New RCN Art Thematic Group!

We are pleased to announce the formation of a further Thematic Group to help in taking forward an area of work within the RCN; this time on the relationship between wetlands and the arts.  This follows the previously-reported establishment of Groups on bio-cultural diversity and on agriculture & food heritage.  Other possible groups are under consideration.

The Arts Thematic Group will be led by Chris Fremantle, who is a highly respected and experienced producer, researcher and project manager working in the nexus between ecology, the arts, environmental sustainability and social policy.  He is supported by two other eminent figures in this field, namely David Haley and Richard Povall.

The theme addressed by this Group encompasses creative human responses to wetland environments, and the deeper understanding and engagement with these environments that can be fostered by this aspect of culture.  Art (including literature, performance art, visual art, socially engaged practices and the study of aesthetics) can reveal centuries-old wisdom about the natural world, as well as providing new contemporary forms of imaginative and interdisciplinary engagement in planning and management.

The Arts Thematic Group will be particularly concerned with widening knowledge and understanding about the profound role that the arts play today, and have played historically, in the relationship between wetlands and culture; and extending engagement of arts practitioners in the work of the Ramsar Convention.  The Group will contribute to the documentation and exchange of knowledge and advice on this subject; promoting a better appreciation of the value it adds to wetland management and policy-making on conservation and wise use.  We hope there will also be scope to catalyse new project activities and build influential new partnerships.

An initial core of experienced individuals have already volunteered their involvement in this Group.  Any other RCN members interested in making a contribution to its work are invited to contact Chris by emailing .  We look forward to an exciting new chapter in the work of the Network!

By Dave Pritchard

© Image 'Ice Books' courtesy of Basia Irland, 2009