Habitus is a new art installation at Edge Hill University that questions people’s behaviour and its impact on the environment.

It has been created by award-winning artist Robyn Woolston, who was commissioned to carry out the work as part of the University’s 80th anniversary of the Ormskirk campus.

Joan Steele, the University’ s Curator, said: “It’s now a year since our new Arts Centre was opened and during that time we’ve had numerous exhibitions and events. We are striving to bring a lot more art and culture to the University campus, for the benefit of both our staff and students and the local community, so we were absolutely delighted when Robyn accepted this commission. To produce this piece is fantastic, she embraced the history of the University totally.

“The ethos behind the sculpture sits well with where Edge Hill is now. This year celebrating its 80th anniversary of being in Ormskirk and the changes and developments that have occurred in that time.”

Are we in the geological Anthropocene era?

HABITUS 9 medium

A scientist and artist will debate what the ‘Anthropocene era’ is and whether we are already living in it during an Edge Hill University event to launch the new Geosciences building.

Human activity on the planet is far reaching. Deforestation, urbanisation, agriculture and industrialisation has led to problems of climate change, pollution, habitat loss and species extinction, leading some scientists to suggest that we are living in a new geological period called the Anthropocene.

Dr Nigel Richardson, the University’s Head of Geography, explained: “Although many of these changes began 200 years ago, the scale and pace of the environmental impact has accelerated over the last 50 to 60 years and also coincides with significant growth in the human population and the global economy, which is why we believe we’re living in this new geological epoch.”

These topics will be discussed on 13th November in an open talk and Q&A with Dr Richardson and award-winning artist Robyn Woolston, who explores where art fits within this relationship.

Robyn has created Habitus (2013), a large-scale art installation on the Edge Hill University campus that explores environmental themes and contrasts past geological eras with the Anthropocene.

She said: “Habitus includes 12 factual signs showing geological eras, epochs and eons that cover millions of years. You can see words like Silurian, Devonian and Jurassic on signposts within the trees on the campus. When you look more closely you realise they are all pointing towards the Vegas style sign. This is because they all detail histories prior to the one we are currently living in. Everything that has gone before has lead us to our current situation. Whether financial or environmental the state of the world has been built upon layer upon layer of knowledge, rather like sedimentary rock. And so, the centre-point of the installation is the sign that reads in gushing words: ‘Welcome to the Fabulous Anthropocene Era’. A time unlike no other where we are faced with signs that reflect back to us the care with which we choose to look after the planet…or not.

“I’m excited to be able to premier this work as it provides an opportunity to raise the profile of a pressing environmental question within the context of a University.”

Those who attend the event will have the chance to listen to their ideas about the Anthropocene in more detail and will also be able to tour the new GeoSciences Building, which features a large lecture theatre, small group teaching rooms, a geology laboratory, Geo-information laboratories, and a large social area for our students. These facilities will help to ensure that students have an even richer and more rewarding experience.

The talk is free and open to all who are interested from 1pm to 2.30pm in room GEO101, GeoSciences building. The art installation will be open to the public to view until 20th December.

Interview with artist Robyn Woolston