This episode is a part of the”Sustainability is a Buzzword” mini-season: a series of conversations about conservation, water, agriculture, creativity, and everyday life that took place in Paonia, CO. It’s the result of an artist-in-residence program at Elsewhere Studios.

Anna Macleod is a visual artist and independent researcher based in Leitrim, Ireland. Her work mediates complex ideas associated with contemporary, historical, and cultural readings of place through a variety of methods, strategies, and processes.

She employs quasi-scientific methods, interdisciplinary collaboration, performance, and socially engaged activism to critique contemporary landscapes and to build metaphoric spaces for re-imagining the future.

I had the pleasure of getting to know Anna and her work throughout the month I spent at Elsewhere. The woman is a wealth of knowledge on all topics surrounding water — it’s usage, history, religious and cultural relevancy across the globe, and more. We dig into all of it, plus how and why she built her socially engaged art practice as a full-time career. Listen above or on iTunes or Spotify.

Show notes

In this episode, we talk about:

  • how Anna’s ongoing series, “Water Conversations” came to be
  • Ireland’s history of social inequality and government inaction and how both have evolved
  • what gave her the confidence to leave teaching and become a full-time professional artist again
  • what drew her to socially engaged art and how she built a career in it
  • her nearly lifelong interest in politics and how that’s impacted her work
  • how artists in Ireland generally support and sustain their careers
  • how water is viewed ethically and socially in various regions across the globe
  • how our disconnection to water in developed countries makes us wasteful
  • her performance art
  • the role psychological disavowal has played in creating climate issues
  • how she relates to and communicates with people of differing opinions
  • how to conserve water in your garden and yard
  • how faith systems around water cut deep into the human psyche
  • how resources will have to be shared into the future
  • her process for choosing the formats for projects in various regions
  • how to be acutely aware if you’re at risk of appropriating culture or someone else’s work
  • her research and creation process

Resources mentioned in this episode:

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