How do institutions, environments and communities shape each other’s desires, destinies and behaviours? What can we learn about collaboration from plants? Can microbes change our minds? Do rivers encourage listening?
Emergent Ecologies is a series of five artist projects across South Yorkshire that explore how our experiences of place — from wetlands and waterways to city centre streets — and of ourselves within them, are shaped with and by other beings**.
The programme considers different ways of sensing and learning with our local environments to imagine and test out new ways of relating to them. It brings together local communities, organisations, artists and researchers through workshops, radio broadcasts, performances and site-specific public artworks.
**Humans, plants, animals, insects, organisms, chemicals, rivers, etc.
Projects within the Emergent Ecologies programme:
(Between Bogs and Bodies)
Wetlands are complex environments that can encompass marshlands, estuaries, mangroves, peat bogs and grasslands. Up to 75% of the world’s wetlands are now lost, and so is the rich biodiversity that inhabits them as well as the histories that they carry.
Situated across Shire Brook Valley and Woodhouse Washlands in South Yorkshire, Wet / Land / Dwellers brings together communities, scientists, environmentalists and artists to interrogate the specificities of these sites through a critical spatial art practice.
By navigating local stories and multiple histories (social, ecological, political, geological) in the context of wider environmental concerns (extraction, mining, waste, contamination), the project explores how communities relate to wetlands in times of ecological crisis.
Through Co-Hostings, artist and designer Bahbak Hashemi Nezhad draws on fields such as aesthetics, anthropology and play, to engage the wider community of City of Sanctuary Sheffield within design processes that respond to their legal, social and spatial experience of Sheffield. The project is culminating in a public artwork and an audiovisual piece presented to the public throughout 2022.
Artist and writer Harun Morrison will work with local people to repair, re-design and replant the garden at Sheffield Mind with combinations of herbs and flowers that can function as natural medicine and notes in perfumes. He will work with service-users to co-design garden furniture, wind-chimes, charms and new scents.
Harun conceives the garden as a site of collaboration between human and non human beings that inhabit its space. An accompanying programme of workshops and events will open up wider access to the garden for local communities and explore conversations around food, ecology and healing.
Artist Rachel Pimm will get up close and familiar with the South Yorkshire landscape and its inhabitants, combining and re-mixing components of its ecology via language – from the magnetic legacies of Sheffield steel industry, to the life of organisms that populate its waterways. Through images, text and sound they will question the use of metaphors in nature writing and current narratives around ecology as a way to examine life cycles in the history of the region and its surrounding areas.
Luiza Prado will collaborate with plants associated with histories of migration and reproduction; plants whose ancestors expanded horizons, and gestured towards fertile futures. The project will culminate in an installation conceived as a space for encounters between human and plant beings in Sheffield. A programme of workshops and events will nurture discussions around questions of decolonisation, care and affect, reproductive labour and community-building in times of extreme uncertainty and instability.
City of Sanctuary Sheffield is a charity working in solidarity with people seeking sanctuary in Sheffield.
Sheffield Mind is a Mental Health Charity providing emotional and practical support to people in Sheffield.
Emergent Ecologies borrows its title from anthropologist Eben Kirksey’s publication of the same name.
Emergent Ecologies is supported by Arts Council England, The Freshgate Trust Foundation, The JG Graves Charitable Trust and University of Derby
Bahbak Hashemi-Nezhad's design studio produces work spanning scales and disciplines, from the public realm to games, spaces and objects. Drawing on such fields as aesthetics, anthropology and play, his work develops through real-life projects, methodologies and tools to include and critically engage participants within design processes. He has developed projects, exhibited and conducted workshops and masterclasses both in the UK and internationally, including with the Serpentine Galleries; Greater London Authority; Tokyo Metropolitan Government; Shanghai Biennale; Victoria and Albert Museum; and MACBA Barcelona amongst others. He trained at the Royal College of Art where he currently leads a Masters platform focusing on experimental co-design.
Rachel Pimm is a research based artist working in sculpture, text, photography, video and performance to explore environments and their materialities, histories and politics. They are interested in the potential of surfaces and matter to transform. Their recent UK based work has been included in programmes including Artangel, Focal Point, The Serpentine Galleries, Whitechapel Gallery, Jerwood Space, Chisenhale Gallery and The Royal Academy as well as internationally. Residencies include Loughborough University Chemical Engineering, Gurdon Institute of Genetics at Cambridge University, Rabbit Island, Michigan, USA, and as Whitechapel Gallery Writer in Residence 2019-20. Rachel is Associate Lecturer at Camberwell School of Art.
a place of their own is an experimental contemporary art and spatial practice, conceived by artist duo Paula McCloskey and Sam Vardy, that investigates contemporary conditions and create new spaces, imaginaries and subjectivities. Based in Sheffield, UK and Ballyshannon, Ireland, together they make performances, spatial interventions and audio-visual art and research. Their projects explore the transformative potential of art and spatial practice to suggest other worlds yet to become.
Dr. Luiza Prado de O. Martins is an artist, writer, and researcher whose work examines themes around fertility, reproduction, coloniality, gender, and race. In her doctoral dissertation she approaches the control over fertility and reproduction as a foundational biopolitical gesture for the establishment of the colonial/modern gender system, theorizing the emergence of ‘technoecologies of birth control’ as a framework for observing—and resisting, disrupting, troubling—colonial domination. Her ongoing artistic research project, “A Topography of Excesses,” looks into encounters between human and plant beings within the context of herbalist reproductive medicine, approaching these practices as expressions of radical care. Since 2019, she has broadened the scope of this research, developing a body of work that offers a critique of the racist concept of ‘overpopulation’ in the context of the current climate crisis as part of her Vilém Flusser residency with the project The Councils of the Pluriversal: Affective Temporalities of Reproduction and the Climate Crisis.
Harun Morrison is an artist and writer based on the inland waterways. He is the 20/21 recipient of the Wheatley Fine Art Fellowship, hosted by Birmingham School of Art, Birmingham City University and Eastside Projects; where his recent solo exhibition 'Experiments With Everyday Objects' ran this summer. His forthcoming novel, The Escape Artist will be published by Book Works in 2022. Since 2006, Harun has collaborated with Helen Walker in the collective practice They Are Here. Harun is currently resident at Delfina Foundation & Horniman Museum and forthcoming Designer and Researcher in Residence at V&A Dundee. He is also a trustee of the Black Cultural Archives (est. 1981).