I'm Rema Grace (pronounced Remma) a Cumbrian-Filipino multi-disciplinary artist, eco-critical thinker, participatory & community arts practitioner, lifelong carer, ally of all things queer, champion of (bio)diversity, myco-performer//singer, and Creative Director & Lead Artist of "Eco-Arts, Events, and Radical Imagination" not-for-profit startup Mycelium Thinking CIC. I’m currently funded by Art Council DYCP researching and deepening the connection between mycology and my art forms.
Creative Media Production (Art & design / film-making / music production) - Level 3 Extended Diploma, DDM (Furness College, 2014)
Full-time BA, Combined Honours: Media, culture & communications, film, & philosophy + year abroad art theory & practice - 2:1 (Newcastle University, 2018)
Part-time MA Creative Writing (2021, modular) - Lancaster University - Distinctions across board
Final MA portfolio - writing eco-psychology in fiction + representation of inequity & climate justice in text - Distinction
Cumbria University part-time (80 credits, PgC), outdoor & experiential learning, health & wellbeing (2022) - Distinction
Creative and therapeutic approaches to outdoor learning with teens (Graded 78), creative portfolio exploring writing as nomadic & therapeutic environmental inquiry (78)
Further CPD: Mycology Level 3 Online Diploma (2023) - Distinction
British Mycological Society Associate Member (2023)
Climate Change and Environmental Awareness (Level 2 Diploma)
Nature Connectedness Diploma, Derby University
Carbon Literacy Certification
Mental Health First Aid Trained & Outdoor First Aid, Safeguarding young people, Safeguarding
vulnerable adults, Enhanced DBS.
My niche overall artistic interest is 'mycelium as muse'.
I take inspiration from the "Wood Wide Web(s)" as a guide to enhance connections - both inside and out. A more sustainable, and truly flourishing future, needs strong localised networks and diverse communities working together in harmony. I want to empower and inspire people of all abilities to participate in the transition towards a 0 emission future, and make sure this is done in a way that is fun, empowering, and inclusive of all.”
Mistress OF THE MYCELIAL ARTS
"We Are All Fruiting Bodies of This Earth"
Mixed-media & poetic commission for Wordsworth Trust.
Guest Artist for Lottery and Arts Council funded "Saturation Point" (SAP) project (Oct 2022). Led an afternoon of mushroom ID, myco-poetry, performance, and outdoor wellbeing.
'Guided Visualization Journey of Mycelial Entanglement' in collaboration with Monster Monster DJ combining together songwriting, music, poetry & surreal meditation.
"Maybe We Should All DIe Once"
Zine // Pamphlet // Art object
40 graphic pages, designed & published Dec 2021.
Art-making to find gaps in dominant narratives, particularly drawing attention to mycology as a marginal science, queer ecologies, and minority perspectives.
Born into lines.
Rows of children singing hymns.
No doodling in science.
A room for grids and digits.
Another for flourishes on the page.
Beings kept in their pages.
There’s children looking,
be on your best behaviour.
I felt caged,
in those pages,
in those grey-ordered spaces.
a little scribble,
on a mental escape.
dynamic networks of interaction.
Endless flows between,
cascades of relations.
Instead, in boxes,
We create adults
that can’t be ecocentric;
they’re wearing the wrong lenses.
When inspected in isolation—
entangled life is straightened.
Then I found you.
No one ever taught me about you.
Underneath my feet on a rainy day.
Beneath me when I went to cry by the old oak tree.
And now you're being mapped, explored, given attention.
Mycorrhizal fungi are fundamental for ecosystem regeneration.
You challenge borders, weave below classrooms, in a non-binary fashion. Queer-ing ecology,
cool in your tree-talking,
Your ability to subvert (un)natural disasters.
You were always under the surface.
Waiting to embrace with your tangly strangeness.
Minority voices, scribble-minded dissidents, one nation(s)
wisdoms, fungal sentience. What beautiful cascades of change might surface when the underground becomes sacred?
Nomadic ecological tendrils have crept well into my sinews.
Our fungal dreams are bound to make oscillations;
you are the foundation of creation.
We are all fruiting bodies of this earth.
And our terrains are changing,
spores becoming hyphae, branching into networks,
pulsating with new myths.
Stop, look, listen.
We are the voice of the weirdos,
the so-called "weeds", the classroom-shirkers,
we're apollonian heart-breakers, the wild mycelial-elopers.
We speak in rhizomes, our soily synapses, snap together, shaking the foundations, mycelial cascades are waiting,
'Writing as a Method of Nomadic Inquiry''...writingis thinking, writing is analysis, writing is indeed a seductive and tangled method of discovery. Many writers in the humanities have known this all along...' Richardson
Recently awarded ‘Developing Your Creative Practice’ Art Council funding to research mycology and environmental science in connection with my artforms. Friday Flash Fiction contributor, Sonder zine, Another Strange World anthology, Hot Poets Climate Poetry, designed & published my first pamphlet indie zine 'Maybe We Should All Die Once,' Dec 2021.
"Rema's understanding of the needs of the community and also the planet has led her to initiate and coordinate a way forward for our town. Working with organisations she is moving forward with ideas for families to heat their homes and care for the planet."
Jackie Drake, Ulverston Town Council Representative
REVIEWS of community activities
I'm also long-term carer and have worked creatively with charities, and within my community, for the majority of my adult life. Equity, diversity, and connectedness are core drivers in my practice.
This lens always filters into my writing, community activities, and affects ethical choices in regards to which organisations and funders I choose to work with. I always consider impact on both the health of people and the planet. Sustainability, accessibility, and wellbeing are key to my community sessions.
"Art as activism" encouraging others, through artistic creation & community activities, to imagine and co-create a more “flourishing future”, a world dominated by connectedness, reciprocity, and community resilience.
Mind service users worked with myself to co-create a community "Feel Good Friday" event, April 2019. Over £200 was raised to fund further activities for their drop-ins.
Creative wellbeing sessions and participatory arts with Ulverston Mind since 2018 - present (now Mind in Furness).
"Rema assisted Art Gene on our low carbon ecoventure sessions, Summer of 22. She gave a very interesting talk led a group of students on a foraging session, helped with our bushcraft and fire-making sessions, and provided lots of interesting extra facts and information on our wormery session. She was a great help with the art-focused sessions that we used to integrate the learning. Thank you Rema."
Art Gene, Low Carbon Engagement Lead.
“Thank you for coming to Allotment Soup and introducing us to the wonderful world of fungi! We loved learning about the mushrooms beneath our feet, and how important these organisms are for us and the planet, and your enthusiasm for mushrooms was so exciting and encouraging. Thanks!”
Art Gene, Food Futures & Biodiversity
"We worked with Rema as our artist in residence as part of our Big Nature Takeover event aimed at families. The main focus being engaging our family audience with our natural science collection with a focus on the highlighting the lesser known/enjoyed elements. Rema helped us achieve this through a range of activity including a collective artwork and soundscape which really brought the topics to life. Rema was excellent at adapting her delivery style to suit the children and young people who joined in. Her sessions were also the popular with our older children/young people which is an audience we struggle to engage with in this context. The soundscape workshops on earth day were popular and our families enjoyed trying something new and it was great to see children excited to tell people what they had created. The workshop was fun, unconventional, energetic, and it allowed children to learn about the museum's Natural Science collection in a new, multi-sensory and animated way. After the beats were created, the children were invited to create their own animal noises and there were many volunteers! Rema had the children howling like wolves and sniffling like hedgehogs! After all of the children had contributed a noise, the track was revealed to the audience, and the children smiled and reacted to hearing their noises being projected back to them. The overall experience was extremely fun, and Rema made everyone taking part feel comfortable and valued.
Tullie House Museum, Carlisle
"The Wordsworth Trust worked with Rema Grace Gifford on a creative commission in February/March 2023. Rema was one of 100+ people to apply, and we were impressed by the originality, depth and breadth of ideas that she included in her application. Over the course of the commission period, Rema maintained regular communication with us, providing updates on the work and inviting feedback. She worked within the brief, producing an artwork and accompanying poem within the timeframe and budget. Rema’s artwork and poem engage deeply with the brief and brings a new perspective to the ideas. It is clear that throughout the process Rema took great care to produce two pieces of high quality that spoke to one another. Rema communicated effectively presenting well-formed, original ideas and updates whilst also being open to suggestions from us as to how to help our museum’s visitors to engage with and respond to the work."
Mycelium Thinking led a drop-in music as part of Full of Noises' Sound Rangers programme on Weds 16th August. I thought that using different mycelium and other objects to control samples, synths and other sources was a very playful and tactile way for participants to explore sound making together, within a wider context of environmental listening (which is one of Fon's ongoing areas of interest).The session proved to be imaginative and engaging for adults and young people alike, with Rema and Dave creating a good balance of listening, discussion and hands-on sound/music making. Feedback from the participants was also excellent and we would be keen to develop more sessions/work with you along these lines.
creative approaches to Outdoor & environmental wellbeing
Freelance work with Art Gene supporting creative environmental sessions and events since 2021.
"Rema assisted Art Gene on our low carbon ecoventure sessions, summer of 22. She gave a very interesting talk led a group of students on a foraging session, helped with our bushcraft and fire-making sessions, and provided lots of interesting extra facts and information on our wormery session. She was a great help with the art-focused sessions that we used to integrate the learning. Thank you Rema." - Art Gene, Low Carbon Engagement Lead.
‘Playing’ fungi using biodata sonification and our loop station at FON Sound Rangers workshop.
Outdoor creative wellbeing day retreat in collaboration with Furness Outdoor Learning.
Zine-making at Cumbria Eco-Circle environmental wellbeing group. Using foraged and surplus materials.
Lead programmer of CAP26 a full weekend retreat in collaboration with Ulverston Food Waste Project, & 6 other nature-inspired practitioners and artists.
Lead artist, performer, and project co-ordinator (Mycelium Thinking CIC). Focusing on solution-based & playful approaches to environmental communication - inviting & empowering people of all levels of abilities and experience.
The "flourishing futures" programming in Ulverston has involved a wide variety sessions and partners throughout: Ulverston Town Council, Furness Mind, Ulverston Food Project, Playful Nature, Another Fine Fest, Lakeland MEND, Homes For Ulverston, Ford Park, Cumbria Action for Sustainability.
Video of 'Flourishing Futures' on the Another Fine Fest mainstage. I open with my 'mycelial cascades' spoken word piece before using my fungal song-throat-language to invite 'the network' to join me on the stage.
Designed bespoke wildflower seed packets with sales to raise money for AFF & Mycelium Thinking edible community tree and fungi fund.
Tree season 2023: 20+ Free NativeDamson trees now distributed for Ford Park Charity, Mind in Furness, local community orchards and public walkways.
Radical imagination for our more flourishing futures...
Ongoing leadership as Creative Director of Mycelium Thinking CIC. Community events & bespoke workshops taking eco-arts-based community approaches to environmental & biodiversity issues.
Performance screened at conference "Stories4Policy: Speculative futures for engaging with risk and uncertainty."
Dr Emily Spiers, lead of Institute for Social Futures at Lancaster University, enjoying our performance.
Planting 'n' Dancing with Ford Park funded by CAfS, Ulverston Town Council & Climate Coalition.
Sign ready for 2023 first flourish of community "lofty meadow".
Mushroom production line for upcycled Fine Fest banner.
Community Annual General Mushrummage to brainstorm for 2023.
Supported Homes For Ulverston Community Land Trust with a sustainable art-making workshop for music video props.
Mass participation artwork highlighting overlooked creatures in the Tullie Collection.
Final Wild Escape Participatory Artwork was paired with Wild Escape collaborative Soundscape & performance.
"Art as Activism" Highlights :
Participatory Art Lead and co-manager of Another Fine Fest ‘Another Fine Future’ community-powered parade and final performance involving 6+ artists, 8+ workshops, and over 100 community members (March-June 2023).
Awarded a place & scholarship to join a cohort of only 26 'emerging leaders' on the internationally renowned (800,000+ Facebook followers) Emergence Magazine/Spiritual Ecology “Seeds of Radical Renewal: 10-part Leadership Programme”.
‘Community Coordinator’ (engagement and events) for the largest climate charity in my region CAfS (Cumbria Action for Sustainability) “Solar Made Easy” scheme rollout (Jan-July 2023).
Easter holidays "Artist in Residence" role at Tullie House Museum for "Wild Escape" Art Fund project.
Mush-love to you
go onwards & sporulate...
Respect your fungal elders...
I want you to see what we see, an emergence a dream…
all things beautifully dangerous start with some wild ideas,
networks of change, that can’t be contained,
our future manifested germinated in our brains...
what if we all start to plant spores amongst our neurons,
and water them daily with a flourishing future?
instead of fighting with parasites & leeches -let's flourish in our networks beneath them...
we'll shed this stale reality, like a snake skin,
nothing can be done if we change from within...
We could grow our own forests, they wouldn't be invited,
we'd sprout through towers with building excitement...
there are types of mushrooms that can break through cement -
we’ll be the Guy Fawkes of networks, blow up parliament,
with a mycelial explosion of fantastical structures,
community connections that empower each other...
this flourish will be beyond words, or systems,
it will grow far beyond any easy definition,
once a thing is defined, it’s target of control,
let this thing be weird, let the end-point be unknown…
a strange dance of becoming, a diversity of action,
this flourish will be fun, it will merge in odd directions -
beyond taller buildings, technology and trains,
a flourishing that uses our fantastical brains...
All the biggest of people,
all the greatest of changes,
started with tiny voices, who grew into wavelengths,
like hyphae, they started as miniscule strands,
but together, they’re multitude,
and the music will be funny, just like our existence,
a fungal-jazzy-rap of mycelial instructions:
Consciousness is weird, we have no scriptures,
stop being clever, you are just creatures
your mind is fluid, not a controlled substance,
the universe untapped, is filled with abundance,
your brains are part of the fabric of it all,
we are off this earth, and together we should grow…
So listen, you "humans",
you’re a fruiting body too,
respect your fungal elders &
you’ll know what to do…
"Nomadic enquiry suggests a letting go of our old ways of thinking and becoming open to new ideas and modes of being. It is not resistance, but an understanding that we are always in the ‘process of becoming" (Braidotti, 2012)