Digging deep into the world of soil
Researchers with an interest in all things botanical will be gathering at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) to share knowledge and ideas at one of a series of Art + Ecology Cafés.
Researchers will be digging deeper into the earth beneath our feet on Friday (19 May) when the Art + Ecology Café will focus on the Garden’s exhibition Living Soil, a multi-media exhibition in which artist Natalie Taylor explores the complex role soil plays in our eco-system.
The Art + Ecology Research Café will explore our relationship with soil, consider the hidden life beneath our feet, the vital connection between the soil biome and the microbiome within the human body, and the pressing issues of soil degradation and food sovereignty.
It will begin with the Living Soil exhibition tour guided by Taylor, who was RBGE artist-in-residence from September 2022 to February 2023. Participants will be taken on a guided sensory walk through the Garden followed by a discussion, focusing on the potential role for scientists, horticulturists, researchers and artists in a world of increasingly precarious soil health.
Taylor, who is keen to raise awareness of the importance of soil and issues surrounding soil health, explained: “ During my residency at RBGE I connected with staff and volunteers who care for our soil and their valuable input, along with the opportunity for me to collect soil samples from composting areas and study them under microscopes in the labs, gave me a valuable insight into this hidden world and translated it into works of art.
“Now the Art + Ecology Research Café will provide another avenue for reaching out to an interested audience and generate lively discussion and knowledge sharing about life beneath our feet.’’
The Café is one of a series being developed by RBGE’s Creative Programmes team alongside guest contributors such as artists Hannah Imlach and Natalie Taylor to extend the Garden’s existing botanical research community and research-led arts programme at Climate House. The aim is to create an environment for researchers with an interest in botany to share ideas and artwork or research in progress.
Explaining the link between the Living Soil exhibition, supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, and the Art + Ecology Research Café, Head of Creative Programmes Emma Nicolson, said: “Living Soil is a fine example of science and art fusing together to create an exhibition with a strong environmental message in an impactful way visually. Living Soil will provide researchers with lots of material for discussion and thought sharing.’’
Laura Chow, Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, said: “Our wonderful players have raised more than £4 million for Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh to support activities in science research and conservation, horticulture, education, and public engagement. This exhibition enabled by player support provides a fantastic opportunity to learn about the crucial role that soil plays in the ecosystem, inspiring new ideas and discoveries.’’
Living Soil, located on the ground floor of the John Hope Gateway, runs until Monday, May 29.
Similar news stories
Wed 22nd Nov 2023
Purple Bar moth is 1,000th species sequenced in landmark project
Tue 14th Nov 2023
Edinburgh Botanics retains Plant Healthy certification
Thu 9th Nov 2023
From Khao Sok to Castlebay, local schools celebrate biodiversity
Wed 18th Oct 2023
Revealing the true extent of tropical forest loss from rubber plantations
Explore our range of unique gifts and more. Every purchase supports the Garden.
Browse through our diverse range of formal and informal education programmes for people of all ages and at all levels
Host an Event
Explore our unique venues, suitable for every occasion
Discover a range of books inspired by the RBGE's work and collections