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The UK Anthology Series 2021  

 

Why focus on the UK?

As preparations commence for the 26th United Nations Climate Change conference (COP26) and the World Congress on Soil Science (WCSS22), the whole world will be looking to the UK for climate & ecological ambition and action. And, while the UK politicians are still (re)writing policy after leaving the EU, the possibilities for local transformation and more radical decision-making seem well within reach. 2021 may be one of the most crucial points in history to "Zoom" into peatlands in the UK. 

What to expect:

The UK Anthology Series is a 9 episode webinar series running from March to December 2021, which connects peatlands to a number of intertwined topics; such as social justice, environmental issues and specific UK or international policies. The series will bring together perspectives from a variety of disciplines and angles and every episode will include some kind of artistic responses that can help us feel the issue as well as think about it.  Throughout the series, the focus is on amplifying voices that are not traditionally given a platform, including young people, people of colour, working class, and other voices that are often marginalised. The UK Anthology Series links to a number of larger initiatives, and thus encourages a wider engagement around why UK peatlands matter!

Episode 1 - Peatlands & the UK 

Episode 2 - Peatlands & Forestry 

Episode 3 - Peatlands & Climate (in) Justice  

Episode 4 -  Peatlands & Agriculture

Episode 5 - Peatlands & Wind Turbines

Episode 6 - Peatlands & Land Ownership 

Episode 7 - Peatlands & Gardening 

Episode 8 -  Peatlands & COP26

Episode 9 - Peatlands & Time

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In this session we provide a scientific, political and cultural introduction to peatlands in the UK. 

 

 

The schedule is as follows:

19.00-19.10: Introduction of speakers + RE-PEAT welcome

19.10-19.15: Overview of UK Anthology Series as a whole

19.15-19.25: Peatland Science video 

Featuring RE-PEAT team members, Lukas Fraser, Mari-Liis Kotsar, Luke Andrews, and Tanya Lippmann, as well as Dr. Angela Gallego-Sala. Animation by Frankie Turk

19.25-19.45 - What is the policy surrounding peatlands in the UK?

Matt Williams and Clifton Bain from IUCN

19.45-20.00: Creative engagement: poetry reading

Elizabeth-Jane Burnett and Jamie Walker

20.00-20.30: Cultural heritage in the UK and Irish peatlands

Rosie Everett and Ben Gearey from WetFutures

20.30-21.00: An introduction to different local actions - challenges, awareness, and appreciation

Scotland - Peatland Connections

Northern Ireland - the CANN Project

Wales - Welsh Raised Bogs

England - Forest of Bowland AONB

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In this session we will explore the complex and at times challenging relationship between peatlands and forestry in the UK.

 

As such we will explore why both peatlands and forestry are important tools against the climate crisis, as well as the history of planting trees on peatlands and why this is detrimental to the natural world and to environmental aims. The speakers touch on why only planting trees should not be treated as a panacea, introduce some campaigns that have advocated for peatlands not be planted on, and discuss some forest-to-bog restoration projects.

About the Speakers:

Thomas Sloan is a Forest Science and Policy Fellow at the United Bank of Carbon an University of Leeds. His background is in assessing the impact of land management on carbon storage, particularly in peatlands. His PhD at the University of York focused on assessing the change in carbon storage when deep peat is afforested.

 

Kate Foster is an environmental artist whose project Peat Cultures became embedded in Peatland Connections, a Crichton Carbon Centre project supported by Galloway Glens Landscape Partnership. Her long term project highlights diverse cultural values of peatlands in Scotland and the Netherlands.

 

Ted Leeming and Morag Paterson are award-winning, professional landscape photographic artists based both in Italy and Scotland. Going further than simple aesthetics their work explores the landscape and our human interactions therein in the context of climate change and biodiversity loss.

 

Dr Renée Kerkvliet-Hermans is the Peatland Code coordinator for the IUCN UK Peatland Programme. She leads the operation and development of the Peatland Code, an innovative funding mechanism for peatland restoration.​ 

 

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In this session we will explore some of the ways in which the UK colonial history and present interact through the topic of peatlands.

This session was featured as part of Peat-Fest 2021 and it looks at the relationship between peatland and the connection they have to colonial practises both historically and today.  Khairani Barokka will be discussing the connections between Indonesian peatlands and capitalist consumerism, while artist duo Paula McCloskey and Sam Vardy (Myths for a Wetland Imaginarywill present their work and artistic practise through a framing of settler colonialism and decolonisation. Finally there is a discussion on trade routes, policy gaps, european role, and the impact on peatlands.

About the speakers:

Khairani Barokka (b. Jakarta, 1985) is a writer, poet and artist in London. She’s a practice-based researcher, whose work centres disability justice as anti-colonial praxis. Among her honours, she was Modern Poetry in Translation’s Inaugural Poet-in-Residence, the first non-British Associate Artist at the UK’s National Centre for Writing, and an NYU Tisch Departmental Fellow, and is currently UK Associate Artist at Delfina Foundation and Research Fellow at University of the Arts London.

Artist duo Paula McCloskey and Sam Vardy started Myths for a Wetlands Imaginary in 2019 as an ongoing project that engages with the global ecological habitat of wetlands to collaboratively explore new imaginaries of co-existence.  Wetlands, and the marshes, bogs, fens, reedbeds and reefs that make them up, tell complex stories of relationships of land and peoples, of settler colonialism, and of the capitalist and carbon imaginaries that have seen 70% of wetlands across the world destroyed in the last 50 years.

 

 

 

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This session explores the topic of paludiculture and the future for farming on peatlands  

This session explores the relationship between peatlands and agriculture in the UK and beyond.

For this episode we are joined by Kate Carver from the Great Fen Project and Robert Caudwell, Chair of the Lowland Agricultural Peat Task Force

About the Speakers: 

Kate joined the Wildlife Trust BCN in 2020 as the Great Fen Project Manager, delivering the Project Partners vision for the Great Fen. Prior to that, following a long career in the heritage sector,  she worked for the National Trust for 12 years, managing cultural, landscape, and environmental heritage in East Anglia.

Robert is a leading figure in water management and brings over 40 years’ experience in arable and horticultural farming. Robert is uniquely placed to explore more sustainable measures, including innovative ways to manage peatland water levels, effects on flood risk, farming profits and food production, and long-term opportunities for paludiculture (wet agriculture).

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In this session we explore the discussion on whether wind turbines should be built on peatlands   

This episode explores the complex and dynamic interaction between peatlands and wind turbine development. During the session we will be showing a video all about the intersections between peatlands and the energy transition globally, show-casting various perspectives on this topic and creating an open dialogue about what the future of wind turbines and peatlands could be in the UK.

 

About the Speakers:

Jon Macleod  - Macleod is an artist and project curator for An Lanntair His work explores human entanglements with the natural world, often using intangible cultural heritage, language and identity as tools to delve into place Most recently he has been artist in residence on St.Kilda for the National Trust for Scotland and was a recipient of a Churchill Fellowship to Fogo Island, Newfoundland looking at the role of creativity in Island communities. He has also taken part in residencies in Finland, Senegal and Macedonia. Currently he is based in Bergen taking part in a Nordic/Scottish exchange project, Ebb+Flow – but more usually he is to be found in the Outer Hebrides where he works a croft on the West side of the Isle of

 

Lewis Lewis-Coenen-Rowe - Lewis joined Creative Carbon Scotland in July 2019. His background is in classical music, working as a composer of chamber music and opera as well as teaching music in universities. Prior to joining Creative Carbon Scotland, he worked as a teaching assistant at Glasgow University after completing a PhD in music composition at King’s College London. He also has a background in environmental campaigning with groups including Fossil Free, Divest Parliament, Friends of the Earth, and BP or not BP. His role at Creative Carbon Scotland involves managing the Green Tease events series and network, researching and writing articles for the Library of Creative Sustainability, advising and supporting artistic and sustainability practitioners, and developing collaborative projects between the arts and environmental sectors.

 

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In this session we discuss the ways in which landownership connects to peatlands 

This UK Anthology Series episode features a discussion around peatland landownership in the UK and various ways that the ownership interacts with land management.

About the speakers:

Jenny and Angela from the Langholm Buyout Initiative. They speak about what is next for this area under community ownership and providing some context on community-led approaches and decision-making. https://www.langholminitiative.org.uk...

 

Hazel Draper from the grassroots campaign group Wild Card Wild Card aim to respond to the ecological and climate crisis by persuading the UK's largest landowners to rewild half their land. The group is a collaboration between experts, artists and campaigners. Hazel has also been campaigning for some time on peatland burning in her area of Calderdale where she also acts as a volunteer flood warden.

https://www.wildcard.land/

 

Paul Turner is a teacher who helped set up the Radical School Geography group and Teachers For Climate Action, helping to organise and coordinate change in education. Paul is a curriculum author and has created a variety of freely accessible resources including the world's first Climate Breakdown teaching materials and most recently a series of lessons based around Guy Shrubsole's book 'Who Owns England?' and Nick Hayes book 'Trespass'. Paul is passionate about challenging the status quo through critical and radical education which engages young people with the structures and systems of the world.

https://www.geographypaul.com/

 

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In this session we look how peatlands are connected with our gardens  

This UK Anthology Series episode highlights the issues surrounding peat extraction for use in gardening and horticulture sectors; a subject especially relevant to the UK as the government makes moves to ban the sale of peat by 2024 after failing to phase it out by 2020. 

About the speakers: 

Sara Venn is a horticulturalist, garden and nursery consultant, blogger, garden writer and activist. She founded Incredible Edible in Bristol, a community focused group working to cover Bristol with edible plants. She'll be speaking about her own experience and that of Incredible Edible with growing plants both peat and pesticide free in a community setting!

Ciarán Cotter is from County Kerry in Ireland and grew up on and around bogs. Whilst living in Amsterdam he joined RE-PEAT. His interests lie in the cultural context of peatlands and exploring the future of peatland and community in rural areas. He is currently taking a compost-making course, and is keen to explore peat-free compost in his local area.

Diane Sammons is a member of For Peat's Sake, a group in the north west of England who are passionate about protecting peatland. She also supported Peat Free April during their busy and impactful campaign in that month, and is part of the NGO and grassroots Peat Alliance. She'll be talking about her experience with peat-free campaigning.

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In this session we look how peatlands, Nature-Based Solutions, and COP26

This session brings a more in-depth and critical perspective to the conversation around Nature-Based Solutions and climate change at COP26 (especially in relation to peatlands, as the planet's targest terrestrial carbon sink).

 

COP26 was a vitally important climate conference for ensuring we all have a viable climate and ecological future. However, it must also be acknowledged that this conference was not carried out in a way that respects and pushes climate justice forward. Many people, particularly from the Global South, were unable to make it due to various hurdles (including covid-19) that hindered some of the most impacted people getting their voice heard during this process.

About the Speakers: 

Raki Ap, representative for the global Free West Papua campaign, talking about indigenous-led conservation and the West Papua Green State Vision that was launched at COP26, focused on environmental and social justice. 

 

Deirdre Lane, performs a "poetic rant" about bog-mining in Ireland, channeling the voice of St Brigid of Kildare.

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This session gets deep as we explore peatlands and their connection to history   

Peatlands are incredible ecosystems, and ones that experience time so very differently to us. We'll be touching on the timescale of peatlands, exploring peatlands through the ages and speaking about the importance of archaeology and cultural heritage.

About the Speakers: 

Dr Abbi Flint is a heritage researcher with a background in archaeology and a longstanding research interest in human-environment relationships. As a research associate on the 'In all our footsteps' project at Newcastle University, her current work explores the meaning and value that Rights of Way hold for people. Also a poet, Abbi is passionate about the potential of poetry to engage people with research and as a research process itself.

 

In this short talk she will share how she used poetic transcription in the WetFutures project at the University of Bradford to explore how people engage with and perceive the peatland landscape of Ilkley Moor (West Yorkshire) and its rich natural and cultural heritage. Abbi will introduce the project and share some of the poems created.

 

Dr Melanie Giles is a specialist in the archaeology of the Iron Age based at the University of Manchester. She has just finished a recent study on the archaeological value of peatlands, explored through the lens of the iconic phenomenon of 'Bog Bodies'. Her book (which can be read online or downloaded for free here) covers aspects of their discovery and conservation, and different interpretations of these human remains as well as the other artefacts deposited in bogs, alongside a wider appraisal of the meaning of peatlands to prehistoric communities. She will talk briefly about the value of this archaeology, including its potential to inspire more creative engagements, such as the BrightEdgeDeep online exhibition. (Please note: the presentation will contain images of well-preserved human remains).