Arts and Sustainability

Arts and Sustainability

Image of Kathy Beckett and her Travelling Plant Menagerie.

North Light Arts develop projects that aim to create a ripple effect – leading people towards more sustainable ways of living in the environments we share. In this time of global emergency and the need for urgent action our projects encourage explorations and conversations that touch people in ways that will act as a catalyst for positive change.

We work collaboratively to help our artist communicate imaginatively, their individual processes helping people to visualise new and more positive stories and actions that lead towards a more resilient future – addressing our collective needs and ideas in this fast changing world.

In collaboration with *The Ridge our Rainbow Garden in the Backlands Community Garden (which is now over looked by our new garden Pavilion) is the result of the John Muir Artist in 2016: Kathy Beckett talked to the community about what they would like to see in a garden by travelling the streets on her bike and creative trailer and then in the gallery – the result was a desire for colour and this inspired our Dyers Garden. In this man-made space in the middle of Dunbar town centre the wild planting was supported by the Grow Wild project from Kew Gardens in London.

We also work closely with **Sustaining Dunbar and these projects are designed to promote community growing and a better understanding of were our food comes from but they are also about wildlife and providing a home for the insect life which is so important for the whole food web – including the fertilisation of our food: The loss of insect life is a very real issue, one that we may have heard about but not know we can do anything about.

Our work has linked us with other local organisations like ***CoastWord, the Friends of John Muir’s Birthplace and the Dunbar Schools; we plan to work with other creative and sustainability organisations using the power of the arts and creative thinking to inspire, educate and raise a dialogue and a culture of change.

Artist Karen Gabbitas developed a number of Sensory Slow Walks for us over many years as she engages the community in the performance, subtly re-connecting people to our landscapes; At our Fertile Ground conference in 2015 artists demonstrated the power of that arts  promote a sense of connection to the places where we live; Kiko Mukade had a beach hit residency where she made origami boats and cranes while Vicki Fleck planted a sunflower garden in Lauderdale Park to reference the disastrous tsunami and resulting damage to the Japanese atomic power station.

Hannah Imlach is an artist who uses her research to respond to the places she works, choosing  sustainable materials to create her beautifully made sculptures. On graduation she was one of our Beach Hut Artists and returned for the John Muir Residency with Alec Finlay, her film documents the process of testing her site specific work in the ancient limestone circles of Whitesands: ;

In our Town House exhibition Tide: Dialogues of Change eleven artists submitted works that ranged from the dance performance ‘Bodies Of Water’ by Saffy Sotohy; to the confusing and thought provoking 3D printed rocks; the work of Julia Barton who had a mini residency on Dunbar Harbour dealing with marine plastics waste; and the bursary winner Jenny Pope who used up-cycled found materials to ask questions about the local issue of green energy production and the psychology of change.

*The Ridge are a social enterprise based in Dunbar who work with the vulnerable.
**Sustaining Dunbar is a Community Development Organisation who works in collaboration with other organisations to promote better local resilience.
***CoastWord are a creative organisation that develops a festival of the written word.

By North Light Arts