Inge Paneels

Inge Paneels

Mapping the Anthropocene: an investigation of cultural ecosystem services through artists’ engagement with environmental change in Scotland

The move ‘away from the map’ towards mapping in Art, at the start of the 21st century, has coincided with a broader ‘geological turn’ in the humanities. From the site-specific art of the 1960s and 70s Land Art, and the personal, identity politics of the 1980s and 90s, a more global, sometimes utopian, activism addressing environmental and political concerns has emerged.

Recent critics (Moyer/Harper, 2011- Morton, 2013 - Kinkle/Toscano, 2015) have made the argument for creative approaches to challenge capitalism in order to affect action on climate change. It is argued that this is an opportune time for artists not only to make connections and make visible the effects of climate change, and to engage with communities to find creative solutions and to create new knowledge but also to take an active part in a broader debate about climate action.

The New North as outlined by Smith (2010) will from the geographical focus of the case studies: the Arctic Council countries are witnessing and bearing the brunt of rapid and visible changes to its landscape, and its culture. The case studies will examine how artists are using the map as trope and employing mapping methodologies to chart climate change within the New North. The journey will start in Scotland, as a gateway to – and on the periphery to the Arctic states and will discuss projects in North America, Canada, Scandinavia, Iceland, Finland and Russia.

The use of several case studies will help to bring some of this theory into practice and to discuss how these projects raise environmental concerns, bring about new knowledge and create new networks.


Inge Panneels is and artist and academic who has used mapping in her artwork to explore notions of place and space. Most notable are the Liverpool Map commission for Museum of Liverpool (2011) and the Mercator Revisited project (2013-15). Her artistic practice (since 1998) has informed her theoretical research. Inge’s PhD Research is funded by the AHRC and is undertaken on a part-time basis (2014-19) whilst continuing to lecture and practice as an artist. The research is however entirely theoretical and not practice lead, instead focussing on other artists projects. She has been writing on the topic of why artists map since 2013, and has delivered papers at several international conferences, with an upcoming chapter in the Routledge Handbook of Mapping and Cartography (Routledge, 2017) edited by Alexander Kent and Peter Vujakovic.

The blog (started January 2017) records the research as it develops.