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Artizein: Arts and Teaching Journal

Abstract

In this essay I describe how my engagement with the Burren in the west of Ireland became the foundation for my doctoral research and subsequently the development of an Art & Ecology Masters in Fine Art. I present a brief overview of the unique ecology of the Burren, including its geological, archaeological and agricultural history, so as to provide a context for both my artistic inquiry and the Burren College of Art students’ immersive experience. I then discuss my collaborative practice with small birds and honeybees as a means for exploring and expanding the traditional notion of ecology through artistic practice. This essay, illustrated with original photographs, is a consideration of the importance of biodiversity, the conservation of priority species through artificial habitats, and argues that artists can propose solutions and engender change through their practices. As both an artist and an educator, I seek to help students foster a deeper understanding of the interconnectedness of and humanity’s reliance upon ecological systems, and to know that as artists, they can be catalysts for environmental change.

 

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