artful eco workings that cycle through: Close-to-Nature continuous cover forestry, experimental film-making, the eco-humanities field (deep ecology, ecocriticism, ecosophy, ecofeminism), writing & forest policy development; by cathy fitzgerald, visual culture, ncad, ireland

Featured video: hollywood diaries screen reel: 2008-2012... SD & HD 8:54
notes on a small conifer plantation being transformed to a mixed species, permanent forest

One of the gates to the 'Original Garden' at Findhorn

One of the gates to the ‘Original Garden’ at Findhorn, Scotland, from which, over 50 years ago, came messages to remind humanity that life is sustained by conscious attending to others: that life is a sensitive co-creation between human-non-human, the seen-unseen.

Its been a couple of weeks since I returned from Findhorn. I’ve had to work on other things yet also felt the need to let time pass a little before reflecting on the week-long, rich, and intense meeting that was the ‘New Story’ Summit (‘new stories’ being those that might help create a vision of a more sustaining, ecological and equitable age). Others have given reflections that are very detailed and well worth reading; Richard Olivier’s review, as one of the co-organsing team, presents some of the ambitions and constraints, the successes and failures of hosting such a large summit that operated with emergent themes and processes. He also signposts three areas that may assist people going forward in sharing, growing their New Stories. It was an significant achievement to bring together over 330 people from across the world, to hold a space for diversity and common purpose, with all the challenges that this brings and I was very grateful to have taken part.

So there was a myriad of experiences and stories I heard; sustainable actions and works from across the world and detailed discussion about the idea of ‘story’ itself.  There was sharing, laughter, tensions, patience, impatience, creativity and confusion. There were unmet expectations when there wasn’t enough time for everyone to tell their ‘story’, even a mystery ‘provocative’ attack on the Summit process ‘offered’ by a few in the audience as a challenge to ‘old’ administrative frameworks, although this seemed ill-timed; causing upset and confusion to groups that were already self-organising and it contrasted the cooperative, participatory processes that were forming. Somehow though, the social facilitation skills that Findhorn has accumulated over the years meant all this variety could be accommodated.

The old meta-stories: industrialism, capitalism, human supremacism were well known to many attendees, but could the ‘seeds’ of ‘new story’ be formed from those present? If you are interested, the Findhorn Foundation has video recordings of some sessions of the Summit, on the continuing Summit Hub website here. For a small fee  you can view the  discussions, creative presentations of what a ‘new story’ may be composed of. I know I will be returning to the recordings to reflect more. (more…)


See details on how you can follow the Findhorn New Story Summit (26 Sept-3 Oct) via web-streaming or in Kilkenny below.

Last Sunday an unprecedented 300,000 people marched on International Peace day in New York before the UN Climate Summit. Thousands joined them in other locations across the Earth; even in countries like Australia, whose current government leaders notoriously deny climate science over 30 000 marched in Melbourne! While the #PeoplesClimate March did not feature much in the mass media, there were a multitude of different voices and stories: from celebrities, politicians, religious leaders, economists, social justice groups, feminists, huge numbers of students, business leaders, anti-fracking groups, families, indigenous peoples – each bringing their perspectives and some, their actions for change. Yesterday, at the opening of the UN Climate meeting in New York, a young woman from the Marshall islands, representing us all from civil society, shared ‘her story’ for her new baby daughter, Matafele Peinem (See Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner ‘s short UN talk, followed by her inspiring vision and commitment, our need for moral collective action now, worded in a poem below).

See also the moving video that Kathy prepared and which was screened behind her talk here (more…)

2014-08-21 at 16-17-57

Recently a small robin has sought to move inside our house in Hollywood – we’ve been enjoying flying antics and stunning arias from this tiny being


Today I will be joining in excess of 1,800 delegates from more than 50 countries taking part in more than 400 sessions at the International Royal Geography Society society conference at its buildings and at the Imperial College London between Tuesday 26 and Friday 29 August.

Conference Chair Professor Wendy Larner of the University of Bristol developed the conference theme ‘Geographies of co-production’. Co-production involves academics working with non-academic partners to create new knowledge. This involves working together from the very outset of the research, so that the research partners play a role in setting the research agenda. Wendy opens the conference with a panel session asking ‘what are the opportunities and challenges for geographers working in more engaged ways?’ Many of the conference sessions also focus on how co-production relates to a particular aspect of geography, and Wendy has been delighted by the response so far.

“This does seem to be a theme that has struck a chord among the research community. I am flabbergasted by the diversity of things that can be co-produced!”

At the conference I’ll be talking about my eco-aesthetic work in transforming a small conifer plantation into a forest and the diverse outcomes it has produced in art, science and political domains. I’ll be presenting at the ‘More-than-human-participatory research group’ sessions and also attending the ‘Geoaesthetics’ sessions on Thursday (my practice supervisor Dr Iain Biggs will be present during this session). So its exciting to share the story of Hollywood, a tiny forest in South Carlow Ireland to new people and I’m hoping my eco art methodologies will be of interest.

I’ve recently begun to show a short clip of the forest before I start speaking – it seems only right to preface the work by some of  the community I work with and who we often little consider in industrial forestry. It starts with a voice of a small bird, like the one above, who is also adapting to a forest-in-the making that is becoming ever more beautiful, song-filled and resilient.

I’m also hoping to make some ‘tweets’ of my own during the event via twitter @ecoartnotes, please feel welcome to join the conversation!





Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,482 other followers