WET / LAND / DWELLERS

A Place of Their Own performing in Walthamstow as part of a residency with Arts Catalyst, November 2019; Photo by Samuel Capps
a negative print in lilac, purple, turquoise and pale pink tones shows leaves and plant parts very close up
A Place of Their Own, Myths for an Imaginary Wetland, 2019; courtesy the artist.
a group of people stand at the edge of green field with shrubs in the background. The people are standing spaced apart under a huge electricity pylon in outdoor clothing. Each of them holds a red string connected to another person in criss cross lines
A Place of Their Own, performance in Walthamstow as part of a residency with Arts Catalyst, November 2019; Photo by Samuel Capps

Situated across Shire Brook Valley and Woodhouse Washlands in South Yorkshire, Wet / Lands / Dwellers brings together communities, scientists, environmentalists and artists to interrogate the specificities of these sites through a critical spatial art practice. 

 
Wetlands are complex, environmentally important, ecosystems, and their loss inextricably connects legacies of colonial expansion with current environmental challenges. 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.
 
By navigating local stories, with their social, ecological, political and geological histories, and expanding to a planetary dimension, the project explores how communities understand their relation to wetlands and how they could be the site of new social/ecological relations.
 
This project is a collaboration with Sheffield-based artists Paula McCloskey and Sam Vardy (a place of their own) and Arts Catalyst as part of the Emergent Ecologies programme.
 
The Wet / Land  / Dwellers project seeks partly to raise awareness of the global destruction of wetlands. World Wetlands Day 2022 is on the 2nd February. Please see more info here. 
 
The Wet / Land  / Dwellers project acknowledges that wetland destruction is fundamentally connected to global racial capitalism and settler colonialism. One contemporary example of struggles against these forms of violence is the Unist’ot’en Camp and the larger Wet’suwet’en Nation who are, in their words, “standing up to the Canadian government and corporations who continue colonial violence against Indigenous people”, taking action to protect their lands from the establishment of new pipelines and from new fracturing projects. Please see more on their struggle here.
 
A more in depth discussion of those issues will be explored through a future event in Sheffield in March. Sign up to Arts Catalyst newsletter to hear more.
 

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.