Soil Culture Forum

Andy Webster (Artist), Daro Montag (Artist), Matt Osmond (Artist), Jude Allen (Artist)

Research output: Practice-Based and Non-textual ResearchExhibition

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The Soil Culture Forum was an AHRC funded project and took place between July and August 2014. Daro Montag was Principal Investigator and Andy Webster was Co-Investigator. The project was supported by the RANE research group and co-organised by Mat Osmond and Jude Allen, in collaboration with The Centre for Contemporary Art and the Natural World (CCANW).

Soil Culture Synopsis

The Soil Culture Forum brought together over one hundred artists, environmentalists, activists, agriculturalists, poets, writers and theorists, local, national and international visitors for a meeting on the territory of the past, present and future of soil. Four days of lectures, workshops, performances, films, yoga, readings, food, discussions, assemblies – collectively producing useful strategies in art and consciousness raising to recognise the trouble with global soils.

When the SCT took place, it coincided with parallel awareness raising activities that each focused on the future of soils including; the Summer of Soil Project Järna, Sweden, the United Nations International Year of Soils 2015, and the 1st Afro-Mediterranean Soils Conference (2015), a crucial juncture that gave recognition to the need to form a wider movement with the common goal of promoting the sustainability of limited global soil resources.

In all these activities, artists were involved from the outset, often unsure about their own position and possibilities. It was evident that art will be crucial in searching for new ways and modes to continue working but key questions were present: What role should art play in this? Can art be a social or political, consciousness raising tool? How can it be useful? The specific focus of SCF was to consider how art and literature on environmental issues can inspire people in ways that complements and extends creative activism and engage communities in ways that conventional advocacy might struggle to do.

The Forum focused on artistic strategies that searched for intelligent and creative means of individual and collective empowerment, that we hoped would give tools and specific ways of doing, thinking, and being. Organised around seven sessions, over 50 short strategies grouping central aspects of socially, politically, and environmentally engaged art practices were introduced and formed the nucleus of the Forum.

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Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2014


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