Wallace’s writing includes academic articles; audio-fiction pieces for live performance and online broadcast; essays; talks and more.

Recent works – with excerpts and descriptions below are:

The Times of Caring in a Nuclear World: Sculpture, Contamination and Stillness‘, an academic piece in ARTS about the process of making the exhibition ‘x = 2140’, and the emergence of ‘care’ as a response to nuclear wastes

the sea cannot be depleted‘, an audio fiction piece for three voices about the Solway Firth, the sense of place that comes with living with the legacies of the military dumping of Depleted Uranium into the sea

We slip. We bind. We beg.‘ and ‘The golden oar‘, two fictional spoken-word pieces about the Duddon Estuary, Cumbria for live performance and online recording.

Other articles shown below explore theatre and conflict (‘Theatre, Conflict, Nature’); extinction (‘How I love to Moa’); eco-social practice (‘Slow Activism: Homelands, love and the lightbulb’); learning as an ecological phenomenon (‘Can a place learn?’), conversation, place-based performance, Aristotelian phronēsis, relational ethics, emotions, climate instability, environmental justice, aesthetic distance, bananas, walking, and, in a different academic strand, on women scientists at the Freshwater Biological Association, Cumbria during the mid-20th century.

See also talks.

The Times of Caring in a Nuclear World. Sculpture, Contamination and Stillness‘ describes the process of making the exhibition x = 2140, and how I came to consider ‘care’ as a response to radioactive wastes. The article is online, open-access, part of the journal ARTS special issue on ‘time’.


The abstract:

Care takes time. Caring, whether with, for, or about a living being or entity that is more-than-human, disrupts expectations of how a linear, human time should progress. To practice care for the contaminated, the lands, waters, and animate life altered by human industry, is to extend that indeterminacy into distant, deeper time. Aesthetic representation of the affective and ethical dimensions of care, in this extreme, offers an experience that can transfer the arguments about nuclear contamination into more nuanced and sensed responses and contributes to current thinking about care in the arts worlds. I was commissioned to make a sculpture exhibition in 2020 as part of an anthropological study into the future of the Sellafield nuclear site in West Cumbria, UK. The exhibition, ‘x = 2140. In the coming 120 years, how can humans decide to dismantle, remember and repair the lands called Sellafield?’, consisted of three sculptural ‘fonts’ which engaged with ideas of knowledge production, nuclear technologies, and the affective dimensions of care about/for/with the contaminated lands and waters. This article presents my intentions for the sculptures in their context of a nuclear-dependent locale: to engage with the experience of nuclear futures without adversarial positioning; to explore the agential qualities of the more-than-human; and to create a stillness expressive of the relationality of the human and the contaminated through which one could fathom what care might feel like. These intentions are alongside theories of time, aesthetics, and care across disciplines: care and relational ethics, science and technology studies, and nuclear culture.

Academic Editors: Helena Elias, Cláudia Madeira, Anne Douglas and Cristina Pratas Cruzeiro
Arts 202211(1), 7; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts11010007

‘the sea cannot be depleted‘, is a spoken word and sound piece for online broadcast, about the Solway Firth, about the sense of place that comes when living with the Depleted Uranium that the UK military have dumped beneath the surface of the sea.

Listen online: ‘the sea cannot be depleted‘.

The website includes journal entries on the research process and information on uranium weapons.

The composer and sound designer is Pippa Murphy. The voices are: Camille Marmié, Vincent Friell, Lisa Howard.

‘the sea cannot be depleted‘ was funded by Future’s Venture Foundation.

Talks, publications and live presentations:

at the Nuclear Futures’ Seminar for scientists, academics, nuclear industry managers and activists concerned with geological disposal of nuclear wastes (Sheffield, 2018).

‘The deposit and dissolution of the nuclear in an uncanny and enduring sea’ was a remote presentation for ‘Performing Ecologies: The performance of the Real’, University of Otago, Ōtepoti / Dunedin, Aotearoa / New Zealand (2018).

‘Beyond the Anthropo—Scenes, Mediums, Apparatuses and Environments’, a conference paper at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Edinburgh (2017).

The Critical Fish journal featured ‘the sea…’ (December 2020). ClimateCultures featured it (2018). Commonweal for a Nonviolent World published an interview with Wallace (2018). The Centre for Sustainable Practice in the Arts published the essay by Wallace, ‘The tides of not-knowing in a nuclear sea’ in the ‘Unknown and Uncertain’ issue, Q22, (2018).


These two audio fiction pieces inspired by the Duddon Estuary in Cumbria were written by Wallace and performed live by local actors as part of ‘Unpublished Tour, a collection of commissioned artworks about the estuary curated by Irene Rogan.

Audio recordings of the performances are online.

‘What do people say to a place, to a landscape or seascape, while they are walking or watching? What words do they come up with when talking to themselves, words that connect them with a place and with the more-than-human? How do people declare their feelings for a place, while their thoughts might also be melded with the events of the world, overpowering ideas, sorrows and secrets and the chatter of everyday life?

I’m interested in how a monologue by a fictional character can be a kind of writing about a place, writing that is somewhere between a first-person essay, spoken word, a narrative and sensed observation. Writing fictional voices is a way to experiment with ideas and emotions, to try them out. This is a writing that needs to be performed, realised in the human voice sounding into another human ear.’

‘We slip. We bind. We beg.’

As man walks on the Duddon shoreline, he talks towards the seascape as if the estuary had an ever-changing face. He has begun to feel something strange in the storms and in the calm, bringing him to speak to it, face-to-face. Performed by Kevin McNally.

‘The golden oar’

A woman finds herself burying small things in shallow cuttings on Black Combe as a way of celebrating the fell with tokens of human love. She connects her actions with historical excavations and possible future ones.  Performed by Marianne Walsh.

Photo: Black Combe from across the Duddon Estuary at Roanhead

Wallace’s essay, ‘Theatre, conflict, nature’ for the Green Letters journal Vol 20:2016, is included in the Routledge book publication, Performance and Ecology. What Can Theatre Do? (2018; paperback 2020).

From the abstract:

‘Human conflict is a raw material for theatre, and theatre is co-determinant with how conflict is known. Conflicts that are about nature, environments, elements and entities, ‘environmental conflicts’, are pervasive, intractable, characterised by uncertainty and the absence of lasting solutions. This essay proposes that the theatre imagination and praxis have the potential not to merely represent adversarial conflicts, but to show the qualities, processes and affects of conflicts….’

keywords: conflict, theatre, criticism, post-dramatic, Antigone

The journal is behind a paywall and the book exorbitantly priced. If you would like to read the essay, please get in touch.

With Mark Toogood (Senior Lecturer in Geography, University of Central Lancashire) and Claire Waterton (Professor of Sociology, Lancaster University), Wallace researched the work of women scientists at the Freshwater Biological Association, Far Sawrey, Cumbria in the mid-20th Century.

We published ‘Women Scientists and the Freshwater Biological Association 1929-1950’, in the Archives of Natural History. 47:1, April 2020, pp. 16-28.

The article can be accessed online and as a pdf.


HOMELAND by Platform 1993

‘To come into conversation can be a disturbing thing, exposing, altering and aesthetic. How the conversation is made can conduct the speakers in an unknown direction … To talk with a stranger about love, home and ecological interdependency—while sitting in the back of a large truck parked on a fast-trafficked street—rests those conversations within the social conventions and ethical demands of speaking together in public, while inviting an event into existence, one in which the aesthetic, imaginative, and transformative may be realized


HOMELAND entered the flux of everyday life, listened and spoke with the city. The longing was, as well, for the public space in which to speak; to not only view a work of art, but to be heard through one’.

key words: Hans-Georg Gadamer, Paul Ricoeur, Aristotle

in B. Szerszynski, W. Heim & C. Waterton (Eds), (2003) Nature Performed. Environment, Culture and Performance. Oxford: Blackwell / Sociological Review. pp. 183-202.

‘The question of whether a place can learn requires keeping the subject who learns, but proposes another realm of capacity, the relational field, which is intangible, but not abstract.

The question draws attention, too, towards site-based performance that is concerned with environmental change, with place, with the chiasmus of the human and the other-than-human. The question’s heuristic value opens up considerations of how the human performs aesthetically in a life world that has processes and desires outwith and affected by those of the human. How would one perform with a valley, a city edge, a stretch of estuary, a sculpted park if one could recognise or enter that meso-zone of learning, however transient or ill-defined it might be?’

key words: Gregory Bateson, Arne Naess, Jakob von Uexküll

in Performance Research (2012) 17:4, pp 120-127.

nature performed1Wallace Heim co-edited this collection, following from the event BETWEEN NATURE, with Bronislaw Szerszynski and Claire Waterton. Nature Performed was published by Oxford: Blackwell / Sociological Review in 2003, and Wiley-Blackwell in 2004.

Contributors include: Nigel Clark, David Crouch, Ronald Grimes, Hayden Lorimer and Katrin Lund, Dave Horton and Matt Watson.

Review: ‘A testimonial to the passions, responsibilities and creative activism currently being enacted in areas of environmental concern…the book overall makes an important contribution, with many strong and interesting chapters, and should have appeal across a wide range of audiences.’ Environmental Values, 14:4.

by Simon Whitehead, Barnaby Oliver, Stirling Steward. photo © S Whitehead  2000

somasonicspirit by Simon Whitehead, Barnaby Oliver, Stirling Steward. photo © S Whitehead 2000

‘It was hot that day. In the glass-enclosed stairwell, one entered from the top and lowered oneself through strata of sound, the combined acoustics of sharply rippling water and an indecipherable, modulating technology-hum. Sunlight refracted in clear jars holding water and wet mosses, grasses and reeds. Nearby, but not visible, to the east, from sunrise to sunset, Simon Whitehead was walking Clougha Pike, the fells Hare Appletree, Rowton Brook and Black, listening, searching for the waterways under the crust of land, the gravity-drawn streams and the defiant, emergent springs.

Simon relayed the sounds of water by mobile phone to Barnaby Oliver, who, in the stairwell, projected those sounds through a system of cascading speakers … One felt as if deep inside the flow as the sounds became geological and evolved into a meditative harmonic texture’.

in Whitehead, Simon (2006). Walking to Work. Abercych: Shoeless, pp 84.

Exchange Values by Shelley Sacks

A Gathering of Waters by Basia Irland

A Gathering of Waters by Basia Irland

‘The artist navigates, rather than conducts, the flow of the conversation. The artist asks the instigating question, listens, sets a context for action, creates an aesthetic milieu in which an event is mutually created. The exchanges depend on the talents of the speakers to respond to the insights, fallibilities and allure of each other. This involves not only the matter conversed, but the subjectivities engaged, which are, in the action, opened to change. It is an improvisatory, slow activism’.

A Gathering of Waters: The Rio Grande from the Source to the Sea by Basia Irland 1995 – 2000
Exchange Values by Shelley Sacks 1996 – 2005

key words: Hannah Arendt, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Aristotle

in Giannachi, G. and Stewart, N. (Eds) (2005). Performing Nature. Explorations in ecology and the arts Bern:. Peter Lang, pp. 199 – 216.

readings performance 1Epilogue: Thinking forward …

‘My purpose is to encourage an eco-dramaturgy that not only makes explicit how performance and theatre create particular modes of ecological knowledge, but also to activate the interchange of this knowledge across disciplines and practices, because this is an essential transport in a time of climate instability…

Emotions about nature are implied in interpretations; an ache, or longing, runs through these essays. But the emotions in performance as they relate to nature-human relations is an area yet to be investigated in itself. The capacity of performance to explore unmapped forms of feeling contributes to the efforts to establish performance as a special mode of ecological understanding. It also challenges criticism to find the languages to articulate these emotions’.

in Readings in Performance and Ecology, edited by Wendy Arons and Theresa J. May (2012) New York: Palgrave Macmillan, pp 211 – 216.

Evaluation for Working in Public, a project of On the Edge, Gray’s School of Art, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen

‘The practices in the field of art and social engagement are multi-disciplinary, collaborative and composite. The art works involve multiple variations of practices, processes and publics. The talents involved extend beyond those of conventional arts education, into areas like conflict resolution, mediation, ethics, cultural power and ecological understanding.

Working in Public, a collaborative, cross-sectoral project was an ambitious, novel and comprehensive engagement with the field. It exemplified the theoretical arguments, and, as ground-level experience, provided evidence from which assess what higher education can offer as a method and structure for progressing art in the public realm’.

The evaluation was commissioned by Professor Anne Douglas.