Scoping workshop

Creative Conversations – a scoping workshop to take place on 26 March 2021 

This is an online event. You will be able to register via Eventbrite and join the event via Zoom – the link will be made available to your ticket on the day.

The event will consider arts-based research related to landscapes and the environment and discuss and deliberate barriers and opportunities for further integrating these approaches into decision making.

The event will provide opportunities for discussion and constructive dialogues between diverse disciplinary perspectives and professional practices. It will bring artists (practitioners and researchers) into conversation with other academics and stakeholders (including land managers, policymakers and natural and social scientists) to critically reflect on emerging interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary examples involving arts research from the UK and abroad.

This scoping workshop will also provide a space for reflections to help set the agenda for the AALERT 4DM regional case studies workshops held later in the year.

There will be three sessions:

Session one will explore the perspectives of decision-makers and artists and debate how they see artistic approaches contributing to decision making

Session two will explore the experience of two renowned environmental artists and discuss further the role of artistic approaches in making decisions related to landscapes

Session three will discuss the Art is not an Island film exploring the contribution of the arts concerning the re-peopling agenda in Scotland

There will be presentations, panel and small group discussions. The event is open to wider audiences, and all speakers, hosts and guests will have the opportunity to participate in the discussions actively.


Draft Programme Outline

SESSION ONE 10.00 – 11.45 am (includes break)


General overview to event scope and a brief review of outputs and lesson learned so far

by the AALERT team


David Edwards – Forest Research

Judith Tucker – Independent Artist/Tipping Points Project funded by LDP

Speakers to reflect on how artistic approaches can contribute to landscape decision making and respond to questions from Defra, Natural England and National Trust.


Speakers to respond to each other and take questions from participants


SESSION TWO 12.45 – 2.30 pm (includes break)


Review of the morning session and welcome speakers


Presentations by  the artists

David Haley  – Another Point of View: a dialogue with landscapes

Is landscape what you think it is? The map is not the terrain and yet we insist on systematising our perception and even our cognition of the world we inhabit. This presentation will call upon a number of anecdotal experiences, cultural narratives and ecological arts projects to question what we think we see, what we want to see and what we refuse to see. Storying insights from arts-led, practice-based research, we will explore diverse ways of learning from diverse perspectives with diverse world views. Given the accelerating climate, species and cultural crises we are experiencing, it would seem wise to take another point of view. To see things differently, to shift from exploitation, extraction and destruction to regeneration, ecological resilience and metabolism, a dialogue is necessary to reimagine and live with our landscape futures.

Betsy Damon  – Life adapts to water, water does not adapt to life

For over 35 years water has been the central focus on my work. I have learned the science of water’s ability to restore and create. There is still much to learn of the miracle that is water and what can be done with those drops.
In this time of COVID, many things have been revealed. Although Covid is putting us to many tests and challenges, we have learned that the natural world is enjoying that we humans are quieter. We have a better understanding of the consequences of destroying so much of our natural systems. The living world is not dependent on us, we are dependent on it. The list is long of our follies. Carving up rivers and using water as though it was a product to manipulate, to own is without precedence in its folly.
Do we dare to imagine our interdependence on all life and to design accordingly? A small park in which all the waters systems are connected thrived regardless of lack of care and many abuses. Yet in these times we are creating more walls, separations, isolating places for conservation, privatizing this and that. Can we choose complexity and community, recognizing that every human being is inherently dependent on the land and landscape? Every human being is dependent on the quality of water, trees, and earth. We need to re-knit our ecosystems, and this re-knitting needs to take place within all communities for we are all interdependent. Water is the primary collaborator, communicator in every system. Design with this as the foundation of life is where we need to go.

Speakers to respond to questions from participants



SESSION THREE  3.15 – 5.00 pm

Introduction to the film by Ewan Allinson


Watch the film Art is not an Island by Ewan Allinson and Maria Rud, exploring the artists’ contribution to Scotland’s re-peopling agenda. Read more 


Discussion in breakout groups based on the film’s narrative

Feedback from breakout groups and general discussion


Moving the AALERT agenda forward