Ecology and the environment is a thread that has run through our exhibitions and events programme since we opened in 2009.
Explore our archive exhibitions, watch our event recordings, or take part in activities as a family (keeping scrolling down the page).
Exhibition: Rights of Nature (2015)
Runaway global warming, environmental destruction and mass species extinction are all consequences of our fraught relationship with nature. Through the work of 20 artists, Rights of Nature reflected on our current environmental crisis – economic, political and cultural, as well as ecological. It was a journey across the Americas: The Amazon, the Andes, the Artic and the Gulf of Mexico were among the ecological regions explored.
Talk: Rights of Nature Conference (2015)
This one-day conference explores our exhibition, Rights of Nature, from the perspectives of artistic practices, indigenous knowledge and activist engagements in the Americas and elsewhere. Drawing from lived and theoretical frameworks that de-privilege the human and recognise the agency of non-human entities, the conference addresses a core debate between the understanding of ecological rights deriving from legal and evidentiary frameworks and those grounded in experiential and situated struggle.
Exhibition: Uneven Geographies (2010)
Uneven Geographies brought together the work of artists from five continents who find experimental ways of capturing the processes of globalisation, and its human consequences in various regions of the world.
Exhibition: Daniel Steegmann Mangrané (2019)
Mata Atlântica, the rainforest that stretches along the Atlantic coast of Brazil, is one of the most important biodiverse areas on Earth, yet is highly endangered, with only 7% of its original surface left. Steegmann Mangrané looked at how this complex environment has been subjected to conflicting pressures: economic, ecological, geographic, scientific, historical and territorial.
Exhibition: John Newling: Ecologies of Value (2013)
Nottingham-based John Newling is a pioneer of public art with a social purpose. Inspired by the natural world and its ecological systems, the exhibition included sculptural artworks created through horticultural processes. It included hydroponic growth tents contain young Miracle Trees (Moringa oleifera) which have uniquely generous properties for healing and nutrition. Through this work Newling encourages us to reflect upon our relationship with the natural world and the potential of the earth’s resources.
Video: John Newling on his exhibition at Nottingham Contemporary
John Newling discusses his 2013 exhibition at Nottingham Contemporary, Ecologies of Value.
Talk: Michael Marder and Shela Sheikh: Plan/Plant/Planet
Philosopher Michael Marder and scholar Shela Sheikh discuss our uprootedness from this world and the non-linear roots and routes offered by vegetal life.
“Plants,” Terence McKenna wrote in 1989 should be adopted as “the organisational model for life in the 21st century,” much in the same ways cybernetic circuits and networks became the social ecology of the previous century. Yet, how does the historical propertisation of land relations continue to structure social networks today? What root-networks of human-plant connections structure our planetary existence?
Talk: Contemporary Conversation: Carceral Continuum
Legal scholar Nadine El-Enany and environmental anthropologist Nicholas Shapiro address environmental vulnerability and prison abolitionism. What are the historical crossovers between mass incarceration systems, economic precariousness and racial vulnerability?
Activity: Creative Walks – Colour Coordination
Have you noticed that art is in the everyday? The unexpected beauty we find in things around us when we are out and about on our daily walks. This activity is about how we can spot these and make this into a fun game.
Activity: Creative Walks – Neighbourhood Names
Do you have nicknames for places in your area? A route you always take, a favourite shop, or a door you always look out for? Why not create a personal alternative map of your neighbourhood to give it a personal identity?
Activity: The Art of Happiness!
Use chalk to create an area to play, for yourself and for others who may be passing by. You can draw games and trails that people can join in as they walk past. Maybe, hopscotch, wiggly lines to follow, shapes to jump between, words to shout out, or songs to sing!
Activity: Nottingham Carbon Neutral 2028
Try these family activities in partnership with Nottingham Carbon Neutral 2028. We challenge you to go outside and create art from the sights and sounds of nature.
Find out about how you can reduce your own carbon emissions