Testing Grounds Episode 3: ‘Skaftfell Art Center – The Tensions of Environmental and Cultural Sustainability for Artists and Institutions’ now available

Episode 3: Skaftfell Art Center – The Tensions of Environmental and Cultural Sustainability for Artists and Institutions Testing Grounds

How can arts institutions and artists be more sustainable – in terms of their impact not only on the environment, but also on local communities?

Skaftfell Art Center is NAARCA’s Icelandic partner. It’s based in Seyðisfjörður, a small but vibrant town in Eastern Iceland, surrounded by mountains and sea. Seyðisfjörður’s unique location and atmosphere has long attracted artists from all over the world. That location also makes it vulnerable to avalanches, mudslides and landslides – and in a changing climate, those threats are increasing.

Julia Martin is an artist living in Seyðisfjörður, and the former Project Manager of the Residency Programme and International Projects at Skaftfell. She introduces us to Seyðisfjörður, and to our two contributors: Pari Stave, Director of Skaftfell, and Jessica Auer, a photographer, filmmaker and educator living in Seyðisfjörður. Pari and Jessica explore some of the ways arts institutions and artists can be more mindful of the environment, and of local landscapes and communities.

Find out more:

Skaftfell Art Center: skaftfell.is/en
Ströndin Studio: strondinstudio.comJan Krtička (artist who provided field recordings from in and around Seyðisfjörður): jankrticka.com

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:

Julia Martin (she/her)

Julia Martin (b. 1976 in Berlin, Germany) is an artist and art facilitator based in Seyðisfjörður, East Iceland. Julia moved to Iceland in 2013 and worked at Skaftfell Art Center as residency and project manager from 2014-2023 and as co-director from 2020-2022. She graduated with a Ph.D. in Fine Art from Goldsmiths, University of London (2015), with an MFA in Art, Space and Nature from Edinburgh College of Art (2006), and an MA in Landscape Architecture from Technical University of Berlin (2001).
Julia’s artistic work revolves around the intricate relationships between body, mind, and spatial/narrative context, often with an emphasis on ecocritical inquiry.

Pari Stave (she/her)

Pari Stave joined Skaftfell Art Center as director in May 2022. She came from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York, where for eight years she held the position of Senior Manager of Administration, Collections, and Curatorial Projects in the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art. Prior to joining The Met she worked as Consulting Curator for the American-Scandinavian Foundation (ASF). An art historian and curator, Pari has curated and collaborated on numerous exhibitions both in the US and abroad.

Jessica Auer (she/her)

Jessica Auer is a Canadian photographer and filmmaker based in Seyðisfjörður, Iceland. Her work is broadly concerned with the study of landscapes as cultural sites. Through a research-based practice, she examines our social, political and aesthetic attitudes towards place, including but not limited to – historical sites, tourist destinations, and small communities. Jessica teaches photography part-time at Concordia University in Montréal, and runs Ströndin Studio, a photographic art center in Seyðisfjörður. Her exhibition Lanðvörður was recently presented at the Reykjavík Museum of Photography and at Sláturhúsið in Egilsstaðir.

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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