Ecological Thinking Visiting Artist: Call for Applications

If you would like this call in pdf format, please email Laura Purseglove (l.purseglove@lboro.ac.uk). 

Introduction

This academic year, Radar will be inviting three Visiting Artists to be affiliated with Loughborough University’s Environmental Humanities network. The aim of the programme is to offer artists the opportunity to make connections with researchers who share their interests in order to develop new work and ideas which speak to Radar’s two-year focus on ecology, and environmental/ecological research undertaken at Loughborough University and Loughborough University London. This may form part of a larger ongoing project, be a small scale standalone project, or function as the beginnings of a project which will be further developed going forwards.

Visiting Artists will each be paid a fee of £1,500. In addition, they will be given access to the University library for the year (including e-books), and where possible access to specialist facilities relevant to their area of interest. Visiting Artists will also be given a travel budget of £500 to cover travel to/from the University campus(es), expenses and, if necessary, accommodation. Upon consultation with Radar, artists may use part of this budget for research visits elsewhere. We also recognise that working remotely will suit artists with certain access requirements and caring responsibilities and are happy to work to any such requirements.

Visiting Artists will be expected to produce a piece of work in response to their collaborative research. This could be a work in progress or an event. There is an initial budget of £1,000 for this, though artists will be welcome to discuss expanding on the scope of their project with the Radar team. Radar may lead on or support further funding applications as appropriate.

The work produced by the artist could take the form of (but is in no way limited to) printed material, performance, performance lecture, an installation or a digital work. We try to make our commissions as accessible to a broad public as possible, so ideally we will work with you to identify a location for the work to be presented off campus (this may include online presentation). The work must be presented before the end of June 2022.

Working in collaboration with researchers

There are varied ways in which you might approach working in collaboration with academics. Beyond discussion and the sharing of resources, possible approaches include: running a reading group, sharing work in progress with academics, joining a research trip, meeting with/working with students, organising a workshop or activity. Note that we cannot guarantee that any one approach will be viable given that the workloads and course structures that individual academics vary depending on teaching commitments etc. We advise being flexible and giving academics plenty of notice when making arrangements. Radar will be able to offer advice and mediation to this end.

About this year’s programme

During the 2021/22 academic year Radar begins a two-year programme of artist commissions and events under the title Ecological Thinking. Working with the University’s emerging Environmental Humanities network, the purpose of this programme is to consider what creative and collaborative methodologies can bring to the study of ecology and the environment. It will explore how artistic practices might pay attention to the complex challenges facing the world’s habitats and ecosystems in ways which do not perpetuate the logics and power imbalances which contributed to our current situation, instead fostering pluralism and collaboration. The intention of the programme is to critically interrogate the tools with which we study ecology and the environment and consider what creative methods may offer in the quest to open up fairer futures for the world's human and nonhuman inhabitants.

What are the Environmental Humanities, and what is the Environmental Humanities Network?

The Environmental Humanities network is an interdisciplinary area of research which broadly applies humanities methods such as history, literature, art and philosophy to the study of the environment. Environmental humanities scholars often pose questions about meaning, culture, values, ethics, and responsibilities to address pressing environmental problems. The field resists the traditional divide between "nature" and "culture," showing how many "environmental" issues have always been entangled in human questions of justice, labor, and politics. Environmental humanities is also a way of synthesizing methods from different fields to create new ways of thinking through environmental problems.

The Environmental Humanities Network at Loughborough University is an emerging group of researchers working across art and design, history and politics amongst other disciplines. Current research topics include, but are not limited to: colonial environmental management, gender and ecology, freshwater environments, forest and woodland ecology, the politics of risk management and disaster reduction, storytelling as environmental method, questions of ecological value, environmental design futures, animal rights activism, ecological art history, ecological design literacy, and human-animal relations.

There are also academics at Loughborough working in relevant areas who may be interested in collaboration. Their work engages themes including migration, nations, nationhood and nation-building, memory, public communication and the media, anarchism, global security, and sports and leisure.

Environmental arts at Loughborough

Radar has previously delivered environmentally engaged commissions that have involved academic collaboration and work that physically engaged with the campus. This includes the Building Green programme, which invited FutureFarmers, Nils Norman and Rebecca Beinhart to deliver site specific works that considered issues around environment and sustainability. FutureFarmers developed a plot of land on the campus, creating raised beds that were planted to represent different political systems. Another programme Nowcasting invited Rachel Jacobs, Alastair McClymont and James Bridle to develop work in response to data generated by the University weather station. More recently, the Risk Related programme included Sonia Levy’s commissioned film Creatures of the Lines, which considers the ecological transformation within the UK’s canal network; FRAUD's EURO-VISION, which explores the connections between borders, colonialism and the environment; and Theo Reeves-Evison’sSeed Casino, which playfully explores the financialization of nature.

This year, Radar's parent organisation LU Arts (which has a more student-facing remit) has invited the expanded graphic design practice Adapt to develop a project that runs across the academic year, generating debate and discussion amongst students around climate action, resulting in a Student Assembly where ideas and actions will be presented to the Senior Management of the University.

Fruit Routes is a unique project and art installation developed from Radar’s Building Green series of commissions in 2010. Made up of over 150 trees, it provides an enriched habitat for people, plants, insects and animals, as well as a location for cultural activities and outdoor learning. The project has become a great example of a Living Lab project with partnerships in the Design School, School of the Arts and Architecture Schools.

Accessibility

We will do all we can to meet access needs of artists - please get in touch with us to discuss your requirements. We understand that travelling to the campus may not be possible for everyone and fully support online collaboration where most appropriate.

How to apply

Please supply images of up to five artworks, either formatted as JPEGS no larger than 1MB each (or if submitting videos please send links to view rather than files) along with a brief expression of interest, in either text form (no more than 250 words) or video (no longer than 2:30 minutes) by Sunday 7 November. Please incorporate the images and/or link to video(s) and the text or link to video recorded expression of interest within a single PDF document.

The expression of interest is simply to capture your first ideas, thoughts, responses to the call out; we are not looking for proposals at this stage. Selected artists will be invited to an informal interview, which can either take place in person or online, depending on artist preference. 

Contact Us (please!)

 In this document we have tried to outline some possible areas of focus, modes of collaboration, as well as offer some context for the programme. If you are interested in applying but are not sure whether your practice or ideas are a good fit, or have any other questions, please do get in touch with Laura Purseglove, Radar’s Producer, by emailing l.purseglove@lboro.ac.uk (Laura's days of work are Mon-Weds). 

Related Projects

Ecological Thinking

A two-year programme of artist commissions and events exploring what creative and collaborative methodologies can bring to ecological study. Read more