Ecoart in action: book review

By Harriet Fraser

If you have any interest in the way art works within environmental education and has the power to influence change and broaden options for action, we’ve no doubt this book will hold something for you. It has been thoughtfully put together by an editorial team from the Ecoart Network and its content – a series of contributions from members of the network – embraces a range of approches to education and many different art practices.

The book explores a diversity of approaches and brings together different streams of thought from artists who share the overarching goal of reframing and addressing ‘the most pressing social and environmental problems of the Anthropocene.’ This multi-stranded approach is something that appeals to us at PLACE since, in reality, there is always way more than one way to engage with a subject, to learn, to develop ideas and to have an impact.

The editors of the book define ‘ecoartists’ in this way:

‘Ecoartists bridge formal and informal knowledge and experience, both inside and outside the field of art, and make connections, relationships, and systems visible.’

“Regardless of the form an ecoart work or project might take, the practice is as follows:

  • hybrid, relational, and inter-or transdisciplinary
  • embraces ecological and systems thinking
  • shifts culture and raises awareness through individual, collective, local or transnational action”

The book shares activities and case studies that show how artists work with curiosity and creativity. It demonstrates how arts in practice can nurture communities and further discussions about the way humans relate to the living world – and, crucially, the place for artists to highlight problematic issues, disrupt harmful ways of thinking, and stimulate positive change. You can travel from Aviva Rahmani’s Blued Trees Symphony to Cathy Fitzgerald’s Hollywood Forest, from a classroom to a back yard or local park, from ancient philosophies to contemporary activism, from experimentation to tried and tested research tools, from stories of personal transformation to manifestos for environmental justice, and you can delve into philosophical, ethical and conceptual discussions. There’s so much in here to inspire, and to seed new ideas and actions … it’s a book to keep returning to.

I’ll close with some words from the book … a form of invitation:

“You hold in your hands a field guide or road map to contemporary ecoart practices … along this journey, there are many places to stop, check out the view, get your feet wet, or jump into the deep end.”

Editors: Amara Geffen, Ann Rosenthal, Chris Fremantle, Aviva Rahmani

The book can be purchased from the Ecoart Network here:

The contributions are so widespread that instead of listing them by name, here are some images of the contents to whet your appetite:

Ecoarts in Action contents page, page 1
Contents page 2 for the book Ecoart in Action
Ecoarts in Action contents page, page 3
Ecoarts in Action contents page, page 4
Ecoart in Action book cover detail

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s