IMG 6056
posted: 20/05/21 16:52

New Solo Exhibition by Léonie Hampton opens at RAMM Museum 18th May- 5th September 2021

Commissioned to complement the touring exhibition Seedscapes: Future Proofing Nature, Léonie Hampton’s body of work engages directly with the ecological emergency through a series of photographs that celebrate her vegetable garden, her family and friends, and the seeds in the collections at RAMM, Exeter. The exhibition is runs from 18 May to 5 September 2021. See here for more information.

Melinda and steph
posted: 24/11/20 10:15

Event: Indigenous Artists Panel

Still/Moving and Survival International in partnership with Dr Stephanie Pratt and Melinda Schwakhofer, invite the artists Cannupa Hanska Luger, Candessa Tehee, Ian Kuali’i and Jules Koostachin to discuss the complexities of the 400 year Mayflower history and their individual artist practices, in a panel chaired by art historian Dr Stephanie Pratt.

When: Tuesday 1 December 2020 At: 16:30 – 18.00GMT

Free Eventbrite link: CLICK HERE

During the month of November we have created multiple spaces for indigenous voices to be AMPLIFIED. Please submit a short quote responding to: ‘Tell us what the history of the Mayflower means to you.’ By following the links below or emailing us directly on these will be added to the NO NEW WORLDS tags which are written and tied to the sculpture in Plymouth UK, and posted through social media: /StillMovingCIC & @StillMovingCIC

Through the Survival International Map:

Top banner for email large MPH
posted: 11/11/20 17:43

Still/Moving IN CONVERSATION: Dr Stephanie Pratt and Survival International this FRIDAY

Marial Quezada from Survival International, Sam Maltais, (Aquinnah Wampanoag), Dr Stephanie Pratt (Dakota) and Still/Moving will discuss the current campaign, #Mayflowers Kill. This conversation will introduce November’s Native American Heritage Month, and reflect on the place of NO NEW WORLDS and other artworks within commemorative programmes such as Plymouth UK’s Mayflower 400 Commemorations.

When: Friday 13 November 2020 At: 16:30 – 17:30 GMT

Free Eventbrite link:

Speedwell Still Moving 6586
posted: 12/10/20 11:33

Speedwell 'Starter Tower' Talks Program

Throughout the duration of Speedwell's installation on Mount Batten Breakwater a series of 'in conversations' will be held between Still/Moving and invited speakers to discuss some of the themes raised by the project. The talks will be live-streamed online. Click here for a full list

Next up: Still/Moving IN CONVERSATION: 'Connections' with Marianne Brown 16.10.2020 @ 13.00

posted: 25/09/20 11:28

' hold me beside you ' A Site Specific Installation at Plymouth Art Weekender, 24 -27 September 2020

hold me beside you is a unique installation by Still/Moving for this year's Plymouth Art Weekender: 24 -27 September 2020.

The 2-metre distanced illuminated words respond to the experience of the COVID-19 pandemic. The site-specific installation explores the tension of proximity and risk in the physical structure of the Plymouth Citadel’s former gunpowder store. Originally created for The Box's 'State of Emergency' micro commission the words have been reconfigured to magnify our state of isolation and our dependence: our need to keep distanced, coupled with our longing for interconnectedness, revealing a shared vulnerability in the face of the unknown workings of the virus.

The work hangs on the north wall of Duttons Cafe, located above Elphinstone carpark which is one of the best places to see Still/Moving's other project Speedwell, on the Mount Batten Breakwater.

Speedwell Still Moving 6493
posted: 07/09/20 15:38

Speedwell is Live!

Speedwell is exploring the idea of 'no new worlds'.

For the settlers on the Mayflower who felt they were sailing to a new world, it was a world that had been inhabited for many thousands of years by indigenous peoples who were greatly impacted by the arrival of the Mayflower and subsequent ships that followed.

We wanted to challenge that idea and to uncover previously overlooked stories of the Mayflower sailing but also to remind people that we only have this world and we need to look after it.

Come and add your voice to the structure either by filling in a tag with one of our volunteers or by adding your voice on our text and audio link

Speedwell's Poignant Message - Plymouth Herald

Re-Informed on the Mayflower 400 website.

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posted: 29/08/20 08:30

Speedwell, A Mayflower 400 Commission to Open on 4th September 2020

Speedwell, a large scale light installation funded by Plymouth Culture and the Arts Council, will open on Plymouth's Mount Batten Breakwater at dusk on 4th September 2020. Currently under construction it can be clearly seen growing on the horizon from the Hoe and the Barbican. See Speedwell Project page for more info.

Still Moving Rogers Wholesale 0200
posted: 19/08/20 11:30

'touch' by Still/Moving, "A State of Emergency Commission" by The Box, Plymouth's new Museum

Still/Moving have been awarded a State of Emergency Commission by The Box, Plymouth's new museum, art gallery and cultural centre. The project titled 'touch' explores the two metre distance of safety forced under the pandemic regulations, a distance which paradoxically shows care through remoteness while enforcing isolation, yet in cases of coercion, hides from view those subject to a cruelty of touch.

The work explores these spaces, navigating from the distance of the horizon to the proximity of the home; the local. Moving through levels of intimacy and forms of touch from the caress of a lover, the lifting of a child to sharing a companionable proximity, the phrases ‘HOLD ME’, ‘TOUCH ME’, ‘BESIDE ME’ will be created using a low voltage LED technology.

The Box will open to the general public on Tuesday 29 September

Leonie and Kestor cropped
posted: 19/08/20 00:21

Léonie Hampton commissioned to create new work in response to seeds in Exeter Museum, RAMM’s collection

Still/Moving's co-founder Leonie Hampton new commission from RAMM, will explore the Exeter museum’s collection of seeds and herbarium sheets in dialogue with her own photographs of seed experiments, the garden and family. Creating a ‘story about love, growth, family and the archaic wisdom of plants’ the new artwork will place Hampton’s photographs of living and growing plants alongside that of the collected, dried seeds in the museum.

See: RAMM Museum for more info

Interview with Robin Wall Kimmerer

James Yeh

'People can’t understand the world as a gift unless someone shows them how'

Her book Braiding Sweetgrass has been a surprise bestseller. The nature writer talks about her fight for plant rights, and why she hopes the pandemic will increase human compassion for the natural world.

Warmth and wonderment … Robin Wall Kimmerer.

Informed by western science and the teachings of her indigenous ancestors … Robin Wall Kimmerer. Photograph: Dale Kakkak

“This is a time to take a lesson from mosses,” says Robin Wall Kimmerer, celebrated writer and botanist. Her first book, published in 2003, was the natural and cultural history book Gathering Moss. She grins as if thinking of a dogged old friend or mentor. “What is it that has enabled them to persist for 350m years, through every kind of catastrophe, every climate change that’s ever happened on this planet, and what might we learn from that?” She lists the lessons “of being small, of giving more than you take, of working with natural law, sticking together. All the ways that they live I just feel are really poignant teachings for us right now.”

It’s the end of March and, observing the new social distancing protocol, we’re speaking over Zoom – Kimmerer, from her home office outside Syracuse, New York; me from shuttered South Williamsburg in Brooklyn, where the constant wail of sirens are a sobering reminder of the pandemic. The occasion is the UK publication of her second book, the remarkable, wise and potentially paradigm-shifting Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants, which has become a surprise word-of-mouth sensation, selling nearly 400,000 copies across North America (and nearly 500,000 worldwide). In January, the book landed on the New York Times bestseller list, seven years after its original release from the independent press Milkweed Editions – no small feat.

A mother of two daughters, and a grandmother, Kimmerer’s voice is mellifluous over the video call, animated with warmth and wonderment. Her delivery is measured, lyrical, and, when necessary (and perhaps it’s always necessary), impassioned and forceful. She laughs frequently and easily. Today she has her long greyish-brown hair pulled loosely back and spilling out on to her shoulders, and she wears circular, woven, patterned earrings. Behind her, on the wooden bookshelves, are birch bark baskets and sewn boxes, mukluks, and books by the environmentalist Winona LaDuke and Leslie Marmon Silko, a writer of the Native American Renaissance.

“Sitting at a computer is not my favourite thing,” admits the 66-year-old native of upstate New York. Our original, pre-pandemic plan had been meeting at the Clark Reservation State Park, a spectacular mossy woodland near her home, but here we are, staying 250 miles apart. A distinguished professor in environmental biology at the State University of New York, she has shifted her courses online. It’s going well, all things considered; still, not every lesson translates to the digital classroom. For one such class, on the ecology of moss, she sent her students out to locate the ancient, interconnected plants, even if it was in an urban park or a cemetery. To collect the samples, one student used the glass from a picture frame; like the mosses, we too are adapting.

Moss in the forest around the Bennachie hills, near Inverurie.

Moss in the forest around the Bennachie hills, near Inverurie. Photograph: Bloomberg/Getty Images

“Most people don’t really see plants or understand plants or what they give us,” Kimmerer explains, “so my act of reciprocity is, having been shown plants as gifts, as intelligences other than our own, as these amazing, creative beings – good lord, they can photosynthesise, that still blows my mind! – I want to help them become visible to people. People can’t understand the world as a gift unless someone shows them how it’s a gift.”

In her debut collection of essays, Gathering Moss, she blended, with deep attentiveness and musicality, science and personal insights to tell the overlooked story of the planet’s oldest plants. For Braiding Sweetgrass, she broadened her scope with an array of object lessons braced by indigenous wisdom and culture. From cedars we can learn generosity (because of all they provide, from canoes to capes). From the creation story, which tells of Sky woman falling from the sky, we can learn about mutual aid. Sweetgrass teaches the value of sustainable harvesting, reciprocal care and ceremony. The Windigo mindset, on the other hand, is a warning against being “consumed by consumption” (a windigo is a legendary monster from Anishinaabe lore, an “Ojibwe boogeyman”). Ideas of recovery and restoration are consistent themes, from the global to the personal. I think about grief as a measure of our love, that grief compels us to do something, to love more.

In one standout section Kimmerer, an enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, tells the story of recovering for herself the enduring Potawatomi language of her people, one internet class at a time. (It’s meaningful, too, because her grandfather, Asa Wall, had been sent to the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, notorious for literally washing the non-English out of its young pupils’ mouths.) The resulting book is a coherent and compelling call for what she describes as “restorative reciprocity”, an appreciation of gifts and the responsibilities that come with them, and how gratitude can be medicine for our sick, capitalistic world.

In the years leading up to Gathering Moss, Kimmerer taught at universities, raised her two daughters, Larkin and Linden, and published articles in peer-reviewed journals. (A sample title from this period: “Environmental Determinants of Spatial Pattern in the Vegetation of Abandoned Lead-Zinc Mines.”) Writing of the type that she publishes now was something she “was doing quietly”, away from academia. But she chafed at having to produce these “boring” papers written in the “most objective” scientific language that, despite its precision, misses the point. What she really wanted was to tell stories old and new, to practice “writing as an act of reciprocity with the living land”. Through soulful, accessible books, informed by both western science and indigenous teachings alike, she seeks, most essentially, to “encourage people to pay attention to plants”. And she has now found those people, to a remarkable extent.

“I’ve never seen anything remotely like it,” says Daniel Slager, publisher and CEO of the non-profit Milkweed Editions. He describes the sales of Braiding Sweetgrass as “singular”, “staggering” and “profoundly gratifying”. Since the book first arrived as an unsolicited manuscript in 2010, it has undergone 18 printings and appears, or will soon, in nine languages across Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Pulitzer prize-winning author Richard Powers is a fan, declaring to the New York Times: “I think of her every time I go out into the world for a walk.” Robert Macfarlane told me he finds her work “grounding, calming, and quietly revolutionary”.

A person looking at the camera Description automatically generated

Richard Powers: 'We're completely alienated from everything else alive'

Read more

Indeed, Braiding Sweetrgrass has engaged readers from many backgrounds. “I think when indigenous people either read or listen to this book, what resonates with them is the life experience of an indigenous person. It is part of the story of American colonisation,” said Rosalyn LaPier, an ethnobotanist and enrolled member of the Blackfeet Tribe of Montana and Métis, who co-authored with Kimmerer a declaration of support from indigenous scientists for 2017’s March for Science. “Part of it is, how do you revitalise your life? How do you relearn your language? How do you recreate a new relationship with the natural world when it’s not the same as the natural world your tribal community has a longstanding relationship with? It’s a common, shared story.”

Other lessons from the book have resonated, too. Jessica Goldschmidt, a 31-year-old writer living in Los Angeles, describes how it helped her during her first week of quarantine. “I was feeling very lonely and I was repotting some plants” and realised how important it was because “the book was helping me to think of them as people. It’s something I do everyday, because I’m just like: ‘I don’t know when I’m going to touch a person again.’”

“What’s being revealed to me from readers is a really deep longing for connection with nature,” Kimmerer says, referencing Edward O Wilson’s notion of biophilia, our innate love for living things. “It’s as if people remember in some kind of early, ancestral place within them. They’re remembering what it might be like to live somewhere you felt companionship with the living world, not estrangement. Though the flip side to loving the world so much,” she points out, citing the influential conservationist Aldo Leopold, is that to have an ecological education is to “live alone in a world of wounds”.

“We tend to shy away from that grief,” she explains. “But I think that that’s the role of art: to help us into grief, and through grief, for each other, for our values, for the living world. You know, I think about grief as a measure of our love, that grief compels us to do something, to love more.” Compelling us to love nature more is central to her long-term project, and it’s also the subject of her next book, though “it’s definitely a work in progress”. “The way I’m framing it to myself is, when somebody closes that book, the rights of nature make perfect sense to them,” she says. “I’m really trying to convey plants as persons.”

The vulnerability we're experiencing in the pandemic is the vulnerability that songbirds feel every day of their lives. Key to this is restoring what Kimmerer calls the “grammar of animacy”. This means viewing nature not as a resource but like an elder “relative” – to recognise kinship with plants, mountains and lakes. The idea, rooted in indigenous language and philosophy (where a natural being isn’t regarded as “it” but as kin) holds affinities with the emerging rights-of-nature movement, which seeks legal personhood as a means of conservation. Kimmerer understands her work to be the “long game” of creating the “cultural underpinnings”.

“Laws are a reflection of social movements,” she says. “Laws are a reflection of our values. So our work has to be to not necessarily use the existing laws, but to promote a growth in values of justice. That’s where I really see storytelling and art playing that role, to help move consciousness in a way that these legal structures of rights of nature makes perfect sense. I dream of a day where people say: ‘Well, duh, of course! Of course those trees have standing.’”

Our conversation turns once more to topics pandemic-related. Kimmerer says that the coronavirus has reminded us that we’re “biological beings, subject to the laws of nature. That alone can be a shaking,” she says, motioning with her fist. “But I wonder, can we at some point turn our attention away to say the vulnerability we are experiencing right now is the vulnerability that songbirds feel every single day of their lives? Could this extend our sense of ecological compassion, to the rest of our more-than-human relatives?”

Kimmerer often thinks about how best to use her time and energy during this troubled era. Though she views demands for unlimited economic growth and resource exploitation as “all this foolishness”, she recognises that “I don’t have the power to dismantle Monsanto. But what I do have is the capacity to change how I live on a daily basis and how I think about the world. I just have to have faith that when we change how we think, we suddenly change how we act and how those around us act, and that’s how the world changes. It’s by changing hearts and changing minds. And it’s contagious. I became an environmental scientist and a writer because of what I witnessed growing up within a world of gratitude and gifts.”

“A contagion of gratitude,” she marvels, speaking the words slowly. “I’m just trying to think about what that would be like. Acting out of gratitude, as a pandemic. I can see it.”

Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer is published by Penguin

James Yeh, The Guardian, Online article: on Sat 23 May 2020 12.00 BST

The Guardian, Online article: on Sat 23 May 2020 12.00 BST