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Shifting Identity

Prior to my artist attachment with Magnetic North I simply identified as a Scottish theatre maker. I’m six months in and I’m finding this is starting to shift. 


The purpose of my attachment was to integrate my recently completed MSc in Sustainable Rural Development into my arts practice. One way I identified of doing this was to focus on the divisive issue of rewilding in Scotland. This line of inquiry has lead me to discover a new network of artists, researchers and scientists, as well as reconnect with old colleagues and friends. It’s taken me to numerous rewilding projects across Scotland, to festivals, conferences, talks in community spaces and various SSIs (Sites of Special Scientific Interest). Its given me an insight into the conversations that are being had in the arts sector, and beyond, about rewilding, climate change, land management and land reform. 

For the first months of the attachment I was feeling a little lost, having come out of an academic process I was struggling to get back into a daily arts practice, I was missing the sheer amount of knowledge I would be fed every week, the journals and articles I’d digest across a breadth of subjects such as; renewable energies or biodiversity management. Suddenly that was gone.  It was only by talking to other artists that I realised I was at a new stage in an artistic process that I’d never experienced before. I had already reached what would normally be the end point in my research process, the next stage would be working in a studio, writing or devising new work. But I found myself at the beginning of my attachment and at the end of my normal artistic process. This, I’ve found to be hugely liberating. Terrifying but also liberating. It’s taken away the urge I’d normally have to identify a form, or a narrative. It’s given me the freedom to keep learning, keep researching, keep talking to people and find new ways to nourish my practice and feed my need for knowledge. 



This new found space has also allowed me to reflect on how I identify as an artist, am I still a theatre maker who happens to be feminist or is this shifting? Like most artists, I’m very aware of how sexism manifests in the arts sector and we’re very fortunate to be able to clap back and be listened to. But in what ways does sexism manifest in the environmental sector and how do we clap back? Well, this is my current focus, identifying ecofeminists, finding ecofeminist texts, examining the patriarchal narratives that dominate our understanding of land, environment and climate change in Scotland and creating opportunities to clap back. 

I think the best place to start is by identifying as an ecofeminist theatre maker.

Jenna Watt.