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Practicing Landscape: Landscapes of Energy and Extraction

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Open Seminars organised by the Reading Landscape Research Group, formed by artist-academics from the GSA

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Practicing Landscape: Landscapes of Energy and Extraction

Open Seminars: 29 October 2021 - 18 March 2022

These Open Seminars Landscapes of Energy and Extraction are organised by the Reading Landscape Research Group, formed by artist-academics from the School of Fine Art, Mackintosh School of Architecture, Design History & Theory and the Exhibitions Department at the Glasgow School of Art.

They will run on four Fridays at 1.00 PM UK time: Friday 29 October; 26 November; 11 February and 18 March 2022.

The first symposium Material Agency and Meaning will involve artist presenters Justin Carter and Onya McCausland in conversation with Geographer Dr. Danny McNally about recent projects involving material extracted from the landscape. Avoiding the traditional monologic approach to presenting work, Justin and Onya will instead try to build a shared dialogue framed by a small selection of relevant images used as wayfinders. In keeping with the speakers’ practices, the intention is for the conversation to be open and fluid, allowing ideas to emerge through conversation and exchange. This symposium will explore various approaches to engaging with materials as active agents within the art making process.

This session will be chaired by Dr. Frances Robertson and re-interpreted by Dr. Danny McNally for publication. The findings from this symposium will then be published in the online critical review The Drouth in a special issue themed simply as ‘Climate’ to coincide with the COP26 conference in Glasgow. The climate-themed Special Issue will present a new article/feature online every few days (thus adding to the full issue over that time) which will usually focus on contribution to the debate on the climate crisis through art, architecture and design. The issue will be launched in the first week of October at an exhibition in the New Glasgow Society gallery curated by our guest editor and sponsored by the Rachel Carson Centre in Munich and by Glasgow University.

About Reading Landscape

The Reading Landscape Research Group was initiated in June 2014 by Susan Brind (Reader in Contemporary Art: Practice & Events, Department of Sculpture & Enviromental Art) and Nicky Bird (Reader in Contemporary Photographic Practice, School of Fine Art). The research group, based in GSA’s School of Fine Art (SoFA), provides a context for Fine Art practice and other cross disciplinary research interests through a programme of research seminars, and knowledge exchange in addition to practice-led research projects.More information on the Reading Landscape website at

Speaker Biographies

Justin Carter

Justin Carter is Reader in Contemporary Practice: Art & Environment at Glasgow School of Art. Recent exhibitions include: The Howse Shal Be Preserved at Rockingham Castle (2021), Practicing Landscape: Land, Histories and Transformation at The Lighthouse, Glasgow (2020) and Blood From Stone at Fineshade Wood, Northamptonshire (2019). Over the past 20 years Justin has exhibited work and developed projects throughout the UK, Europe and in Japan, China, Australia and the United States. “My research is an attempt to understand the natural environment we are part of. How do we sense it and make sense of it? The resulting (art)works are an attempt to make this connection tangible”.

Onya McCausland

Onya McCausland is an artist and Lecturer at the Slade School of Fine Art where she leads a visual reading group Environment, Ecology, Sustainability. Her work examines the materiality within painting and how paint itself can be a social tool for making visible distinct ideas that point toward the interdependencies between humans and the environment.

Selected exhibitions include 51°43 33.56 N 3°07 58.63 W Karsten Schubert London 2021; Embrace Norrtälje Konsthall, Sweden 2021; The Howse Shal Be Preserved, Fermynwoods commission Rockingham Castle 2021; Working on it and Landscapes of the Future Helsinki Contemporary Finland 2020; Europe After The Rain Newlyn Gallery Cornwall 2019; Aerial Landscapes Flat Time House London 2019; Red Wall Hauser & Wirth Somerset 2019; Turning Landscape into Colour Camden Arts Centre, London 2014; White Earth Kettle’s Yard Cambridge 2011. Forthcoming exhibitions include Chemical City at Middlesborough Institute of Modern Art - November 2021 and Embrace Akureyri Art Museum Iceland 2022. A book collaboration Aerial Landscape is due early 2022.

Danny McNally

Dr. Danny McNally is a cultural geographer and lecturer in geography at Teesside University. His research engages with socio-environmental issues through interdisciplinary research and practice-based collaborations with artists, curators, and urban and environmental practitioners.

Image: Justin Carter - Detail of installation ‘Elephant in the Room’ (2021) at Rockingham Castle, part of the group exhibition 'The Howse Shal Be Preserved'.

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Organiser The Glasgow School of Art

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