Holy Island, England

This short film-poem (55 sec) was made by Ceri Morgan (prose-poet) and Pawas Bisht (documentary film-maker) last summer as part of a project led by Bisht entitled, 'Participatory Storytelling and Arts for Inclusive and Transformative Nature Recovery and People-Nature Connection'.

The film-poem was made following a site visit to Holy Island with Natural England, and came out of conversations around artistic/knowledge form(s), audience engagement, tensions between place-making and place-safekeeping, and the impact of climate change, including coastal erosion. In the final line, the sea is poised ready to swallow the island like an oyster/pearl.

Field notes were made (written, photographs, moving images) during a site visit that was also a participatory activity, featuring discussions with a community group, artists and colleagues working on sustainability and/or environmental history, and Natural England colleagues. Morgan then wrote a word-based prose-poem based on these notes and discussions, which Bisht combined with film footage he took on the day to make a film-poem. The method aimed to explore and experiment with forms that could be both art and criticism/research within geohumanities and environmental humanities.

The film-poem appears to be more effective than either the word-poem or the film on their own. It seems accessible in terms of speaking to a broad audience, and viewers have been very moved by it. Challenges were technical ones - how to write a prose-poem that would include an environmental message without 'telling' (something to avoid in creative writing), and how to make the film fit the text (this required extensive editing).

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