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

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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!




Holly, Hollywood and Cathy Fitzgerald - bringing Resiliencies: stories of transformation from a small Irish forest to Findhorn in late September

Holly, Hollywood and me – we’ll be sharing  Resiliencies: stories of transformation from within a small Irish forest at the Findhorn International Summit on New Stories in late September 2014. Photo: Jan Alexander

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Update: This event is fully-booked but you can participate via live internet screening to see the main talks here.

You can also join and add your story or take part in a group, see the New Story Hub network site here



“For people, generally, their story of the universe and the human role in the universe is their primary source of intelligibility and value. The deepest crises experienced by any society are those moments of change when the story becomes inadequate for meeting the survival demands of a present situation”.

Thomas Berry, Dream of the Earth

Some months ago I was asked if I would share my story of helping transform our small forest, to an international week-long summit audience at Findhorn. Findhorn is the world’s oldest intentional community, eco-village, and a leading UN acredited sustainable education and training centre*.

The theme for the already booked-out summit is close to my work and centers on the need for ‘new stories’ and models that we need to embrace to live more sustainably. Leading ‘story-tellers’, ‘change-makers’, activists, shamans, educators, indigenous leaders and others from across the world will be coming to share their experiences to build a culture of new stories for the changing and challenging times we are facing. Looking at all facets that this change will involve new stories for our education, our spirit, our economics and our politics.

This ‘New Story Summit – Inspiring Pathways for our Planetary Future’, 27 Sept-3 October 2014, is the Findhorn Foundation’s*  international call to people of all ages and cultures to:

  • those already living their edge of a new story
  • those who have carried the best of the old story forward, the ancient and indigenous wisdom
  • those investigating threads of possibility
  • those seeking inspiration and insight as to what could be: to gather with open hearts and minds to open to and experience what we can co-create together.

An introduction to the summit can be seen below: (more…)

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At the end of this month I am delighted to be able to present my artful eco forest research-in-progress at the 2014  ASLE-UKI  (United Kingdom and Ireland) Postgraduate Conference, 30-31 July 2014, at University College, Dublin. It will be a great opportunity to meet more Irish and UK workers in this emerging research field too.

ASLE-UKI is a sister branch of the US Association for Literary and the Environment  – ASLE ( This global organisation for the last 20 years has pioneered the field of ecocriticism (predominantly in the Literature theory field but in recent years it has encouraged analysis of other creative forms, such as cinema and visual culture). I am a committee member of the Australia-New Zealand branch; I presented my early doctoral work in Melbourne in 2012 and last year I participated in a great webinar lead by co-founder of ASLE, US based Prof. Greta Gaard, and organised by the European group EASCLE on “Where is Feminism in the Environmental Humanities?”

Ecocriticism of cultural works is one of the fields, along with ecofeminism, feminism, eco-philosophy, new materialism, ecology, etc., that are contributing to the larger umbrella-like EcoHumanities (also called the Environmental Humanities) field.  For creative practitioners, ecocriticism is extremely helpful in uncovering outworn ideas and conventions in cultural practices that may obscure or perpetuate damaging perceptions of the earth, other human and non-human communities. (more…)


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