The Art of Socioecological Transformation

Harriet Hawkins, Sallie A. Marston, Mrill Ingram, Elizabeth Straughan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


This article uses two artistic case studies, Bird Yarns (a knitting collective engaging questions of climate change) and SLOW Cleanup (an artist-driven environmental remediation project) to examine the “work” art can do with respect to socioecological transformations. We consider these cases in the context of geography's recent interest in “active experimentations and anticipatory interventions” in the face of the challenges posed by the environmental and social uncertainties of the Anthropocene. We propose two dimensions to the force of art with respect to these concerns. First, it provides a site and set of practices from which scientists, artists, and communities can come to recognize as well as transform relations between humans and nonhumans. Second, it encourages an accounting of the constitutive force of matter and things with implications for politics and knowledge production. Through these two dimensions, we explore how the arts can enable forms of socioecological transformation and, further, how things might be different in the future, enabling us to explore who and what might play a part in defining and moving toward such a future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)331-341
Number of pages11
JournalAnnals of the Association of American Geographers
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 4 2015


  • art
  • imaginary
  • matter
  • publics
  • socioecological

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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