november, 2021

01nov17:4518:15K Nelson: The environmental tipping point17:45 - 18:15 Studio 1Event type:PresentationTopic:Ecological Grief


(Monday) 17:45 - 18:15


Studio 1

Event Details

Kathryn Nelson & Roy Nelson: The environmental tipping point: a necessary dialogue

This paper will concentrate on the ecological theory of regime shift, also known as the tipping point. Regime shift is concerned with the resistance and resilience of ecosystems to disturbance. Nature is expected to respond slowly and smoothly to any disruptive incident, but this is not always the case, instead there is often a sudden toppling of one regime to another. These fluctuations are often mass extinction events. My aim is initially to describe scientific research into the possibility of trophic cascade in the world’s oceans as keystone species are lost and the possibility of regime shift grows ever closer. From the scientific I will then move to the artistic and discuss a collaborative art installation: Chorale Lament. This collaborative project was created with the sound artist, Roy Nelson. Over-fishing, climate change and pollution in the seas around our coasts inspired the project. It details the drastic reduction of the fish population which in turn has increased jellyfish blooms around the British Isles. The project uses underwater sound from Strangford Lough, the cry of seals, and anthropogenic noise from St. George’s market in Belfast. Text and imagery have also been used to fully engage and inform the public. This paper will explore a trans-disciplinary framework, identifying scientific research as well as an artistic approach to the theme of regime shift. This has been achieved through an initial literature review and a critical appraisal of Chorale Lament. The installation was considered by the audience as attractive, but the main discussion point during the exhibition period was that the public were not aware of the theory of regime shift and how ecological communities can rapidly change due to human activities. These findings suggest that new ways of communicating are vital, to ensure that we are all fully cognisant of the full ramifications of the environmental crisis. We as a species must become a greener society, if we do not, every living creature on our planet is on borrowed time.

Roy Nelson will talk about underwater recording.

Speakers for this event

  • Kathryn Nelson

    Kathryn Nelson

    I am a PhD student at Queens University Belfast and a visual artist. My research is trans- disciplinary and investigates ecological knowledge dissemination through culture and visual art. I have presented my research at: Fifteenth International Conference on the Arts in Society: Against the Grain: Arts and the Crisis of Democracy - Galway (2020), Curating Europe: Arts and Culture Management Conference - University of Groningen, Netherlands (2020), Common Ground: Identifying Values(s) in Literature, Culture and Society QUB (2019), Opportunities and Issues in Re- wilding, Sheffield Hallam University (2019), British Ecological Society Annual Conference, Birmingham (2018), and Frontiers and Horizons in Ecology, QUB (2018) My recent exhibitions are: Think Ecos, Queens University Belfast (2020), Manmade, Millennium Courts Arts Centre, Portadown (2019), Uniform of Debris, Kinsale Arts Festival, Co Cork (2018), Eco-Sublime, International Biennial Paper Fiber Art, Taiwan, (2017/18), Maelstrom, Down Arts Centre, Downpatrick, (2016), Ebb and Flow, Ards Art Centre, Newtownards (2016), 1st Ecology and Evolution Ireland Conference , Sligo (2016), The Waters Edge, Market Place, Armagh, (2015/16), and Exploring Sublimely Ridiculous Antarctic, Millennium Court, Portadown (2013).


  • Roy Nelson

    Roy Nelson


    • Day 1
    • 31/10/2021
    • 16.00 Opening day events16.00 - 21.00Opening day events including keynotesSpeakers: Bayo Akomolafe, Beatrice Allegranti