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Shimmering is an Australian Aboriginal concept that encapsulates all aspects of what makes an ecosystem healthy. It is “a process of encounter and transformation, not absorption, in which different ways of being and doing find interesting things to do together.”

~Deborah Bird Rose

This project is a collaboration between artist Dr. Marina Velez Vago and researchers from the Department of Earth Sciences, Madison East, Winnie Fang and Dr. Oscar Branson. 

 Looking at ecosystems together opened up cross-disciplinary conversations, which extended beyond the lab and the studio. The idea of ecosystem provides a lens to analyse environmental and social issues, including ideas of balance and working together as a way of building healthy societies, particularly in the face of climate change.

 Shimmering is fundamental to nature, and the collaboration between artistic and scientific research that resulted in this exhibit. The video shown here is made with moving images sent to the authors from across the globe, thus extending the shimmering metaphor to include diverse voices.

This is a collaborative video made with short clips sent by participants all over the world. The short clips reflect meditative moments where sun or light reflect on the water surface, acting as a reminder of water as an active, living element where ecosystems can form, and of human responsibility as guardians and witnessers of these forms of life.

In partnership with the Cambridge Festival, this meeting of disciplines and diverse voices will culminate in an exhibit, displayed in the Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences from 17th March – 2nd April 2023.  



USA, Root Glacier, Alaska; Bosque Del Apache, New Mexico; Lackawanna Coal Mine, Pennsylvania; Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska; Icy Strait near Hoonah, Alaska, Nina Elder

New Zealand, Juliana España Keller

Indonesia, Jonathan Brown

Australia, Sydney, Marcella East 

Portugal, Evgenia Emets

UK, Margate, Lucy Lyons

UK, London, Marielle Hehir

Canada, Vancouver, Margot Leigh Butler

UK, London, Sibylle Hutter

France, Côte Sauvage, Jane Boyer

UK, Exeter, Almudena Visser Velez

Germany, Stephanie Hanna

South Africa, Kai Lossgott

Mexico, Margot Leigh Butler

UK, Exeter, Almudena Visser Velez

South Africa, Thelma Mort

Argentina, Rio de la Plata, Andrés Carrica

Italy, Venice, Thale Fastvold

UK, St Ives, Susi Gutierrez

USA, Seatle, Amy Elizabeth Munnz

UK, Rowheath Park, Bournville, Birmingham, Kay Fuller

Australia, Adelaide, Shaun Deverson

UK, Cambridge, Ramzieh Munro

UK, Norwich, Bridget MacKenzie

Denmark, Arresø Kanal, Frederiksværk, Arresø, Vinderød, Kattegat, Tisvildeleje, Benjamin Holdstock

UK, Wales, Susie Olksac

Taiwan, Green island, Wei-Ning Fang and William Dorrien-Smith 

Australia, Balmoral Beach, Anna East

UK, Norfolk Coast, Annie Gordon

Italy, Mediterranean Sea, Giuseppe La Spada

UK, Kingsbridge Estuary, Richard Povall


Marina  is an artist, researcher and educator, with focus on sustainability, decolonising, and environmental issues. Marina’s research is informed by feminist theories, other knowledges, and art practice enquiries, and explores how art can create spaces for dialogical actions and  map out cartographies of experiences with which to cognise the self and the environment. The focus of her  research is value, which she approaches as an indicator of human behaviour towards other humans, non-human animals, and the environment. Guided by ethics of care, she employs photography, video and working-with strategies to map out value(s) and make visible traces of affect and kin in a multi-species nature continuum.


Madison, Winnie and Oscar work on the formation and composition of marine biominerals, including corals. Their work spans atom-scale observations of biomineral structures, to the fundamentals of crystal growth processes and biological mechanisms responsible for biomineral formation, to environment-scale patterns in mineral formation and dissolution. They are interested in the processes that drive biomineral formation and dissolution, how these are influenced by the environment. At the global scale, these biomineral structures contribute to the balance of the global carbon cycle, so understanding how they react to changing environmental conditions is a fundamental part of understanding and predicting future climate change.


Coral images credit Madison East

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