Practicing Landscape: Material Agency and Meaning
Reading Landscape Research Group

Event Type:

Research Presentation




29 Oct 2021
13:00 -



Justin Carter – Detail of installation ‘Elephant in the Room’ (2021) at Rockingham Castle
part of the group exhibition 'The Howse Shal Be Preserved'

Practicing Landscape: Material Agency and Meaning

Event info

Practicing Landscape: Landscapes of Energy and Extraction

Seminar one: Material Agency and Meaning

1pm, Friday 29 October – register via Eventbrite

Material Agency and Meaning will involve artist presenters Justin Carter and Onya McCausland in conversation with Geographer Dr Danny McNally about recent projects involving material extracted from the landscape. Avoiding the traditional monologic approach to presenting work, Justin and Onya will instead try to build a shared dialogue framed by a small selection of relevant images used as wayfinders. In keeping with the speakers’ practices, the intention is for the conversation to be open and fluid, allowing ideas to emerge through conversation and exchange. This symposium will explore various approaches to engaging with materials as active agents within the art making process. 

This session will be chaired by Dr Frances Robertson and re-interpreted by Dr Danny McNally for publication. The findings from this symposium will then be published in the online critical review The Drouth in a climate-themed special issue to coincide with COP26.

Material Agency and Meaning is the first part of Practicing Landscape: Landscapes of Energy and Extraction – a series of four public seminars organised by the Reading Landscape Research Group, formed by artist-academics from the GSA. They will run on four Fridays at 1pm UK time: 29 October 2021, 26 November 2021, 11 February 2022 and 18 March 2022. 


Justin Carter

Justin Carter is Reader in Contemporary Practice: Art & Environment at The Glasgow School of Art. Recent exhibitions include: The Howse Shal Be Preserved at Rockingham Castle (2021), Practicing Landscape: Land, Histories and Transformation at The Lighthouse, Glasgow (2020) and Blood From Stone at Fineshade Wood, Northamptonshire (2019). Over the past 20 years Justin has exhibited work and developed projects throughout the UK, Europe and in Japan, China, Australia and the United States. “My research is an attempt to understand the natural environment we are part of. How do we sense it and make sense of it? The resulting (art)works are an attempt to make this connection tangible”.

Onya McCausland

Onya McCausland is an artist and Lecturer at the Slade School of Fine Art where she leads a visual reading group Environment, Ecology, Sustainability. Her work examines the materiality within painting and how paint itself can be a social tool for making visible distinct ideas that point toward the interdependencies between humans and the environment.

Selected exhibitions include 51°43 33.56 N 3°07 58.63 W Karsten Schubert London 2021; Embrace Norrtälje Konsthall, Sweden 2021; The Howse Shal Be Preserved, Fermynwoods commission Rockingham Castle 2021; Working on it and Landscapes of the Future Helsinki Contemporary Finland 2020; Europe After The Rain Newlyn Gallery Cornwall 2019; Aerial Landscapes Flat Time House London 2019; Red Wall Hauser & Wirth Somerset 2019; Turning Landscape into Colour Camden Arts Centre, London 2014; White Earth Kettle’s Yard Cambridge 2011. Forthcoming exhibitions include Chemical City at Middlesborough Institute of Modern Art - November 2021 and Embrace Akureyri Art Museum Iceland 2022. A book collaboration Aerial Landscape is due early 2022.

Danny McNally

Dr Danny McNally is a cultural geographer and lecturer in geography at Teesside University. His research engages with socio-environmental issues through interdisciplinary research and practice-based collaborations with artists, curators, and urban and environmental practitioners.