Expanding Communities of Sustainable Practice

14 October - 15 October 2021

Symposium organisers: Dr Dawn Woolley, Isabel Benton and Professor Samantha Broadhead

Building on our successful symposiums in 2016 and 2018 we are excited to announce our third symposium at Leeds Arts University on 14-15 October 2021, continuing the dialogue on how to expand communities of sustainable practice within and beyond art and design schools.

Click here to register and view the full schedule

Given the need for art and design education to transform its mode of operating in times of massive ecological crises, the symposium is an opportunity to learn from cases of good practice, obtain feedback on one’s initiatives and to network with others who are eager to make art and design education an effective advocate of sustainable practice.

Communities of sustainable practice are groups or networks of educators, designers, artists, craftspeople, researchers and students who aim to place sustainability concerns at the heart of their practice. Through the symposium we want to provide a space for people involved in such initiatives to effectively network and strategise together in order to enhance the positive impact and reach of what they do.

Keynote speakers

We are honoured to have Keynotes from Maxwell Ayamba and Dr Max Liboiron.

Maxwell Ayamba is a journalist, academic and founder of the Sheffield Environmental Movement He will talk about 100 Black Men Walk for Health Group, which inspired the production of the national play “Black Men Walking” by Eclipse and Royal Theatre Production in 2018/19. His charity website address is: www.semcharity.org.uk.

Dr. Max Liboiron is an Associate Professor in Geography at Memorial University and founder of CLEAR, an interdisciplinary plastic pollution laboratory whose methods foreground humility and good land relations. Liboiron has influenced national policy on both plastics and indigenous research, invented technologies and protocols for community monitoring of plastics, and led the development of the interdisciplinary field of discard studies. CLEAR are currently undertaking their first experiment in hosting five (virtual) Artists in Residence. Liboiron is Métis/Michif (Woodman via Red River) who grew up in Lac la Biche, Treaty 6 territory. Gender pronouns: they/she.

Image: Dawn Woolley, (2019) Modern nature building wrap. Commissioned by The Hepworth Wakefield and Wakefield City Council.

Aims and objectives

We want to focus on the importance of collaboration and networks in creating art and design practices that contribute to the four pillars of sustainability; environmental, social, economic and cultural. We are especially interested in complicating as well as expanding the notions of sustainability within art and design education and on how they contribute to engaging the public in sustainable and progressively transformative practices.

As we are convinced that sustainability is also about meshing together and intersecting practice and theory, the day will span from theoretical to practical engagements with sustainability – always with a focus on making this day productive in terms of building alliances, projects and shared commitments between the people attending.

The symposium especially invites contributions by people active within art and design schools on sustainability fostering initiatives: tutors, technicians, administrators, researchers and more. We welcome contributions by students as this is where many of the most innovative initiatives are coming from.

On the day 

This two half-day online event will include presentations by keynote speakers, discussion sessions and workshops where participants present their initiatives.

  • 14 October - 15 October 2021
  • This conference will take place online