WET / LAND / DWELLERS

an older woman chats and smiles to another woman with long grey hair as they walk through a wetland area with bare trees on a grey winter day
Wet / Land / Dwellers - Tales from the Wetlands Workshop, Feb 2022. A Place of Their Own. Credit - James Clarkson
four people including the artists Sam Vardy and Paula McCloskey of A Place of Their Own, talk with two older people in a polytunnel on a rainy day
Wet / Land / Dwellers - A Place of Their Own meeting with Victoria Allotments. Sheffield. Jan 2022
artist Gary Stewart, a Black man with short beard stands in front of a group of people showing them how to work a Zoom recorder. It is a cold winter day and everyone is wearing warm coats and wooly hats.
Wet / Land / Dwellers - workshop with A Place of Their Own and Gary Stewart. Credit - James Clarkson
a group of people talk to one another as they walk through a winter landscape with bare shrubs and trees. Artist Sam Vardy of A Place of Their Own leads the way and like the others, wears a beanie hat and waterproof jacket.
Wet / Land / Dwellers - Tales from the Wetlands. Feb 2022. A Place of Their Own. Credit - James Clarkson
a close up of a pair of hands belonging to a white person hold a small bundle of pale yellow cards, with writing on. The text of the first card says 'Share why you connect to this place'.
Wet / Land / Dwellers - Tales from the Wetlands Workshop with Stacey Sampson. Feb 2022. A Place of Their Own. Credit - James Clarkson
a negative print in lilac, purple, turquoise and pale pink tones shows leaves and plant parts very close up
A Place of Their Own, Myths for an Imaginary Wetland, 2019; courtesy the artist.

Situated across Shire Brook Valley and Woodhouse Washlands in South Yorkshire, Wet / Lands / Dwellers brings together communities, scientists, environmentalists and artists to interrogate the specificities of these sites through a critical spatial art practice. 

 
Wetlands are complex, environmentally important, ecosystems, and their loss inextricably connects legacies of colonial expansion with current environmental challenges. Up to 75% of the world’s wetlands are now lost, and so is the rich biodiversity that inhabits them as well as the histories that they carry.
 
By navigating local stories, with their social, ecological, political and geological histories, and expanding to a planetary dimension, the project explores how communities understand their relation to wetlands and how they could be the site of new social/ecological relations.
 
This project is a collaboration with Sheffield-based artists Paula McCloskey and Sam Vardy (a place of their own) and Arts Catalyst as part of the Emergent Ecologies programme.
 
The Wet / Land  / Dwellers project seeks partly to raise awareness of the global destruction of wetlands. World Wetlands Day 2022 is on the 2nd February. Please see more info here. 
 
The Wet / Land  / Dwellers project acknowledges that wetland destruction is fundamentally connected to global racial capitalism and settler colonialism. One contemporary example of struggles against these forms of violence is the Unist’ot’en Camp and the larger Wet’suwet’en Nation who are, in their words, “standing up to the Canadian government and corporations who continue colonial violence against Indigenous people”, taking action to protect their lands from the establishment of new pipelines and from new fracturing projects. Please see more on their struggle here.
 
A more in depth discussion of those issues will be explored through a future event in Sheffield in March. Sign up to Arts Catalyst newsletter to hear more.
 

A Place of Their Own is an experimental contemporary art and spatial practice, conceived by artist duo Paula McCloskey and Sam Vardy, that investigates contemporary conditions and create new spaces, imaginaries and subjectivities. Based in Sheffield, UK and Ballyshannon, Ireland, together they make performances, spatial interventions and audio-visual art and research. Their projects explore the transformative potential of art and spatial practice to suggest other worlds yet to become.