Sublime Residency, Cromarty
IOTA in collaboration with the University of Aberdeen's School of Biological Sciences hosted two artists in residence at the Lighthouse Field Station in Cromarty.
Funded by Creative Scotland and HIE, the Sublime residencies involved artists Stephen Hurrel and Mark Lyken working alongside marine biologists to create new works, which were presented during a week of activity in Cromarty in early September.
In a response to the maritime environment of Cromarty, Stephen Hurrel's film, Dead Reckoning, featured cinematic images of the immediate environment, together with underwater video and sound recordings, to create a dialogue between 'above' and 'below' the waterline.
As part of his residency Mark Lyken's sound installation,The Terrestrial Sea, explored how environment effects human and marine mammal behaviour and the parallels between the urban and coastal experience.
Canvey Wick Nature Reserve
Canvey Wick Nature Reserve is a former industrial site located at the west end of Canvey Island. In 2005 it was designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest, the first brownfield site to be protected specifically for its invertebrates.
Buglife, the Invertebrate Conservation Trust, is working to raise the profile of brownfield habitats in the UK. Read more about their work.
Brownfield sites are best described as derelict and disused industrial or commercial land. Areas of abandoned factories and old railway lines are becoming a refuge for a growing number of species. Once all the human activity has died down, wildlife starts to move back into these undisturbed areas. Brownfield sites can contain a mosaic of different habitats and niches, providing opportunities for a wide variety of animals and insects, from toads and snakes to dragonflies and rare bees. Plants can also thrive on the poor soils, from purple rosebay willowherb to yellow groundsels and dandelions.
BBC Nature report
In June 2012 BBC Nature reported on the growing importance of wasteland or "brownfield" areas for UK wildlife.