Extent

What are the key aspects of well-being?

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

The UK Office of National Statistics is currently consulting on a framework and headline indicators for measuring well-being.  This is an incredibly important development, intended in the long run to provide alternatives to simplistic measures such as GDP.

The consultation tests the assumption that the following domains add up to a sense of well-being (quoted in full because of the importance of this work):

Individual well-being  It is proposed that this domain should include individual’s feelings of satifaction with life, whether they feel their life is worthwhile and their positive and negative emotions. That is, this domain will include only the headline subjective well-being measures to be derived from the new ONS survey data. Subjective measures would be included with objective measures in the other domains.

Our relationships   This was chosen as a domain because it reflects many of the responses received during the national debate and because many theories of well-being report the importance of this area to an individual’s well-being. The scope of this domain is intended to be the extent and type of individuals’ relationships to their immediate family, their friends and the community around them.

Health  Includes areas which were thought to be important by respondents to the national debate.  An individual’s health is recognised as an important component of their well-being. It is anticipated that this domain would contain both subjective and objective measures of physical and mental health.

What we do  Aims to include work and leisure activities and the balance between them, all of which were common themes in the national debate responses. In this domain there are likely to be measures of aspects of work and leisure activities and of work-life balance.

Where we live  Is about individual’s dwelling, their local environment and the type of community in which they live. Measures will be sought which reflect having a safe, clean and pleasant environment, access to facilities and being part of a cohesive community.  ONS has taken Defra advice on the indicators in this area.

Personal finance  Is intended to include household income and wealth, its distribution and stability. Measures within this would also be used during analysis to address the concepts of poverty and equality mentioned in the national debate responses.

Education and skills  Various aspects of education and life-long learning were mentioned during the national debate. The scope of this domain is the stock of human capital in the labour market with some more information about levels of educational achievement and skills.

Governance Democracy, trust in institutions and views about the UK’s interaction with other countries, all of which were included in responses to the national debate, are intended to form the scope of this domain.

The economy  Is an important contextual measure for national well-being. The scope of this domain is intended to be measures of economic output and stock.

The natural environment  Is proposed as a domain in order to reflect areas mentioned during the national debate such as climate change, the natural environment, the effects our activities have on the global environment and natural disasters. It is planned to include measures which reflect these areas at the national level.  ONS has taken Defra advice on the indicators for this area.

If you then look at the measures, the issues become more troubling.  For instance, whilst generic issues such as climate change are referenced, there is no measure around access to greenspace within everyday life – the natural environment is remote.

The fact that there is no reference to culture is deeply problematic given the substantial research in the Nordic countries which demonstrates that participation in cultural activities has an impact on lifespan.

Finally, there is no reference to any spiritual dimension as contributing to well-being, and whilst modern over-developed Western culture is largely secularised, to omit this area is to diminish the scope of the understanding of well-being.

Responses to this survey need to be made by 23rd January 2012.

ecoartscotland is a resource focused on art and ecology for artists, curators, critics, commissioners as well as scientists and policy makers. It includes ecoartscotland papers, a mix of discussions of works by artists and critical theoretical texts, and serves as a curatorial platform.

It has been established by Chris Fremantle, producer and research associate with On The Edge ResearchGray’s School of Art, The Robert Gordon University. Fremantle is a member of a number of international networks of artists, curators and others focused on art and ecology.
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Who draws the line?

This post comes to you from Cultura21

September, 24th – 30th, 2011

Lecce (Apulia, Italy)

“Who draws the line?” is the title of the first solo exhibition in Italy by the Turkish artist Devrim Kadirbeyoglu, co-produced by Archiviazioni and Ramdom Association.

The exhibition was born as an inner necessity of the artist to represent and communicate the human, financial and social extent problems concerning the Schengen visa requirement for Turkish citizens. This is implemented through a site specific installation which paradoxically becomes itself a mobile project: after having traveled in the Northeast of Italy in search for a context of where to be discussed and presented, subjected to several conceptual and aesthetical elaborations, he finds home at the spaces of Archiviazioni and the Laboratory of Art and Architecture in Lecce. This part of Southern Italy is widely known as land of emigration.

More information: www.archiviazioni.org

Cultura21 is a transversal, translocal network, constituted of an international level grounded in several Cultura21 organizations around the world.

Cultura21′s international network, launched in April 2007, offers the online and offline platform for exchanges and mutual learning among its members.

The activities of Cultura21 at the international level are coordinated by a team representing the different Cultura21 organizations worldwide, and currently constituted of:

– Sacha Kagan (based in Lüneburg, Germany) and Rana Öztürk (based in Berlin, Germany)
– Oleg Koefoed and Kajsa Paludan (both based in Copenhagen, Denmark)
– Hans Dieleman (based in Mexico-City, Mexico)
– Francesca Cozzolino and David Knaute (both based in Paris, France)

Cultura21 is not only an informal network. Its strength and vitality relies upon the activities of several organizations around the world which are sharing the vision and mission of Cultura21

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New Mexico Art & Ecology BFA and MFA program

An installation being constructed by the University of New Mexico art and ecology students.

The University of New Mexico has a BFA and MFA program in art and ecology. I’m not sure when it started, but from their website, it seems that the program builds on previous eco-art classes and the university’s Land Arts of the American West program.

Read all about it at art.unm.edu/ecology.

Perhaps the most interesting thing to me is that if you go to the UNM Art and Art History homepage, the genres listed are:

  • painting and drawing
  • photography
  • ceramics
  • sculpture
  • art history
  • printmaking
  • electronic arts
  • art and ecology

I have to say that I’m surprised (and sort of enjoy) that this is an area or genre of study now. But I hope that it doesn’t result in other students thinking less about how ecology and environmentalism might play a role in their work.

From my experience, dividing students into specific genres has it’s positives and negatives. I’m thankful that I’ve studied in schools that are relatively open to interdisciplinary work while also engaging the medium-specific skills and information, if a young artist needs that in their work.

To a certain extent, any genre or “area” serves the needs of an academic institution, but I’ve always thought of eco-related art as spanning existing genres and would be hesitant to define it as its own medium. While eco-art may have its own concerns, I’ve been noticing that many young artists today—regardless of genre—think a lot about the environment and how artists can make work about it. As a result, much of the art that interests me isn’t overtly or obviously tied to environmentalism, but I believe it is there as an undercurrent.

Here’s hoping that this new program can help students find new and interesting ways to think about art and the environment, and that the “art and ecology” area adds to UNM’s other areas of study.

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