Simon Read

Simon Read has for many years now played a pioneering role as an artist who works across many disciplines to engage seriously with environmental issues. This he does both directly by the way he lives (on a seagoing barge), where he works (teaching and researching in higher education at Middlesex University) and what he makes (drawings, plans, constructions, inventions), and through the people and organisations who seek him out for collaborations and partnership work. His sea-going life has equipped him especially pertinently for consultations on watery landscapes, coastal erosion, estuarine and shoreline strategies, for which he is determined to play a seriously artistic role as an inventor/intervener, not as a provider of aesthetic diversions. ‘ My point is that our understanding of where we are – landscape, land and so on – is very much a cultural construct and is one that we’ve inherited from the 18th century if not before.’

This drawing is part of a sequence of works reimagining the estuary landscape in the light of various futures as a consequence of climate change.

The threat and reality of climate change for the UK means that some local councils along with the Environment Agency, are forming plans for an energy efficient and low carbon future. The county of Suffolk, where there is already an experience of coastal land-loss, is especially active, aiming to be England’s ‘Greenest County’.  Simon Read, as a local resident, has been taking a leading role in a community partnership formed around the river Deben, and has contributed ideas around the enhancement of the river, and made proposals for restoration of its degraded saltmarsh