Bonanza Creek LTER


Program name: In a Time of Change

Brief description of program/project development and components:

A network of visual and performing artists, writers and scientists has been actively working together since 2007 to integrate scientific and artistic perspectives on climate change in interior Alaska. These efforts have involved field workshops (Summers 2007, 2009, 2010) and collaborative creative processes culminating in public performances (2008, 2010) and a visual art exhibit (2010).

In 2011, Bonanza Creek was awarded a 2-year grant from the Joint Fire Sciences Program and the Alaska Fire Sciences Consortium for a new iteration, entitled In a Time of Change: The Art of Fire, which include field workshops for 9 visual artists, a touring art exhibit, as well as amateur fire education graphic arts competition and other activities in 2011-12.

(More information on In a Time of Change: The Art of Fire can be found on their website.)

In 2010 a performance featuring original theatre, dance, readings and music was presented concurrently with an art exhibit event featuring original works by 24 Alaskan visual artists. This multimedia event was entitled In a Time of Change: Envisioning the Future.

An early college course was also offered to high school students in 2009 at a predominantly Alaska Native charter school, entitled Climate Change and Creative Expression, which integrated climate change science, creative writing, theatre and dance.


Relationship with core science, education, cultural programs at the site:

This series of projects has generated considerable enthusiasm within the artists and students involved, the public and participating scientists. It has created a growing consortium of Alaskan artists and scientists committed to 1) exchanging perspectives from the arts, sciences and humanities on future climate change scenarios 2) producing original work informed by these collaborations and 3) presenting these works to the public to promote awareness and understanding of the environmental issues facing Alaska.

System for sharing and archiving outcomes: Outcomes have been shared with the public through free stage performances and art exhibits, which have been documented in digital format and distributed to participants on DVDs. The process and product have been documented in part on the Bonanza Creek LTER website through photographs and descriptive narratives.

Funding: Supplemental funding through LTER, a grant from Alaska EPSCoR (NSF) for Engaging Alaska Native People in Resesarch, International Polar Year, University of Alaska Fairbanks Institute of Arctic Biology, U.S.D.A. Forest Service, Joint Fire Sciences Program, and other in-kind contributions from the Fairbanks Arts Association and other local organizations.

Impediments: Lack of consistent funding source

Future expectations and hopes:  Continue developing performances and exhibits of increasing artistic merit that includes more artists from around the state (beyond Fairbanks area) and enables deeper, longer-term collaborative processes with scientists.

Contact person(s): 

  • Mary Beth Leigh, BNZ LTER Arts/humanities outreach coordinator, University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF),