The PLACE Collective has at its heart a vision of what can be done when people come together and art is brought into the mix for generating new questions, sparking new ways of thinking, kindling amazement, joy and hope, and driving action. PLACE sits at the nexus of the four research themes at the UK’s Centre for National Parks and Protected Areas, and uses art as part of interdisciplinary teams focusing on issues of rural cultures, ecology, conservation, nature/culture and human relations with the wider living world. It brings creative practice into research, use art as a bridge between academia and local communities, and offers multiple lenses through which to view and understand place.
We are here. You are there. But wherever we are, our ‘here’s are connected.
What happens at PLACE, including events, research and the creation of art, is shaped by its members. We’re committed to growing a community that embraces diversity in all respects, and is relevant and responsive to current issues. Meet the members here: you’ll find musicians, painters, photographers, writers, sculptors and creative practitioners who are less easily labelled with a single word …
All the artists in the PLACE Collective are keen to work alongside and learn from other people. PLACE is not about art in isolation – it’s about collaboration. We’ll work closely with CNPPA and with institutions, organisations and individuals in other parts of the UK.
Visions and ambitions
Our vision is to establish and grow a community of artists who share a passion for furthering engagement with the natural world and who work through art in a collaborative process that helps to deepen understanding, build bridges and enhance wellbeing and connectivity in thriving human and other-than-human systems. We are committed to including creative practice in a journey towards a positive and resilient future.
If you’d like to talk about an idea for research or collaborations with one or more artists members, get in touch. Similarly, if you’d like a conversation, or see a role for an artist in your community, whether this is for research, inspirational engagement, schools projects, or campaigning, take a look through our members profiles. Or if you’d just like to experience artwork, our programme will include exhibitions, performances and publications.
PLACE activities began in 2021 with a series of online conversations. Part of our vision is to host webinars, some small and intimate, some larger and open to the public – the ‘What Is Natural Beauty symposium’ run by PLACE in partnership with the Lake District National Park Authority and Wye Valley AONB is an example of this. The online gatherings are spaces for knowledge-sharing, creative surprises and provocations, questions, and more questions. We also hold social events, on line and in person, for members.
Research – literally ‘looking again’ – can come in many different forms. While some art could be said to be purely responsive, many artists have research at the heart of their practice, and art can be a powerful component in multi-disciplinary teams wishing to develop deeper understanding. The PLACE Collective champions art that is active and curious. Artists members are here to engage in debate, and to move conversations and practice forwards.
The Centre for National Parks and Protected Areas (CNPPA) has Four Research Themes. The PLACE Collective sits at the nexus of these themes, acknowledging the interconnectivity between them all:
- Conservation & Ecology
- Rural and Visitor Economies
- Human Nature Relationships
- Cultural Landscapes
The PLACE Collective takes inspiration from the vision of the CNPPA, which is an international and national centre of research excellence for the transdisciplinary study of national park and protected area management, and is committed to developing sustainable solutions to complex global problems. There’s an excellent team of researchers within CNPPA but it doesn’t stop here – both CNPPA and PLACE reach outward and are made richer by a growing network of relationships.
We’re better together
The world faces the harsh realities of climate change, a decline in diversity and abundance of wildlife species, and continuing societal inequalities. The problems can’t be fixed with one action. For change to be effective there must be multiple actions, from individuals to governments, from local to global, which is why our continuing emphasis is on collaboration.
The PLACE Collective has been developed by Harriet and Rob Fraser. For ten years they have been working through their practice, somewhere-nowhere, to consider the characteristics of rural landscapes and engage with important conversations about how best to care for them. Theirs is one of many practices centred on environmental issues: alone, each one can affect some change, but together – and in collaboration with other people who have different insights and skills – there’s greater potential. Many skill sets are needed to devise pathways of change. These are the thoughts that have driven the creation of the PLACE Collective.