A New EIA for Natural Scotland

‘A New Environmental Impact Assessment for Natural Scotland: Environment, Imagination and Aesthetics.’

The Scottish landscape is inescapably changing in response to climate change. This work investigated the effects of human attempts to mitigate climate change by working creatively with the narrow but powerful lens of the planning process, the very mechanism of change. By re imagining current land-use planning processes to include considerations of perceptions of beauty, wilderness, naturalness and impact on place, memory and community, we used wind-farm developments as a context in which to creatively develop a new Environmental Impact Assessment. In doing this, we aimed to gain new insights into how we as a society assign values to the interface between landscape and community when making decisions about developments to the Scottish landscape.

Through techniques such as intensive cultural mapping and creative investigation we created a new model of conducting analysis and consultation in conflicted land-use situations. We hope this may lead to discussion of the use of new methodologies which would include a much deeper understanding of place than can currently be expressed.

The work is an exploration of a new creative way of assessing and encompassing impact. We focused on the impacts of change to people, place and community. These are areas which are not included in a traditional EIA.

We were keen to explore the conflict and (at times) contradiction between local and global environmental priorities and impacts, through a consideration of the appropriateness of renewable energy, and community responses both to wind-farms themselves, and the development processes more broadly.

The project team:

  1. Jo Hodges / Robbie Coleman – Artists
  2. Dr Claire Haggett – Lecturer in the Sociology of Sustainability, School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh
  3. Community participants in Dumfries and Galloway

An Imagining Natural Scotland / Creative Scotland / Scottish Natural Heritage Commission

If you would like a PDF copy of ‘The Missing Chapter; People Place and Community’ please get in touch via the contact page.

A case study of the project is now part of the Library of Creative Sustainability at Creative Carbon Scotland : https://www.creativecarbonscotland.com/library/a-new-environmental-impact-assessment-environment-imagination-and-aesthetics/


Extending Ecocriticism: Crisis, Collaboration and Challenges in the Environmental Humanities Peter Barry and William Welstead

Scottish Parliament : Scotland’s Future Forum. https://www.scotlandfutureforum.org/blog-scot2030-bp9/

Also see:

Blog by Creative Carbon Scotland for The Centre for Sustainable Forests and Landscapes: https://blogs.ed.ac.uk/forest_ed/2020/10/25/library-of-creative-sustainability/

The ‘New EIA’ work was presented at The North Lights Arts ‘Fertile Ground’ Conference 2014. The video explores all the brilliant work presented at the Conference.

3.44min for brief glimpse of ‘A New EIA’ presentation.

Categories: 2014, Collaboration, Community Engagement, Environmental, Participatory, Process, Research

Jo Hodges

Jo Hodges is a multidisciplinary public artist based in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland
with a background in Human Ecology, community development and social justice.

Her work investigates ecological and socio-cultural systems, processes and relationships, and explores new strategies for working in public. Her practice takes many forms; temporary and permanent works, site specific installations and socially engaged projects and processes. She is often led by context, where the outcome is determined as a result of process.

She is interested in research, experimentation and collaboration at the intersection of environment, culture and technology and exploring the role of art in social change. She is joint Director-Curator of Sanctuary Lab, a public art laboratory in the Galloway Forest Dark Skies Park.