April 6-8 2018
Dartington Hall, Totnes, Devon TQ9 6EL, UK
with performance artist / cultural geographer Christos Galanis
from 17.00 on Friday April 6 to 16.00 on Sunday April 8
an art.earth Short Course
We gather at the river with our Bone Songs:
Practicing creative, non-rational methods for nourishing the land through artistry and beauty
Q. What if we allow ourselves to compost the narrative that humanity – ourselves included – are simply resource-extracting machines; a kind of cancer spreading over the planet that needs to be increasingly policed and managed?
Q. Without losing our noble and worthy impulses to analyse, manage, and fix ‘the way things are,’ can we also make space to develop and hone the beautiful creative gifts of humanity we inherit from our ancestors – our moving bodies; our voices; our hands that fashion worlds; even language itself? Our Bone Songs.
Q. Can we allow ourselves to imagine that these inherent gifts are sorely longed for and needed by the land? And might we therefore have a responsibility to craft, refine, and skilfully share these parts of ourselves in order to nourish life itself?
Join performance artist and cultural geographer Christos Galanis for this weekend course where we’ll engage in making, discussing, listening, and being with the River Dart and the land on Dartington estate. We’ll explore what it means to be fed by a place; to give ourselves and each other permission to be truly nourished by it, and in turn, to develop and integrate ways in which we may offer the same in return.
Christos will outline an initial historical and cultural context for the ways in which the currently dominant materialist worldview is unable to integrate the life-giving nourishment that comes from non-rational creative practices – like art and story, ritual and ceremony. From there, we will move into exploring diverse and life-affirming ways of being with the land. The nourishing of non-human nature through offerings of song, poetry, painting, dance, sculpture, performance and ritual, has been understood and practiced to some degree across cultures throughout human history. Until the relatively recent emergence of modern Eurocentric culture, all human cultures have incorporated some degree of understanding that our role and responsibility on Earth is to take only what we require, and to pay it back in kind in the manner that humans are so remarkably gifted at: by nourishing that which nourishes us through offerings of creativity and beauty.
With the increasing dominance of anthropocentric culture, many of the traditional practices for nourishing non-human nature through creative beauty have been abandoned, abused, discredited, or disenchanted. Over the course of this weekend, we’ll engage with the awe-inspiring, non-rational skills and embodied knowledges all of us as human beings retain by inalienable birthright. We’ll come to better understand and integrate these gifts, and by doing so come to be more skilful at nourishing that which gives us life. The weekend will be facilitated as a safe, playful, and supportive container for each of us to develop and/or better integrate these innate skills.
So let us come together for two days by the River Dart and practice being brave and generous with our offerings; deliberate and skilful with our words, courageous yet gentle with our bodies, and fiercely authentic with our hearts.
Christos Galanis is a Greek/Canadian transplant currently living in South Devon, England. His MFA in Art & Ecology from The University of New Mexico was spent exploring inter-species research collaboration with rescued donkeys where they taught him much about human-animal relations and American South-West history and landscape. He is currently completing a PhD in Cultural Geography from The University of Edinburgh through which he has spent much time learning at the feet of wise, ancient mountains in the Highlands of Scotland and the Rockies of Alberta. Meanwhile here in Devon, he has started to court the ponies of Dartmoor as teachers and guides to this sublime landscape.
This workshop will most likely appeal to those who want to re-imagine what the role of art, ritual, and ceremony might be in a practice that relates to the non-human world as more than simply a resource to be sustainably managed, or an ‘eco-service’ to be extracted from for human-centred aesthetic, educational, or therapeutic purposes. By applying Animist principles of mutuality and co-nourishment, we’ll re-integrate creative and non-rational processes into a life-serving set of practices that recognise that, ultimately, we are all ‘sung into existence’ by others.
Who is the course for?
This weekend workshop is open to everyone – experienced and inexperienced alike. The most important thing is a sense of curiosity and a willingness to dive in.
Like all art.earth residential courses, the course is for anyone in need of an opportunity to engage with new approaches to creative practice or a rediscovery/refreshment of their creative selves, It allows for a condition of radical permeability – between senses, processes and materials. The course is for those who wish to engage in an unpredictable, shared process of practical enquiry with all the uncertainty and curiosity of a complete beginner, irrespective of their prior accomplishments.
All that’s a way of saying that you can bring along a lifetime of creative experience, or none at all. Either way, you will be open to change and to rediscovery, and be happy to share and exchange knowledge and ideas.
About art.earth short courses
art.earth residential short courses are designed as intensive periods of work, reflection, quietude, and creative energy. They are not just designed for artists, although creative expression forms an important part of the activity and learning.
We take an inclusive and transformative approach to learning: this is not a hierarchical structure but one of genuine knowledge sharing and with the assumption that everyone in the room has much to learn and much to offer.
Dartington is in itself an extraordinary venue. In addition to its medieval courtyard and other buildings, it is situated in a 900-acre rural estate wrapped by the River Dart in one of the UK’s most beautiful areas – the South Hams of Devon. The estate is a varied ecological site, with the river and riverside, open field and woodland including some ancient woodland, managed and farmed areas, in addition to the Grade II* listed formal gardens boasting an astonishing array of native and non-native species. For almost a century the modern Dartington has been a place of societal change, of creative exploration, and of social experiment. For more information visit dartington.org.
All of this is surrounded by the extraordinary landscapes and seascapes of the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. We are just a few miles from the sea, and will be spending much of our time either along the River Dart as it wraps its way round the Dartington estate, or in nearby Start Bay, stretching between Dartmouth and the Start Point Lighthouse.
What previous participants have said
…I just want to say thank you for organising the short course for In Other Tongues. The course leaders were excellent; well organised, inspirational, caring and encouraging. The evening with Alice Oswald will stay with me as a very special event. The Ship studio was a lovely venue too; and it was a privilege to be able to work in it and the surrounding gardens/grounds. I learnt a great deal, and it is still percolating.
Overall I thought the course was fabulous, not least [because of] the tighter focus on writing (with support from drawing/illustrating) which produced a very intense programme of practical work which was about delivering creative work.
Non-residential (includes lunches and evening meals) £195
Full residence with all meals, in student-style accommodation (shared bathrooms) £275
There is a maximum registration of 15 people.