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About Us

The Centre for Contemporary Art and the Natural World (CCANW) is an innovative educational charity focused on exploring new understandings of our place within Nature through the Arts. Since 2013, it has delivered its programmes through partnership working and is increasingly working Internationally.

At the end of 2015, CCANW accepted an invitation from Schumacher College to relocate from the Innovation Centre at the University of Exeter to the Dartington Hall estate in Devon. At Dartington we are now part of a new family of art and ecology organisations incorporating ‘artdotearth’ and the Research in Art, Nature and the Environment (RANE) group.

The Soil Culture programme which had preoccupied us at Exeter since 2013 has now ended and is documented in a publication. Our completed programme at Haldon Forest Park and Exeter since we opened 2006 is archived on this website. For the time being, we continue to curate exhibitions at the Innovation Centre which is open weekdays from 9am-5pm. (Buy the SoilCulture book)

CCANW is pleased to acknowledge support for its recently-completed Soil Culture programme from Arts Council England, Heritage Lottery Fund and South West Soils.


A note about the website

This is our new website, and it’s still very much in development. So please bear with us if some of the edges are a little untidy. Much of the archive is still not available here, but will be over the coming weeks.


Our partner


Research partner




Books, art & more

CCANW Membership

CCANW operates a joint membership scheme with art.earth offering services and discounts. Membership is also a way to demonstrate your support for our work.

As a member you gain access to privileged information, to professional opportunities, and to special pricing (including a 10% discount on all events, including our renowned Conference/Summits and residential short courses).  First Fridays will remain open to all, but if there is an appetite from members, we will organise special events and gatherings. It’s up to you, really, to tell us what you’d like and how best we can galvanise and support this community of artists and thinkers who have dedicated their work to the natural world and the environment.

Please join!



CCANW also nominates a number of artists each year to become an Associate Artist or Curator; we work with partners art.earth and RANE to nominate new Research Associates.


CCANW’s current exhibition at the Innovation Centre, University of Exeter continues from Monday to Friday until 28 April and features the work of the Land Art Generator Initiative whose collaboration with ecoartscotland was awarded the 2016 Nick Reeves Award. The Award is made annually by the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) in association with CCANW. Read the article published in the February 2017 of ‘The Environment’ CIWEM’s magazine.

The Innovation Centre is open from 0900 to 1700 on weekdays.

Visit our shop for work for sale from previous exhibitions.


Forthcoming projects

CCANW’s ambitious new programmes increasingly involve partnerships and international working, some of which have been developed from projects first piloted in its former spaces in the Haldon Forest and the University of Exeter.

We are already involved, together with our partner organisation artdotearth, RegenSW and ecoartscotland, in the ‘Power Culture’ programme. This has involved the international summit at Dartington Feeding the Insatiable last November and the showing of our current exhibition on the work of the Land Art Generator Group at the Innovation Centre, University of Exeter ‘Renewable Energy can be Beautiful’ which continues until 28 April. (NOTE if you’d like to find out about the next PowerCulture symposium in November 2017 make sure you’re on our mailing list)

This May, Clive Adams, CCANW’s founding director, has been invited to an UNESCO International Workshop in Venice to speak on how artists address the challenges that face our waters today and to launch our new Water Culture programme.

The workshop ‘Towards a Global Network of Water Museums’ brings together directors of Water Museums and Interpretation Centres from around the world. Our aim will be to show how the arts can engage people with environmental issues and to create more opportunities for artists in the future. This will include artist residencies on Certosa Island in the Venetian lagoon, organised by the artist Maria Rebecca Ballestra.

Next year, we will be hosting the Global Nomadic Art Project UK during 3 weeks in May/June at Dartington, in collaboration with YATOO-the Korean Nature Artists’ Association. An Open Call for participation will be announced later this year. Successful GNAPs have recently been held in India and South Africa and will be held elsewhere in Europe during this year.

CCANW has had a long engagement with South Korea and with YATOO. Last year they together signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Korean Environment Institute and will soon announce long term plans to work together with Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology on their Science Walden Project. We have also proposed an exhibition of the work of YATOO since its founding in 1981 to be shown at the Brunei Gallery at SOAS, London in 2020.

In 2019, we are planning a contribution to the centenary of the Forestry Commission through a partnership with Timber Strategies and the Timber Research and Development Association which will involve the making of a timber structure in the grounds of Dartington Hall, chosen from entries to TRADA’s university design competition in 2018/19. Part of this celebration will another in the series of acclaimed creative summits / international conferences organised by art.earth. This will take place at Dartington in June 2019.

Other ideas being explored include the development of arts programmes for botanical gardens around the world and a programme to accompany the 2022 World Congress of Soil Science in Glasgow, organised by the British Society of Soil Science  -one of the supporters of our Soil Culture programme.


Archive projects

Visit the Projects Archive

2016 Geumgang Nature Art Biennale (official Biennale site in Korean, in English)

2010 – 2016 SoilCulture

CCANW at Haldon Forest

CCANW Directors / Trustees

Clive Adams

Clive Adams

Founding Director

CCANW was founded in 2006 by its Clive Adams who started his career as a curator at Arnolfini/Bristol in the Seventies. Clive generally leads on our exhibitions programmes, developing International collaborations and on our mentoring services. In the past year he has spoken in South Korea, China, Belgium, Italy and Hungary. See/read Clive’s keynote talk ‘Sculpting Nature‘ delivered at the Sculpture Network’s XIV International Forum in Antwerp in 2016.

Read more…

Sally Lai

Sally Lai

Director / Trustee

Sally Lai is an independent curator, consultant and Co-Director of Feral Studio. She was formerly Director of the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art and has worked for Arts Council England and the Culture Team of London 2012amongst others. Sally is also currently on the Advisory Board of the Attenborough Arts Centre, University of Leicester and Black Artists and Modernism AHRC funded research project and is on the Steering Group of Visual Arts South West.
Dr. Daro Montag

Dr. Daro Montag

Director / Trustee

Dr Daro Montag is an artist, lecturer and researcher based at Falmouth University. In 2004 he established the RANE research group to examine relationships between art and the environment. Between 2010 and 2015 he led the MA in Art & Environment and is now Head of Marine and Natural History Photography. His work has been exhibited internationally and he became a director of CCANW in 2013.
Richard Povall

Richard Povall

Director / Trustee

Dr Richard Povall is a sound artist, researcher and educator and the founding Director of art.earth. His practice and research centre around the natural world and ecological systems and art practices. He has directed numerous companies and has taught and held Fellowships in Universities in the UK and US. Richard joined CCANW as a Co-Director in 2016. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and sits on numerous boards.

CCANW works in partnership with art.earth

CCANW tweets

First Friday this Friday at 1pm. We’re not in the usual location this week so check bit.ly/2nEK4TQ for details. Guest is Ben Altman pic.twitter.com/GdTG…

About 2 months ago from CCANW's Twitter via TweetDeck

art.earth tweets

CCANW Instagram

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Really looking forward to putting this show on, and you're invited! Perfect for any suffering withdrawal from Art Week Exeter #theartoffloodrisk #artdotearthnetwork ... See MoreSee Less

Private Viewing of "Green|Blue"

May 30, 2017, 6:00pm - May 30, 2017, 8:00pm

I would be delighted if you would join me for a Private Viewing on Tuesday 30 May, from 6-8pm. Access to the Chapter House will be via the west door. Please feel free to bring friends and colleagues,...

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From our partner art.earth ... See MoreSee Less

In Other Tongues

June 7, 2017, 4:00pm - June 9, 2017, 4:00pm

There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream, The earth, and every common sight, To me did seem Apparelled in celestial light, The glory and the freshness of a dream. It is not now as it hath ...

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If you're in the neighbourhood - it's this evening. Gorgeous work ... See MoreSee Less

Opening Reception: William Arnold, Myka Baum, Melanie King

April 21, 2017, 5:00pm - April 21, 2017, 7:00pm

OPENING RECEPTION for new show of work by William Arnold, Myka Baum and Melanie King. Complementary work by three artists exploring the natural world in depth. William Arnold's 'Tin-can Firmament' is...

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The Centre for Contemporary Art & the Natural World (CCANW) is a charity registered in England & Wales Co. No.1167039
Reg. address: The Old Postern, Dartington Hall, Totnes TQ9 6EL, UK
phone: 01453 762103 | email: info@ccanw.co.uk | www.ccanw.co.uk