Earthwalking was a two day choreographed journey with overnight camping along 10 miles of coastline in Devon, from Beer to Sidmouth. It aimed to share different ways of knowing and experiencing the earth, offering different perspectives on land, sea and change.
Earthwalking was the outcome of an Exeter Enquires residency at University of Exeter funded by Arts Council England and supported by Kaleider. The residency enable me to to develop the project with Tim Lenton, Professor of Climate Change, Dr. Luke Mander and Tom Powell, in Earth System Science at University of Exeter.
Earthwalking involved 33 participants from a range of backgrounds (scientists, artists, curators, administrators, auditors, researchers, playwright, writers, bird watchers) aged up to 75 years old. Earthwalking aimed to bring something of the feeling of the wilder edge of our land – and a wider sense of community – into our conscious reflection on how we live and act today.
The walk included presentations, experiments, storytelling, song, dance, discussion and sea swimming. Interventions were facilitated by Tim Lenton, Luke Mander, Tom Powell, Chris Woodruff (South Devon AONB), Dr Ceri Lewis (marine biologist), local artist and smallholder Laura Williams and the group themselves. At the end of our journey we were warmly greeting by and shared stories with local activists from Vision Group for Sidmouth at the Old Dissenters Meeting Hall.
This mingling of the past and present pointed towards the future and again opened up discussions about the sustainability of our eco systems. At no time during Earthwalking was anyone told what to think and yet thoughts and discussions naturally and organically flowed into these areas because of the style and structure of the project. In this way the project proved itself to be in line with its own ethics and was in and of itself a sustainable and organic art piece. (Participant)
The whole project enhanced my sense of smell, sound and vision (Participant)
The experience was transformational and gave me a totally altered sense of community, the landscape and the future of both. (Participant).
A detailed account of the journey is available on EcoArtScotland blog.
Photos: Ruth Levene, Steve Brown & Alison Rockbrand