Testing Grounds Episode 1: ‘Introducing NAARCA’ now available

Episode 1: Introducing NAARCA Testing Grounds

As the climate crisis accelerates, how can artists’ residencies be testing grounds for new – and better – ways of living and working? The Nordic Alliance of Artists’ Residencies on Climate Action (NAARCA) is a coalition of seven organisations that are exploring this question together.

So, how did NAARCA come about? What are its goals? And… what is an artists’ residency, anyway? Host Katie Revell learns more from Alexia Holt (Cove Park, Scotland), Leena Kela (Saari Residence, Finland), Charlotte Hetherington (Artica Svalbard, Norway) and Jaana Eskola (NAARCA’s Eco Coordinator).

Credits: Testing Grounds is produced and edited by Katie Revell and includes original music by Loris S. Sarid and artwork by Jagoda Sadowska. With thanks to Alex Marrs and the rest of the NAARCA team.

A captioned version of this episode is available on YouTube.

Featured in this episode:

Jaana Eskola (she/her)

Jaana Eskola is a cultural professional, environmentalist, and animal rights activist with 8 years of experience in working at the intersection of ecology and contemporary art. She is also an alumna of Climate Leadership Scandinavia 2022 program, organised by Julie’s Bicycle. Jaana currently works at Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council as a Project Manager for LuoTo, an Action plan for ecological transition in cultural and creative sectors in Finland. Within the NAARCA network, she has been diving into artist residencies as places to develop and test holistic approaches to sustainability and researching the potential of a residence network to create platforms for radical cooperation to fight the climate crisis and biodiversity loss.

Charlotte Hetherinton (she/her)

Charlotte Hetherington joined Artica Svalbard as director in November 2020. Prior to this she worked as Artist Liaison at Thomas Dane Gallery in London. After graduating from Newcastle University in 2007 with a MA in Museum & Gallery studies, Charlotte joined Spike Island in Bristol before moving onto a role in Exhibitions at White Cube, London. Charlotte brings over fifteen years experience working with international artists and institutions.

Alexia Holt (she/her)

Alexia Holt is the Acting Director and Senior Director of Programmes at Cove Park. She produces its international programme of arts residencies and commissions and oversees fundraising, development and communications. Prior to Cove Park, she was Curator at Tramway, Glasgow, where she commissioned major solo exhibitions by artists such as Martin Boyce, Pipilotti Rist, Stephen Sutcliffe, Salla Tykka and Tatham & O’Sullivan. A graduate of Glasgow University’s History of Art department, she also worked at Glasgow School of Art and the CCA whilst completing a Ph.D. on early twentieth century fashion design. As Curator for the Scottish Print Network, between 2012 and 2016, she developed ‘Below another sky’, an international programme of residencies, exhibitions and events for Scotland’s five print studios. In addition, during 2016 and 2017, she was Project Coordinator for Little Sparta, the garden of Ian Hamilton Finlay, and its Sharing Little Sparta programme.

Leena Kela (she/her)

Leena Kela is a director of the Saari Residence. Saari Residence, maintained by Kone Foundation, is a residence located in Mynämäki in the southwest of Finland, for artists of all disciplines and nationalities. The residence’s long-term activities and thinking are underpinned by an ecological approach, which also covers social and mental sustainability. Its keywords are slowness, insight and change. Besides working as a residency director, Leena is a performance artist, artistic director of the New Performance Turku Biennale and doctoral candidate at the University of the Arts Helsinki.

Katie Revell (she/her)

Katie Revell is a Glasgow-based freelance audio producer and (lapsed!) filmmaker with a particular interest in food, climate change, and relationships to the land. She grew up on the southeast coast of Scotland and has also lived in Germany, India and the USA. Since 2016, Katie has been part of the team behind the award-winning Farmerama Radio podcast, which shares the voices of regenerative and agroecological farmers in the UK and beyond. Katie was lead producer of Farmerama’s first series, Cereal, which explored the history of bread and profiled the UK’s “new grains movement”. She also co-produced Landed, a personal exploration of land ownership and colonial legacy told by a farmer’s son as he returns home to his family farm. Katie believes passionately in the need for creative responses to climate change, and is delighted to be on the NAARCA team.

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