Making poetry to invent policy: the practice of Helen Mayer Harrison and Newton Harrison.
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FREMANTLE, C. 2008. Making poetry to invent policy: the practice of Helen Mayer Harrison and Newton Harrison. Presented at the 5th biennial Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment conference (ASLE 08): activism, apocalypse and the Avant-Garde, 10-13 July 2008, Edinburgh, UK.
Helen Mayer Harrison and Newton Harrison, the eminent conceptual and ecological artists, have prophesied environmental crisis and imagined alternative futures since the early 70s. Their work is storytelling for the future. Starting with the questions 'How big is here?' and 'How long is now?' the Harrisons, imagine ways of living which consider the eco-cultural wellbeing of the whole ecology. Their work is underpinned by extensive knowledge of many disciplines. It always involves contributions from experts and lay people. It is underpinned by whole systems thinking, and yet operates at one level as conversation. The Harrisons have influenced town planning policy in Holland, and their recent work Greenhouse Britain has been funded as part of DEFRA's Climate Challenge Fund. Fremantle will examine the role of the artist, with particular reference to the Harrisons, in environmental policy. This paper will consider the multiple strategies at work within the Harrisons' practice including the verbal, the visual and the dialogic.