Arts and the Anthropocene: Crisis and Resilience in North Carolina Waterways (2020-2021)

This project team explored how visual, theatrical and sonic arts play a role in educating, provoking action and developing resilient futures in the Anthropocene, the current epoch of geological time dominated by human activity.

Team members examined how scientists and artists address social and ecological crises and entanglements, and constructed Spectral Seas, an art installation, depicting the scale of future sea level rise. Woven out of over 400 plastic bags collected from the Durham community, the tapestry features layers of color representing different NOAA sea level rise predictions for 2100. The team also incorporated multimedia video projections and sound to evoke the threat sea-level rise poses to humans and the environment.

Team members also used StoryMaps to showcase the science and local impacts of sea level rise, as well as their artistic process: Science of Sea Level RiseLocal Impacts and Crisis and Resilience in North Carolina Waterways.


Fall 2020 – Spring 2021

Team Outputs

Sea Level Rise in NC (2021 Fortin Foundation Bass Connections Virtual Showcase)

Science of Sea Level RiseLocal ImpactsCrisis and Resilience in North Carolina Waterways (StoryMaps)

Spectral Seas (Art installation)

This Team in the News

Research Methods and Creative Outputs from Interdisciplinary Teams

Duke Arts Partners with Bass Connections on “Arts in the World”

Highlights from the Bass Connections Annual Report: Seven Local Projects

Bass Connections 2020-2021 Annual Report: Selected Highlights

Spectral Seas: Tackling Climate Change Through Storytelling

Senior Spotlight: Reflections from the Class of 2021

‘In Conversation’ Returns This Spring to Unite Hearts Through Art


Image: Jonathan Henderson

Alternate means of escape.

Team Leaders

  • Jonathan Henderson, Arts and Sciences–Music–Ph.D. Student
  • Raquel Salvatella De Prada, Arts & Sciences-Art, Art History, and Visual Studies

/graduate Team Members

  • Mingyong Cheng, MFA/Experimental and Doc Arts
  • Ke Ding, Master of Environmental Management, Environmental Economics/Policy
  • Hillary Smith, Marine Sci & Conservation-PHD
  • Jessica Orzulak, Art and Art History-PHD
  • Kathleen Mason, Master of Environmental Management, Water Resources Management

/undergraduate Team Members

  • Ayesham Khan, Interdepartmental Major
  • Milagros de Souza, Program II (AB)
  • Jessica Wang, Environmental Sciences (BS)
  • Alison Rosenbaum, Environmental Sci/Policy (AB)
  • Elizabeth Kramer, Interdepartmental Major
  • Sarah Kelso, Environmental Sci/Policy (AB)
  • Katherine Kelley
  • Kendall Jefferys, Environmental Sci/Policy (AB)
  • Joyce Gu, Environmental Engineering(BSE)
  • Madison Griffin, Biology (BS)
  • Chaya Brennan Agarwal, Int Comparative Studies (AB)

/yfaculty/staff Team Members

  • Elizabeth Albright, Nicholas School of the Environment-Environmental Sciences and Policy
  • Mark Olson, Arts & Sciences-Art, Art History, and Visual Studies

/zcommunity Team Members

  • William Warasila, MFA in Experimental and Documentary Arts at Duke University