Fantastic Artists Fall for the Flows

04/05/2017 5:14pm
Hannah and Shaun

Shaun Fraser

Artist-in-Residence with the Flows to the Future Project, RSPB Forsinard Nature Reserve

I spent two weeks based in the Flow Country in early April as part of a period of initial investigation linked to the ‘Flows to the Future’ project. My research focused on linking in with the land-based community in the area; crofters, estate managers, gillies and fishermen.

This occurs at a pivotal time for the Flow Country as expansive areas of the region are being acquired from the forestry commission and returned to a natural bogland state.

My main point of interest is how the various communities exist as a part of the landscape, managing it and abiding within it. It became clear that the various facets of the bog are mutually underpinning one and other, each impacting upon the whole.

Going forward, I hope to continue with my line of investigation in order to develop a body of work which embodies the spirit of the flows and communicates the layered nature of the cultural and environmental situate.  

 

Hannah Imlach

Artist-in-Residence with the Flows to the Future Project, RSPB Forsinard Nature Reserve

I am a visual artist, working predominantly in sculpture and photography, currently based in Glasgow. I have just returned from two weeks at the Forsinard Field Centre, where I was researching the scientific and conservation work being undertaken by organisations such as the RSPB, the Environmental Research Institute (University of the Highland and Islands) and The James Hutton Institute, in order to better understand and protect the unique ecology of the Flow Country. This initial residency marks the beginning of a commission to create new artwork in conversation with these specialists and inspired by Scotland’s unique blanket bog habitat. The artist residency is part of the wider Flows to the Future project run by the Peatlands Partnership.

The Flow Country holds unique appeal for me as an environment, which encapsulates many of my research interests and offers a dynamic, expansive and beautiful site for new work. The research behind my sculptures focuses on the ecology of different habitats, sensory experience of natural phenomenon and scenarios of future sustainability. The majority of my work responds to a particular landscape or recent developments in scientific understanding and often focuses on environments threatened by changing climate. The sculptures I create can be transient or site-specific and often reference recognizable forms, acting as shelter, jacket, kite or turbine.

The majority of my time in the Flow Country has been spent accompanying researchers, wardens, scientists and RSPB staff and interns, on a variety of projects and fieldwork including: the Forest-to-Bog project, loch sampling and visits to the flux towers used to monitor atmospheric conditions and carbon exchange in the peatland. A photoblog from my residency can be viewed here: http://hannah-imlach-artist-residency.tumblr.com/

I will now begin to develop this initial research and plan return visits to the Flow Country over the coming months. I am particularly interested to create artwork inspired by the complex ecology of the blanket bog micro-habitat of Sphagnum moss and other flora and the carbon storage capacity of the deep peat, an invaluable defence against the effects of climate change.