CategoryWritings

The role(s) of art under the shadow of climate change

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In 2015-16, I had the opportunity to spend two years working with Riksteatern, Sweden's touring national theatre, as leader of artistic and audience development. Part of my brief was to bring together practitioners from within and beyond the world of the performance arts to explore the role(s) of art under the shadow of climate change.

What’s Happening in Sweden?

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Published on Bella Caledonia, 13 September 2019. You look at what’s happening last night in Sweden. Sweden! Who would believe this? Sweden! — Donald Trump, 18 February 2017 Sweden was long seen as a progressive utopia. Then came waves of immigrants – and the forces of populism at home and abroad. — The New York Times, 10 August 2019 ‘If you get a call from the post office, you tell them we’re...

Negotiating the Surrender

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The place looks like an Italian monastery, all cloistered gardens and red-tiled rooftops. On a bright spring day you can get caught off-guard: stepping out onto the open walkway that links one building to another, you find the air two seasons colder than the view from the windows seemed to promise. We are a long way north of the Alps, in the small lakeside town of Sigtuna, thirty miles outside...

After We Stop Pretending

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The setting could so easily seduce you. Painted wooden houses line three sides of a square of grass: the red house, the white house and the low wooden barn between them where the bunk rooms are. On the fourth side, the slope falls away, past the village library, past the station house and the railway tracks to the lake. A strip of an island a hundred yards offshore, then miles of water stretching...

Deschooling Revisited

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When I discovered Deschooling Society in my mid-twenties, it gave words to things we’d known instinctively a decade earlier. There is an innate human capacity for learning, we are not dependent on learning transmitted from professionally accredited teachers, and the primary social function of the schooling system is to shape us for and assign us a place within the existing social order of the...

The View From the Kitchen Table

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Anna was ahead of me, as usual. It’s there in the name — and the name was her idea, something she said years ago, when we started to talk about creating a hospitable place for bringing together these conversations: ‘It’s not a centre. We’re not starting a community. It’s our home, and everything else is going to start from there.’

Endangered Knowledge: A Report on the Dark Mountain Project

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Almost a decade ago, Paul Kingsnorth and I published a twenty-page manifesto. Out of that manifesto grew a cultural movement: a rooted and branching network of creative activity, centred on the Dark Mountain journal, which has been variously described as ‘the world’s slowest, most thoughtful think tank’ (Geographical), ‘changing the environmental debate in Britain and the rest of Europe’ (The New...

Ten Years on a Mountain: A Farewell

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There’s an old mythic way of thinking about the journey of a life which says that there are three times you will pass through, each with its own colour. You set out in the red time of youth, its raw energy not yet tempered by experience – and with luck, you are headed for the white time of wisdom. But whichever route you find yourself taking, the road that leads from red to white will pass...

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