​The Fertile Ground two day Conference created the opportunity for people who care about the environment to come together and talk about and exchange the challenges that we are facing and the role of the arts.

Delegates came from all over the country to engage with the topic and see how artists are working with the environmental issues created by global warming. Chris Fremantle agreed to facilitate the event and speakers were both local and national. Some speakers talked about the nature and science of our landscape and others how they are articulating their ideas through their art work, on nature the environment and it’s sustainability.

Lunchtime saw a series of films being shown and children’s workshops. In an exchange Sustaining Dunbar who had a marque outside where local organisations were demonstrating their contribution – from bee keeping to seaweeds and apple juicing. After an afternoon of talks the traditional singer Kirsty Law welcomed guests to an social evening at the Bleachingfield Community Centre. We enjoyed a vegetarian starter and a shot prepared by a forager and a main meal prepared with local produce but the Bleachingfield Cafe. It was accompanied by readings, harp music and poetry and individual printed place mats encouraged people to share their thoughts..

The second day was a journey around the inspirational spaces that our locality provides. Sustaining Dunbar provided an excellent example of community growing for mental health at Belhaven Community Garden in the grounds of Belhaven Hospital. Artists Karen Gabbitas led a sensory slow walk around the paths of the vegetable growing beds and the sensory garden.

A coach then took us to Whitesands where the SSI ancient rocks were beautifully illustrated by the geologist Fiona McGibbon. we walked along to where it’s limestone causeway looks like a moonscape, this location had inspired a work displayed by artist Hannah Implach who floated the Hexagonal Island Host in one of its pools.

Again facilitated by Chris Freemantle and our project manager Tracy Morgan, the plenary session was held at Dunbar Town House. We invited contributions from the large audience gathered for feedback, we also encouraged talk about our local resilience and sustainability – the role of culture and the possible future art works that could be developed in our locality.