Workshops on the Arts and Sustainability at UWTSD


Workshops on Sustainability and the Arts will be offered to students and staff from the Faculty of Art and Design at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD), Swansea. 

The workshops will be a collaboration between UWTSD’s Swansea College of Art and an independent research organisation A Sustainable Place (ASP) CIC, that specialises in transdisciplinary action research for sustainability, drawing on expertise in the sciences and social sciences. 

As part of ongoing inquiry into the roles of artists in initiating change by facilitating exploration of urgent sustainability issues, two 1-day workshops will be run for students and staff from across the arts-based disciplines at the University. The workshops will progress from a basic introduction to sustainability and the limits of a purely scientific approach, through consideration of vital roles that the arts can play, to finally facilitated exploration of how to apply these understandings in arts practice. 

Each workshop will actively engage participants and encourage reflection on the personal and professional implications of the material being covered. 

Workshop 1, 10th February 2016:  The challenge from sustainability

Workshop 2, 17th February 2016:  The response from the arts 

Tracy Thompson, lecturer in the School of Visual Communication (within the Faculty of Art and Design) and Tom Henfrey and Jake Elster Jones from A Sustainable Place (ASP) CIC will coordinate the workshops. Fern Smith, co-initiator of Emergence and co-author of Culture Shift – How Artists are Responding to Sustainability in Wales, will also assist in facilitating Workshop 2. 

The workshop co-ordinators said: “A key problem with many approaches to sustainability stems from the constraints of conventional disciplinary boundaries. Sustainability requires our engagement with interlinked complex systems of various types – environmental, social, ecological, political, economic, and more - which cannot be captured by individual disciplines in isolation or any single set of methods or methodologies, for example by scientific methods alone. 

“Arts offer unique possibilities for supporting the integration of different fields of knowledge and ways of knowing. The work of artists and designers is also intrinsically linked with the world around us as a whole system, to societies, time, place and human experience. Not only can it mirror, communicate and interpret the world, it can help shape and transform the way we see ourselves and our interrelationships. An example is the way that young designers are critically thinking about material science and the positive role design can play in addressing complex contemporary problems.”

Aims of workshop series 

  • Provide opportunities for students and staff to collectively and collaboratively explore and develop their understanding of sustainability and how their work relates to it.
  • Extend and challenge thinking by students and faculty staff, to help develop deeper understandings of sustainability.
  • Empower students and staff to initiate action incorporating sustainability more meaningfully in what they do; building on greater understanding of how art can contribute to progress towards sustainability and responding collaboratively to new opportunities being generated throughout the University by INSPIRE (Institute of Sustainable Practice, Innovation and Resource Effectiveness).
  • Identify ways in which art and design faculty students and staff could contribute to the development and embedding of work around sustainability in other faculties.

Note to Editor

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