Celebrating Art and Culture

Encounters with the arts and with artists can provide new perspectives on landscapes and landscape history, helping to improve understanding of the history and relationships – past and present – between people and place.

The Endangered Landscapes Programme has a vision for landscapes where nature thrives without the need for intensive and costly management – places where people’s connections to nature can be deepened by the surprise, awe and creativity that it inspires.

All of the creative arts, including literature, the visual arts, music and dance, among others, have a powerful way of reawakening our sense of the familiar. Whether people have lived in a landscape for a lifetime or are visitors, encounters with the arts and with artists provide new perspectives on landscapes and landscape history. These can alter how we sustain a sense of place, and how we understand what the land means, why both the nature and culture have been eroded and lost, and why restoration is underway.

Both the arts and artists bring creativity into the cultural renewal implicit in restoration, and to 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.

Through a variety of approaches, that include drawing on traditional and contemporary arts and crafts, the Endangered Landscapes Programme is working with cultural perceptions of nature, helping to convey people, place and roles in the complex mosaics of natural, farmed, and built environments that landscapes represent.

Alongside other forms of restoration and renewal, the arts can powerfully reconnect people to nature and communicate the challenges, impact and opportunities for revival.

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Staffan Widstrand / Rewilding Europe

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