Join us for an evening preview of ‘Test Sites: Assembly’, an exhibition of work-in-progress by artists Neal White and Ruth Levene, forming part of an 8-week co-inquiry asking how we can respond collectively to social and environmental challenges.
Arts Catalyst invites people from art, science, research, activism, and community interest groups to come together to explore methodologies for developing transdisciplinary research and building community resilience. The Assembly introduces and opens up ‘Test Sites’, Arts Catalyst’s ongoing programme of environmental co-inquiries around the UK.
The major challenges facing us today intertwine environmental, social, political and psychological factors. Challenges such as flooding, species loss and pollution, and complex health issues like mental illness and cancer, interweave global forces with the small-scale and the personal, and are inextricable from the social and political systems in which they unfold. Many scientists and thinkers today are calling for transdisciplinary approaches and new ways of conducting science and research to address these complex problems. Critically, there is a need to involve those who are directly affected – not just to make assumptions about causes and impacts – to create paths towards resistance and resilience.
The term Assembly indicates the programme’s intentionality: to gather tactics, practices and theory to create “commoning tools” and cooperative alternatives for co-producing knowledge and taking control. Through workshops, study days, field trips, reading groups, talks and discussions, ‘Test Sites: Assembly’ will examine, practice and discuss possible approaches to ecology and society centred on collective action and inquiry, highlighting radical, progressive practices internationally. Planetary Perspectives – a day-long gathering – will take place at the University of Westminster on 28 April.
An exhibition of works-in-progress by Test Sites artists Ruth Levene and Neal White will draw on their research in the Calder Valley and Poole Harbour. Levene presents Working Waters, an installation of maps, videos and models created from her investigations into the flows and stewardship of waters in the Calder catchment. White’s Brownsea: An Imaginary Island (An Island of the Imaginary) comprises a vivarium containing fauna and flora of an island in Poole Harbour and an archive of local knowledge, interrupted by industrial frequencies.
Confirmed participants include artists Åsa Sonjasdotter, Kathrin Böhm, Tom James, Nabil Ahmed, Luigi Coppola, Ruth Levene, Neal White, and Kat Austen, curators Maja Fowkes and Reuben Fowkes, architect Godofredo Pereira, complexity scientist Sylvia Nagl, social anthropologist Megan Clinch, public science expert Tom Wakeford, theorist Shela Sheikh, researcher and activist pantxo ramas, critical design practice public works, and sustainability expert Rokiah Yaman.