Green Rooms and Corridors
Created by Daniel McKendry and Lauren Cook, this artwork shows how a diverse range of perspectives must be included when envisioning our green future, with beautiful and beneficial green spaces connected by equally valuable travel routes. Find out more about this artwork and the ecology behind it in our interview with Lauren and Danny below:
Lauren Cook (Artist)
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Job: PhD Student at the Natural History Museum and Freelance Filmmaker
Style: My favourite media are watercolours, chalk pastels and coloured pencils which I combine via stop-motion animation to raise awareness for conservation issues.
Q: Your artwork is a unique take on the phrase ‘multi-use spaces’. How did you come up with the concept and what would you like people to take away from it?
A: In one of our meetings, Danny said, “if a fox was looking at a park, what would it see? How would it benefit that fox?”, which inspired this idea of multiple perspectives. This piece is about looking at the green space through different eyes – those of other people using the space in multiple ways, and from the viewpoint of wildlife too! I hope the viewer might step into someone else’s viewpoint and maybe even carry this with them next time they go to a green space.
Q: What role do you think artists have in working towards a green future?
A: The advances of science are only going to have an impact if people know about them! Art can really make an impact in connecting people with nature and inspiring others to take action to protect it. With all that is facing us in current times with the interconnected climate, humanitarian and ecological crises, understanding gained through the arts cannot be separated from the important scientific questions. Both sides must be employed to raise awareness, gain knowledge, make changes, and encourage empathy and kindness to each other and towards the natural world.
Q: For readers with an artistic flair, Lauren is also scheduled to run a number of exciting events that will help you flex those creative skills. Can you tell us more?
A: Yes! I’ve got a few Art x Science communication projects coming up, including stop-motion animations and a couple of draw-alongs! They will be free and anyone can join in online – just grab your pencils and have a go at drawing wildlife whilst learning from some expert scientists about their subject! The BES ‘Big Ecology Draw-Along’ is here!:
- For my PhD, I am studying how you can use environmental DNA (eDNA) to monitor biodiversity. I’m interested in learning how to apply this to track ecosystem health which could potentially be used in our future green spaces – it’s all linked!
- I have create multiple animations for the British Ecological Society ‘What is ecology?’ series in the past. You can watch them on the BES Youtube channel here.
- I also recently released an animation all about how you can support urban biodiversity which you can watch here:
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Job: Principle Landscape Architect
Organisation: Architecture & Design Scotland
Bio: I’m a Chartered Landscape Architect and Geographer with experience in regeneration, economic development and transport, and working with communities in the public and private sectors. I work across a range of projects at Architecture and Design Scotland, leading on design advice for public infrastructure and providing pre-design advice for housing.
Q: What role does architecture and urban planning play in creating a green future?
A: One of the most important drivers for change of our time is undoubtedly the climate emergency. This is both a challenge and opportunity to rethink how our places are planned, delivered, adapted and used. If we do this well and at pace, we help to future-proof our villages, towns, cities and regions from the more extreme and costly impacts of climate change. In turn, we can help to support places to be healthier, happier, just and thriving.
Q: What real-life examples from your work with A&DS did you include in the artwork?
A: In collaborating on this exhibition we discussed the approach of seeing the public spaces through the eyes of different users (and species!). Looking at life through different lenses allowed us to embrace the complexity of needs and considerations of all users of a place. This is fundamental to the work of A&DS where we bring together those that have an interest in a place or who will use, it to envisage what would make that place work for them and for the wider place. We’ve done this on a range of scales for a building, a street or a whole region.
- You can learn more about Architecture and Design Scotland at www.ads.org.uk
- For more information on ‘Designing for a Changing Climate’, check out the following:
- To find out more about the ‘What if…?/Scotland’ exhibition at the V&A, click through to: www.scotlandandvenice.com
Future Green Spaces Virtual Exhibition
You can check out the final masterpiece and all the other brilliant artworks via our virtual gallery overlooking Edinburgh’s iconic Arthur’s Seat, You can the exhibition and all other BES online events (from an ecology-themed comedy night and draw-alongs to insect decline debates) on the BES Edinburgh Science Festival event hub here.
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