The Gulbenkian Galapagos Artists’ Residency Programme was initiated by the Gulbenkian FoundationÒ’s UK Branch and the London-based Galapagos Conservation Trust, in collaboration with the Natural History Museum, London. It involved the Charles Darwin Research Foundation on Santa Cruz, a base for resident and visiting research scientists . Twelve leading international artists were selected to undertake residencies on the islands. The purpose was to find unusual ways of highlighting the complex issues that relate to the Ecuadorian-owned Galapagos archipelago. Galapagos is a double World Heritage Site, because of its links to Darwin’s development of the theory of evolution and as the only oceanic archipelago that still retains 95% of its original biodiversity. It is perpetually endangered, from a combination of over- exploitation and the need to control introduced species, presenting an ecological microcosm where environmental, scientific, social, political and economic interests conflict.

The artists were chosen for their refreshing approach to cultural, social and scientific challenges, while still retaining their integrity in the artworld. They engaged with the islands on their own terms, mixing with both the local and scientific communities, and made new work in a variety of media. The programme has culminated in a touring exhibition in 2012/13 at 3 mainstream art galleries, Liverpool, Edinburgh and Lisbon, with education programmes at each. There is a trilingual publication (English, Portuguese, Spanish) with a keynote essay by the distinguished palaeontologist Richard Fortey, and an interactive website.

Examples of the artists’ interests include: the valuing of indigenous plants; the oddity of animal and human habitats, including a tv programme with local people much applauded by the scientists for its communication value; drawings of strange creatures for new children’s books; the ethics of human attitudes to animals, with a particular interest in local cock-fighting; barnacles and badgers, with refs to current plans for badger culling in the UK; the sounds of sharks culminating in a new music piece; vulcanology and colour in nature and culture.

The presentation will be given by Siân Ede, author of ‘Art & Science ‘ (I B Tauris, 2005, 2nd edn 2008). Siân has been a keynote speaker at 3 previous PCST conferences .

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Artists on the galapagos islands
How can artists communicate the challenges facing a world heritage conservation site, the conflicting interests of scientists, the local population and eco-tourists, and make connections with environmental matters near

Siân Ede   Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, author of ‘Art & Science’

The Gulbenkian Galapagos Artists’ Residency Programme was initiated by the Gulbenkian FoundationÒ’s UK Branch and the London-based Galapagos Conservation Trust, in collaboration with the Natural History Museum, London. It involved the Charles Darwin Research Foundation on Santa Cruz, a base for resident and visiting research scientists . Twelve leading international artists were selected to undertake residencies on the islands. The purpose was to find unusual ways of highlighting the complex issues that relate to the Ecuadorian-owned Galapagos archipelago. Galapagos is a double World Heritage Site, because of its links to Darwin’s development of the theory of evolution and as the only oceanic archipelago that still retains 95% of its original biodiversity. It is perpetually endangered, from a combination of over- exploitation and the need to control introduced species, presenting an ecological microcosm where environmental, scientific, social, political and economic interests conflict.

The artists were chosen for their refreshing approach to cultural, social and scientific challenges, while still retaining their integrity in the artworld. They engaged with the islands on their own terms, mixing with both the local and scientific communities, and made new work in a variety of media. The programme has culminated in a touring exhibition in 2012/13 at 3 mainstream art galleries, Liverpool, Edinburgh and Lisbon, with education programmes at each. There is a trilingual publication (English, Portuguese, Spanish) with a keynote essay by the distinguished palaeontologist Richard Fortey, and an interactive website.

Examples of the artists’ interests include: the valuing of indigenous plants; the oddity of animal and human habitats, including a tv programme with local people much applauded by the scientists for its communication value; drawings of strange creatures for new children’s books; the ethics of human attitudes to animals, with a particular interest in local cock-fighting; barnacles and badgers, with refs to current plans for badger culling in the UK; the sounds of sharks culminating in a new music piece; vulcanology and colour in nature and culture.

The presentation will be given by Siân Ede, author of ‘Art & Science ‘ (I B Tauris, 2005, 2nd edn 2008). Siân has been a keynote speaker at 3 previous PCST conferences .

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.

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