Throughout this ambitious two-month programme Arts Catalyst invites people from art, science, academia, activism and various communities to come together to explore methodologies for developing cross-disciplinary research and building community resilience. The Assembly simultaneously introduces and opens up 'Test Sites', Arts Catalyst’s ongoing programme of environmental co-inquiries around the UK.
Through workshops, study days, field trips, reading groups, talks and discussions, the Assembly will examine, practice and discuss possible approaches to ecology and society that centre on collaboration and co-creating knowledge, highlighting radical and progressive practices from the UK and internationally.
An exhibition of works-in-progress by 'Test Sites' artists Ruth Levene and Neal White will be shown at Arts Catalyst’s Centre, drawing on their research in the Calder Valley and Poole Harbour. Ruth Levene presents Working Waters, an installation of maps, videos and models created from her investigations into the flows and stewardship of water in the Calder Valley. Meanwhile, Neal White presents Brownsea: An Imaginary Island (An Island of the Imaginary), comprising a vivarium containing fauna and flora of an island in Poole Harbour alongside an archive of local knowledge, interrupted by industrial frequencies.
The programme will introduce and focus on key issues, concepts and methodologies in a format that blurs the divides between expert and non-expert, those who make decisions and those who are affected by them. It will explore a set of approaches that include active citizenship, planetary commoning practices, co-inquiry processes, and collective governance and policy making, as well as making tactical use of concepts such as the negative commons.
Confirmed programme participants include architect Godofredo Pereira, complexity scientist Sylvia Nagl, social anthropologist Megan Clinch, public science expert Tom Wakeford, interactive theatre company Coney and artists Ruth Levene and Neal White.
Test Sites is generously supported by Wellcome Trust, University of Westminster, Bournemouth University, Canal and River Trust, and Arts Council England.