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Nil by Mouth

Wide Open is currently managing for the Crichton Carbon Centre a practice based reserach project investigating the way that creative practice has an impact on our relation with food production and consumption.

Food brings the debate about sustainable production and consumption into people’s lives in the most immediate of ways. Can artists and art help people to engage with these issues in a more meaningful fashion?

Many of us are currently under-informed about the issues driving the need for rebalancing the economic, environmental and social aspects of development. Nil by Mouth considers these issues by placing creative practitioners with different communities involved in sustainable food production and asking them to explore the economics of distributed, small or mid- scale operations and the environmental impacts on biodiversity and atmospheric pollution emanating from this scale and type of land use.

4 artists/artists’s practices have just completed the first of two periods of residency with Whitmuir Organic in the Scottish Borders, Scotland’s first community owned farm; Pitgaveny a 2000 acre mixed estate in Elgin; Croft Garden Cottage, a traditional croft on South Uist and Old Craigie Road Allotment, a community allot-ment in Dundee.

Prior to each period of residency the artists meet in open discussion with scientists working on the Food, Land and People and Environmental Change programmes within Scottish Government’s Strategic Research Programme (SRP) [www.knowledgescotland.org/strategic-research.php]. First and foremost this provides an opportunity for knowledge exchange. It has also created a vibrant network of inter-disciplinary practitioners with a common interest in evaluating sustainable practice in food production.

Nil by Mouth is a Crichton Carbon Centre project [www.carboncentre.org], funded by Creative Scotland and managed by Wide Open. Dr. Charles Bestwick [www.abdn.ac.uk/rowett/research/charles-bestwick.php] provides the point of contact with SRP.

Images: Cooking with Doughnuts by Robbie Coleman and Jo Hodges, the Nil by Mouth team and Pig feeding during Robbie Coleman and Jo Hodges first residency at Whitmuir.