Vanessa Reid - Cape Farewell - The cultural response to climate change

Vanessa Reid


Rural Artist Residency Programme, Artist-in-Residence 2014 / 2015

Nessie Reid is a political ecologist focusing on food sovereignty, food waste and organic agriculture in the South West of England, proposing the need for radical systemic change within our current food and farming system: one which is becoming increasingly unsustainable, and unhealthy, for both planet and people. Based in Bristol, Nessie is Co-Director of This is Rubbish, a community-interest company, aiming to communicate the preventable scale of food wasted in the UK, through policy research, community and arts led public events. She is co-coordinating ‘Counting What Matters’: a campaign to engage one major grocery company and four MPs in committing to piloting and advocating a one year food waste audit. She is part of the internal core team for Beacon Farms: a Community Benefit Society training a new generation of sustainable food producers on Bristol’s fertile Blue Finger land.

Her interest in the link between agriculture, ecocide and climate change emerged during field research for the ICCA Consortium in India, the Philippines, and Indonesia. Over these three years she witnessed the catastrophic ecological damage caused by large scale intensive agriculture – namely oil palm – and the displacement of local and indigenous communities as a result. As Managing Editor for Biodiversity – a Journal of Life on Earth: a quarterly, scientific publication from Biodiversity Conservancy International, this role keeps her updated with wider, global ecological perspectives. Having received a research scholarship from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) Nessie researched the role indigenous art in preserving diasporic Tibetan culture and religion in Himachal Pradesh, Northern India and Nepal. With thus far predominantly theoretical artistic practice, Nessie is now turning her energies to a more applied artistic practice, currently designing and creating an exhibition and research project on the future of milk in the UK as Cape Farewell’s 2015 Rural Artist in Residence.

Nessie will be working with farmers from the Cerne valley and its surrounds in Dorset: an AONB, Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, bringing their stories and experiences to the table, as well as linking the exhibition to Beacon Farms, This is Rubbish and the wider Bristol European Green Capital 2015 sustainable food and waste strand.