Two King’s Water PhD researchers recently spent the weekend in Norfolk at Holt Hall Field Studies Centre working with Norfolk students on ecological art and science communication.
The first Exceptional DESiGN residential was held Friday-Sunday 19-21 February 2016. Students in Years 12/13 from across Norfolk and Norway came together for three days of outdoor (and indoor) fun and learning. Activities enhanced leadership, communication, teambuilding, campaigning, relationship building, science, writing, arts, and confidence skills. Students also got the chance to hear from university mentors – including King’s Water members Dan Mills and Becca Farnum – about their experiences and talk to them about personal goals.
During Exceptional DESiGN, participant teams were tasked by visiting poet Alana Levinson-LaBrosse to interview a local ecologist about an environmental phenomenon in the Norfolk area. Students heard about the 2012 storm surge, coastal erosion, a project to reintroduce eels in area rivers, the Sheringham Shoal wind farm, and invasive species. Students then wrote reflective poems highlighting particular phrases and ideas mined from their interviews. The next day, local artist Ruth Macdougall guided students in the process of creating environmental art. Groups created tactile and visual canvases representative of their poems. That evening, internationally known guitarist Michael Poll performed classical pieces for the students by Holt Hall’s inspiring fireplace. A selection of Michael’s music will join the canvases, artists’ statements, and poetry recordings to form an accessible multi-sensory interactive gallery of Norfolk ecology. The artwork will join pieces from the Exceptions “Accessible Art” as a traveling gallery, displaying at universities and in community centres around the UK.
Completed pieces include one inspired by PhD researcher Dan Mills’ research on quagga mussels and invasive species in British rivers.
The unstoppable tide searing in, leaving more questions than answers
It’s withering and all it sees in black and white
A dice is rolling on its edges infinitely
Present but absent at the same time
The wave is pushing and pulling circles of thoughts
An equilibrium of giving and taking from Mother Nature
like two sides of the same coin as the mussel moves
The confusion, the pounding advance
What do they want? What do they need?
The ocean should stay as ocean and the land should stay as land
Why must one crumble into the otherand take my home with it
The constant attack!
I can’t bare it
The noise at night, nature’s gunfire
So hard to believe this ocean can be kind
We shall stand fast
I once had power but I am nothing now
I am so large no one can fit my problem
and there is no solution anyway
my dignity gone, my defenses fallen
my bones protruding
would it be better if I just admit defeat
and realise my only solace is with the sea
I hope this winter I my last
Our power has been stolen
Reclamation is our only solace
We pound and pound at our foe
Until it is weak and breaks
Then we batter it some more
The rocks shatter and we mock them
amused by their screams
A building plummets
We triumph For more about the programme and to see more photos of student artwork, check out https://sites.google.com/site/designnorfolk/exceptional-design.