I am thrilled to be presenting a workshop at the upcoming conference on degrowth in Malmö, Sweden. Provisionally titled ‘Visualising our Values’ the session will explore the role visual imagery plays in creating and reinforcing cultural & economic “norms and explore ideas for how the degrowth movement can utilise it to create emotionally resonant communication around new values.
For degrowth to succeed it must do more than win the intellectual arguments and convince policy makers. While both are important, as many in the movement have already noted we need to find narratives and strategies capable of breaking into broader sections of society and shifting cultural values and norms. We must learn from the mistakes of of climate change communications and decades of social justice campaigning that have fallen short of igniting true cultural shifts.
A key part of shifting cultural values means helping people envision new possibilities. Photography and visual communication are critical components in creating a new social imaginary. They have enormous potential to reopen space for human creativity and reach a broader audience with values of a degrowth economy. Proponents of the current economic order well understand imagery’s power to construct social values, advertising being a prime example. For the degrowth movement a key part of success will be how well we tap into the power of visual communication to create new spaces for human imagination.
For anyone interested in degrowth I strongly encourage you to consider attending the conference. If you know you won’t be able to attend but would be interested in hearing more about my workshop please get in touch.
One of the great joys of following a project over time is seeing how much things have changed when you’ve been away for a while. True to form stepping into the walled garden in Granton after slightly over a month away was amazing. The team had clearly been incredibly busy over the autumn months and was continuing work apace even through rapidly dropping temperatures. I’ll leave the photographs to do most of the talking but it continues to be a pleasure and a privilege to photograph in this space.
The Night Circus Portrait Series is officially off and running! In November I was lucky enough to work with a fantastic team who all helped bring Poppet to life.
As the Murray twins are never separated for long casting is now open for an actor or model interested in portraying Poppet’s twin brother Widget.
Winston Aidan Murray, known to all as Widget, was born on the grand opening of the Night Circus exactly six minutes before midnight; the passing of an old day. While his twin can see the future Widget can read people’s pasts.
He wears a black suit made from all manner of fabrics complete with a black hat and gloves. When not performing Widget tells stories and indulges his fondness for circus treats like cocoa, sugar mice and delicious cinnamon things.
Ready to Runaway and Join the Circus?
Scotland has one of the most unequal land distributions in the Global North with 50% of the land owned by just 432 individuals. It is hard to overstate how important land ownership is in creating more sustainable and just communities. Happily land reform has been receiving some long needed attention over the past couple of years and looks set to continue. Organisations and grassroots groups promoting and fighting for community land ownership have been at the forefront of getting land reform on the agenda.
Land reform often calls up images of the Western isles, or the highlands but urban land ownership is a critical piece of the puzzle as well. Anyone following debates over land use here in Edinburgh will quickly recognise the tension between developers playing the luxury real estate game and the need for true affordable housing and development that contributes to the community’s broader needs.
The choice between development for the benefit of a very few individuals and the coffers of development corporations is being played out in one of Edinburgh’s oldest surviving walled gardens. The community groups Friends of Granton Castle Walled Garden are fighting to restore the garden and develop it as a community asset having fought all last year to gain access to the space. Over the coming months I’ll be documenting the group as they bring parts of the garden back to life, demonstrating the enormous potential for the space and fighting for community over private luxury.
“The towering tents are striped in white and black, no golds or crimsons to be seen…All over the tents, small lights begin to flicker, as though the entirety of the circus is covered in particularly bright fireflies…When the tents are all aglow, sparkling against the night sky, the sign appears.
Le Cirque des Rêves- The Circus of Dreams”
– Excerpts from The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
The book has inspired me to my next project, a portrait series of the Night Circus characters. Below you can find more information about getting involved and specific casting calls.
Casting is now open for the first of the character portraits in my The Night Circus series. Like Bailey I am now looking for Poppet. Poppet Murray is in her mid teens with bright red hair and can see the future. She has a fraternal twin brother Widget who can read people’s pasts. She wears a white dress made of a patchwork of different fabrics, military jacketI would love to hear from anyone who feels they can fit the bill and are interested in joining the project. More character information will be provided upon request.
Contact me at: Ashleyerdman@gmail.com
In addition to actors for the characters I am looking for make-up artists and stylists interested in the project. If you are interested and like the sound of it or would like more information feel free to drop me an email and we can chat. All work will be done on time for photos.
What a difference a week makes! The garden has some great colour thanks to more plant donations, gates are going up to guard against the bunnies and there was some serious weeding happening.