Running from Wed 5 Jun to Sat 31 Aug, Manchester Poetry Library’s captivating new summer-long exhibition Landscapes of Change blends poetry and science to unpack the existential impact of the growing climate emergency with a programme of films, multilingual verse, spellbinding illustrations and more, inspired by the curators’ visit to the arctic climes of South Greenland in 2023.

Here are some of the exhibition highlights.

Photography from Greenland

Following their trip to Narsaq, South Greenland in September last year, scientists Kathryn Adamson and Lestyn Barr alongside poet Helen Mort present a stunning collection of images taken during their research and work with the local community, including photographs of their project in action and breathtaking panoramic shots of Greenland’s ethereal vistas.

The Singing Glacier (Film)

Created as a collaborative response to the hauntological wonder of East Greenland’s dramatic glaciers, this original audio-visual work combines instrumental compositions by composer Bill Carslake with new poetry from Helen Mort and video taken by film-maker Richard Jones, inspired by their joint exploratory climbing expedition to Kulusuk in 2016.

Poetry Broadsides

Featuring illustrations by gifted Manchester School of Art student Ysabel Hinrichs, Manchester Poetry Library unveils a gorgeous limited-edition hand-printed poetry broadside, developed exclusively for in partnership with Manchester Met students.

Visitors to the exhibition will be able to see the illustrations on display and pick up a keepsake featuring the poems and illustrations.

Samples/notes from the scientists and Helen Mort’s poems from ‘In The Field: Notes from Narsaq’

Throughout the duration of the exhibition, guests can enjoy unrivalled insight into the impact of climate change through a fascinating display of the scientific equipment and innovative approaches to monitoring used in Narsaq, alongside a series of deeply affecting poems written by Mort in response to their findings.

Poet Helen Mort said of the process: “As I worked alongside Kathryn and Iestyn, I was fascinated by their data collection process. We had to wade out into the centre of a chilly, murky lake. The mountains watched us, impassively. Kathryn and Iestyn were using a piece of equipment called a Russian Corer (or Peat Sampler) to push down into the floor of the lake in the hope of retrieving a sediment sample. Sometimes this task would yield a promising looking section of mud, sometimes the location wasn’t right, or the sample broke too easily.

Either way, they wouldn’t know what the sample revealed until much later, after laboratory analysis. It reminded me of what it’s like to be a creative writer working with the imagination: you’re always excavating, sampling, searching, but you never quite know what will emerge. Both activities require a degree of faith. I tried to document my experience of being an observer in Narsaq (both as someone who was watching scientists at work and as someone visiting the community as a tourist) and my notes became a series of poems which I called ‘In The Field’.”

Postcards to and from Greenland

As part of a broader mission to connect communities and spread environmental awareness, Helen, Kathryn and Lestin invited friends, family, students and staff from Manchester Met to write postcards to a secondary school in Narsaq, celebrating the best of their local environment. Students in Narsaq wrote messages back, and both sets of cards are on display throughout the exhibition.

Visitors will get their own opportunity to send a postcard to Greenland, with poems, greetings, questions and even illustrations encouraged.

The exhibition preview on 4 June (5.30-7.30pm) will include contributions from the team behind the research, along with a reveal of a limited-edition hand-printed poetry broadside co-created with Manchester Met students and staff for the occasion.

Click here for more information.

The Landscapes of Change exhibition is part of a diverse programme of public events hosted by Manchester Met to celebrate its 200th anniversary.

See what’s coming up across its venues in May / June here and join the mailing list to keep up to date with the latest events from the Faculty of Arts and Humanities.

A Manchester Wire Partnership post
Wed 5 Jun - Sat 31 Aug, Manchester Poetry Library,
Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, M15 6BG
Wolf McFarlane
Published on:
Fri 31 May 2024