BWK-BCN Toolkit is Available!

AMellor_BWK-BCN.JPG

Want to design BWK-BCN? Get one of our toolkits! They are free, you just need to share what you came up with and pass it on!

Contact Alexia Mellor for more information: a.mellor1@ncl.ac.uk

BWK-BCN has been created as an adaptation to climate change. How can we rethink our infrastructures, heritage and relationship to the environment? Use the toolkit!

The BWK-BCN toolkit asks you to create (not-so) fictional scenarios in which a policy is developed linking healthcare infrastructures and forests; or a clothing line based on growing kelp. You are given permission to break boundaries and build a place from the ground (or rising sea level) up. The toolkit can be used by an individual, small team, or a larger team divided into smaller groups. See what you come up with, and how BWK-BCN might inform the way we think of our current locations!

 

Advertisements

BWK-BCN at the Historic Towns Forum, 20th October, Berwick upon Tweed

BWK-BCN is proud to be launching our new toolkit at the Historic Towns Forum meeting on 20th October 2016 in Berwick-upon-Tweed. This year’s meeting takes the theme of New Ways of Seeing: Creating Pathways to Confident Market Towns.

If you are interested in attending, contact Alexia Mellor at a.mellor1@ncl.ac.uk

For more information, please see: new-ways-of-seeing-final-programme-5

bwk-bcn-front-cover

Propositions for New Infrastructures

BWK-BCN has been busy designing propositions for adaptations to climate change. Through our workshops and activities, we have speculated and imagined different relationships between economic, social and environmental infrastructures and systems. What if all of our decisions had to first consider the environment?

Here are a couple of propositions developed in response to our activities and new ways of thinking:

img_0005img_0228

 

 

 

 

 

The Seed Suit:

What if our clothes also had to feed the birds and irrigate crops? The Seed Suit contains pouches of bird seed on one side, while the other side houses an irrigation system. With plants, preferably invasive species, housed in the attached glass container, Seed Suit takes advantage of photosynthesis to create and collect condensation. The water is then funnelled into a collection device that drops closer to the ground as it gets heavier from the water. As it approaches the ground, the container releases water to irrigate.

Windowsill Ocean Deacidifier:

Could we replace our windowsill pots of basil and coriander with edible kelp and seagrasses that also deacidify the oceans? This proposal suggests a new addition to our culinary traditions by placing an aquarium with ocean water and kelps on our kitchen windowsills. The kelp can be used as a an herb in our cooking, while the deacidified water created in the aquarium can be funnelled back to the ocean via our existing drainage infrastructures.

Stay tuned for more!

*a special thank you to Anthony Schrag for modelling the Seed Suit

_mg_9852 _mg_9784

 

 

BWK-BCN@56°N

Last week, the BWK-BCN project landed at 56°North creative studios in Berwick for a workshop exploring future possibilities for Berwick in a changing climate.

The year is 2057. Berwick, at 56°N latitude, now experiences the climate that Barcelona, at 41°N latitude, had in the year 2016. What has changed in Berwick? What sounds might we hear with an influx of climate refugees, changes in transportation and industry, and new species? What roles do our monuments play? What do our buildings look like if we must construct them while integrating features for the natural environment?

Participants began to sort through these questions, while thinking about how we might anticipate change in present-day Berwick.

Native or Invasive?

 

On Monday, 14th March, a group of us braved the sunshine and headed down to Fisherman’s Haven beach in Berwick. Our mission: to identify native and invasive species. Working with Aurelie Bohan, Living Seas Officer at the Northumberland Wildlife Trust, we investigated the local rock pools, searching for intertidal species.

Although researchers and scientists will use specific criteria for judging a species as ‘native’ or ‘invasive,’ I am interested in the cultural aspects of these classifications. The language itself implies a form of xenophobia. Just as globalisation is nothing new, the migration of species isn’t either. But how and when do species become localised or native? How does this impact the way we see them? Treat them? Potentially care for them? How are these notions challenged in an era of changing climates and changing cultural responses?

During this citizen science beach walk, we spent a good portion of our time just becoming acquainted with the species we were discovering – hermit crabs, shore crabs, and loads of different seaweed. We were retraining our eyes to see the diversity in these rock pools. Although many of the participants frequent these beaches, many expressed that this was the first time they were really looking. Perhaps that’s the first step.

After becoming acquainted with what we were finding, the next step was to track and survey portions of the beach, identifying the plant life, animal life and non-organic environment. I added the task of using survey flags to mark where native (white flags) and invasive (orange flags) species were found, and to create an individual, subjective scale of how native or how invasive each participant felt that particular species was.

Because few invasive species were discovered that day, we focused the scale on how familiar people were with the species, or how wary they were of it.

We ended the excursion with some tea and shortbread, and a discussion of how the environment and climate shape our cultures, and vice versa.

This is the first step to considering how global challenges, such as climate change, might be experienced at the local level, and how it might provide an opportunity to reimagine our relationships to our environment. Or not! What do you think?

Here are a few interesting texts on biodiversity and culture. Please feel free to add suggestions!

https://islandpress.org/book/invasive-species-in-a-changing-world

Carruthers, J., L. Robin, J. P. Hattingh, C. A. Kull, H. Rangan, and B. W. van Wilgen. 2011. A native at home and abroad: the history, politics, ethics and aesthetics of Acacia. Diversity and Distributions 17 (5):810-821.

Pfeiffer, J.M., R.A. Voeks. 2008. Biological invasions and biocultural diversity: linking ecological and cultural systems. Environmental Conservation 35 (4): 281–293.

Citizen Science Beach Walk 14th March

Join Aurelie Bohan, Northumberland Wildlife Trust’s Living Seas Officer, for a citizen science beach walk on Monday, 14th March at 11am! We will be recording intertidal species and exploring changes in our local marine landscape.

Spaces are limited, so if you want to join in, please email Alexia by Monday 7th March, 2016: a.mellor1@ncl.ac.uk

Hope to see you there!