Caerlaverock Exhibition Explores the Impact of Climate Change on Migrating Birds

An exhibition inspired by climate change and migratory birds, featuring a video projection onto a large sheet of ice, is to be unveiled at a Dumfries and Galloway nature reserve.

Faileas, at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust reserve at Caerlaverock in Dumfries and Galloway, will include an interactive site-specific sound walk, a video installation and a live performance.

The reserve is on internationally important wetlands on the Solway Firth that are only just above sea level. Increased flooding, higher rainfall, tidal surges and other effects of climate change mean the wetlands, and some of the species that depend on them such as whooper swans, Greenland white fronted geese and ospreys, are at risk.

The exhibition is the result of a residency at the site by Angela Alexander-Lloyd, a Kinross-based visual artist specialising in sound and video.

It is the first of a series of residencies being awarded under the three-year Artful Migration initiative. This is a collaboration between Upland Arts Development CIC, Ginnie Wollaston of Moving Souls Dance and WWT. It aims to use the arts to raise awareness of issues to do with climate change and migratory species.

Angela, a former City stockbroker, is keen for as many people as possible to engage in the debate about the environment.

She believes that encouraging people to realise the implications for Scotland and their own regions will help bring home the scale of damage and losses predicted to take place if the drivers of climate change goes unchecked.

She said: “Increasing climate extremes mean there is a very real threat to landscapes like these and the wildlife that lives there.
“This exhibition is about raising awareness and encouraging debate about the effects of climate change on the natural world and what we can do, collectively and individually, to make a positive difference.”

The exhibition opens to the public on 29 April. One piece of work involves a video projection onto a 2m sheet of ice containing thousands of wild bird feathers collected on WWT land.

The sound walk allows people to listen to recordings by environment professionals and local people about their experiences. One instantly recognisable voice is that of naturalist and WWT Vice President, Sir David Attenborough, who discusses the impact of human activity in a changing and fragile environment.

Brian Morrell, Centre Manager at the WWT Caerlaverock Wetland Centre, said: “The wetlands of the Solway Firth are of international importance, and their conservation is an essential part of our work to try to safeguard the future of wonderful species that migrate to southern Scotland like whooper swans, Greenland white fronted geese and ospreys.
“This exhibition underlines that climate change is not simply a concern for other people in countries far away, but that its effects are here and now.”

Among the contributors to Angela’s work is Sheila Stubbs, a retired music teacher known by many as “the swan lady” who spends her winter days at the reserve where she has developed an encyclopaedic of the whoopers.

Two of her favourites are Paisley and her mate Renfrew which have successfully bred there every year since 2005.

Sheila, who lives outside Dumfries, has written a piece of mandolin music inspired by the swans which will be included in a video Angela is making of her live performance which takes place during a special event on 28 April.

She said: “I love the swans, they are such beautiful birds, and I’ve got to know them and their family groups over the years.
“Paisley and Renfrew are two of my favourites, they are now over 20 years old and have raised an amazing 46 cygnets. Every year I hope that they will make it safely back to Caerlaverock from Iceland.”

It is hoped that Artful Migration will not only encourage debate but also attract visitors to Caerlaverock.

Amy Marletta, Projects Director at Upland Arts Development, said: “It’s a real pleasure to see the first of the Artful Migration residencies come to fruition with such and interesting and thought-provoking exhibition.
“But one of the things that makes it so valuable is that it’s a three year project which will provide a series of artists with a platform to explore environmental issues in their own ways.
“And by emphasising migratory species it will underline that our wildlife, and our wider environment, are interconnected and that action to protect them has to be local and global.”

Upland has been involved in previous wildlife initiatives and ran a project in which young people worked with ecological building designer Sam Booth to create a new bird hide at the RSPB Scotland reserve at Crook of Baldoon, near Wigtown.


Faileas exhibition details

  • The exhibition is open 29 April to 31 August.
  • It is at WWT Caerlaverock Eastpark Farm, Caerlaverock, Dumfriesshire, DG1 4RS.
  • The reserve is Open daily 10am to 5pm
  • The exhibition will be open over Spring Fling weekend (26-28 May) and Angela will be onsite to talk to visitors about her work on Saturday 26 May, 10am to 5pm. Free entry with Spring Fling 2018 brochure.
  • See the Upland website at www.weareupland.com.

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