What is a sustainable artist?

Past Project 2015

Addressing the bigger question of what sustainability means to an artist: the ethical, environmental and practical issues of how artists sustain themselves and their practices.

Tutors could use this presentation to:

  • Initiate a broad group discussion about sustainability using the recorded audio of different artists talking about their approaches.
  • Run a practical session to plan how students might balance time on their practice and earning money using extracts of Andrew Simonet’s “Making your Life As An Artist”
  • Run a workshop on helping artists understand their core motivations and values in pursuing a career as an artist.

Contributors

Bridget McKenzie’s role in Flow Associates is to generate ideas, models and new products and services, drawing on 23 years experience in delivering and evaluating innovative education in arts and heritage. She founded Flow UK in 2006, subsequently supporting its establishment in India and internationally. Previously she has been Head of Learning at the British Library, Education Officer for Tate, lead consultant for Clore Duffield’s Artworks Awards and Co-ordinator of Young at Art for the University of the Arts. Bridget is known for furthering the role of ‘creative enquiry’ in education and for placing culture at the heart of a shift to a sustainable future, publishing her thinking on The Learning Planet, numerous journals as well as being in demand to address audiences international as a public speaker.

David Cross’ research, practice and teaching have long been informed by a critical engagement with the relationship between visual culture and the contested ideal of ‘sustainable’ development. More recently, his focus has been on fossil energy dependency and climate breakdown. He is now shifting towards promoting the transition to a post-carbon society. In addition to producing aesthetic experiences, he maintains that a key function of contemporary art is to test concepts, assumptions and boundaries. In public debate, he explores the ‘instrumental’ potential of contemporary art – not as a channel for didactic messages, but as a space for dialectical propositions. In making such pro-positions, he aims to stimulate the kind of debate that is at the heart of active social agency.

Edwina fitzPatrick is the Course Leader for the MFA Fine Art course at Wimbledon College of Art. The course was developed in collaboration with CCW alumni and students, through a project called the Futureproof Course Handbook. Edwina is a practicing artist and completed her AHRC funded practice-based PhD working with the UK Forestry Commission in 2014. She is interested in what sustainability might mean for an artist, in every aspect of their lives. Her art work focuses on what happens when ‘grey’ and ‘green’ environments intersect and how human interactions have, and are, affecting the nature, culture and ecology of a place. Climate change and the ways that landscapes are imaged and imagined is key to her postdoctoral research.

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