Arts programme 

To aid in addressing the World Congress of Soil Science 2022 theme, Crossing Boundaries: Changing Society, the arts were not only highlighted in the scientific sessions, but also brought into the exhibition space and infused into the fringe events programme. From art galleries to podcasts, there was something for everyone to engage with. The arts are key to conveying the importance of soils to a wide audience in an accessible way and the artists participating in the event represented a wide range of media.

World Congress of Soil Science

We are Compost/ Composting the We

Curated by Alex Toland, the World Congress hosted We are Compost/ Composting the We at the Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA) in Glasgow. Over 3,000 people visited the exhibition which featured artists with thier works; Time for Growth and Shadow Constellations by Desiree Coral, Absorption, and ingredients storage by Asad Raza and Gaia Glossary by Alexandra Toland. The event brought together literature, resources, tools, and objects to encourage ‘a composting of knowledge into the soil for the growth of new ideas’.

World Congress of Soil Science

Glasgow Science Centre Residency

For the week of the World Congress, twenty volunteers delivered outreach activities to almost seven thousand visitors to the Glasgow Science Centre. Children and their parents took part in our soil explorer activities, and learnt more about soil’s importance from our resident experts.

World Congress of Soil Science

Soil Voices

Artists Jude Allen and Isla Robertson received seed-funding from the World Congress to produce a number of activities in advance of the Congress. This included the radio play Digging Deeper, and the website Soil Voices, a collaborative site for anyone with an interest in soil to record their own cultural experience of soil.


World Congress of Soil Science

Soil and Soul

Soil and Soul is a project in Glasgow, led by Propagate in partnership with Open Jar Collective, North Light Arts and the British Society of Soil Science.

We worked with seven community groups, explored our connection to soil, dipped into the history that’s given us the soils we have today and explored why soil matters to life on earth.

We met tardigrades, nematodes, and the humble worm, and discovered why mycelium matters. We got mulchy with compost and were amazed at the processes that produce our food. We created wormeries, compost bays, seed bombs and artworks from plants grown in different soils, exploring their myriad preferences and forms. We recorded participants’ feelings about soil during the workshops for a podcast. And we learned how the answer to stopping climate change might be right under our feet.

World Congress of Soil Science

Newton Harrison Exhibition

Newton Harrison’s The Deep Wealth of this Nation, Scotland provides an ecological vision for how Scotland could become the first industrialised nation to give back more to the life web than it consumes. The vision draws out the five commons: soil, forestry, water, air and importantly the commons of mind; how we as a human population might reach agreement about principles for putting the health of ecosystems first. It offers a holistic vision and framework to draw together artists, scientists and citizens to explore the importance of soil the natural environment for mitigation and adaptation to collectively address the challenges we face.

World Congress of Soil Science

Phil lambert

Phil Lambert is an artist who works with local soils. Phil’s observational paintings use soil as a pigment and his photographic prints are developed from an old soil assaying technique that explores soil vitality.

Originally, he was drawn to soil as a protest. He attended with as many prints and works as he could carry up north and ran paint making and muller print workshops for the delegates. it was a huge success.

World Congress of Soil Science

Scottish Potters Association

Founded in 1974, the Scottish Potters Association (SPA) is a charity which aims to promote all aspects of handmade pottery and ceramics in Scotland. Linking Scotland’s geographically remote potters it offers a source of information and advice on everything connected to clay. SPA members presented their hand dug clay pottery and artwork during the exhibition, with many items for sale.

Learn more about the other pillars of WCSS22