Our Living Soil
Our Living Soil (OLS) is an arts programme designed to run alongside and complement both COP26 and the World Congress of Soil Science 2022 (WCSS 22). It is an amitious project designed to encourage engagement with soils in a wide range of audiences, particularly in the WCSS host city of Glasgow.
Throughout the lifetime of these two Congresses Our Living Soil will commission works of art, host exhibitions and plays, record podcasts and oral heritage, facilitate community green-space learning, reach out on social media, and, hopefully, create a lasting legacy for people to appreciate and enjoy for long after our parent Congresses are done.
On this page you will find more information about who we are, what we do, why we are doing it, and how we are going to achieve our aims.
Our Living Soil seeks to utilise art to engage with audiences with soils. Art communicates and engages people on a level that mainstream scientific communication often fails to match, it can introduce ideas and concepts in ways less intimidating, and help to educate without overwhelming. By using the fascinating topic of soils, by seeking to give inspiration, we aim to start the conversation about the true value of our soils, what they mean to us as individuals, as a society, and as a global community.
The World Congress of Soil Science (WCSS) is held every four years in different countries in partnership with the International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) and usually attracts around 3,000 delegates. Our Living Soil seeks to utilise the opportunity offered by this event coming to Glasgow to reach out into local communities. As soils play an important but poorly understood role in climate change, our programme will begin at the time of COP26, being held in Glasgow in November 2021.
The health of our soils is a topic that has rarely engaged the public in the way the cleanliness of our air, rivers and oceans and the conservation of endangered species has. Soil health, climate change, food production, biodiversity and water supply are all intrinsically linked yet all around the world soils are increasingly threatened by intensive management and short-termism, resulting in compaction, contamination, erosion and salinisation, together with loss of fertility, organic matter and biodiversity. In Scotland, the historic misuse of our iconic and internationally important peatlands is acknowledged in our current efforts to restore them as carbon sinks.
Our Living Soil is guided by a panel which includes Willie Towers, a Scottish soil scientist and member of the British Society of Soil Science for over 40 years and Alexandra Toland from Germany whose recent publication Field to Palette brings together over 100 artists and environmental scientists to discuss the state of the world’s soils.
In addition we have partnerships with other art/ soil organisations such as Soil Voices and Propagate.
For further information or to get involved please get in touch:
+44 (0)1234 752983
World Congress of Soil Science 2022 begins in