Three artists appointed to join an innovative climate research project. - Collusion

Three artists appointed to join an innovative climate research project.05 July 2023

Kate Flurrie, Meitao Qu and Christopher Allen have been appointed by Collusion to take part in an innovative research project, Living in Changing Landscapes. Working with project partners Norwich University of the Arts, Anglia Ruskin University, and The Broads Authority, the artists will join teams of creatives from the two university partners to research and develop proposals for large-scale immersive artworks and experiences that consider the climate impact on Norfolk and the Fen’s natural landscapes. 

The project will consider not just the history and current situation of a place or the communities that live there, but also its future, to speculate and suggest future narratives, concepts and ideas that sees places, for example, lost or adapting to new circumstances. The resulting artworks may also address social and mental anxiety around climate change by postulating imaginable futures co-created with communities that allow them to see beyond the damage of today and the coming changes.  

To support the development of proposals, the initial exploratory phase of the project, to Spring 2024, will focus on three areas: 

  • Communities: Identifying good practice approaches to creating artworks, which support the health and wellbeing of  communities.
  • Data: Exploring use of geographically referenced datasets such as historic maps, large scale aerial LiDAR surveys and underwater bathymetry surveys. 
  • Tools: How cutting edge new technologies such as 360 LED walls, projection domes, spatial sound and volumetric capture systems might support delivery of high quality, high impact experiences.  

The three artists are looking forward to getting started and meeting the wider project team at the launch on 06 July at Norwich University of the Arts. 

Kate Flurrie said “I am excited to be collaborating with other artists and academics, as well as exploring technologies and research to use in an artistic context. I am really looking forward to considering the changing landscape, the impact on local communities, and the stories and histories steeped in the environment”.

Meitao Qu said “I am really looking forward to learning more about the landscapes of Norfolk and the stories embedded within them. This is a very exciting opportunity to experiment with new creative technologies, and to expand my knowledge of working in co-creation contexts.’

Christopher Allen said ”Climate change and its impact on this particular part of the UK is obviously going to have a massive impact on all of us so my involvement in this project is a great opportunity for me in embarking on this journey, to explore these ideas through the project’s geographical boundaries and a clear subject matter. It’s great to be working with such an amazing group of collaborators and really looking forward to working with the researchers and academics involved.”

The project connects into key priorities for each of the project partners. 

Rachel Drury, founder and Director of Collusion: “ We are really excited about the opportunity this project is creating for artists to collaborate with universities to explore climate impacts and speculative futures in novel ways. It connects into key priorities for us, including around environmental sustainability and working with communities in Levelling Up areas.  We’re really looking forward to working with Kate, Meitao and Chris plus the academic artists and creatives to devise some astonishing project ideas”. 

Professor Simon Willmoth, Director of Research Management at Norwich University of the Arts said “We are delighted to develop the Living in Changing Landscapes project with our longstanding research partners. The project will use the University’s Immersive Environment  Laboratory to creatively explore, visualise and engage the public with the effects of climate change on the East Anglian landscape. Artists and researchers at Norwich University of the Arts anticipate exhilarating and innovative creative collaboration working with Kate, Meitao and Chris.”

Dr Kirk Woolford, Research Lead Cambridge School of Creative Industries: “We are thrilled to bring ARU’s expertise in simulation, XR and virtual production into this new collaboration. The project draws together all three of ARU’s research and innovation themes: ‘Health, Performance and Wellbeing’, ‘Sustainable Futures’, and ‘Safe and Inclusive Communities’, while building on the universities’ development of new XR and AI facilities in Cambridge, Chelmsford, and Peterborough. We look forward to bringing practice researchers from across the university together with Kate, Meitao, Chris, Collusion, and new colleagues from NUA, Broads Authority, and more.”

Andrew Farrell, Broads Landscape Partnership Programme Manager: “This is an excellent opportunity for the unique and internationally significant landscapes of the Broads National Park to creatively engage and educate people in our region, creating more resilient communities who are better able to cope with our changing climate. As most of its area lies below sea level, the Broads are under significant threat from the impacts of the climate crisis. This project will be an innovative way to engage with the communities that live and work in the Broads as well as the millions of people that visit every year.” 

The next phase of the project, when the artworks will be produced and delivered, is subject to the partnership making a successful research funding bid. It’s anticipated that this phase will run from 2024 for two to three years. 

Notes to Editors

About the artists

  • Christopher Thomas Allen is a London based audiovisual artist and the founder and director of media arts studio The Light Surgeons. His work crosses a diverse range of different media and formats, from award winning experimental films, large scale installation projects for major cultural institutions; to the creation of a series of pioneering audiovisual live cinema performances. Christopher creates uniquely collaborative cultural experiences, he is a cross-disciplinary artist whose projects fuse experimental approaches to creative technology, film making, music production, live performance, contemporary art and spacial design. His projects explore a multitude of different themes and subject matter both nationally and internationally; often rooted in documentary investigations that weave together multiple voices to explore social and political issues. Studio Website:  Showreel:
  • Meitao Qu is a UK-based Chinese artist working across sculpture, installation, and XR. She holds an MFA from the Ruskin School of Art (2021), funded by the Oxford-Kaifeng Graduate Scholarship, and an MA from the Courtauld Institute of Art (2020). Her practice engages with the production and circulation of images, and the role they play in shaping discourses of gender, race, and nation. Through storytelling and worldbuilding, her work considers the interplay between ideologies and realities. Website: 
  • Kate Flurrie is an emerging digital visual artist working across moving image, audio-visual design and installation. Having had an extensive career predominantly in collaboration creating dance film, video design and documentary, and following the completion of an MA, in 2021 Kate made a step change towards becoming an independent artist with a focus on applying moving image for emotional connection with the audience and their environment. Kate has been the recipient of a DYCP grant, a residency at SPILL Festival and commissioned to produce a digital work in collaboration with a community group for the Landscape Rebels exhibition.

Collusion is a not for profit arts organisation. We create and produce new public artworks – our own and other artists’ projects, that explore the creative use of technologies and the impact of emerging technology on society. Our activities support artists’ talent development and place-making to deliver dynamic, imaginative new experiences for the public. 

Norwich University of the Arts is one of the UK’s leading specialist arts, design & media universities with an international reputation as an innovative and creative community. While its history dates back to 1845, its outlook is forward-thinking, with a commitment to offer students space to develop their skills and pursue their passion. Artists, designers, makers and creators bringing diverse interests and unique perspectives. They share a desire to be challenged and inspired; to learn from the past and shape the future. Where Curiosity Leads. /

Anglia Ruskin University is an innovative global university with over 40,000 students from 185 countries. We’ve once again been named as one of the top 350 institutions in the world – and one of the top 40 universities in the UK. We’re purposeful, challenging and curious about our world. We deliver impactful research which tackles pressing issues and makes a difference, from addressing health inequalities to enhancing public safety. Our community is incredibly important to us, and we’re proud of the role we play in our cities and the wider region 

The Broads Authority has the important job of looking after the Broads and the interests of the people who live, work and visit there. The Broads Authority has two purposes identical to the other national park family members relating to conservation and promoting people’s understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of the area. It also has a third purpose to look after the waterways for navigation. In addition, it is a planning authority and has a duty to foster the economic and social well-being of its communities.  

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