Sensing Peat

The network project Sensing Peat takes up the momentum of the international Venice Agreement for the worldwide protection of peatlands and develops the resulting global network together with its partners. Following the Paris Agreement, an international treaty on climate change, the Venice Agreement from 2022 draws attention to the preservation and restoration of peatlands for the benefit of the climate. 

In collaboration with partners Ensayos and Wildlife Conservation Society Chile, Sensing Peat intensifies the exchange among participants and involves other local artists, activists, groups and initiatives who see themselves as guardians of their peatlands and the ecological, social, political and cultural values associated with them. Together, methods are developed that support people and their heterogeneous companion species to dedicate themselves to the history, future and uniqueness of their peatlands. 

The Sensing Peat network focuses on artistic, activist and ecological forms of knowledge and narratives on peatlands. The project aims to create a nomadic platform that programmatically develops methods of collective learning, being-in-motion, pausing, resisting, and restoring – and is dedicated to pluralizing cultural and artistic perspectives. The Sensing Peat network’s modus operandi is collective, transformative, sustainable, and emancipatory, dedicated to the development of eco-fictional practices. These are inspired by the interdisciplinary participants, continuously evolving and at the same time flowing back into the community as metamorphing collective bodies of knowledge. 

Through a series of events, workshops and an interactive online platform, Sensing Peat, together with its partners Ensayos and Wildlife Conservation Society Chile, will bring visual art and peatland conservation closer together, linking artistic narratives with ecological and scientific questions. The network aims to reveal rather local, invisible and unknown knowledge about the usefulness of peatlands as ecosystems as well as about the far-reaching consequences of their colonization. In the spirit of the Venice Agreement, Sensing Peat is informed by a fundamentally decolonial, hydrofeminist, more-than-human, and socially aware ecological perspective. Aesthetic perspectives on peatlands facilitate a collective societal learning process about the global consequences of their drainage and reveal visions for peat-friendly and wet farming practices in times of climate change. Last but not least, artistic imaginaries around the peatland evoke new interest in transitional states and co-habitations between planetary organisms. 

Sensing Peat

Places: International
Duration: 2023 - 2025

[Translate to EN:] Ulrike Gerhardt
Project coordination

Ulrike Gerhardt


Tel +49(0)177 3347970

[Translate to EN:] Juliane Tübke, Unter den Wiesen (200823), 2023, Fotografie, Maße variabel

Juliane Tübke, Beneath the Meadows (200823), 2023, photograph, dimensions variable

On the occasion of the “World Day of Peatlands” on June 2, 2022, scientists and artists together with representatives of indigenous communities, climate policy, nature conservation and economy announced an agreement at the Venice Biennale: the Venice Agreement. In a self-initiated and collective endeavor, they thus created an agreement that offers an artistic-aesthetic and poetic perspective on peatlands and an inventory of concrete needs and values in favor of the protection of peatlands. 

Project presentation of “Sensing Peat” at the WaterLANDS Artistic Engagement Residency meeting with the artistic residents Maria Nalbantova, Elo Liiv, Christine Mackey, Claudio Beorchia, Marjolijn Dijkman, Laura Harrington and Fiona MacDonald (Feral Practice), Caitriona Devery, Dr. Shane McGuinness (WaterLANDS project), Dr. Alexandra Ross (University of Glasgow) and Ulrike Gerhardt (Michael Succow Foundation / Greifswald Mire Centre), University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland, October 20, 2023 (digital). 


Workshop “Sensing Peat! The transformational commitment of the Venice Agreement brings together science, art and practice to protect global peatlands locally” with Jan Peters (Michael Succow Foundation / Greifswald Mire Centre), Nicole Puschel (Wildlife Conservation Society Chile), Ulrike Gerhardt (Michael Succow Foundation / Greifswald Mire Centre), MoseVis (Magni Olsen Kyrkjeeide and Fia Bengtsson), WaterLANDS project (Caitriona Devery and Dr. Shane McGuinness) and RE-PEAT (Bethany Copsey, among others), “Power to the Peatlands” Conference, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium, September 19, 2023. 

The implementation of the Sensing Peat project by the Michael Succow Foundation / Greifswald Mire Centre is supported by the Andrea von Braun Foundation. Since 2022, the Andrea von Braun Foundation has been dedicated to the interdisciplinary research, conservation and care of so-called ecological border areas. Sensing Peat is realized in close collaboration with the partners Ensayos and Wildlife Conservation Society Chile.