Lucy Burnett is a freelance writer, fine art / landscape photographer and performance artist. Her work is informed by a political impulse, and a fundamental belief in art’s significance to the world in which we live. This doesn’t imply a propagandistic or didactic art – far from it. Whereas writing or other art forms which seek to persuade their audience close down meaning around a pre-determined message, Lucy is interested in how art can challenge existing ways of thinking and open up space for new meanings. Drawing on the work of cultural theorist and quantum physicist Karen Barad, Lucy has spent many years exploring how humans participate in creating the world of which we are a part – since the focus here is upon creation, art has proven an ideal means of exploration.
Lucy’s writing / photography / performance feed off each other in exploring the above. Her first poetry collection, Leaf Graffiti (Carcanet Press 2013), engages with the entanglement of nature and culture, and how words hang loosely off both – ideas Lucy explored simultaneously through processes of superimposition in her photographic practice. Through the Weather Glass (Knives Forks and Spoons Press 2016) was written as an overt attempt to open up space for new approaches to climate change, in a picaresque form that contrasts with the apocalyptic climate genre. A subsequent UK tour of a performance and interactive installation of the book invited the audience / participants to shift focus from ‘how to solve climate change upon fear of catastrophe’ and instead to ask: ‘What world do you want to help create, and how might the evidence of climate change alter how you go about this?’ Tripping Over Clouds (Carcanet 2019) was founded in the idea that the world is in a constant state of emerging, re-emerging, de-emerging from a raw state of potentiality understood as abstraction; a parallel photography portfolio set out to present Lucy’s ‘findings’ of such matter in the ‘real’ world.
Lucy’s latest project, Scree: A Digital Guidebook to Reimagining the Lake District Fells, sets out to challenge how we approach the Lake District landscape, through the creative processes of writing and art; its routes are designed not for their scenic or peak-bagging value, but rather as artistic provocations.
Lucy’s first career was as an environmental campaigner for Ramblers Scotland and Friends of the Earth. Subsequently she completed an MA and PhD in Creative Writing, and worked as a Creative Writing Lecturer at the Universities of Salford, Strathclyde, Leeds Beckett and Cumbria, where her academic research focused upon questions of literature and environment. She was a committee member of ASLE. She is a keen collaborator, and has worked for many years with OBRA (an international physical theatre collective based in the South of France), and has worked with Kathak dancer Mitul Sengupta as part of the 2019 Dancing with Words project. In addition to her practice, Lucy is Director of StAnza International Poetry Festival.
Websites: www.lucyburnett.net and www.scree.uk
Instagram: @lucy.burnett.50 and @thisisscree