Radical Landscapes at Tate Liverpool was recommended to me, and in the exhibition, there is Back to the Fields by Ruth Ewan.

Back to the Fields is a really interesting work, both for the concept behind it, and the physicality of the work itself. The work consists of 360 disparate items, each of which

“denote[s] the days of the year [according to the French Republican Calendar] – such as a lettuce, a cart, wax, a turnip, honey, a fir tree, ivy, figs, mercury, lava, moss, tuna, a pheasant, an axe” (Ewan, R. ND).

The combination of such seemingly unrelated items and beings into one indoor space forces the viewer to consider the human interaction with the natural world, and how we have separated ourselves from it, and attempt to control it – although it is at its core uncontrollable. What I also find particularly interesting is the way in which there is a mix of artificial and natural items displayed here – combining the human and the natural – yet the dominating element in the exhibition is the plant.

For me, the dominance of the plant in the installation symbolises the dominance of the plant in our every-day lives; we are unable to live without plants: even the artificial objects in the installation have plant based elements. Yet we still seek to control them. for the installation, all of the plants are placed in plant pots for their continued survival, a fact which of course is a logistical element, but which also demonstrates our human unwillingness to allow nature fully into our artificial environments.

The labelling and organisation of the work also strikes me – as each item has been given a corresponding number, which in turn is colour coded to match the related month in the year that that particular item belongs in. There is again, and orderliness to it, which feels as though it is an attempt to control the uncontrollable, breaking something large into manageable chunks that humans can better understand and grasp. However, having said this, I really like the method with which Ewan has labelled and organised the pieces of the installation – creating an easy to read and understand almost ‘clock-face’ calendar, which invites the viewer to engage with the work, forcing them to look more deeply into the work.

This encouragement to engage more deeply with the work due to the level of detail and organisation is something that I am also employing in my work, through the use of labels and the level of detail that I have included in my drawings, encouraging the viewer to want to look more closely and learn more about the subjects of the work.

Additionally, the subject matter of Back to the Fields is very closely related to both my Rewilding Project, and the botanical illustrations that I have created. Although the reason for using these particular subjects differs between our works, the fact that we are both creating art involving them illustrates (I believe) the continued and in fact, ever growing, importance of plants and nature in our lives – regardless of whether we continue attempting to control, destroy and isolate ourselves from the natural world. Back to the Fields is definitely a work that I would be very interested in seeing in person and experiencing the installation as it is meant to be viewed – physically, with the accompanying sights, sounds, smells and emotional responses.



  1. Ewan, R. (2015/16) Back to the Fields. [Installation] Available at: https://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-liverpool/radical-landscapes
  2. Ewan, R. (ND) Back to the Fields. Available at: http://ruthewan.com/projects/back-to-the-fields/


After visiting Sutton Hoo yesterday, I decided to visit Ipswich Museum today, hoping to explore how they labelled their exhibits, and the method in which they displayed things there.

Overall, I felt this wasn’t actually the most beneficial visit – and certainly not as beneficial as Sutton Hoo yesterday, as the museum was basically set up for children, and labelled and organised as such – meaning that the labelling system wasn’t as thorough or clear as it was at Sutton Hoo yesterday. Additionally, as the museum isn’t a site of historical significance itself, everything inside it was arranged in dioramas or cases – rather than reflecting history as it happened in the building as is the case with Sutton Hoo.

Having said this, I had hoped that due to the large number of taxidermy exhibits and archival artefacts that they have at Ipswich Museum, I would be able to gain some insight into how to organise and display my illustrations. Again however, as the majority of the items in the collection are taxidermy animals, the method of display was rather different to anything that I could achieve with my drawings. I did take photographs for reference though, and of possible later use, the ones which document the glass display cases are of most relevance I feel.

The second photo pictured below had the most relevance for me in terms of the subject of the collection, although the method of display was different (in a case, rather than displayed on a wall). However, it has given me some food for thought on how I label the work as a whole: whether I use one overarching label for the entire wall, separate labels for each drawing (in addition to the botanical labels I am creating), or create a list system for the individual drawings with number references. I have not fully decided what I will do in regards to this, however, I feel either the first (one overarching label) or the third (the list style) are the most probable formats I would use.


update: 08/06/22: I have drawn a lot from my visit to Sutton Hoo – and my memories of past visits to Sutton Hoo. I have very fond memories of spending time in the house (before the refurbishment), and I have attempted to recreate that to the best of my ability in my installation of the Endangered Plant Index Rewilding Project. 


Today I visited Sutton Hoo – a site of great historical importance – where I looked at an example of a house set up as a museum.

Unfortunately, the house had been re-done since I had last visited and it was no longer quite what I had hoped to see and take inspiration from for my degree show.However, it was still a valuable resource and I have taken some thoughts and ideas away from how they displayed information in the room.

The house had a definite uniformity to it in the way in which information was displayed, and there were three main elements of information display:

  1. Information/text on the walls
  2. Information/text printed onto table tops
  3. Information/text displayed in photo frames

The photos below show the three different methods of display in the house:




Obviously, the National Trust had a significantly larger pot of money to take from when displaying the exhibits in the house, but two which I can definitely make use of are the Information/text on the walls and Information/text displayed in photo frames.

The photo frames method is very doable for me, and is something that I think could also look very effective. Having one or two photo frames on the desk explaining what the viewer is looking at would add an additional element of believability to the work – making it look like a more lived in environment, whilst providing information to the viewer about the work itself.

On the other hand, I could also achieve the Information/text on the walls effect through the use of PhotoTex, which I can get printed at the university. However, this would be most effective, I feel, for large pieces of information or key quotes etc. as was shown in Tranmer House at Sutton Hoo, and is therefore not the most relevant method of information display that I could use for my installation on my rewilding project.

I will therefore be exploring the idea of displaying information in photo-frames more, looking at what sort of information I should include, and to what level of detail I should go into when writing about the project and explaining what the viewer is looking at. This will be the most difficult part, I feel, as I don’t want to say too much so that the viewer can’t take their own thoughts and opinions away from the piece, but I also don’t want to say too little, so that they don’t understand the significance and reason behind the work and how it relates to the drawings on the opposite wall.


During my dissertation, I explored the work of Alberto Baraya, and specifically his piece Herbarium of Artificial Plants. This work is of specific relevance to me and my practice, specifically in relation to my Degree Project The Endangered Plant Index, as throughout the project, I have been using herbarium documentation in order to create illustrations of the most endangered plants; bringing them into the public psyche.

What I find particularly fascinating about Baraya’s work is the fact that it uses and subverts the traditional model of the herbarium and botanist – using this model to create a statement about colonialism. and specifically the impact that colonial science had on the colonised lands.

Throughout the work, Baraya has taken practices that are easily identifiable as being those of western, colonial scientists and botanists, and then used them to his own ends in a contemporary context, which re-contextualises these practices and makes the viewer question them and the reason they are happening. The practice most relevant to my degree project (and which is pictured above), is his method of display, in which he emulated a museum display, similar to that of the Natural History Museum in London (see below). This for me is very interesting, as it reinforces the image and perception of the continuation of the past atrocity. But it is occurring in a way which is measured and chosen by Baraya to have a conscious impact on the viewer, rather than having a careless, detrimental effect on the people who live in and around the area where he made the work:

“replicating the tradition of botanical … expeditions that were carried out in Europe in the name of science and colonization.” (Nara Roesler Gallery. 2022).

The similarities between his and the traditional method of display is striking and, I believe, achieves a successful critique of the highly questionable methods of colonial scientists working in the field. The legacy of colonialism is something that the botanical sector (and whole scientific community) must face and explore – acknowledging the atrocities that occurred for the sake of new scientific and botanical discoveries – which is part of the delivery of climate justice.

According to a BBC article written by Jocelyn Timperley in 2021:

“Climate justice means many things to many people, but at its core is the recognition that those who are disproportionately impacted by climate change tend not to be those most responsible for causing it. Climate change is not only an environmental problem: it interacts with social systems, privileges and embedded injustices, and affects people of different class, race, gender, geography and generation unequally. The climate solutions proposed by climate justice advocates aim to address long-standing systemic injustices.” Timperley, J. (2021)

This definition establishes the interplay between the climate crisis and all other crises in the world – as the climate crisis is held up and enforced by the legacy of colonialism, rampant capitalism and neo-colonialism – which are the main causes of inequality and injustice in the world.



  1. Baraya, A. (2013 – 2014) Herbarium of Artificial Plants. [Insitallation]. Installation View 8th Berlin Biennale. Available at: https://www.berlindrawingroom.com/alberto-barayas-herbarium-of-artificial-plants/
  2. Trustees of the Natural History Museum (N.D) Natural history galleries are often filled with male specimens that have big, showy characteristics ©. Available at: https://www.nhm.ac.uk/discover/news/2019/october/more-male-than-female-specimens-in-natural-history-collections.html
  3. Timperley, J. (2021) The world’s fight for ‘climate justice’. Available at: https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20211103-the-countries-calling-for-climate-justice



This is a post that I made on my Instagram about the differences between individual and systemic change/action, and why (although individual change/action matters) systemic change/action is the thing that needs to happen now. The link to the post is here.


What we mean when we say the time for individual action is over.

We don’t mean that individual action isn’t crucial to combatting the climate crisis. Individual action has a HUGE impact on the state of the climate, and is the first vital step towards creating larger, community action. For example, one study shows that there could be “a reduction in emissions per person of 20-30% for halving meat consumption” (1).

We mean that the climate crisis is bigger than the individual, and in order to tackle it, we need action on both the National and International level. We need companies and governments to take concrete and direct climate action. Some examples of systemic change are: “end tax havens… banning tar sands … [and] fracking … fossil fuel divestment” (2).

Work together. Climate Action requires both systemic and individual action – although systemic action is going to make the biggest difference in the climate crisis, individual action cannot be ignored. It too has its part to play, and even if in the US, individual action would potentially only result in “carbon emissions … fall[ing] by only 22 percent” (3), that is still a 22% reduction from one of the highest emitting countries globally.