Groundbreaking exhibition taking place across Durham
International artists, researchers, communities and local activists are combining forces using art to push climate change up the agenda in a groundbreaking exhibition titled Footprint Modulation, which takes place in multiple venues across Durham City from Friday 5 June.
The exhibition focuses on the growing impact that climate change will have on humans by forcing people to abandon their homes and migrate. Artworks have been carefully selected to underline the theme of climate change and migration, including a piece by renowned award-winning Bangladeshi photographer Shahidul Alam who is exhibiting for the first time in the North East.
Taking place in Durham City from 5th June – 5th July, with a preview evening on Thursday 4th June 6 – 8pm at Durham Art Gallery, the exhibition is spread across five venues including Durham’s Oriental Museum, the Empty Shop artists’ studios, Durham University and the magnificent Durham Miners’ Hall. Artists from across the world including New York, Zimbabwe and Iran are represented, giving the exhibition a truly international vision.
As part of the month-long exhibition, from Saturday 27- Sunday 28th June a series of talks, activities and screenings will highlight the topics of climate change and human migration. Events include a performance night hosted by London based activists Platform and local activists Transition Durham on Sunday 28th June 7 – 11pm at Empty Shop HQ. During the evening Transition Durham will premier their divestment film, which forms part of their campaign demanding that Durham University divests away from fossil fuel companies. They hope that Durham will follow in the inspiring footsteps of Glasgow University who have already set a precedent.
The exhibition at the Miners’ Hall will also give visitors a rare opportunity to see historic paintings and murals permanently housed there, as well as its little-changed nineteenth century council chamber. Referring to the exhibition Dave Hopper, the General Secretary of Durham Miners’ Association, said, “We want to be able to reflect our concerns with pressing humanitarian issues and conflicts of our time across the world, and the exhibition is a part of that.”
The exhibition culminates in an international conference hosted by Durham University on climate-induced migration, titled ‘Human Migration and the Environment: Futures, Politics, Invention’. This concludes four years of cutting edge workshops by leading researchers across Europe and also sets the theme for the exhibition. The chair of the conference Dr Andrew Baldwin said: “When people think of climate change they don’t make any connections with migration, yet migration is probably the biggest human consequence in a truly devastating way for people who are forced to leave their homes and livelihoods. Getting it on the agenda is way overdue, and this art exhibition is a great way to do that.”
This integration of local grassroots involvement alongside art, research and activism at multiple levels – including people from diverse backgrounds – is essential for Footprint Modulation artistic director Kooj Chuhan and his company Metaceptive.
Kooj Chuhan said: “It’s amazing to be showing thought-provoking work by international artists, but more than that the exhibition connects people with the art, the research and the subject of climate change and migration in an active way. People can get involved with worldwide issues right here in the Durham locality.
“The way art is produced, distributed and consumed generally becomes distant from our lives and our control, it’s hard to really connect with it. Footprint Modulation, with its provocative focus, manages to integrate with peoples lives, activities, issues and discussions at an unusually high level.”
It is hoped that local involvement will leave a lasting legacy, encouraging more work – like that on show at Footprint Modulation – to be possible from the relationships formed and the experience and skills gained.
For more information, images or interview requests, please contact:
Dr Charlotte Lee, PR support for Footprint Modulation
email c.e.lee[at]durham.ac.uk or use the Contact page