Wet / Land / Dwellers - Screening and Performance

a huge tree with bare branches rises into a cloudy sky with light creeping through. The landscape around is low lying with grasses and shrubs and the scene is wintery. The image is in two tone cream and plum with a green band across that has the words 'Wet Land Dwellers' in outline.

WET / LAND / DWELLERS asks; How do communities of humans and non-humans live with and inhabit wetlands? What is the environmental, cultural and social significance of wetlands in the face of the current ecological crisis?

 
As part of WET / LAND / DWELLERS artist duo  a place of their own (Paula McCloskey and Sam Vardy) invite you to delve into the voices and sounds of wetlands during a multi-sensory evening. Featuring live performance from sound artist Gary Stewart, film screenings, and a conversation with researcher Maxwell A. Ayamba at Foodhall, Sheffield. 
 
This special event is taking place to mark the publication of new zine, Willow, about WET / LAND / DWELLERS, a project exploring both the vital role wetlands play in managing local ecologies, and how communities understand their relation to wetlands. Paula McCloskey and Sam Vardy will be sharing findings from their field work in Woodhouse Washlands, Beighton Valley and Shire Brook Valley, and the stories of the valley’s caretakers and guardians they have been in dialogue with.
 
Historically, wetlands have been contentious ecological sites whose gradual disappearance and destruction is inextricably linked to neoliberal economies as well as neo-colonial extractive horizons. These are complex assemblages of environments and atmospheres, and simultaneously sites of diversity of species, stories and imaginaries. 
 
Schedule: 
 
5 – 5.15: Arrival and greetings
5.15 - 5.45pm: Live sound performance by Gary Stewart, with a screening of Myths for an Imaginary Wetland by artists a place of their own.
6 – 6.30pm: Screenings of: 
INVASION by the Unist’ot’en Camp
Our Land is Talking by West Australian Indigenous artist Rod Garlett
6.30 – 7pm: Discussion with the artists and Maxwell A. Ayamba
 
Tickets are free but please reserve a place to help us manage capacity.
 
This event is aimed at adults but parents / carers are welcome to bring young people 12+.
 
ACCESS: The event takes place at Foodhall which has level access and a disabled toilet. This event (weather being calm) will take place in the courtyard of Foodhall - so please wrap up warmly. The lighting for this event will be low level and constant. 
 
Please email us if you have any further access requests, and we'll do our best to accommodate. 
 
Content Warning - for the film 'Invasion' - structural racism, state violence. 
 
EXTRAS: Hot and cold drinks can be purchased from Foodhall's bar. Food however, will not be available. 
 
We are taking extra precautions to manage the risk of COVID-19.
We ask everyone attending this event to wear a mask indoors unless exempt, and to take a Lateral Flow Test on the day of the event. We are limiting capacity to enable social distancing and hand sanitiser is provided.
 
Please note: If you have any symptoms of COVID-19 or have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, please do not attend. We want to keep everyone as safe as possible. Thank you for your understanding. 
 
Our Land is Talking, Rod Garlett, 2017
a place of their own have been in dialogue with Rod Garlett since 2019 for Myths for a Wetlands Imaginary and the Wet / Land / Dwellers project. As well as the film, Rod contributes texts to The Willow publication, and voice to the sound work made in collaboration with Gary Stewart.   
 
More about the film from makers Abandoned Suitcase: 
“In 2017, West Australian Indigenous artist Rod Garlett was commissioned by Edith Cowan University to produce an artwork for the university's art collection in response to that year's NAIDOC theme. West Australian filmmakers Patrizia Tonello and Graham Taylor (Abandoned Suitcase) followed Rod through the process of creating his painting 'Noongar Boodja Wangkiny' ('Our Land Is Talking'), filming and recording Rod as he painted it, both in Broome (where Rod was living at the time) and in Perth where the work was later completed. Rod's insightful commentary explains the fascinating symbolism used in his artwork and how it reflects his Noongar heritage. 
 
Invasion
“In this era of “reconciliation”, Indigenous land is still being taken at gunpoint. INVASION is a new film about the Unist’ot’en Camp, Gidimt’en checkpoint and the larger Wet’suwet’en Nation standing up to the Canadian government and corporations who continue colonial violence against Indigenous people. 
 
The Unist’ot’en Camp has been a beacon of resistance for nearly 10 years. It is a healing space for Indigenous people and settlers alike, and an active example of decolonization. The violence, environmental destruction, and disregard for human rights following TC Energy (formerly TransCanada) / Coastal GasLink’s interim injunction has been devastating to bear, but this fight is far from over.”
 
WET / LAND / DWELLERS is collaboration with Sheffield-based artists Paula McCloskey and Sam Vardy (a place of their own) & art organisation Arts Catalyst as part of the Emergent Ecologies programme. 
 
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.
 

Maxwell A. Ayamba is a PhD research student in Black Studies at the Department of American & Canadian Studies, University of Nottingham/M4C-AHRC. His research explores the trajectory of ‘race’ ecology and environmental justice in the UK He is an environmental journalist, former Associate Lecturer/Research Associate at Sheffield Hallam University. Maxwell is founder/Director of the Sheffield Environmental Movement, and co- founder, the 100 Black Men Walk for Health Group (2004) which inspired production of the national play, "Black Men Walking” by Eclipse and Royal Theatre Production Company in 2018/19.  Maxwell was the first Black person on the Board of the Ramblers Association. He was also Portfolio Advisory Board Member of the Imperial College’ Open Air Laboratories (OPAL) Explore Nature project and has published research papers, chapters in books, articles in the media and has also delivered national and international talks in relation to Black & Ethnic Minority communities and the environment in the UK. Maxwell was the recipient of the National Lottery Heritage Award for 2021 and named as one of the 70 most remarkable people in the history of the Peak District National Park in 2021.  

 
Gary Stewart is an artist concerned with social and political issues, particularly with reference to history, identity and culture, working across sound, moving image and performance. Collective practice is key to his work using experimental media practices and technologies to explore the unique spaces emerging in public spaces, art galleries and museums formed by the shifting intersections and blurred boundaries between audiences, authorship and participation. Currently Lecturer in Fine Art (Studio Practice) at Goldsmiths, University of London, he is a founder member of interdisciplinary artist, research and performance group Dubmorphology and Artist Associate at People's Palace Projects based in the Drama Department of Queen Mary University of London working with activists and academics on projects that address a wide range of social justice and human rights issues.