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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

image of book cover The Great Turning 2013

“The Great Turning is a name for the essential adventure of our time: the shift from the industrial growth society to a life-sustaining civilization.” ~ Joanna Macy

‘We hope you are inspired to make your own artful responses to The Great Turning through these images and words.’    ~    James Aldridge, Chris Seeley & Kathy Skerritt, curators of the The Great Turning Artful Inquiry begun in 2012

I was delighted to be informed recently that my ongoing art & forest transformation project had been selected for inclusion in a new book Stories of the Great Turning, due to be published April 2013 inn the UK by the Vala Publishing Co-operative.

This book is a selection of essays, edited by Peter Reason and Melanie Newman, from people in everyday life responding to the five Personal Guidelines* for The Great Turning (a growing awareness amongst peoples from all walks of life of the need to move to an ecological mindful society) explicated by Buddhist scholar and activist Joanna Macy  Joanna Macy’s spiritual, scholarly and active workshop perspectives to the ecological challenges that face us are perhaps best known to those familiar with Deep Ecology and Systems Theory. In Ireland her work is often highlight by the TransitionTown network (founded in Ireland), a growing on and off-line global community response to the challenges we face with climate change, peak oil etc.  Joanna’s texts often recommended as cultural guides for new thinking and doing.

In parallel to and to accompany the writings in the Stories for the Great Turning, art curators James Aldridge, Chris Seeley and Kathy Skerritt, invited other visual practitioners around the world to artistically respond to Joanna Macy’s five guidelines over the last year in what they called The Great Turning Artful Inquiry. The Great Turning Artful Inquiry was and is, an unfolding, mutually constructed process with an innovative and ongoing dialogue between artists though  The Great Turning Artful Inquiry Facebook Group. The group has 89 participants and is open to new members to informally share and discuss their discoveries, thoughts and artistic practices in ecological minded arts practices.

I’m delighted to say my project was accepted and is listed in a section entitled The Great Turning Artful Inquiry among 10 others in this new book to accompany the essays in this new publication. ‘Each artists’ work is shown, each with an excerpt from the writing that accompanied each piece. Many of the works – spanning events, dance, objects, sculpture, websites, film and visual art – are oriented more towards process than final product.’ My thanks to James, Kathy and Chris for creating this group and inviting us to apply.

my work in the Stories from the Great Turning book

The book is due to be launched in Bristol on 17 April 2013, see Vala Publishing or the The Great Turning Artful Inquiry Facebook group for further announcements. An announcement and foreword to the book by Joanna Macy will also be published in the well known UK Resurgence and the Ecologist magazine in the coming months.

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* Joanna Macy’s five personal guidelines of The Great Turning

Personal Guidelines

Personal Guidelines for the Great Turning

Come from Gratitude
To be alive in this beautiful, self-organizing universe–to participate in the dance of life with senses to perceive it, lungs that breathe it, organs that draw nourishment from it–is a wonder beyond words. Gratitude for the gift of life is the primary wellspring of all religions, the hallmark of the mystic, the source of all true art. Furthermore, it is a privilege to be alive in this time when we can choose to take part in the self-healing of our world.

Don’t be Afraid of the Dark
This is a dark time, filled with suffering and uncertainty. Like living cells in a larger body, it is natural that we feel the trauma of our world. So don’t be afraid of the anguish you feel, or the anger or fear, for these responses arise from the depth of your caring and the truth of your interconnectedness with all beings. To suffer with is the literal meaning of compassion.

Dare to Vision
Out of this darkness a new world can arise, not to be constructed by our minds so much as to emerge from our dreams. Even though we cannot see clearly how it’s going to turn out, we are still called to let the future into our imagination. We will never be able to build what we have not first cherished in our hearts..

Roll up your Sleeves
Many people don’t get involved in the Great Turning because there are so many different issues, which seem to compete with each other. Shall I save the whales or help battered children? The truth is that all aspects of the current crisis reflect the same mistake, setting ourselves apart and using others for our gain. So to heal one aspect helps the others to heal as well. Just find what you love to work on and take joy in that. Never try to do it alone. Link up with others; you’ll spark each others’ ideas and sustain each others’ energy..

Act your Age
Since every particle in your body goes back to the first flaring forth of space and time, you’re really as old as the universe. So when you are lobbying at your congressperson’s office, or visiting your local utility, or testifying at a hearing on nuclear waste, or standing up to protect an old grove of redwoods, you are doing that not out of some personal whim, but in the full authority of your 15 billions years.

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  1. Jan Alexander #
    January 25, 2013

    Well done Cathy. Not surprised so many people want to share your work.

    • January 25, 2013

      Yes I was delighted that ‘Hollywood’ was to be included – one little close-to-nature forest from rural Ireland is going places. The curators have done a great job in seeking artists to visualise moving to more deeply sustainable practices/living – can’t wait to see final copy

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Tending the wild – lessons from the forest toward deep sustainability at TheGallery, Bournemouth Arts University | an ecocinema enquiry
  2. Stories of the Great Turning includes Hollywood – out soon | seeing the forest: an ecocinema enquiry
  3. Stories and Art of the Great Turning – meet authors and artists at Bristol book launch | seeing the forest: toward deep sustainability

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