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Climate Action Plan case study: Taking environmental action in our workshops

A person using a letterpress
  • Written byLaura Baker, Technical Coordinator Print Central Saint Martins
A person using a letterpress
Abbie Freeman in the Letterpress Workshop at Camberwell College of Arts, 2017 | Photograph: Alys Tomlinson

Adapting UCL’s LEAF framework for UAL

UAL worked on a pilot to introduce and adapt the Laboratory Efficiency Assessment Framework (LEAF) created by University College London (UCL), at Central Saint Martins (CSM). The pilot was conducted in our technical workshops that cover many disciplines, including textiles, film, photography, ceramics, print, and digital fabrication. This work was led by Laura Baker, Technical Coordinator at CSM, and Suzie McMurtry, a CSM MA Materials Futures student. The pilot’s aim was to discover where improvements are possible in our workshops and technical facilities.

We invited 31 workshop spaces from across CSM to take part. As part of the pilot, we had conversations with specialist technicians and technical coordinators. To gain an understanding of their perspective on the framework and gain insight on sustainable practices are already in use. With the responses and feedback, we are able to make recommendations for how to improve the pilot, and how we can adapt the framework for use at UAL.

The LEAF framework has 6 categories – waste, people, materials, equipment, procurement and space. We gave a self-assessment tool to CSM’s workshops, to report on their existing actions to save plastic, water, energy and other resources. Each workshop was awarded a level of Bronze, Silver, or Gold, in relation to the actions taken. In 2022, as part of our pilot, 29 of CSM’s 31 workshops achieved the Bronze level award. Following the pilot, in the 2022-23 academic year we plan to roll out the framework across all UAL Colleges. Whilst also improving workshops at Central Saint Martins further, working towards Silver level.