Vanuatu is an island nation, made up of an archipelago of 83 islands and a population of 280,000 people. The Ambae residents number around 10,000. The recent activity of the Manaro volcano has produced thick ash and gas over the island, destroying crops and contaminating water supplies.
The situation in Ambae has been deteriorating in recent weeks, with little media coverage to highlight the urgency that the local population face.
TAA advisor Kate Genevieve chroma.space wrote a detailed article in the Independent about the crisis in Ambae titled The human dimension of evacuation. This is a very informative essay, highlighting the efforts that small organisations like Further Arts are making to help people on the ground.
Sadly yesterday it was confirmed that the relocation of the people of Ambae will start on the 1st June. Now it is known that the people will be evacuated from their homes permanently to the nearby islands of Maewo, Santo and Malekuta.
The Vanuatu Council of Ministers has asked Further Arts to help the islanders record their stories as they make this move. This is a huge invitation to continue the work that the NGO has been doing around deep listening and communication since the Volcano evacuations last September.
Since the first symposium in 2016, a number of projects have emerged and are continuing to take root and grow. This symposium is all about building on this work and connecting on the themes of urban sustainability and cross species habitation. Here is some of the synopsis:
The urban built environment has largely been considered and constructed as a human habitat although we share these spaces with many other species. Urban Growth is placing pressure on natural and modified habitats changing the way we cohabit with other species in cities, towns and suburbs. Retention, modification and recreation of habitats requires new perspectives about how we share these spaces with more-than-human others. Our collective wellbeing is at stake, both for allowing urban life to thrive and human wellbeing gained from the relationship with our domestic and wild biota.
Tracey will be looking after the cross-media for the event and curating the art exhibition. Up to the event we plan to share some of the research and activities leading up to the symposium.