUKO, this residency extension will enable her to explore the local habitat alongside the people residing in the Iori River Valley, Georgia through every season, offering a unique opportunity to observe the diversity of the landscape. By connecting with the local Azerbaijani nomad community, Grigalashivili will explore more of the Chachuna reservation and photograph the environment, people, flora and fauna. From this she plans to produce a photographic series and multi-media exhibition, to include camera trap recordings as well as archives and materials collected during this time.

‘I would like this residency extension to continue the exploration of local habitat – flora and fauna alongside the people residing here – nomads that visit Chachuna reservation few months every year with their flock of sheep. Observing how humans alter and shape their surroundings and vice versa is an important detail for me in photography and specifically in this project.’

Image: Natela Grigalashivili.

Robbie Synge, Elizabeth Reeder and Amanda Thomson – Cairngorms, Scotland

Image: Robbie Synge and Abernethy Primary School Pupils.

Building on their collaboration with Cairngorms Connect, Robbie Synge, Elizabeth Reeder and Amanda Thomson will develop a range of activities to inspire and encourage new ways of connecting communities with nature, in parallel with landscape wellbeing. Working in a range of ways from using infrared motion sensor cameras to accompanying workers and volunteers on practical fieldwork, they will explore how different species, bodies, voices, language and perceptions change, move, and respond to the landscape across seasons and times. Alongside their own investigative fieldwork, Synge, Reeder and Thomson will collaborate with ecologists, volunteers and school children through a range of sensory, photography, and writing workshops to playfully explore different perspectives within Abernethy Forest and its environs. Whilst being independent makers with three distinct practices, their work will interweave to form new performances, exhibitions, events and prints over the coming year.

‘As a collective, we are excited to continue working on our individual and overlapping interests and forms of work. The residency extension would allow us to develop a range of activities already initiated in 2021-22, building on our learning of Cairngorms Connect’s landscape restoration work and emerging community connections.’

Image: Amanda Thomson.

Nico de Transilvania – Carpathia, Romania

In Romania, Nico de Transilvania’s residency explores how the biodiversity of the Carpathian Mountains is interconnected with local traditions. She is particularly interested in giving voice to elders from Romanian forest communities, since their traditional music centres around human connections with natural cycles. Following her album and film INTERBEING produced with local communities last year, Nico will develop a live multimedia show to be presented at Făgăraș Fest in July to celebrate and their cultural traditions as well as raises awareness about the environmental issues of the local area. It also aims to create continuity in the landscape, grow their connection with traditional and contemporary musicians to collect more stories, insights, songs and words of wisdom to pass on to future generations in Romania and beyond.

‘My work focuses on using different artistic forms—music, film and photography—to tell the story of the interconnectedness of people and landscape through songs and storytelling, featuring and inspired by old traditional instruments and songs. It also raises awareness about the environmental issues of the local area, such as deforestation of the nearby Carpathian mountains, and loss of old, traditional ways of looking after this landscape. This will be an incredible opportunity to show the project to the entire community at Făgăraș Fest, as the film and project is a celebration of their community, their art and traditions and its ties to the local landscape.’

Image: Marius Sumlea.

Antony Lyons, Bárbara Carvalho and Jesse D Vernon – Greater Côa Valley, Portugal

Image: Antony Lyons and Barbara Carvalho.

Working closely with local communities in the Greater Côa Valley, Portugal, ecological artist Antony Lyons, archaeologist Bárbara Carvalho and musician Jesse D Vernon have been developing the ‘Wild Côa Symphony’, a project which reflects the ecology, community and identity of the landscape, and its layers of time. By using methods such as field-recordings, music-based data sonifications, photography and moving-image as well as leading participatory walks, and creative mapping sessions, they will continue to engage local communities to explore the past, present and future of the Côa Valley. Involving the entire journey of the Côa River, their residency will culminate in the co-creation of the ‘Wild Côa Symphony’, a video poem, weaving together images, soundscapes, poetry and songs gathered during many visits. Through this immersive experience, audiences will be invited to contemplate the changing landscape as a place of healing and repair for people and ecologies, and encounter some of the entangled flows of the Côa Valley bioregion.

‘The Wild Côa Symphony has already proved to be a great initiative that has fostered engagement in local communities of the Greater Côa Valley that are important for the work that is being carried out in this endangered landscape. We have collaborated with this initiative over the past year, with many successful activities, and this residency extension will allow for more work in proximity with local communities and the involvement of the symphony with the Land Art Festival, CÔA – Corridor of Arts, which will take place in the Greater Côa Valley in July 2023.’ – Marta Cálix, Rewilding Portugal

Image: Antony Lyons and Barbara Carvalho.

Later in the year we will be announcing other creative opportunities with the Endangered Landscapes Programme and the Arts, Science and Conservation programme, including a partnership with BSPB, Forests Without Frontiers and Meadows in the Mountains festival in Bulgaria. To find out more about the Artist Residencies, visit their project pages

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