I am a Photographer and Artist Filmmaker living and raising a family in Wales. I have collaborated (producing films and images) for many years with local grassroots organisations and individuals who seek to protect precious natural environments and celebrate local culture. I am one of the founding members of a new group ‘Friends of The Upper Wye’ set up to fight back against the increased levels of pollution threatening the river.
I have a young family and feel especially determined to strengthen local communities in order that they might better counter the effects of climate change and environmental degradation. I work closely with artists, activists, writers and poets translating their work and ideas into short films that celebrate local identity, history, landscape and memory. I see Art as playing a crucial role in sustainable development.
Since moving to mid-Wales I have begun developing practical skills that connect me with nature and my local environment. I am learning about horticulture and have a newfound passion for growing food. I have been building timber frame structures and learning about carpentry. I believe all people should have the opportunity to connect and reconnect with nature. I am learning Welsh (slowly).
Why are you drawn to this area of work?
I believe it is essential that communities tell their own stories with regards to their heritage and identity but also in terms of responding and reacting to climate change. ‘Living memory’ and ‘local knowledge’ can be used on film to illustrate the threat that climate change represents and to record what has already been lost.
Most recently I have been making ‘reactive’ short films within my local community to help fight back against the on-going pollution and eutrophication of the River Wye. I believe that quality filmmaking, interviewing and photography are essential skills to help communities publicise local issues, illustrate threats to their environment and to lobby government to take action.
Crucially I believe that filmmaking can be a useful and expressive way for local communities to confront and ‘work through’ complex issues and to find new perspectives and understanding.
What is your vision of your region in 2050?
Wales must be revolutionised with free and green public transport. The villages, towns and cities must be interconnected with walking and cycle routes. There must be a food revolution with more and varied food being grown in local communities. World-class broadband facilities should be available to all.
Environmental protections must be stepped up and planning regulations changed to prevent further damage to the natural landscapes that underpin Wales’ long-term future.
Local identity must be celebrated while also making Wales an open and welcoming place to those people seeking refuge and a new home in a changing global environment.