A creative research project that explored the transgressive potential of art and making to engage groups of citizens and experts in imaginative conceptions of alternative environmental narratives.
Taking place in 3 countries (Sweden, United Kingdom and The Netherlands) three ‘collective residencies’ brought together an intergenerational group of people who played, ate, (re)imagined, learned and created together, to design alternative futures around a selected ‘glocal’ issue, and explore what needs to be disrupted to realise these imagined realities; what is working with us and what is working against us?
IN THE UNITED KINGDOM
With rising sea levels numerous communities along the British coast are in danger of flooding and erosion. Policy-makers and scientists are planning the future defence of the coast, which will mean that many coastal communities will have to fend for themselves when sea level rise take their toll.
With this in mind we designed RETREAT a 4 day residency that conceived its participants as climate refugees, that were relocated from their coastal community to a holding camp on higher ground. Families explored and imagined the impact of climate change through a guided journey to 'resettle'. Questioning and playing with the ‘comforts’ we take for granted and assume as our birthrights, we asked what it is we need and want when all we know is washed away.
IN THE NETHERLANDS
This residency took place mid April 2019. It involved a neighbourhood in the town of Wageningen that is currently transitioning away from gas extracted from the deep earth to more sustainable and renewable sources of energy. We explored the behavioural and infrastructural shifts that are needed to make this a transition happen. What disruptions does it involve and how can they be a creative force rather than a paralysing nuisance?
WHAT IS NEXT?
We are currently writing an article for the journal Airea is a peer-reviewed, open-access, interdisciplinary journal operating at the nexus of intersections between inter, trans, and multi disciplinary artistic practices and research. The paper discusses the potential of artist residencies to act as spaces for aimless play, inquisitive making, and dialogic contemplation as a practicable means for engaging with complex social-ecological issues that require collective answers.
Dr Natalia Eernstman continues to design and hold projects, spaces and activities that foster climate resilience through creative and playful transgenerational learning.
Kelli Rose Pearson and Anke the Vrieze are developing an interactive website which will aggregate and share creative methods for inspiring "transformative mindsets" towards sustainability.