UK Urban Ecology Forum

Partner Member UN Habitat Assembly Global Stakeholders Forum (GSF)

The Art of Nature - Beauty and Complexity

Bringing artists, environmentalists and community together to enable full participation

Complexity is the shortest route to a solution.

The Art of Nature aims to highlight one powerful road that artists, environmentalists and community can take by coming together to address environmental complexity through the arts.

The battle to protect the earth, our only home, can only be won with mass participation alongside sound science. In order to switch on the capacity of people to contribute fully to sustainable development, we need to move beyond simple messages to build layers and layers of understanding of complex environmental concepts. The unique quality of the arts is inspired understanding versus intellectual understanding. It takes a leap across the gap!

The 9 in-depth events across the UK will take on a simple format. We will introduce outstanding ecological arts projects addressing complexity alongside projects that give environmental, social and cultural contexts, followed by substantial time for discussion and working together. The presenters will be participants and the participants can be impromptu presenters. We aim for a legacy of dynamic forums working towards a future in which environmental complexity will be an on-going feature of community life. Join us!

Each event will have different key themes and will be very differently structured. However in principle we will include.

  • Demonstrate the power and significance of inspired understanding, using the arts to communicate complex environmental concepts and engage people
  • Bring in environmental, social, or cultural themes, demonstrating the layers of narrative relating to nature
  • Discussion/ An Open Space for presentations/meeting/working together

Participant preparation for working together
Open Space presentations - The events are about in depth conversations. You may propose to give short scheduled presentations or papers to share your work. We will also try to accommodate unplanned interventions.

Artists – Consider opportunities to expand the wider potential of your work in relation to nature. All forms of creative arts and interdisciplinary practice.

Environmentalists - Identify and name the complex environmental concepts that people need to grasp. Consider creating opportunities for artists to work with you to access the understanding needed. Name possible sites and scenarios.

Community representatives – Identify how environmental themes link into social, spiritual and cultural contexts to make meaning and generate motivation to act. Name possible sites and scenarios.

Other – otherwise we can go on with endless categories! The above are just to give a prompt to possibilities - no more than that. Anyone identifying with the aims of The Art of Nature is welcome to make their contribution.

All – Imagine new opportunities into reality, working towards partnerships that enable addressing environmental complexity to be an on-going feature of community life.

The Art of Nature Event 3
Spirituality, Culture, Myth, Art and Nature

25-26 October 2014
Balaji Temple Conference Centre, Sandwell

(10 minutes on the train from central Birmingham. Birmingham International Rail Station is 10 minutes on the other side of Birmingham

Freud said that the two greatest driving forces in our lives are love and fear. In relation to nature we certainly act in response to these two emotions. We care for and protect nature through deep connections out of love, or we act through the prospect of mass catastrophe.

The wide-ranging theme of this event aims to give space for us to explore our inner connections and to become aware of how we connect and what makes us act, at a deep inner level as well as as a society.

The Balaji Temple is the largest South Indian Hindu style temple in the Northern Hemisphere. Each weekend sees some 500 to 750 devotees come into its temple and grounds. People from Europe make pilgrimages to this site. It is also an interfaith centre, and has a commitment to the arts, which it is working to develop. Within the grounds, 24 acres, going down to the river and canal, are 7 mounds in the inner circle. Each of these has been dedicated by dignitaries to different faiths, with the Christian mound consecrated by the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams.

The Balaji Temple has offered its conference centre to the UNESCO UK MAB (Man and the Biosphere) Urban Forum, in partnership with Black Environment Network, to run this two-day event.

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