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


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

Screen Shot 2014-01-20 at 09.43.01On a smaller scale, this range of voices will also be heard at the International New Story Summit at Findhorn* in Scotland, starting this Sat 27 Sept-3 Oct, 2014.   As I have written before the theme for the Findhorn New Story 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. I feel very honoured to be bringing my own artful eco forest story to Findhorn too.

The Findhorn New Story Summit will involve: leading ‘story-tellers’, ‘change-makers’, activists, shamans, educators, indigenous leaders, eco artists, politicians, environmental lawyers and others from across the world.  They will be coming to share their experiences, to build a culture of new stories for the changing and challenging times we are facing. The Summit will collect all the facets that this change will involve; new stories and working models for our education, our spirit, our economics and our politics (see the news that a book will follow this Summit below).

However, with growing interest from all sectors, the Findhorn New Story Summit has been over-subscribed. But you can follow some of the main talks at Findhorn Live online, see the timetable here 

There are also New Story Hubs being organised by people around the world too, check here to see if there is one near you or if you wish to bring a group together to watch some of the talks together online.

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If you are near Kilkenny, in Ireland, the New Story Kilkenny Hub group, is led by Elinor Mountain (an Irish Findhorn representative). You can join the Kilkenny group to watch the summit opening talks this Saturday, 27 Sept 2014 at 1.30 pm in Ossory Youth, Lower New Street, Kilkenny (beside Ormonde Lighting)(and perhaps other sessions). Limited places are still available. See Elinor Mountain’s  Facebook Event Page for details and directions here


There is also more general information on the Findhorn event here.

If you are interested you can follow the lead up to the event here on the Findhorn New Story Facebook page here and you can also add your ‘story’ to the New Story network site too.

And there has been an announcement this week that a book Evolving our New Story: Learnings from the Edge will be produced by Vala, following the event. Vala is a co-operative publisher and includes Vala authors, like Peter Reason (a leading action researcher). (Vala previously published the Joanna Macy inspired book of new sustainable actions in communities, including the arts Stories of the Great Turning (2013)


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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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