The “Witch” in Relationality with the More-than-Human: On Plants and Water

Together, this panel of academic and artistic creators will use the lens of the witch and their practices to explore more ethical ways of relating to so-called “natural resources.” One facet of the witch figure is absorbed with listening to the knowledge of plants and water, which have been silenced by patriarchal colonial capitalist systems of world orderings. This form of listening finds its ears in experimentation with and away from academic approaches, and towards a suspension of disbelief.

Anne Harris is an artist and student of the School of Shamanic Woman Craft, based in Australia. With her art installation Unseen Herstory, she seeks to relate to the plants—and place—of Australia in a way that is different from colonial documentation of plants as mere objects.

Alana Bartol is a multidisciplinary artist and practicing water witch, who uses dowsing to examine industry practices and the reliability of information by cultivating a practice of listening to water. She explores this repurposing through her project, Orphan Well Adoption Agency, which assists people in adopting orphan wells.

Kimberly Skye Richards is a researcher, teacher, and creative practitioner who explores the roles witchery and absurdism play in Canadian theatre arts-activism. She will bring her expertise as a dramaturg and her passion for social and environmental justice to bear as she comments on the playful absurd in Alana Bartol’s Orphan Well Adoption Agency.


Anne Harris, "The Unseen – The Herstory of the 1770 Plants from the Captain Cook 1770 voyage"

Anne works in the realm of the more than human, deeply listening to plants, objects and place, capturing stories rooted in the imaginal world. Sharing these stories through performance, installation and exhibitions. She apprentices with the school of Shamanic Woman-Craft and works with ritual, seasons and her own cycle to allow the universal consciousness to flow through her.

Alana Bartol, "Dowsing and Digging"

Alana Bartol comes from a long line of water witches. Her site-responsive artworks explore divination as a way to question consumption-driven relationships to land, water, and what are known as 'natural resources'. Of English, Irish, French, Scottish, German, and Danish ancestry, Bartol is a white settler Canadian living in Treaty 7 territory in Mohkínstsis (Calgary), Alberta.

Kimberly Skye Richards, "Remediating Relationships: Witchery and the Absurd Potential of Adopting Orphan Wells"

Kimberly Skye Richards is a Public Energy Humanities Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Alberta and a dramaturg. She holds a PhD in Performance Studies from UC-Berkeley. In her research, teaching, and creative practice, she engages performance as a vehicle for inspiring social change and pursuing social and environmental justice.

a person in blue coveralls with a divining rod standing in a field with a blue sky
Alana Bartol
a person just out of focus behind a yellow textured flower
Anne Harris