Research


Environmental Resistance Publications

NAC – No Al Carbone

This project represents a collaboration with the activist group No Al Carbone (‘No to Coal’ or NAC), who are a group of environmental activists from Brindisi, Puglia, Italy. The NAC activists have a strong regional presence and for many years have been campaigning against unchecked industrial development in the nearby Brindisi Industrial Zone, which is four times larger than the adjacent city of Brindisi. The Industrial Zone is home to four coal-fired power stations, a host of petro-chemical manufacturing plants and bio-mass incinerators. Furthermore, it has been identified by the Italian government as an ‘Area at High Risk of Environmental Crisis’ (Law number 349/1986/art.1) and as a ‘Site of National Interest for Regeneration’ (Law number 426, 1998). The incredible quantity of pollutants present and their particularly  toxic nature have had a devastating impact on the health of the local population and ecosystems alike.

Almásfüzitő: An Index

The Almásfüzitő: An Index project was conducted in partnership with Greenpeace, Hungary, in order to protest against a licence issued by the Hungarian Environmental Protection Authority (April 2011), which granted a company named as TATAI permission to blend 166 toxic industrial wastes, and a further 244 non-toxic industrial wastes, into the already toxic red mud ponds of the the Almásfüzitő Aluminium Factory on the banks of the Danube.

At the time of the protest, Greenpeace was preparing a legal case for the EU Commission, in order to hold the Hungarian government to account for issuing a licence to process industrial wastes, which was thought to be in contravention of EU law. Almásfüzitő: An Index was printed and dispatched to twenty influential environmental scientists, EU politicians, representatives of the Hungarian government and EU officials, in a bid to raise the visibility of the environmental health threat offered by the TATAI operation. On 22 November 2013 the European Commission announced their intention to open infringement proceedings against the Hungarian government because of the waste management procedures ongoing at Almásfüzitő, thus vindicating Greenpeace.

Mynydd Parys & Afon Goch

Mynydd Parys & Afon Goch Amlwch is a reference to two distinct but inseparable locations, situated on the island of Anglesey, North Wales. The Afon Goch Amlwch River (or the ‘Red River Amlwch’) is a small ‘ecotoxic’ water channel, not more than a few feet in width, which is formed from leachate that gathers in the underground tunnels of the historic copper mine Mynydd Parys (or ‘Parys Mine’). Emerging in the lower slopes of Parys Mountain, the Afon Goch Amlwch River flows on land for some two kilometres, before passing through the town of Amlwch and into the Irish Sea. This small watercourse provides ‘the single largest source of copper entering the Irish Sea’ with the result that the Afon Goch Amlwch River is one of the most highly concentrated toxic water channels in the UK. This web gallery represents a condensed and simplified depiction of the realised project; originally mineral samples were taken from within the frame of the image, and those results were compared with environmental quality standards.

Conohar Scott Publications

Dr. Conohar Scott is a lecturer in photographic theory and a practicing artist at the School of Film & Media, University of Lincoln. Dr. Scott’s research interests concern the representation of environmental despoliation in photography, and the application of art as a tool for environmental advocacy. Dr. Scott is currently writing a monograph for Bloomsbury Press on the subject of ‘Photography & Environmental Activism’, which is part of the ‘Photography, Place, Environment’ series edited by Liz Wells.

Photographing mining pollution in gold rush California (2017) Photographies, 10 (2). pp. 189-209. ISSN 1754-0763

This paper draws comparison between three photographers who documented the North Bloomfield Mining Co.’s (1866-1899) hydraulic gold mine, in California. The history of the North Bloomfield Mining Co. is of interest because of the role that photography played in promoting the interests of corporate capitalism, and conversely acting as an evidential tool for farmers whose lands were flooded by polluted tailings emanating from the mine. The company twice commissioned Carleton Watkins to document their undertakings; however, this paper argues that the aesthetic of the ‘industrial sublime’ originating in Watkins’ photographs obfuscates an understanding of the ecological realities of mining. Alternatively, this paper presents two lesser-known photographers, J.A. Todd and ‘Clinch’, who adopt a counter-aesthetic approach to Watkins. Todd’s photographs from the Woodruff vs. North Bloomfield [1884] trial were presented as evidence in the first collective civil action in US legal history, which pitched the interests of farmers against the corporate mining industry.

The eco-anarchist potential of environmental photography: Richard Misrach’s & Kate Orff’s Petrochemical America (2019). In: The Routledge Companion to Photography Theory. Routledge, UK. ISBN 9781138845770

Taking Richard Misrach’s & Kate Orff’s publication Petrochemical America (2012) as a starting point
for a range of debates, this paper argues that environmental photography has a crucial
role to play in bringing about an awareness of environmental ethics, which can aid activists
and autonomous groups such as citizen scientists in their struggle against industrial
pollution. Key to this debate is the definition of the term environmental photography as a multimodal
and collaborative genre of cultural production, which promotes the political values of eco-anarchist
theories such as social ecology, through the medium of aesthetics.

Environmental resistance: art for change. Collaborative working practices. In: Photographers and research: the role of research in contemporary photographic practice (2017). Focal Press, UK. ISBN 9781138844322

This is Illustrated article details the rationale behind collaborative working practices with respect to Environmental Resistance, from the perspective of the founding member Dr. Conohar Scott.

Will Mayes Profile

Dr. Mayes is a Reader in Environmental Geoscience in the faculty of Science and Engineering at the University of Hull. He specialises in a range of scientific research projects, which includes analysing the legacy of environmental pollution emanating from steelworks and mines in post-industrial locations. As part of his research, Dr. Mayes is interested in developing new technologies for resource recovery in industrial processes, and in the restoration of wetland and floodplain habitats which have suffered contamination. Dr. Mayes is also interested in public engagement with science and in inter-disciplinary collaborations.

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