Travelling beyond words: Visual language in participatory research in the Mar Menor lagoon

Shared Dialogues is a transdisciplinary project which explores participatory and artistic tools to collectively reflect on how people experience environmental loss and conflicts in relation to the eutrophication of the Mar Menor lagoon. 

The Mar Menor (Murcia, South-Eastern Spain) is Europe’s largest saltwater lagoon and the first in this continent to receive the status of legal personhood following its ecological collapse. The lagoon suffers from severe eutrophication which triggered an algal bloom in 2016, turning into events of mass mortality of aquatic biota later in 2019 and 2021. This ecological degradation is partly attributed to the development of intensive irrigated agriculture in the “Campo de Cartagena”.

Shared Dialogues started with a participatory research process carried out between January 2021 and February 2023 by BC3 researcher Violeta Cabello Villarejo and Paula Adrea Zuluaga together with local actors. They first developed a socio-historical analysis of the territory and the conflict surrounding the lagoon’s degradation. Then they facilitated a co-research process with 12 local actors aimed at opening a space for dialogue and reflection on the Mar Menor and its relation with the Campo de Cartagena. The project culminates with a process of co-creation of visual stories together with researchers Marcela Brugnach, Maria Macilla and Paula Novo and the visual artist Josune Urrutia.

Along their journey to explore and communicate with more than words, they have interacted with the artists Arkameyers and other women researchers working on arts-science interfaces.  The Shared Dialogues team is happy to invite you to explore the project’s website (in English and in Spanish), where you can find all the details and outputs of the research process and download the 20 visual stories that capture some of the collective learnings under the idea of ‘econotes’.

Visit it and spread the voice!

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María de Maeztu Excellence Unit 2023-2027 Ref. CEX2021-001201-M, funded by MCIN/AEI /10.13039/501100011033

©2008 BC3 Basque Centre for Climate Change.