Skip To Main Content

Art and Ecology

A landscape graphic image on a light pink background. In the centre of the image, black text reads 'Art and Ecology,' in large black letters, forming an arch shape. Smaller black text, across the centre of the image reads 'recorded stories by Grand Union'. Small line drawings of various natural things, such as a radish, bugs, and butterflies are scattered around the image.

Art and Ecology Graphic, courtesy of Grand Union, 2024.

The Art & Ecology podcast series aims to bring together different ways of thinking about cultural and ecological problems to help broaden our collective understanding and to highlight the interconnectivity of the post-industrial world. Each episode focuses on broad ecological or social issues and features interviews from a variety of voices, sometimes with very specific knowledge. The aim of the podcast is to make this information interesting and accessible to everyone, so be assured you don’t have to be an expert to listen in. The series is part of Grand Union’s collaborative programme and engages with participants of The Growing Project as well as scientists, artists, and activists, both locally and internationally. It is funded by the Big Lottery Reaching Communities fund.

Episode 1

Episode one focuses on soil. Something we’re all so familiar with yet know little about. This dark brown or black substance holds the secrets to many of nature’s most important processes and houses millions of living organisms which contribute to our lives in a multitude of ways. We discuss Grand Union’s current Field Commission project with artist Asad Raza, hear about ways in which we can start to try and live with the toxic inheritance of the past, the architectural make-up of what’s underground and why it’s important to become custodians and carers of the dirt. 

The Art & Ecology podcast is a Grand Union production, this episode was produced, edited, and narrated by Matthew Cox with Thanks to Asad Raza, Dr Lesley Batty, Alys Fowler, and Jess Chadwick


Episode 2

In this episode we learn about Land Justice,  a struggle for social, racial, and climate justice that connects us all across the world, from Turtle Island to here in Birmingham. Our previous exhibition, We gather and dream of new congregations by Alberta Whittle interrogates both the historical and present legacies of imperial extraction that built and maintained Birmingham. Across her 18 month long project, Congregation (creating dangerously) Alberta engaged with various methodologies of (re)connecting with the land using gathering, and gardening as a means of resistance to the hostile environment. Our ongoing Growing Project works to heal land injustice in Birmingham, nurturing community gardens for vulnerable-housed people and those experiencing crisis. People who experience multiple marginalstions are far less likely to be able to access gardens and other green spaces, in this episode we talk to three incredible people, Helen Knott, Bill Tripp, and Laura Hackett about the intersections and interconnections of issues of Land Justice. You can read more about each of our guests below. 

The Art & Ecology podcast is a Grand Union production. This episode was narrated and co-produced by our intern Zoe Wakering along side Matthew Cox who also edited this episode. With thanks to Helen Knott, Bill Tripp, and Laura Hackett.

Helen is of Dane Zaa, Nehiyaw and Euro descent from Prophet River First Nations, Canada. She is an author, social worker, poet and activist, whose work explores a multitude of themes connected to indigenous experiences of land injustice, as well as journeys of healing from sexual violence and addiction.

Her work includes her first book, In My Own Moccasins: A Memoir of Resilience, which you can find here:

She has also created a documentary with CBC which further explores the link between violence against Indigenous women and violence against the land:

You can read more of Helen’s words and insights through her blog:  

Bill is the Karuk Tribe’s Director of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy, based in the Klamath Region of northern California. His work focuses on revitalising indigenous cultural burning practices and educating about their necessity for both the ecological landscape and for indigenous knowledge, practice and belief systems.  

The Karuk Tribe’s Endowment for Eco-Cultural Revitalization Fund is a crucial part of enabling the Karuk Tribe to tackle past and present injustices. It works to change land and water policies and ensure the survival of their cultural principles and practices that are so essential to the health of their land and people. You can donate to the Endowment Fund here:

More information about the work that Bill and the Karuk Tribe are doing to tackle climate change and advance Karuk knowledge and management principles can be found here:

You can also keep up with the Karuk Tribe’s work through their Facebook page:

Laura Hackett is an environmental campaigner and activist based in Birmingham. She co-founded the Bee Friendly Brum campaign to ban pesticides in Birmingham, is the Community Development Officer for Green and Growing in the Active Wellbeing Society, and has been involved in the Right to Roam Kinder in Colour Trespass. She works to try to find and model a process for communities in accessing land.

Below are some of the organisations that Laura has been involved with or supports. 

Right to Roam:

Bee Friendly Brum: and and

We Go Outside Too:

Art And Ecology Resource List


Campaign groups

Videos and podcasts


  • In My Own Moccasins: A Memoir of Resilience by Helen Knott
  • The Book of Trespass: Crossing the Lines that Divide Us by Nick Hayes
  • Who Owns England? by Guy Shrubsole
  • Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer
  • Cultivating Food Justice: Race, Class and Sustainability by Alison Hope Alkon and Julian Agyeman
  • The Nutmeg’s Curse by Amitav Ghosh


  • Ellis-Petersen, Hannah. “Amitav Ghosh: European Colonialism helped create a planet in crisis.” The Guardian, January 14, 2022.
  • Norgaard, Kari Marie. “The Politics of Fire and the Social Impacts of Fire Exclusion on the Klamath.” Humboldt Journal of Social Relations 36, (2014): 73-97.
  • Kuehn, Bridget M. “Nourishing Native American Communities by Increasing Access to Traditional Foods.” Circulation 140 (November 2019): pp. 1679-1680.
  • Schlosberg, David and Carruthers, David. “Indigenous Struggles, Environmental Justice, and Community Capabilities”. Global Environmental Politics Volume 10, no. 4 (November 2010): 12-35.

Pearl, Alexander M. “Human Rights, Indigenous Peoples, and the Global Climate Crisis.” Wake Forest Law Review 53, no.4 (2018): 713-738.