This essay considers projects by two multimedia artists working in Scotland to propose that culture and local ecology are inseparable and mutually-determining aspects of our understanding of and care for place. The work of Inge Thomson and Deirdre Nelson encompasses material cultures and oral traditions, with an emphasis on marine environments, creating new narratives of passage as works of advocacy for ‘vernacular, community-based ecology’.
Dr Tony Matthews is an award-winning Urban and Environmental Planner, with portfolios in academia, practice and the media. He is a faculty member at Griffith University, where he is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Environment & Science and the Cities Research Institute.
His research and practice interests include adapting cities to climate change impacts; the role and function of green infrastructure; sustainable and low carbon design; the interplay between built environments and human health; and achieving high quality urban design outcomes. He is also an active public writer and commentator with hundreds of national and international print, radio and television media appearances. He founded the Urban Broadcast Collective (@urbanpodcasts), a curated network of podcasts dedicated to cities and urban life. Tony also co-developed and co-presented ‘The Urban Squeeze’ radio program on ABC Radio, which ran for two seasons and won three Awards for Excellence from the Planning Institute of Australia.
Chris Woolgar is Professor of History and Archival Studies at the University of Southampton.
“I have a long-standing interest in the history of the everyday, especially in the medieval period, in patterns of documentation and in editorial work. Publications on medieval social and economic history include two volumes of household accounts edited for the British Academy’s Records of Social and Economic History series, an edition of the testamentary records of the bishops of England and Wales for the Canterbury and York Society, and three books with Yale University Press: The Great Household in Late Medieval England, The Senses in Late Medieval England, and The Culture of Food in England, 1200‒1500.”
Since the early 1990s, Paul Vanouse’s artwork has addressed complex issues raised by varied new techno-sciences using these very techno-sciences as a medium. His artworks have included data collection devices that examine the ramifications of polling and categorization, genetic experiments that undermine scientific constructions of race and identity, and temporary organizations that playfully critique institutionalization and corporatization. These “Operational Fictions” are hybrid entities–simultaneously real things and fanciful representations–intended to resonate in the equally hyper-real context of the contemporary electronic landscape.
Chunjie Zhang is Associate Professor of German, University of California, Davis. She works in the areas of eighteenth-century studies, postcolonial studies, global modernisms, and cosmopolitanisms. She is the author of ‘Transculturality and German Discourse in the Age of European Colonialism’ (Northwestern University Press, 2017), which delineates a transcultural discourse from the 1750s to the 1830s and highlights non-European impact on German travel writings, dramas, Robinsonades, philosophy of history, and theory of geography. Zhang has published on Goethe, Herder, Kant, George Forster, radical Enlightenment, and the representations of China in Europe. She is also coeditor of “Goethe, Worlds, and Literatures,” a special issue of ‘Seminar: A Journal of Germanic Studies’ (2018).
Marta Kaczmarczyk is an expert in persuasive science and technology. She is interested in demystifying the psychedelic experience and creating a scientific framework that would be more accessible to the Western mind and more relevant than the shamanic or new age framework which is popular in the psychedelic community. She is a co-founder and a coordinator of Psychedelic Society of the Netherlands; a non-profit organization focused on advocating a safe use of psychedelic substances.
Joshua Burraway is a medical anthropologist working at the intersection between social and political theory, cultural phenomenology, addiction medicine, and psychiatry. He is interested in how historical and structural forces shape different modes of subjectivity, in particular with regards to altered states of consciousness induced by psychoactive chemicals among homeless substance-users.
Taney Roniger is a visual artist and writer based in New York. Her awards and honors in the visual arts include three Yaddo fellowships, a grant from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, and a traveling fellowship from the Stacey Sussman Cavrell Memorial Foundation. Since 2012 she has been a contributing writer for The Brooklyn Rail, for which she served as Guest Editor in December 2017.
“At this time, the world we live in is in great need of a balance between our heads and our hearts, so that we may connect to the ‘tap-root’ in us all by opening us to the realm of imagination, inspiration and integration.”
Sacha, Duchess of Abercorn OBE was an innovator in creative education and the founder of The Pushkin Trust, an organisation that supports creative learning and education across Ireland, works to provide and support a holistic model to spark imagination and deepen awareness of our collective creativity, our humanity and ‘the child’ within each one of us.
Sadly, Sacha died on 10 December 2018 and this interview, first published in the launch issue of Interalia Magazine, is re-published here as a tribute to her creativity, compassion and imagination.
Dustin Stokes is a philosopher at the University of Utah, having previously researched and taught at the Universities of Sussex and Toronto, in both philosophy and cognitive science. His research includes work on perception, imagination, and creative thought and behaviour. In this exclusive interview he discusses his ideas on creativity, imagination and philosophy.