Tuesday 17 October – 1pm
Room 204 – CLAS, Second Floor, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, CB3 9DT

“Art – Ecology” Through the Lens of Global Humanities: How Do We Reconnect with Poetic Knowledge?

Weiyi Wu (Nanjing University, Visiting Fellow CRASSH, University of Cambridge)
Chair: Joanna Page (Director of CRASSH, University of Cambridge)

The alliance between Art and Ecology enables both disciplines to renew their knowledge and methods, which contributes to the blossoming of environmental humanities. However, this alliance confirms rather than challenges the binary of nature and culture. Rather than combining the two kinds of knowledge, perhaps we could imagine a new knowledge, or to be more precise, reconnect with the old but forgotten poetic knowledge in which “making” (poiesis) is perceived as intense involvement with the world and hence “in the creation and reception of art the embodied subject is fully at home with his or her environment” (Paul Crowther 2001).

This talk starts by interpreting the literal meaning and pedagogical implications of poetic knowledge, followed by a brief presentation of the researcher’s previous projects on landscape art and works-in-progress on botanic art. Special attention is given to transmutations of these genres as practitioners and their works travel across continents. Based on these case studies, the researcher argues that poetic knowledge is not only indigenous but also shared, mixed and regenerated in the historical process of globalisation. In view of this, we should reexamine the “Art – Ecology” alliance through the lens of global humanities which constitute an integral part of poetic knowledge. In this sense, the crafting of global humanities synchronizes with the process of reconnecting with poetic knowledge which is not about retrieving lost traditions but bringing forth what has always been within the practice of knowledge production.

* Paul Crowther. 2001. Art and Embodiment: From Aesthetics to Self-Consciousness. Oxford University Press.

Weiyi Wu is an Associate Professor at the School of Arts, Nanjing University. She is currently a visiting fellow at CRASSH, carrying out her research project: “Variations of the ‘Hudson River Landscape’: (Re) mediation of Nature in American Modernism” funded by the Mobility Scheme of the Global Humanities Network (

Refreshments will be served after the seminar. The event is free and open to all.