CLOSED: LABVERDE Amazon Rainforest

(Applications Closed)

Man crouching down in the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil surrounded by trees
photo credit: Lucila Mantovani
photo credit: Lucila Mantovani

Naomi Cooper-Bailey has been selected for AER 2017 LABVDERE Residency in the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil.

Naomi Cooper-Bailey is a current PhD Research Student at London College of Fashion and has been selected for this year’s Art for the Environment International Artist Residency Programme (AER) LABVERDE Residency in the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil during July 2017.

Naomi is a fashion textiles designer currently studying for a PhD at the London College of Fashion. Her practice-based research topic is ‘How can embellishment deliver an alternative to the decorative and seductive notion of exotic animal materials?’ The research focuses on identifying the key motivators for the application of exotic animal materials as decoration. Furthermore, she then applies that knowledge to design embellishments made from alternative more ethically, socially responsible materials and methods. The design of these embellishment samples, created from non-animal materials, undergo evaluation to determine whether it is possible to achieve similar responses to that generally elicited by the use of exotic materials as decorative embellishment.

Naomi plans to to use this fantastic opportunity in the Amazon Rainforest to further explore the potential relationship between scientific discovery and fashion textiles. She sees the Labverde residency as a unique opportunity to not only appropriate the rainforest itself, but to engage with biologists and discover the way in which they are documenting life in the forest. Her understanding is that appearance, DNA and sound currently make up the key criteria for new specimen identification through photography and sound recordings, and as such there is less need to take a euthanised animal specimen.

Naomi's aim would be to explore the recording of specimens further as a designer by using a more poetic approach linked to her research project; to understand the decorative and seductive appeal of exotic animals. In light of those appeals, she would like to expand the purely aesthetic associations and explore sound, for example bird song to inspire textile embellishment. The residency goal therefor would be to inspire alternative ways of being engaged with nature; promoting habitat and life. In essence; to achieve similar public response to that generally elicited by the interaction with real birds.

Read more about Naomi's winning residency proposal


The Art for the Environment International Artist Residency Programme (AER) was launched in 2015 by member of the UAL Research Centre for Sustainable Fashion and UAL Chair of Art and the Environment Professor Lucy Orta.

AER provides UAL graduates with the exceptional opportunity to apply for a 2 to 4-week residency at one of our internationally renowned host institutions, to explore concerns that define the 21st century - biodiversity, environmental sustainability, social economy, and human rights.

Through research, studio practice, critiques and mentoring the AER programme is designed to envision a world of tomorrow; to imagine and create work that challenges how we interact with the environment and each other.


LABVERDE is designed for artists and creators who are eager to reflect on nature and landscape. The programme will promote an intensive experience in the Amazon rainforest aiming to explore the connection between science, art and the natural environment.

The LABVERDE program is a 10-days Art Immersion Program in the Brazilian Amazon rainforest for art, nature and science lovers.

The core of the artistic research will be based on issues related to the Amazon environment as well as its importance for the planet's ecological balance. The opportunity to develop innovative studies in the cultural field will be mediated by a high qualified team of specialists within the fields of arts, humanities, biology, ecology and natural science.

Experimentation and knowledge will be the tools used to inspire artistic working processes and contextualize discourses. By appropriating nature, participants are expected to promote aesthetic and poetic expressions that boost a conscious relation between humankind and nature.

The journey will take place in 2 different locations enabling a diverse scale and perspective of the amazon rainforest. Participants will be lodged at the boat and at the scientific headquarters of Adolpho Ducke Reserve administrated by The National Institute of Amazonian Research (INPA).

For a full programme of expeditions, talks, meetings and workshops please visit the LABVERDE website

AER at LABVERDE provides:

  • 10-day residency
  • LABVERDE fee
  • Meals, accommodation, entrance to Reserve + Botanical Garden, lecture + expedition fees and all transfers during the program
  • A round trip flight to Manaus, transfer to the meeting point of the program (Manaus harbor)
  • Curator / critique feedback
  • UAL grant of £500 on completion of the residency and final report 

Please note the applicants are responsible for visa, health and travel insurances.

The AER Team: