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Wetland Landscapes Sense of place

WetlandLIFE is a three year (2016 – 2019) interdisciplinary project funded by the AHRC, ESRC and NERC through the Valuing Nature Programme. With a particular emphasis on mosquitoes, the project uses perspectives from science, social science, humanities and the arts to explore how understanding wetland values can help facilitate their use and management. The project studies the cultural, historical and economic values of wetlands alongside an ecological focus on mosquitoes now and in the past. The overarching aim of the project is to deliver ecological guidance for managing mosquito populations for healthy wetlands within the context of a place-based understanding of wetland values.

One contribution to the project is a photographic essay titled ‘Wetland Landscapes’. The aim is to explore and document a sense of place of lowland English wetlands and stimulate a creative conversation around wetland values. Reference will be made to wetlands as places where human and non-human worlds are juxtaposed to create dynamic multifunctional landscapes. Where appropriate some emphasis will be given to the role of mosquitoes in the landscape as an often unseen and misunderstood organism. The essay will explore wetland themes of:

  • Wildness / management
  • Human use
  • Material culture / history
  • Nature / human
  • Mosquito values / disvalues

The photographic essay will range across a wide variety of lowland wetlands but focus in particular on 12 wetland sites. The following images are some examples of the work in progress. The WetlandLIFE website will be updated at regular intervals as new work becomes available. The final collection of photographs will form part of the end of project exhibitions in early 2019.

Evening light at RSPB Ham Wall Reserve
Flat land and linear engineering features create distinctive landscape attributes on the Somerset Levels
Stormy skies near Godney, Somerset Levels
Digger at work on Shapwick Heath
Places created for wildlife by people working the landscape, Shapwick Heath
Creating space for nature from a legacy of industrial work, Shapwick Heath
Shapwick Heath and places of leisure, information and access
The amazing Avalon hyde at RSPB Ham Wall
Light and patterns in the mud looking over Steart Marshes
From Steart Marshes to Hinkley power station
A place for visitors, Steart Marshes
Stormy skies over Steart Marshes
Even pylons can be stunning in the right light!
Leisure on the North Kent Marshes
A legacy of old landuse, St Mary's Marsh, North Kent Marshes
A Turner inspired vision of North Kent Marshes
Looking across Northwood Hill Nature Research, North Kent Marshes
Looking inquisitive, North Kent Marshes
South Swale Nature Reserve, North Kent
Sea wall at South Swale Nature Reserve
The Oaze at Seasalter, Kent
Making a living on the Oaze, Seasalter, Kent
Swans in flight over Oare Marshes, North Kent

This is just a selection of photographs from the WetlandLIFE project. As work continues the photographs will be used to present the diversity of lowalnd wetlands in England and to stimulate a creative conversation about wetland values. There will be three exhibitions of the work towards the end of the project in 2019.

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