Background

Salt Road artist directors Jaime Jackson and Dr Sally Payen received funding support from New Art West Midlands and the Spanish Embassy for Cultural and Scientific Affairs to travel to Bilbao 2-9 May 2019 to develop contacts and make partnerships for Biocity and the Fall, Salt Road’s visual Biophilic art exchange project between the Birmingham and the West Midlands and the Basque Country.

 

During the visit we meet with climate scientists at BC3 Centre for Climate Change as well as public realm/environmental artist and architects Urban Bat and Jessica Llorente. We also made contact and agreements to proceed with Officers from Bilbao City Council and Vitoria City Council.

Context

BioCity and the Fall is a joint Salt Road and BC3 Centre for Climate Change international visual art relational program. The project focuses on biophilic/biomimicry art to create new toolkits for people to co-create their own biophilic environments. A public realm sited installation, exploring climate change and biophilia.

 

We plan for the exchange to deliver the following artwork commissions:
– Moving image works
– Co-created globe artworks showcased in public space installations across partner cities
– Internet of Things commission

 

The project will be inspired by the personal stories of climate change researchers at BC3 Basque Center for Climate Change. We will be creating moving image art by interviewing the researchers to humanise their stories, inspiring our community workshop participants to co-create art. The exhibition in Bilbao will be part of BC3 and the University of the Basque Country Faculty of Arts climate change and art programme June 2020.

Results/agreements for the network follow meetings

BC3 researchers have told us that they have difficulty in engaging the public with the facts around climate change. Future proposed actions:
– We will engage young people in workshops with climate change science the extinction of species and the loss of biodiversity, by co-created globe artwork through relational practice.
– Connect communities from the Basque Country with those in Wales and the West Midlands, through the Welsh Audit Office Mutual Benefits program and the Biophilic City Network (Birmingham and Vitoria-Gastiez).

 

Workshops to engage communities of young people will take place in Bilbao, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Birmingham and Cardiff. Public realm site specific installations will take place in a public popular park spaces in Bilbao (site to be confirmed), Vitoria/Gasteiz, Birmingham and Cardiff.

– Interviewing BC3 scientists: Summer/Autumn 2019
– Community workshops in UK: Autumn 2019
– Exhibition in UK: Spring 2020
– Community workshops in Spain: Spring 2020
– Exhibition in Bilbao: June 2020 & Vitoria-Gasteiz Autumn 2020

Conclusion

The funding from New Art West Midlands paid for flights to Spain and transport in Spain, which enabled us to develop and secure our network of partners there. With Urban Bat offering to be our gatekeeper into the creative engagement sector in Bilbao, BC3 being our climate scientists and the city councils of Bilbao and Vitoria (Vitoria is the other European Biophilic City along with Birmingham. Project development was funded by the Spanish Embassy Office for Cultural and Scientific Affairs, and New Art West Midlands. Alongside New Art West Midlands, partners include the Spanish Embassy Office for Cultural and Scientific Affairs, New Leaf Sustainability, Welsh Audit Office, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Birmingham City Council, Vitoria- Gasteiz City Council, Birmingham City Council, STEAMhouse and the Biophilic City Network.

 

The project will link Wales, the West Midlands and the Basque Country. We expect the project will be extended to Oslo and Reykavik in 2021. Further funding applications will be made in each country to deliver the project outputs