'Art, Climate and Disasters'

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Upcoming Residency: Jen Rae

Jen Rae is a renowned interdisciplinary artist who will be joining the University of Wisconsin-Madison as an Artist-in-Residence in Fall and Spring 24-25 offering the course, “Art, Climate and Disasters.”

The arts have been extensively drawn upon in over the past decade to support communities devastated by wildfires, floods, storms, and drought, and more recently the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there is still much that is not known about arts and culture in disaster contexts including risk reduction, preparedness and response. Frequently perspectives from diverse and equity-denied groups (e.g. First Nations, youth, LGBTIQA2S+, disabled and multicultural, etc.) as well as from other sectors (e.g. arts & culture) are underrepresented in climate emergency and disaster management research, discourses, planning, and events. These groups assess risk differently and offer alternative expertise, perspectives and experiences that are beneficial to understanding and engaging with the cultural dimensions of the climate emergency. This course will explore the intersections of creative practice and transdisciplinary collaboration in disaster scenario mapping and preparedness in a localised context through individual and collaborative exercises.


About the Artist

Dr. Jen Rae is an award-winning artist and researcher of Canadian Scottish-Métis (Indigenous) descent living on unceded Djaara Country (Castlemaine) Australia. She is recognized for her practice and expertise situated at the intersections of art, speculative futures and climate emergency disaster adaptation + resilience – predominantly articulated through transdisciplinary collaborations, multi-platform projects, community alliances and public pedagogies. She is the Co-founder and Creative Research Lead at the Centre for Reworlding, Co-founder(with American artist Dawn Weleski of Conflict Kitchen) and Director of Fair Share Fare, a member of the National Task Force for Creative Recovery, and was awarded a prestigious 2023 Creative Australia Fellowship for Emerging and Experimental Art.

Jen creates and contributes to experimental multi-platform collaborative projects balanced with professional mentoring of other artists, public talks, workshops and deep socially-engaged projects with diverse partners and communities. Most relevant is her role as a core artist of Arts House’s prescient REFUGE project (2016-2022) – where artists, emergency service providers and communities worked together to rehearse climate-related emergencies exploring the impact of creativity in disaster preparedness. Relevant projects during REFUGE include the speculative fiction short film REFUGIUM (co-written with Claire G. Coleman); PORTAGE: SHELTER2CAMP in collaboration with 4 First Nations master weavers to co-build 6 life-size disaster shelters with over 120 community participants and partners; the FIRST ASSEMBLY OF THE CENTRE FOR REWORLDING event; and, the art exhibition RESURGENCE. All are grounded in First Nations knowledge systems and protocols, exploring themes climate, colonisation, disaster preparedness and intergenerational justice.