Imaging the Land International Research Institute
An initiative of the University of New South Wales (UNSW), the Imaging the Land International Research Institute (ILIRI) focuses on facilitating, investigating and promoting contemporary dialogue relating to imaging and imagining the land. The Institute works across a range of disciplines and incorporates visual, conceptual and theoretical approaches.
ILIRI provides residency opportunities for Australian and international artists, researchers in the arts and students at their Fowler’s Gap Research Station in the semi-arid area of western New South Wales.
As ILIRI observes, this region in Australia faces a number of challenges related to the lack of rehabilitation of former mining sites, particularly in relation to water pollution, soil contamination and vegetation impacts. In regional NSW some environmental problems also include derelict land, lead-contaminated soil, discarded mining equipment and unwanted tailings dams in the urban area. In addition, the 38,000-hectare property at Fowler’s Gap is far from major permanent water sources and the area has a history of soil degradation through over use in the pastoral industry.
The Institute focuses on these challenges, conducting artist led transdisciplinary programmes in consultation with local communities and experts. One of the aims of the research and residencies is to inform future state and Commonwealth initiatives in mine rehabilitation in order to achieve a more sustainable environment. ILIRI also has a teaching programme centred around engagement with the landscape at Fowlers Gap for undergraduate, postgraduate and research students in both UNSW Science and the College of Fine Arts.