Context

Udfil reaches across boundaries. It is a multi-media interactive artwork informed by Western science, indigenous knowledge systems and museum collections – all of which have been passed through a cultural filter relating to the Welsh language and landscape.

It was conceived and directed by artist and animator Sean Harris who created the animated imagery and authored the texts. More of his work can be found here: https://echo-maker.com

The principal scientific collaborator was Professor Danielle Schreve of the Geography Department, Royal Holloway University London whose research is focussed on the fossil mammal record from the last 2.6 million years. Ice Age animal bones tell us stories of fluctuating climatic and environmental conditions – and how creatures in the past responded to abrupt climate change. Understanding these forces can help us to predict the impact of future change, informing conservation strategies that help maintain the biodiversity critical to our own well-being: https://pure.royalholloway.ac.uk/portal/en/persons/danielle-schreve(4d17049a-1f2c-4cf6-9c19-d9ad8b072b1e).html

Ross Barnett, a palaeontologist with a PhD in Zoology from the University of Oxford, provided much information and insight into the issues raised by recent DNA research. He specialises in seeking, analysing and interpreting ancient DNA but his area of expertise is the genetics and phylogeny of cats, especially extinct sabre-tooths. His illuminating and delightfully readable book The Missing Lynx – The Past and Future of Britain’s Lost Mammals is available here: https://uk.bookshop.org/books/the-missing-lynx-the-past-and-future-of-britain-s-lost-mammals/9781472957351

John Blore’s unique understanding of Bryn Alyn, its incredible palaeo-fauna and changing climate sowed the seeds for this project. He has continued to provide valuable insight over the years and his passion and commitment to this place are an inspiration.

Robyn Tomos, writer, language activist and Visual Arts Officer for the National Eisteddfod of Wales provided the Welsh cultural lens for the project – and committed many hours crafting its translation into the Welsh language.

Digital technologist Simon Beech devised the interactive interface for the Udfil app, thereby creating the means by which more intimate analogue site-specific processes and narratives could reach a mass audience.

The Clwydian Range AONB opened the door to its beautiful and resonant landscape, not least through committing valuable funding through its Sustainable Development Fund.

The Arts Council of Wales provided the core funding for the project through its Resilience Fund response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sean Harris wishes to acknowledge and extend gratitude to all of the above for assistance and support without which Udfil would not exist…

And also to the Welsh Government for conceiving the Well-Being Of Future Generations Act which should give us all grounds for hope.

‘What Wales is doing today, the world will do tomorrow’

Nikhil Seth, UN Assistant Secretary General

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