STRATA: art and science collaborations in the Anthropocene



CP Snow’s Rede lecture of 1959 (‘The Two Cultures’) considered the humanities and sciences to be two separate strata. Arguably, a large degree of separation has remained ever since. Yet with the subsequent rise in awareness of the need to manage human impacts on the Earth, there have been calls for more integrated, holistic modes of thinking that involve greater engagement between multiple strata in academia and wider society. Such calls have been brought into sharp focus by debate over the Anthropocene, a proposed new geological time interval that suggests that humans are now the dominant influence shaping the Earth system. Are human activities such as agriculture, mining and urbanisation leaving distinctive ‘footprints’ in the Earth’s strata that will endure into the future and so enter the long-term geological record? What are the practical, cultural, ethical and moral implications of such a proposal?

To examine these and other questions, Strata brings together practitioners who work collaboratively across the arts and sciences (both broadly defined) in addressing the concept of the Anthropocene. The symposium’s principal remit is to consider the ways in which art and science collaborations are responding to the Anthropocene debate by representing the past, present and future impacts of human activity on the Earth system.

The symposium is concurrent with the exhibition ‘Stranded’ by Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey at the Arts Centre, and is a collaboration between the School of Art (SoA) and the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences (DGES), organised by Julian Ruddock (SoA) and Stephen Tooth (DGES). Support is provided by the British Society for Geomorphology’s ‘Visualising Geomorphology’ Working Group.


Speakers include:

Julian Ruddock, Stephen Tooth, Dan Harvey (of Ackroyd and Harvey), Emma Critchley, Alan Beattie, Liz Orton, Anna Falcini, Hannah Sofaer, Deniz Baker

See website for more details

Installation Photos from UK/RAINE exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery

The Firtash Foundation and Saatchi Gallery present UK/RAINE, an exhibition of emerging artists from the UK and Ukraine as part of the Days of Ukraine in the UK festival. 24th November 2015 – 3rd January 2016

Work, Rest and Play: British Photography from the 1960s to today

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The Photographers’ Gallery, London in collaboration with The Pin Projects, Beijing OCT-LOFT, Shenzhen and with support from the British Council present Work, Rest and Play: British Photography from the 1960s to Today. Featured as part of the 2015 UK-China Year of Cultural Exchange, this will be the first touring exhibition in China solely devoted to British photography.

This exhibition presents a survey of over fifty years of British photography through the lens of documentary practices. Featuring work by some of the most significant photographers and artists of the time, it reflects photography’s growing cultural position both within the UK and on the international stage.

Work, Rest and Play features over 450 images by thirty-seven acclaimed photographers and artists working across a wide range of genres and disciplines, including photojournalism, portraiture, fashion and fine art. Also on display is The World in London, a major public art project initiated by The Photographers’ Gallery in 2012 to coincide with the London Olympic and Paralympic Games. The project presents 204 photographic portraits, from both established and emerging talents, of 204 Londoners, each originating from one of the nations competing at the Games. It is a celebration of photographic portraiture as an artistic form of expression as well as the city’s rich cultural diversity.

More information about the exhibition

More information about The World in London project


Emma Critchley: The Bahamas

SEABATHERS: Reflections & Responses at Turner Contemporary

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SEABATHERS: Reflections and Responses

An exciting day of events which will reflect and respond to sea swimming. The event will include a presentation by sea swimming cultural historian Susie Parr, artist talks and presentations by Emma Critchley and Karen Shepherdson and the screening of Emma’s recently commissioned film ‘In our blood’. A Camera Obscura and a Tintype portrait studio will be open at Walpole Bay tidal pool throughout the day. Tickets for this event are available at:

Sunday 24 May: 10:00 – 16:00
Turner Contemporary Gallery and Walpole Bay Tidal Pool

Solo exhibition opening on Thursday at Cabin Gallery

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CABIN gallery is delighted to announce At The Still Point Of The Turning World, a solo exhibition of photographs and video installation by Emma Critchley.
In water, not only are shape and form suspended, but so is time. Words, limbs and breath float in an eternal present moment, neither past nor future, neither moving nor completely still. They are caught literally mid-breath, confronting the viewer with the ephemeral and ethereal nature of time. 

The effect is one of a world made up of shadows, sunlight refracted and metamorphosed as it travels through the density of water, imbuing everything with blue light. Here, we are presented with another world – one in which sound and movement are warped, and everything is on pause. “For me being in water evokes a sense of time that is different to how we usually think and experience it. I am interested in the heterogeneous nature of time,” explains Critchley. “Underwater there is a sense that time decelerates; the density of the space means one has to physically slow down and adjust how you move, which has a psychological impact.” It also reminds her of the temporality of being human, as one’s existence under water is dependent on how long a breath can be held for. “Our existence in this space is a suspended moment between in-breath and out, yet it is a state that can only ever be transitory, as it is dictated by our bodily limits,” she explains. “It is an experience that is very much focused on the present moment, which allows a certain detachment from the everyday.”
The exhibition also includes a concurrent off-site screening of Critchley’s video installation You at the Chelsea College of Art. Critchley has worked with film and video for the past five years. The shift to working with moving image was a natural one, happening gradually as her work became more temporal; at the time focusing on the breath and duration. In You, she depicts the struggles of an internal battle, the densely silent underwater environment acting as a metaphor for an internal space – one in which both viewer and subject are caught in an eternal present moment. There is a sense of being out of sync with the world, as the thick liquidity of the space resists the impact of the central figure’s throws.
CABIN gallery, 11 Brookwood Road, SW18 5BL
The Morgue, Chelsea College of Art, 16 John Islip Street, SW1P 4JU

Cabin Gallery Opening Hours: Wednesday, Friday & Saturday 10-6pm. Or by appointment
020 7112 8838