Tasneem Khan

Swamp Storytelling: Of spaces in between land and water

These systems are permanently in flux, here, dynamism and change is a daily affair. Like, light and dark, there is wet and dry.
What is it about wetlands, both tidal and fresh water that create a sense of mystery? Culturally and historically they have a reputation of being impenetrable and treacherous, with associations of many mythological creatures. From the urban point of view, or for people making brief visits to forests and coasts, the life and seductive lure of swamps is often not apparent. And thus, one of the most productive systems on the planet, with its continuous labour of decomposition, filtration, buffering, sheltering and creating new life – gets frowned upon, as an unpleasant wasteland.
I experiment with multiple mediums of documentation, intervention and collaboration to explore wetland systems. Through this project we work towards answering questions through artistic, scientific and pedagogical practice;

- Can we affect collective memory by helping children experience wetlands with new lenses?
- How are perspectives shared and altered, when we invite artists to use swamplands as their field based studios?
- How can ecological monitoring of these natural laboratories be part of everyone’s life rather than confined to scientists alone?


Tasneem Khan is a biologist, educator and photographer with a fascination for the natural world. She has spent the last decade building interdisciplinary initiatives in the fields of ecology, conservation, education, science communication and art. Her formal training in marine zoology and practice in the development of experiential learning pedagogies was translated through the eight years spent as Director of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands Environmental Team, Centre for Island Ecology. A TEDx speaker, Tasneem participates in a number of events across the spheres of art, science and education. Her photography and writing on aquatic and terrestrial wildlife has appeared in books and several popular publications in India, Southeast Asia and Sweden. Tasneem is now focusing her work on developing outdoor education curriculum and creative science communication, through a co-founded initiative ‘EARTH CoLab’.