Under Her Eye Fellowship

Martha Cattall
Department of History of Art
University of York



Over 4 days in April, a group of 15 female PhD researchers and artists came together for the ‘Under Her Eye’ Fellowship, in the coastal town of Scarborough.

Under Her Eye: Women and Climate Change  (to use the full title) is an upcoming conference at the British Library (1-2 June 2018) organised by Invisible Dust; an organisation who work with leading artists and scientists to produce unique works of art and new scientific ideas exploring themes of environment and climate change.

The conference will include an international array of around 40 all-female speakers – including Caroline Lucas, Margaret Attwood, Mel Evens Laura Tenebaum and many more!

The fellowship, inspired by its Ambassador Margaret Atwood, brings together women researchers and artists from different disciplines, who are engaged with issues of climate change, providing a platform for collaboration, an intense training weekend and the opportunity to participate at the upcoming Under Her Eye conference in June.

The fellowship weekend included a variety of speakers from various disciplines, which encouraged a re-framing of our current research approach and public engagement strategies to include a more interdisciplinary style.


We heard from a number of artists across the weekend, which showcased the visual intersection that is offered by the incorporation of environmental or scientific thought within the artistic lens. Laura Harrington, was one such artist, and she screened her film Liveliest of Elements, 2015, which through careful sound recordings and recorded material, explored as Harrington states ‘ [the] insignificance, fragility, shifting energy and an embedded immersion with nature.’ It offered a mesmeric watch that highlighted the sublimity of nature, on both a micro and macro scale. Also, the  artist Gayle Chong Kwan  spoke to us about her artistic practice and methodology, and introduced her Sensory Banquet which will be be staged on the second day of the conference. This sounds really exciting and will take the form of an edible feast, staged in order to get people to consider their environment and position as a consumer through the lens of food. Below can be seen an example of a past Sensory Banquet at Normanby Hall and Gardens, 2017.

One of the most interesting workshops across the weekend, was Communicating Climate Change delivered by Professor Julie Doyle, Director of the Centre for Spatial, Environmental and Cultural Politics, University of Brighton.  We examined various examples of climate communications, exploring their effectiveness in each case. This session really encouraged  me to think more deeply about the ethics and audience when creating or using climate communications in order to make sure that the most relevant visual vocabulary is enacted.

As well as talks from artists and academics we were given invaluable workshops on public speaking and funding; both really useful in building knowledge in areas that will aid in personal development. Alongside the workshops and talks, one of the best things about the weekend was getting to know a wonderful and inspiring group of women, who I look forward to seeing again at the conference and working alongside on future collaborations that may occur.

A huge thankyou to WROCaH and Invisible Dust without whose help, participation would not have been possible.