I am completing a masters dissertation at SOAS, London with the title: Reverting to Wild: Exploring the Linear and Visual Media Discourses which Challenge and Support Rewilding in Britain.

I have researched how rewilding is presented in the media and what the dominant narratives are on the subject. In recent years natural disasters, extreme weather, pandemics and mass migration have put the future of our planet in focus. Dispensing with mechanistic approaches, we are increasingly turning to the “planetary” where humans, technology and the natural world come together to form interconnected ecosystems. Averting humanities self-destruction calls for creative and bio-focused approaches looking at inter-related processes rather than linear ones which are often hard to convey.

Dissertation introduction:  British landscape is a hegemonic history of highly and uniquely concentrated land ownership through the agricultural revolution and later the Industrial Revolution up to today. Agriculture resulted in intensive productivity and a disconnect from nature – normalising the destruction of biodiverse habitat. Culture and media have provided a constant, idealised myth of a green and pleasant arcadia. Nature is something we conquer, discover, preserve (epitomised by National Parks), and now restore. However, the scientific community has long been ringing alarm bells. British biologist Jim Lovelock claimed that the earth is a self-regulating organism and Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring awakened the public to the harm of industrial agriculture. Rewilding, started in the USA in the 1990’s, strategises a practical, late awakening to the importance of natural systems and the restoration of natural habitat, reversing the destruction of nature. I will explore how its appearance in the conservative British landscape disrupts old media framings of land use and starts new ones. My findings reveal a lack of strong visual discourse associated with rewilding and an obvious need for stories rooted in place which bring together its huge benefits and potential.