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Futurelands2 Public Forum on Our Changing Relationship to Land at Kandos

The use and care of land is one of the most important issues we face today as a society. A public forum, Futurelands2 will be held in Kandos from 12-13 November 2016 exploring our changing relationship to land.

Futurelands2 is hosted by Cementa Inc and the Kandos School of Cultural Adaptation (KSCA), in partnership with MECO at Wollongong University and Sydney College of the Arts, the University of Sydney.

The forum will gather farmers, artists, custodians and scholars in the heart of regional NSW to lead this essential discussion, and invites visitors to engage in novel ways with the region’s natural and farming environments.

“We are bringing together speakers who are doing very interesting things in very different areas of investigation and facilitating a conversation between them,” said local co-organiser Alex Wisser.

“Local farmers, agricultural innovators, soil scientists, Indigenous historians and custodians, economists, entrepreneurs, writers and artists will explore the future of our relationship to land through discussions, tours, demonstrations and even food,” he said.

The weekend forum will feature a guided tour of Marloo, Mt Marsden – a degraded property being regenerated by Stuart and Megan Andrews employing Natural Sequence Farming techniques. This farming method was invented by Stuart’s father Peter Andrews at the celebrated Bylong Valley horse stud, Tarwyn Park, which featured on Australian Story in 2005, 2009 and 2015.

The Marloo tour will also include The Hemp Initiative, the first land-based art residency of the newly-formed Kandos School of Cultural Adaptation (KSCA), developed in partnership with Stuart Andrews. The partnership is enabling artist Gilbert Grace to grow and harvest a crop of hemp that will be used to make artworks for the Cementa17 art festival.

“This is not about artists appropriating agriculture to make art, but about artists drawing out the culture in agriculture”, says Gilbert Grace.

“Many people don’t know that hemp has hundreds of uses as a sustainable agricultural, industrial and food product. The Hemp Initiative is highlighting just a few of these, and inviting the public to imagine what economic opportunities hemp might spark in rural Australia,” he said.

Speakers include keynote Bruce Pascoe, Indigenous historian and NSW Premier’s Literary Prize winner and author of Dark Emu. Pascoe will discuss his groundbreaking account of Australia’s unrecognised Indigenous farming heritage, and his crowdfunded initiative to pilot native flora as commercial agricultural crops.

Guests will be treated to a gourmet dinner hosted by celebrated forager and artist Diego Bonetto, working with Chef Joey Astorga. This unique culinary experience will be created from wild food and weeds collected from the local environment.

On the second day, the sandstone pagodas of Ganguddy/Dunns Swamp (Wollemi National Park) will provide a majestic setting for a talk by esteemed environmental scientist and author Haydn Washington on Australia’s eco-sustainable future.

Other speakers include:

  • Local Wiradjuri man, Larry Towney will explain his current work with landholders and state parks, using traditional Aboriginal cold burn techniques to restore fertility and control bush fire hazard.
  • Mark Branson and Shiobhan Isherwood of CWP Renewables will discuss the recent approval of a 135 MW wind farm at Crudine Ridge, about 20 km from Kandos.
  • Award winning Landcare land steward Jill Moore-Kashima (Uralla) and Mackay based sugar-cane farmer and Nuffield scholar Simon Mattsson will discuss their pioneering work enhancing soil health and productivity.
  • Economist Gerda Roelvink (Uni of Western Sydney), disruptive entrepreneur Adam Blakester (Starfish Initiatives, Uralla) and Dungog Festival director and Shire Councillor Tracy Norman will share their ideas about how our economic relationship to land is changing.
  • Philosopher Jason Tuckwell will explore the relationship between nature and creativity.
  • Artists Ian Milliss, Gilbert Grace, Lucas Ihlein, Diego Bonetto, Alex Wisser, and Laura Fisher will discuss the foundation of the Kandos School of Cultural Adaptation (KSCA). As Wisser states “KSCA was established in 2015 to provide a platform for an expanded concept of art that includes any culturally innovative activity”.
  • The Material Ecologies Research Network (Uni of Wollongong) will host an open air discussion at the Dunns Swamp/Ganguddy camp ground on how arts based knowledge is inspiring fresh approaches to farming and ecology. This inclusive discussion will be led by a stellar group of writers, artists, farmers and educators including Su Ballard, Lucas Ihlein, Kirsten Bradley (Milkwood) and Artist as Family.

For further information please visit this page, and to purchase tickets please click here.

Futurelands2 is generously funded by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.