A new exhibition looking at the impact of climate change has opened at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David’s (UWTSD) Swansea College of Art.
Alternative Futures brings together a range of multi-media visual responses to the COP26 conference and the climate.
The UK hosted the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow on 31 October – 13 November 2021. The COP26 summit brought parties together to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
The climate emergency is a critical learning opportunity. The nature of this complex problem requires deep learning that not only expands people’s knowledge and understanding about climate change, but also touches their values, sense of place and feelings of responsibility.
Education is an essential factor in the ever more urgent global fight against climate change. Knowledge regarding this phenomenon helps young people to understand and tackle the consequences of global warming, encourages them to change their behaviour and helps them to adapt to what is already a global emergency.
UWTSD was the first University in Wales to sign up as a Climate.Cymru partner and has joined a number of universities and organisations in Wales to declare an environment emergency. In addition, UWTSD has embedded sustainability as a core principle in its planning.
Students from BA Documentary Photography & Visual Activism, BA Photography in the Arts, Art & Design Foundation and BSc Environment, Sustainability and Climate Change have contributed to the exhibition, curated by staff and students.
Sian Addicott, Head of Undergraduate Photographic Studies said: “We invited students to communicate the importance of tacking climate change and sustainability through their work.
“The exhibition is a fantastic opportunity for students and the wider community to get involved and spread awareness about this very important message.”
Lara Hopkinson, Programme Manager for Environment, Sustainability and Climate Change said “The opportunity to bring students together from differing disciplines around a shared goal of climate change advocacy was a fantastic opportunity, culminating in an exhibition sharing images and information to highlight this crisis. Students found it interesting to work with others, and we look forward to developing further collaborations in the future.”
Alex Smith, a UWTSD Photography in the Arts graduate, who is now working as an artist in residence at the University, created a video for the exhibition.
She said: “It was recorded in Fairbourne, which experts are warning will be completely submerged by the sea in the coming years due to global warming. The video is a representation of the houses the people and the history of the village that will be gone.”
UWTSD Foundation Art & Design contributed through the project Psychogeography, and this resulted in a series of responses, including Life of a Garment, the Significance of Objects and Navigation of the Street.
Katherine Clewett and Shellie Holden said: “This enabled the students to reflect through the everyday, by writing, filming, drawing, and making, to consider their place in the world and the things that surround them.
“For example, Textile and Fashion is one of the biggest contributors to landfill, and part of the ethos of Fashion/Textiles involves revaluing the clothes we live with, ensuring where possible that we consider more ethical and sustainable methods of reclaiming our clothes, leading to ‘mini protests’ on fabric.
“The ‘Significance of Objects’ encourages students to gain a better understanding of how products and consumables are made, where raw materials sourced and how manufacturing process have a lasting effect on the environment. In ‘Navigation of the Street’ students observed society in urban space allowing an immediate response to human behaviour and our role as change makers.”