Sussex exhibition marks culmination of Sustainable Futures project
By: Heather Stanley
Last updated: Thursday, 13 October 2022
Sussex faculty members Perpetua Kirby, John Parry, Simon Thompson, Rebecca Webb (Education) and Michael Jonik (English / American Literature), celebrated the culmination of their sustainability research project with a public exhibition on 5 October on the Sussex campus. The exhibition showcased photographs, film, text, artefacts and graphic art from workshops conducted over the summer involving local schools and colleges and supported by Rampion Offshore Wind and the The Living Coast.
Since the launch of the project in March 2022, students (aged 8 to 18) and their teachers from nine local schools and colleges have worked alongside artists, dramatists, scientists and storytellers as part of this Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF) and Sussex Sustainability Research Programme (SSRP) funded research project. Entitled ‘Creating with Uncertainty: Covid recovery to educate for sustainable futures’, the project involved a series of workshops which invited students to reflect on their experiences of living through the precariousness of the Covid-19 pandemic in order to support and generate creative responses to living with the uncertainties associated with sustainability.
Workshops were held at a variety of locations, including the University of Sussex campus, the South Downs and Sussex Coast UNESCO World Biosphere Region, Brighton Beach and Stanmer Park, and were facilitated by a team of over 20 academics, Sussex university students from different disciplines, and partner organisations. In each, experts shared scientific and other knowledge about the world, such as Mika Peck who talked about his work with kelp on local beaches, Paul Wiggins from the Brighton Permaculture Trust, and New Scientist journalist, Adam Vaughan.
Activities included storytelling of alternative futures, arts and crafts, and related play, for instance recreating the movements of waves and turbines, and using specialist sound equipment to hear underground or inside a pond or a tree.
The intention of the project was to inspire and support students from diverse backgrounds to engage deeply with sustainability issues, to enhance their curiosity and engagement, and to build emotional and community resilience.