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Art Criticism & Theory

Outdoor School

Contemporary Environmental Art

edited by Diane Borsato & Amish Morrell

Douglas & McIntyre
Initial publish date
May 2021
Criticism & Theory, Essays, Conceptual
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    May 2021
    List Price

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For more than a decade, the Outdoor School project has provided a framework for interdisciplinary artists to come together and share projects that reimagine ways of relating with the landscape.

The experiential and community-based art projects described in Outdoor School present an alternative to scientific, commercial and colonial conceptions of land and nature in the face of climate change and mass extinction. These art practices include activities like mushroom foraging, water witching, trespassing, pumpkin-boat sailing, cloud identifying, ravine running, honey extracting, spell conjuring, rabbit hunting, coyote walking and more. The project calls attention to creative, counter-cultural works that are focused on education, community and place, and blur the boundaries between art and life, nature and culture.

Featuring interviews, essays and over 150 photographs, Outdoor School is an important contribution to discussions of contemporary art and ecology, foregrounding work that is marginal and ephemeral by nature.

Artists featured in Outdoor School include Alana Bartol, Diane Borsato, Bill Burns, Carolina Caycedo, Sameer Farooq, FASTWÜRMS, Ayumi Goto, Maggie Groat, Gabrielle Hill, Peter Morin, Public Studio, Helen Reed, Genevieve Robertson, Jamie Ross, Aislinn Thomas, Vibrant Matter, Jay White, Tania Willard, Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson and D'Arcy Wilson.

About the authors

Diane Borsato is an artist, naturalist and educator. She is an associate professor of Experimental Studio at the University of Guelph. She has exhibited her work involving mushrooms, bees, raptors, orchards and tea in galleries and museums around the world; and was the co-editor and a contributor to the book Outdoor School Contemporary Environmental Art (D&M, 2021). She lives in Toronto, ON.

Diane Borsato's profile page

Amish Morrell is an educator, curator, editor and writer. He is currently assistant professor in the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences & School of Interdisciplinary Studies at OCAD University in Toronto. From 2008 to 2017 he was Editor and Director of Programs at C Magazine, one of North America’s foremost visual arts magazines. He has also curated numerous exhibitions and developed public projects including Nightwalks with Teenagers, with Mammalian Diving Reflex; The Sauna Symposium with Hart House at the University of Toronto; and Reading the Bruce Trail with Public Studio. He lives in Toronto.

Amish Morrell's profile page


  • Long-listed, City of Toronto Book Award

Editorial Reviews

"Mushroom foraging, water witching and honey extracting are but a few of the outdoor activities that, according to Toronto artists Diane Borsato and Amish Morrell, can help us shift our views of nature away from scientific, commercial and colonial perceptions of land... Outdoor School is a primer for a new generation of ecologically inspired art, showcasing a variety of recent experiential and community-based projects." — AGOinsider


"In a period where many of us are seeking solace in nature, Outdoor School encourages us to consider our presence and the practices we have. Gathering almost thirty artists, the book activates the conversation of art and nature and how we fit into it."

Ashley Culver, <i>Femme Art/Review</i>

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