Looking North Through Art, Part 2: Artists and Authors
Sekai Machache & Christopher Marshall
For our second event in this round of talks, we invited the artist Sekai Machache and peatland-scientist Christopher Marshall to speak about the Flow Country in the North of Scotland in Sutherland. Though coming from different fields, Sekai and Chris have both found ways of experiencing and connecting with the Flow Country – the world’s largest blanket bog. In recent years in public opinion bogs have transformed from supposed wastelands to now being re-considered as “useful” in “our fight against climate change”. Though more appreciative, it shows a mindset that determines the value of the more-than-human-world depending on its usefulness to humans. In their conversation, Sekai and Chris will discuss ways to challenge that assumption and explore the manifold facets of peatlands. Together, they will explore themes such as “bog breathing”, healing, care, and ritualistic practices, as well as their physical experience of themselves and their bodies within the bogs, whose soil stores carbon. The concept of energy will be explored particularly in the context of wetlands and their soil, as a site in which both the past, present, and future collide, as they store carbon and directly impact our future, while containing traces of past centuries.
Chris will also represent The Environmental Research Institute which is part of the North Highland College UHI and comprises a team of young researchers dedicated to innovative environmental science. Being based in close proximity to the Pentland Firth and the Flow Country, the ERI seeks to address emerging issues related to improving our understanding of the natural environment, while also contributing to excellence in research in the region.