What can we learn from ants? Find out at Scarborough Art Gallery with new exhibition and questions and answer session

What can we learn from ants? Artists and naturalists will come together at Scarborough Art Gallery/Woodend later this month to address this fascinating question in an event called Ask the Ants.

By Sue Wilkinson
Monday, 15th November 2021, 2:20 pm
Updated Monday, 15th November 2021, 2:22 pm
Feral Practice’s exhibition The Ant-ic Museum can be seen at Scarborough Art Gallery until January 30
Feral Practice’s exhibition The Ant-ic Museum can be seen at Scarborough Art Gallery until January 30

In an event designed to complement and celebrate the current exhibition at Scarborough Art Gallery, The Ant-ic Museum, artists Feral Practice and Marcus Coates will discuss what ants can teach us about our human world with specialist in ant ecologies Dr Elva Robinson, and author of the natural world Charlotte Sleigh.

Subverting a Gardeners' Question Time format, the panel will answer questions from the audience about human society by drawing upon their specialist knowledge of ants. Seeing our entrenched issues or thorny problems through the unusual position of ant worlds opens up unexpected pathways of creative thinking for everyday life.

Attendees can submit questions in advance via Scarborough Museums Trust’s social media channels, the Ask The Wild website or ask it on the day. Questions can vary from the political and societal to the deeply personal. They are not questions about ants.

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One of the exhibits in Feral Practice’s The Ant-ic Museum at Scarborough Art Gallery

The event is part of Ask the Wild, a collaborative project by Feral Practice and Marcus Coates which offers fresh perspectives on personal, social, and political issues in human society by bringing the expert knowledge of the natural history disciplines to bear on everyday human problems and dilemmas. Previous events include Ask the Sea at Tate St Ives and Ask the Birds at Whitechapel Gallery.

Feral Practice works with human and nonhuman beings to create art projects that develop ethical and imaginative connection across species boundaries.

Marcus Coates is a performance artist, writer and filmmaker. His work continually draws parallels to examine how we perceive human-ness through imagined non-human realities.

Elva Robinson is Senior Lecturer in Ecology at York University and author of Wood Ant Ecology and Conservation (Cambridge University Press 2016). Elva conducts active research on the wood ants of the North York Moors, and we are delighted she can participate in this panel as our scientific expert.

Charlotte Sleigh is a researcher, writer and practitioner across the science humanities. Her research interests began in the history of biology, and have continued as such with an emphasis on animals. She is the author of Ant (Reaktion, 2003) and Six Legs Better: A Cultural History of Myrmecology (Johns Hopkins, 2007).

Ask the Ants will take place at Scarborough Art Gallery/Woodend from 11am to 12.30pm on Saturday November 27. Tickets cost £5 each, and can be booked via Eventbrite: here Feral Practice’s exhibition The Ant-ic Museum can be seen at Scarborough Art Gallery until January 30.

Scarborough Art Gallery is open from 10am to 5pm every day except Monday (plus Bank Holidays). Entrance is free with a £3 annual pass, which also allows unlimited free entry to the Rotunda Museum.