Phd Candidate

Artists’ Plans for Sustainability – June 5th at Warwick Arts Centre

Wednesday 5th June 2-4.30pm

beuysimageOne of the Creative Spaces’ research focuses has been the role of the arts and artists in developing sustainable cities. Following our curiosity, we would like to take the opportunity of Mead Gallery’sexhibition “Artists’ Plans for Sustainability” to invite three artists to give 15-minute presentations of their work. This will be followed by a roundtable discussion with Warwick academics, addressing the question of:

The Role of Art in Developing the Sustainable City’

Visitors attending the roundtable will have the opportunity to comment or ask questions.

The event is free but places are limited, so please reserve a place in advance by phoning Warwick Arts Centre box office: 024 76524524.

Artists:

  • Nils Norman, Ion Sørvin (N55) and Carolyn Deby (sirenscrossing)

Academics:

  • Dr Nicolas Whybrow (chair, Theatre and Performance Studies)
  • Dr Cath Lambert (Sociology)
  • Dr Jonathan Vickery (Cultural Policy Studies)
  • Dr Ria Dunkley (IATL and Cardiff University Sustainable Places Institute)
  • Dr Susan Haedicke (Theatre and Performance Studies)
  • Nese Tosun (PhD candidate, Theatre and Performance Studies)

Creative Spaces is a network member of the AHRC-funded ‘Making Sense of
Sustainability’ arts and social sciences collaboration based at Cardiff
University.(PDF Document)


Creative Spaces Research at the moment focuses on two main areas:

The Role of the Arts in Developing Sustainable Cities

For Rosalyn Deutsche urban space is not only socially-produced but agonistic. Thus, the practices of urban societies – that which its various constituencies do or are allowed to do – defines or creates the space of the city, and such space is dependent for its very condition of existence on that which is produced by ‘conflicting interests’. As Henri Lefebvre puts it with regard to the abstract space of modernism and capital: ‘Inasmuch as [such space] tends towards homogeneity, towards the elimination of existing differences or peculiarities, a new space cannot be born (produced) unless it accentuates differences’ (1991: 52).

Read more (PDF) >  (PDF Document)

Venice and Sustainability

The city of Venice conveys an impression of sinking. It is known to be doing so literally – some twenty-three centimetres in the last century – with the fabric and foundations of buildings gradually dissolving and the seasonal floods of the acqua alta on the increase, whilst figuratively the sheer weight of tourists – estimated at 16.5 million annually – can be said to be forcing the city down and its citizens to ‘jump ship’ in a desperate bid to save their futures.

Read more (PDF) > (PDF Document)

Minutes of the previous meetings are available here:

24.10.2012 (PDF Document)

30.01.2013 (PDF Document)

Direct Action Artists

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“Remember, if someone you don’t know very well is trying to get you to build a bomb, just say no!”

So speak the puppets of the Earth First! Roadshow.

At the recent Earth Matters On Stage EcoDrama symposium, PhD candidate Sarah Standing read a paper analyzing  Earth First! and Greenpeace activities as performance. Both groups are famous for direct actions meant to draw attention to ecological plight, but differ in their extremes: Greenpeace appeals to those who prefer non-violent tactics, and Earth First! is known for spawning a few “domestic terrorist organizations.”

While not actually committing acts of terrorism, Earth First! activists are famous for tree-sits and other extreme measures. Some of its founders are credited with fake-cracking the Glen Canyon Dam in 1981. Recently its members have turned to more traditional theatrics in an attempt to educate and energize the movement.

Performers of the Earth First! Roadshow travel the country in a Chevy van with a timeline of “green scare” arrests, a slideshow of Earth First! actions, a map of ecological disasters and actions in America, and a security culture puppet show with a cast of woodland creatures. The pig puppet plays the cop, the owl is the narrator, and everyone scolds a fox named Danny for bragging about his radical graffiti. You can listen to a reading of the puppet show here.

The website ups the drama by comparing the roadshow to The Fellowship of the Ring:

. . . the roadshow is a great tool for cultivating resistance. There are countless examples to draw from in the story of radical movements before us: militant labor organizing tours, anti-fascist resistance recruitment and international speaking tours to build cross-border solidarity. The origin of Earth First! is credited to a few roadshows that kicked it all off in the early 1980s. We are building on this tradition; akin to a fellowship crossing Middle Earth to amass insurgents to face Mordor head-on.

Enemies of the Earth beware . . .

Go to the Green Museum