Becoming Earthly 2022 

5th Nov · Dawn Hawkins

Becoming Earthly is an online experimental learning space for artists/arts practitioners.


An open call for applications: connecting the arts and environment

Key Dates in 2022: 14 Jan; 21 Jan; 28 Jan; 11 Feb; 25 Feb; 11 Mar

DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS: Monday 29 November at 5pm

What does it mean to perceive our condition as a fragile temporary state of being, wholly dependent upon the natural systems that surround us?

Becoming Earthly is an online experimental learning space for artists/arts practitioners that are interested in addressing this question in co-relationship with the Barn.

At the Barn, we have been focusing our 25 year-long exploration of arts and environmental awareness as a process of learning and thinking through doing in the form of experimental artwork, shared discussion, and participation, which increasingly connects with a diverse range of age groups, nationalities, and identities.

Becoming Earthly 2022 sessions will be held from January to March 2022. Content and activity of the programme will be anchored around the following pairings which will act as provocations or openings into ecological awareness and climate crisis, not just as concepts and ideas but also as a consideration of the aesthetic and bodily plains of feelings and perception.

The four pairings are:

  • Gravity and Movement
  • Doubt and Pleasure
  • Lament and Improvisation
  • Shame and Play

Becoming Earthly 2022 will be the second iteration of our online programme of six sessions, each 2 hours in length, delivered via Zoom. Four sessions will be hosted by different thought leaders. This year the leaders include Emeritus Professor of Palaeobiology Jan Zalasiewicz; artist, writer and researcher Dr Amanda Thomson; artist, curator and researcher Dr Sophie Hope; and anthropologist and feldenkrais practitioner Dr Paolo Maccagno. These sessions will be introduced by curator and Head of Creative Programme at the Barn, Simone Stewart and members of the Becoming Earthly Steering Group (listed below). A final session for a work-in-progress/ideas sharing will be determined collaboratively by the core participant group.

It is hoped that Becoming Earthly 2022 will both develop the work and thinking of individual participants and lead to the creating of new work within a supportive network. Places are limited and subject to an application process.

Find out about how we developed Becoming Earthly and what resulted from the 2020 programme here:

Who might want to take part in Becoming Earthly 2022?

Artists interested in collaborating across art-form including visual artists, dancers, musicians, theatre makers and associated practitioners, who are open to the challenge of connecting the arts with the environment in its current crises (see Context). It is not necessary to have prior experience of art and ecology/environmental awareness, but essential to be curious about exploring new forms of work through dialogue.

We want to encourage applications across all artforms and roles (artist, producer and/or curator). Our experience to date indicates that one aspect of the challenge is that of involving the public in innovative ways, as experts, as explorers and as curious participants. We will consider applications from duos, collectives, and ensembles, as well as individuals.

Time commitment

Six sessions will take place online on Fridays 2.30-4.30pm on the following dates:

  • 14/1/2022
  • 21/1/2022
  • 28/1/2022
  • 11/2/2022
  • 25/2/2022
  • 11/3/2022

Successful candidates are required to commit to all six sessions. There is some preparatory work between sessions.

Eligibility & Suitability

You must be an artist, curator and/or producer working as an individual, duo or group of artists. There are seven places available. Duos or groups will be counted as one place but all members can attend the sessions. We welcome applications from artists within the UK and internationally, although preference will be given to artists based in Scotland due to funding constraints. You can be at any point in your career and can have little or no experience of art and ecology. We are keen to select a group who will show diversity across artform. We strongly encourage artists of all backgrounds and identities to apply. Our primary interest is in how you imagine the challenge of Becoming Earthly.

While we are not in a position to support artists financially, our aim is to create the conditions to open up new innovative forms of practice that respond imaginatively to the challenges we now face. We hope that the hosting of an online learning space will allow for more flexibility for artists, balancing the programme with other work and caring commitments. We also hope that an online programme will encourage a broader diversity of applications, including rural and urban locations.

We recognise that online participation can be challenging, in particular to individuals who identify as disabled and/or neurodiverse. Please let us know about any special needs, as we may be able to put systems in place to support learning as far as the current limitations permit.

The learning space of Becoming Earthly supports free thinking, respect, tolerance, inclusivity, diversity and a commitment to a plurality of voices and diverse perspectives.


The Becoming Earthly programme is inspired by the thinking of Bruno Latour, philosopher of science in his collaboration with the Director of ZKM, Karlsruhe, Peter Weibel and their work on Critical Zones 2020. The Critical Zone is the thin skin of the Earth that is the atmosphere and topsoil on which all life depends. As artists and cultural organisations alongside scientists and active citizens, we are not necessarily prepared to meet the challenge to our imaginations and practices of how to live on Earth and to sustain organic life that is now threatened by human activities and behaviours. Figuring this as a co-operative venture is what the Becoming Earthly programme sets out to achieve.

Becoming Earthly 2020 became an experience of mutual support for artists and thinkers that have profoundly impacted the way the organisation has responded to the challenges of Covid-19 and the way it has embraced new ways of working. We are excited to be running the programme for a second time with a new cohort (group) and three new guest presenters.

Molly And Caroline © Jeni Reid Phosphorescence At The Barn 20

Image credit: Jeni Reid for Phosphorescence Festival at the Barn, curated by artists Lucy Cash and Luke Pel, who took part in Becoming Earthly 2020.

How to apply

Closing date for applications: 29 November at 5pm.

Application Form


Selection process

Applications will be shortlisted and a final selection made by the Barn team, the Becoming Earthly steering group and invited experts.

Please tell us the following:

• What question will you bring to the process of Becoming Earthly? (max 30 words)

• What difference will this opportunity make to my practice as an artist/arts collective/ensemble? (max 300 words)

During shortlisting applicants will be anonymous and it will be based on the most compelling answers to the first question. Please send applications via email with the subject: ‘Becoming Earthly 2022’ to and include your name, address, summary CV and a small selection of images/documentation of previous work.

We will accept up to 5 images/photographs and titles in a single PDF document and 1 video or audio as a YouTube or Vimeo link. All enquiries should be made to the same email address with the same subject.

Please confirm in your submission that you are willing and able to attend all six sessions. The deadline for applications is 29 November 2021 at 5pm.

In 2020, the number of applications far outstripped the number of places available in Becoming Earthly. If you made an application last time and where unsuccessful, we do encourage you to apply again.

About the Barn

For the last 25 years, the Barn has presented a rich and diverse cultural programme. Many artists have used our building, wild garden, walled gardens and the connecting allotments as a site of experimentation and thinking for arts and ecology. Long, sustained relationships with renowned artists such as John Newling and Newton Harrison, Helen Smith and Maja Zeco, have helped our organisation to develop and lead the conversation around arts in rural environments in the 21st century.

The recent Covid-19 pandemic and the planetary emergency - the combined catastrophes of climate change, mass extinction and a degradation of ecosystems - has prompted the Barn to move into a prolific period of artistic creativity to explore, interrogate and reconcile our relationship to the climate crisis. John Newling and Newton Harrison significantly expanded our thinking through their residencies in 2015-17 and 2017-19 respectively. The Barn, grew out of a series of interwoven ecologies; different groups using our spaces and environments in a range of overlapping ways, each altering and transforming as people and circumstances changed. In this way, the Barn can be understood as an ongoing experiment in art and environmental awareness. As such our organisation is in a unique position to share, collaborate, inform and connect thinking with artists during this moment of global change.

The Becoming Earthly Steering Group includes; the Barn’s Senior Management Team: Simone Stewart, Victoria Layt, Cath du Preez; Professor Emeritus Anne Douglas, artist researcher and Trustee of the Barn; Chris Fremantle, Research Fellow and Lecturer at Gray's School of Art, Director of ecoartscotland; Mark Hope, co-founder and Trustee of the Barn.

Read more about Becoming Earthly 2020 and what resulted out of it here.