Below is our archive of inspiring past projects
of arts-based environmental education,
and artistic activities in and with nature.
Art and Sea expedition
Twenty artists from Finland, Poland, Netherlands, United Kingdom and
Sweden, plus a crew of four, sailed with the schooner Helena from Oslo, Norway, to
the harbor town Uusikaupunki in Finland, during April 2008.
David Rothenberg plays music with Beluga
whales in Russia. Gari Saarimaki's video of a clarinetist jamming live
with white Beluga whales in the White Sea, Karelia, Russia: interspecies
Burning the Holy Moose
environmental art project was carried out in November 2007 by students in
environmental art at the University of Art and Design (TaiK) in Helsinki. The
project involved reading texts on the old mythology about the moose and the importance of
fire and offerings. Then a common story was created of offering a wooden moose
to the gods. The students traveled to a spot far in the wilderness in the middle
of Finland where the moose was built and then put to fire, as part of a costumed
drama act. Local people collaborated and attended the final event.
For a real mountain experience, you have to stay in the mountains for more than
just a few days. 2002, the UNESCO year of the mountains, seemed the appropriate
time to do just that for Kjell Samkopf and Floris van Manen. Being in the
mountains for longer changes your perception of time. And that changes your
perception of music. Which is how the idea of bringing a vibraphone into an open
mountain landscape came about.
It turned out to be an exciting experience. Kjell played the vibraphone for
hours and hours - day in, day out. He played in, with and against the landscape.
Kjell discovered that the instrument sounded completely different in this
environment. During the six days, his playing became softer and softer, more and
more open. In the same way that the landscape at first seems to be just an
endless expanse of stones, but gradually transforms itself into an image full of
infinite detail and variation the longer and closer you look at it, so the music
reveals itself in the same way. The repetitions never repeat themselves.
Floris made recordings of this (modified) soundscape. Recordings were made in
bright daylight, in the dark during the night, in the transition between day and
night, in rain, in thunder and in strong wind - more than twelve hours of
digital stereo material. The sound of the landscape - the soundscape - was to be
a central part of the final sound picture. In the same way that a photographer
frames his pictures, Floris (as the sonographer) framed the music in different
ways, sometimes placing the microphones very close to the vibraphone, sometimes
at a distance of 1000 meters or more. In order to capture the sense of time in
the mountains, long tracks were recorded. Just like the music itself, recordings
should have their own time span. Their dynamics and the rhythmic patterns should
counterpoint the music itself.
Could art change the climate?
With this question seventeen international artists were sent into the
Waterloopbos, an almost exotic forest in the Netherlands.
In this former, open air laboratory where hydraulic engineers have dealt
with the water in a technical way for decades, Kielzog appeals to the
imagination. Amongst overgrown sluices, harbours and river courses, the
artists worked on location on a new view on the typically Dutch battle
against the water.
Kielzog invited artists to develop a new point of view on climate change.
Given the visions of a future with palms in the Nordic countries, due to
rising temperatures and the subsequent rising of the sea level, creativity
might now be more essential than the technician's way to find a solution.
Thus Kielzog has a twofold goal: creating a provocative art project with
professional artists, thereby rising the interest of the public for
unexpected points of view with regard to climate change / water issues.
The project also involved a educational art workshop with children. Website
A tribute to Etty Hillesum, the Dutch
writer who died in a concentration camp during the Second World War.
Under her pillow she kept the poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke.
Voice: La Pat. Camera: Pat van Boeckel, ReRun Producties
Dokumentär av en workshop i
konst & miljöhistoria, Nordingrå, Höga Kusten, 2005. En film av Jenny
Appelblad och Oscar Franzén. Klipp Albin Ponnert. Medverkande:
konstnärerna Jan K Persson & Dag Wallin, arkeolog Bernt Ove Viklund samt
studenter och kursledare från kursen Global Miljöhistoria vid Centrum
för miljö- och utvecklingsstudier, Uppsala Universitet.
This project was originally
tailor-made for a school in a small, coastal village in Northern Norway,
but subsequently adapted for many other occasions. It was a three-day
project in May, and I wanted to focus on the migrating birds that return
to this part of the world after their holiday in a warmer climate. I
wanted the children to connect with the birds, get involved and imagine
their long journey and engage in why their particular place was chosen for
these birds to make a home and have their chicks. I had initial contact
with one of the teachers to prepare them and the children for the work we
were going to do. They had set aside three days for the project with 15
children between 7 and 10. It was the first time this school had a
visiting artist, and the children were SO excited and rushed up to me the
first day to hold my hand and show me their school and ask me questions.
After an initial introduction where I showed slides and talked about my
own work, and the children introduced themselves to me. We then walked to
the woods behind the school to paint, armed with primary colours and big
sheets, sponges and brushes. I encouraged them to look at the colours
around them and engage in the place by involving some of the movements
from the trees or other elements that moved them being in that place in
their paintings. This exercise is like “warming up”, accompanied by
co-coo birds and starlings. I wanted the children to EXPERIENCE the
vibrancy of the colours in spring and get influenced by the birdsong, the
fresh leafs on the birch trees and the warm spring sunshine.
Day two we started to engage directly with the migrating birds by going to
the local beach. We spent hours there, drawing big drawings inspired by
the birds and talking about where they come from and where they are going.
The charcoal encouraged bold lines and we talked about charcoal, where it
comes from and how it is made. We had lunch on the beach and walked back
to the school. Here we started with the three-dimensional part of the
project. I now wanted the children to create their own birds inspired by
a poem by the Norwegian poet Andre Bjerke. I encouraged the children to
imagine what their bird would look like, where she had come from and where
she was going. The children had picked bits and pieces from the beach and
brought back with them. This was going to be incorporated in the
sculptures. The children worked in groups and I encouraged them to
cooperate on all decision making. Magically the birds bodies started
emerging out of the chicken wire. Very individual shapes, beaks, wings
and some even had nests with eggs. They covered the birds with tissue
paper and wallpaper paste. When they were all dry, and the final touches
had been put on we brought the birds to the woods where we had started our
journey. The children found suitable nesting places for their birds and
we rounded off with an exhibition of their paintings and drawings and a
barbeque in the woods to celebrate the naming of the birds. Website
Rewilding Childhood is a multimedia
initiative highlighting how children throughout Europe experience wild
nature, investigating how that affects their social and emotional
development. We have a had a busy 2 years initiating the project and are
ready for the official launch this September.
A large part of the project is the "100 ways" element , the idea is based
on the premise that 100 different children need 100 different ways be
inspired to get out and enjoy wild nature. As part of the project we aim
to put together a list of the top 100 ways that children across Europe are
experiencing and have experienced wild nature in the past, but in order to
do this we need to hear from real people about their experiences.
You don't have to have been a crazed caterpillar collector as a child, nor
do you have to be a keen outdoors person now, but if you were / are then
great everyone's story is important. You can contribute your stories or
ideas on our
Bird Brain Dance
September 25, 2002, Dawn Workshop,
Outer Banks, NC
"We pulled ourselves out of bed and arrived at the beach as the light
began to simmer in the East over the ocean. Students from William Stotts
environmental studies program and various others from Pocosin Arts
straggled across the dunes to join us for a dawn movement workshop. As the
sun rose above the ocean we began moving in the sand, against the wind,
tracing each others bodies and movement. At the end of the workshop
everyone ended up in the water, its strong current energizing and
BIRD BRAIN is a multi-year
navigational dance project that investigates migratory patterns and habits
of birds and other animals, as well as their biophysical and metaphorical
relationships to humans as fellow travelers in the world. Directed by
choreographer Jennifer Monson.
9000 Solar Circles was a project organized by Hämeenlinna School of Fine
Arts where history together with art environmental education provided the
camps with a rich source for various activities.
A number of craftsman, artists and teachers studied with the children
humankind's relationship with nature and time. The frame for activities
was a prehistoric village community, its cultural life, industries, tools
An experience based on participation was the bridge across the layers of
time. Ancient techniques and work processes were a concrete tool used by
the children to discover the significance of the cultural heritage and
for forming themselves an understanding of the development of culture. People of the old times looked
for materials in nature and they lived in accordance with the seasonal changes
of climate. Imagining their lives and identifying with it helped the modern
children to see themselves as a link in the circle of nature, and hence,
gave them skills and prepared them for a life and actions of sustainable
development where nature is respected and valued.
The Fragility of Flight highlighted
the environmental links between suspected declining bird populations in the
Uists and climate change in a project combining ornithology and origami. This
created using elements made by primary schoolchildren in the Uists and visitors
to Taigh Chearsabhagh museum & Arts Centre.
The project started with guided visits by school groups to Balranald RSPB
reserve where some wader species are found in their highest worldwide densities.
Workshops in the schools involved examination of global environmental issues, in
particular increases in air travel.
Fine Art PhD. student, Hiroko Oshima, led workshops in the Japanese art of
Origami with recycled paper to teach children how to make various styles of
origami birds and planes.
Visitors were invited to create an origami bird to be
included in the exhibition. Educational visits to the exhibition resulted
in facts about waste awareness being attached to the birds on the walls. Origami
also be posted around the world to encourage further environmental education and
promote better use of the Earth's resources.
Museum & Arts Centre, 2007
Lochmaddy, North Uist, Western Isles,
In March 2008, Internationally acclaimed environmental artist Andy Goldsworthy
spent a week on North Uist at the invitation of Taigh Chearsabhagh. This
exhibition of photographs documents some of the ephemeral works created on Baile
Sear beach during that short residency.
A unique exhibition catalogue in concertina form has been produced to accompany
Andy Goldsworthy creates sculptures in the landscape, using nature as the raw
material and subject of his work. Goldsworthy uses materials, from stones and
twigs to snow and icicles to create works that offer the viewer a heightened
experience of the energy and patterning of the natural world. Photographs often
provide the only lasting evidence of the artist's reworking of nature,
preserving "the optimum moment, the moment when I had not just made the piece,
but understood the piece".
Born in Cheshire in 1956, Goldsworthy grew up in Yorkshire where he made his
first outdoor sculptures. He now lives and works in Dumfriesshire, Scotland. He
has travelled extensively in Britain, and throughout Europe, America, Japan,
Australia and to the North Pole, allowing the diverse landscapes to inform his
Passing Places - The Real Outer Hebrides
Over 100 people from the Western
Isles of Scotland, from Barra Head to the Butt of Lewis, made the films in
Passing Places during the year 2000. Starting in Barra at the beginning of the
year 2000, the film records a year in the Western Isles through the eyes of the
people who live there. The cameras travelled northwards through the islands over
the course of the year being passed from person to person, each having their own
story to tell about their community.