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Working group: Neil, Marsha, Sharon, Scott, Metod


We will be facilitating an afternoon of barcamp-like events as part of:


A symposium to critically examine the conflicted idea of ‘sustainable growth’, and to envision alternatives.

Chelsea College of Art & Design, London Friday 19 October 2012

Contributors include:

Andrew Simms Policy Director, New Economics Foundation
David Cross Reader, CCW Graduate School University of the Arts London
Professor Michael Fehr Berlin University of the Arts
Marina Landia Institute for Art in Context, Berlin University of the Arts
Dr Hayley Newman Slade School of Fine Art, UCL
Critical Practice Research cluster University of the Arts London

As a global centre for contemporary art, financial deregulation, and conspicuous consumption, London is a unique context in which to consider the conflicted idea of ‘sustainable growth’. While decades of focus on economic ‘growth’ have marginalized considerations of ecological sustainability, the recent super-concentration of financial power has intensified the influence of money on art. Conversely, in the UK, the bailout of private banks deemed ‘too big to fail’ has led to a political programme of public ‘austerity’ and a commodification of education that is restricting art as a career choice to a shrinking minority of people. Although climate damage and the accelerating extinction of species signal that industrial society is overreaching the ecological limits of the planet, the implicit conditions of success for artists and designers range mostly from ironic detachment to a studied ambivalence.

We propose an exchange between Art, Economics and Ecology. Each of the fields is contested and constantly changing, and the relationships between them are ambiguous and paradoxical. While the symposium offers a critical focus on ‘sustainable growth’, we aim to move beyond critique towards a more holistic understanding as a basis for action.


• the ‘vertical’ model of knowledge transmission from experts to an audience. This model is familiar and reliable, though it belongs to the paradigm of what Paolo Freire called the 'banking' concept of education, in which knowledge reproduces existing power relations.
• the ‘horizontal’ model of knowledge exchange developed in radical democracy and feminist pedagogies, and applied in the Transition Town movement. The ‘Barcamp’ is a participatory workshop that places more equal value on the knowledge and skill of experts and beginners alike.

Beginning the day with the first model, and continuing with the second, we are aiming for an encounter between the hierarchy and the network as complementary forms of knowledge production.

09.00 Registration, tea and coffee
09.30 David Cross, Welcome and introduction
09.35 Professor Chris Wainwright, Vice Provost and Head of CCW. Sustainability at the CCW Graduate School
09.40 Professor David Garcia, Dean of the Graduate School and Enterprise Development, Research partnerships at the CCW Graduate School
09.45 Dr Hayley Newman, MKVH (Milton Keynes Vertical Horizontal)
10.10 Professor Michael Fehr, Günther Eckert’s Continuum
10.45 Break
11.00 Marina Landia, Personal Narratives and Expert Opinions
11.25 David Cross, Vanishing Point: Sustainability and Visual Culture
11.50 Andrew Simms, Policy Director, New Economics Foundation, The Great Transition
12.30 Discussion
13.00 Lunch
14.00 BarCamps convened by Critical Practice Research cluster
4.15 Summary
4.30 Close

INSATIABLE is a collaboration between the University of the Arts, London (UAL) and the Institute for Art in Context, Berlin University of the Arts (UdK)