Launch of Nurture: Living in the Landscape

Shetland staff and students have been involved with the new exhibition and publication, Nurture: Living in the Landscape 2023, for the fourth Living in the Landscape (LiLa) international, interdisciplinary Spring/Summer School were launched on 23, November 2023 at the Ljusgården building at Umeå University, Sweden. The book and the exhibition showcase both the participating students’ and lecturers’ art-based investigations on forest landscapes in the Nordic region, and in Scotland.

UHI Shetland was well represented with seven students and the Programme Leader, Roxane Permar, for the Master’s Degree in Art and Social Practice, taking part. Students included Gini Dickinson, Kerrianne Flett, Trish Matthews, Jane Ronie, Susannah Rose, Mauragh Scott and Mairi Summers. Additionally, the Shetland based artist Lucy Livingstone took part in the virtual half of the project in spring 2023.

The LiLa Spring and Summer School is organised in collaboration with the University of Lapland (organiser), Umeå University, Nord University of Norway (Nesna campus), University of the West of Scotland and University of the Highlands and Island (UHI Shetland). This year the school also had visiting lecturers from the University of Alaska Anchorage and the Yukon School of Visual Arts, Canada. PhD and MA students and scholars in 2023 represented a diverse range of subject fields, including Art and Social Practice, Creative Media Practice, Art Education, Art and Culture, Teacher Education, Ecology, Applied Visual Arts and Architecture. The development of the School, its pedagogy, digital implementation and dissemination is funded by the University of the Arctic and Nordplus Horisontal.

The School involved the sustainable investigation of Arctic and Near Arctic sociocultural dimensions and human and non-human agencies related to forests. Participants in the School together observed a deepening appreciation of the complex and fascinating balance between nature and nurture. Forests are complex, a layered space of natural and social tension, and harmony, located in place.

The publication comprises participants' artistic statements and visual essays where some of the processes are introduced in depth. These essays have elements from the fieldwork locations and each writers’ own places. The artworks, artist statements and the visual essays show how the art-based approaches made the participants consider their dwelling, identity and working in relation to the themes, forests and nurture. The works reflect how our living can be made more sustainable and consistent for the other beings dwelling in these same landscapes.

The Exhibition Nurture at Ljusgården, Umeå University. Images: Sara Rylander and Elina Härkönen, 2023.

The book Nurture: Living in the Landscape, edited by Elina Härkönen, Lotta Lundstedt, Kathtryn Burnett, Mette Gårdvik and Roxane Permar is available online.