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Myths for a Wetlands Imaginary


Dr Paula McCloskey is an artist, artistic researcher and teacher.  She is Researcher, School of Arts, Digital and Material Artistic Research Centre, Derby University, UK.  Her transdisciplinary, collaborative research in contemporary art practice, critical theory and social engagement sits at the intersections of art, geopolitics/climate and maternity/kinship. Paula is co-founder (with Dr Sam Vardy) of ; a place, of their own. (, an art and spatial research practice, working on transdisciplinary collaborative research projects that critically investigate entanglements of geopolitics, art, science and the climate crises. All of these areas of work take an intersectional approach and feminist praxis to co-producing site-specific performances, films, installations and publications.


Dr Sam Vardy is Senior Lecturer and researcher at the School of Architecture at Sheffield Hallam University, and through research, teaching and practice explores urban spatial politics, art and architecture, and alternate architectural practice. Sam is course leader for the M.Arch in Architecture at SHU, an innovative RIBA Part 2 course with social, working practice, and ecological core agendas. Through his art + spatial practice; a place, of their own. which he co-founded with Dr Paula McCloskey, Sam explores possible worlds between art and architecture and the alternate practices of architecture they might reveal. All of these areas of work involve transdisciplinary investigations into other forms of spatial practice and the future role of the architect; the interplay between art and spatial practice; autonomous politics and self-organised action.


; a place, of their own. Myths for a Wetlands Imaginary, digital film, 09.24


; a place of their own (artist duo Paula McCloskey and Sam Vardy) present a film made as part of their ‘Myths for a Wetlands Imaginary’*, a project that explores potential of art to create resistant wetland imaginaries as alternate to dominant carbon and capitalist ones.  This film was developed through a residency at Walthamstow Wetlands Centre, which included participatory workshops (mapping, stories and myth-making), site-responsive performance walk and multi-media installation.


Myths for a Wetlands Imaginary asks how a transdisciplinary art practice working with the sciences and indigenous knowledges opens up alternate ways for disparate communities to think about climate change, biodiversity and colonialism; and what the role of art can be in producing resistant counter-imaginaries to capitalist and carbon imaginaries?


Wetlands are one of the earth’s most important ecologies, yet also one of the most threatened. This project situated wetland loss as part of global colonialism, and attended to a paradoxical condition of wetlands which has immense potential: while their global destruction is due to dominant carbon/capitalist imaginaries they can yet open up new imaginaries through their unique ecologies, biological processes, entanglements of human/nonhuman, local and global relevance, and in enabling different knowledges.


The project makes visible intimate relationships between personal, local, experiences of wetlands and their planetary dimension. The film articulates something of the complex biological, ecological and political ideas of new multiple relational possibilities. The cumulative activities of Myths for a Wetlands Imaginary of which the film is part start to reveal a ‘global wetlands imaginary’ as an ecological imaginative space for human and more-than-human co-existence, as a metaphor for new forms of multispecies solidarity.


Watch full film: OR Click below image to view video.

To receive password email sam@aplaceoftheirown(dot)org


*Commissioned by Arts Catalyst, funded by Art Fund.

Myths for a Wetlands Imaginary Installation, 723.11.19

Myths for a Wetlands Imaginary Installation, 1323.11.19