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Research Fortnight open lecture: Walter Kaelin, Platform on Disaster Displacement

Antarctica by Lucy Orta
Antarctica by Lucy Orta
Image courtesy of UAL, Antarctica by Lucy Orta
Written by
Cat Cooper
Published date
19 February 2019

UAL Research Fortnight (4-15 March 2019) pulls back the curtain to showcase the breadth and character of research across UAL, opening with a free, public lecture: 'Disaster Displacement: Linking Art and Politics' on 4 March 2019 from preeminent Swiss humanitarian, international human rights lawyer and activist, Professor Walter Kaelin, Envoy, Chair of the Platform on Disaster Displacement (PDD).

Forced displacement related to disasters and climate change is described as one of the biggest humanitarian challenges facing States and the international community in the 21st century. [The Nansen Initiative]. The PDD unites the EU and international states in combined action towards better protection for people displaced across borders due to climate change and disasters, carrying forward work on a Protection Agenda endorsed by world leaders in 2015. It seeks to protect people forced to flee in these contexts and to avoid such displacement occurring in the first place. By including the DISPLACEMENT: Uncertain Journeys art project as a component of its work, PDD has been able to reach policymakers at international conferences with its messages through the exhibition of contemporary artworks.

Reflecting on these experiences, this presentation will identify several conditions that contribute to successfully bringing art within international political fora. With an introduction from UAL Chair of Governors, David Isaac CBE, Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the talk will follow with a panel and Q&A session involving the UAL Creative Actions and Environment Displacement research group: Professor Lucy Orta, David Cross, Hannah Entwisle Chapuisat and Professor Oriana Baddeley and chaired by Dr Pratap Rughani.

UAL Chair of Governors, David Isaac:

It’s an honour to welcome Professor Kaelin and the Platform on Disaster Displacement as we invite students, staff and the public to discover more about our research. At UAL we have a strong body of work that uses art and design to confront issues relating to environmental change, communities and resilience. It’s a welcome opportunity to reflect on this research and encourage a wider understanding of how creative perspectives can help the world’s population live more safely and sustainably.

DISPLACEMENT: Uncertain Journeys is led by UAL doctoral candidate Hannah Entwisle Chapuisat working in partnership with other UAL researchers. The project closely collaborated with PDD during Migration Week, Marrakesh in December 2018 to highlight displacement related to natural hazards and climate through the renowned Antarctica World Passport project, as well as other artworks including by the late UAL Prof. Chris Wainwright, who co-founded the DISPLACEMENT project.

In November 2018 Helen Storey, Professor of Fashion Science at London College of Fashion, UAL was announced as the first ever artist in residence at Za’atari Refugee Camp in Jordan.

About Walter Kaelin

Walter Kaelin is professor emeritus for international and constitutional law at the University of Bern, Switzerland. He is the Envoy of the Chair of the Platform on Disaster Displacement and held the same position with the Nansen Initiative on Disaster-Induced Cross-Border Displacement. He also served as Representative of the UN Secretary General on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons as well as member of the UN Human Rights Committee. His numerous publications address issues of international human rights law, including co-editing The Face of Human Rights, a critical reader employing visual images and textual collage. He is advisor to the DISPLACEMENT: Uncertain Journeys art project.

Professor Walter Kaelin: Research Fortnight Keynote launch & Panel event:
4 March 2019 6.30pm to 8pm
London College of Fashion UAL

Community Resilience and Living with Environmental Change

Community Resilience and Living with Environmental Change are two of our four principal research areas at UAL, addressed through collaborative research partnerships, creative enterprise and wide cultural contribution across the University. The following Research Fortnight public events also explore these themes:

'Steps to an ecology of mind' - Open discussion 12 March 2019 and Exhibition 4—15 March 2019, London College of Communication

On Tuesday 12 March 2019, we will host an open discussion around the themes explored in the exhibition— everyone is welcome to take part, or just to come along and listen. This open discussion will provide a ‘safe space’ for sharing different views, while testing concepts and assumptions about the converging ecological and social crisis. Abandoning the search for simple relations of cause and effect, we might instead see reinforcing ‘feedback loops’, such as between consumer society’s dependence on declining fossil fuels, climate change, mass migration and the rise of racist politics of the far right. But while recognizing the urgency of the situation, our aim is to activate creative and critical thinking to open up new possibilities based on respect for difference and the common will for a fairer future. The exhibition highlights creative practice-led research exploring the displacement and migration of people, and invites reflection on how this relates to the accelerating environmental crisis, especially climate change.

Bringing together art, activism, diplomacy and journalism, the exhibition will include creative and documentary photography, video, drawing, and an item from the Stansted 15 non-violent direct action to end racist deportations. Also, visitors to the discussion will have the option of being issued their own Antarctica World Passport by Lucy and Jorge Orta. The exhibition will include works by Helen Brewer, Paul Coldwell, David Cross, Hannah Entwisle Chapuisat, Sara Furlanetto, Tom Hunter, Jina Lee, Nela Milic, Lucy and Jorge Orta, Eva Sajovic, Helen Storey, Abdulwahab Tahhan, and Chris Wainwright. Join us as we examine contemporary cultural politics through creative practice.

Art for the Environment: Creative Practice in the Amazon – 5 March 2019, London College of Fashion

The International Art for the Environment (AER) Artist in Residency Program is celebrating its five-year partnership with 20 host institutions across the world. This special Research Fortnight event will focus on the AER partnership with the Labverde’s art immersion in the Amazon in Brazil. Five artists from the disciplines of dance, sound, film, fashion textiles, sculpture and performance will present their work and reflexions on the experience of engaging with issues that directly affect the Amazon rainforest’s fragile equilibrium, and indirectly the health of the entire planet.

THERE AND BACK AGAIN: Circular Design Lab Talks - 6 March 2019, Chelsea College of Arts

‘There and Back Again’ is a three-day event bringing together the research community, students and industry to discuss the opportunities and challenges of designing for a circular economy. The series of talks and workshops will provide insights from multi-disciplinary approaches to designing for recovery and regeneration of products and materials. Circular Design Lab presents an afternoon of talks by Gwen Cuningham, from the Circle Economy program and Amsterdam Fashion Institute, and Jamie Brassett MA Design Innovation course leader. These multi-disciplinary speakers will present insights for designing for new systems, material recovery and meaningful innovation from diverse perspectives, setting the framework for design to take on the challenges of a circular economy.

Truly transformative teaching: Creating a responsible curriculum for sustainable development - 6 March 2019, London College of Communication

With creative industries increasingly focusing on environmental and social responsibilities, and students’ desires to work for responsible companies, educators are challenged to reconsider their curriculum and integrate sustainability into teaching and learning experiences (Chitrakorn, 2016). Join us to hear this pedagogic research presentation from Dr Natascha Radclyffe-Thomas, exploring the author’s motivations, intentions, experience and results of designing and delivering a responsible creative curriculum at scale.

Museum Engagement as Speculative Design Symposium - 15 March 2019, Camberwell College of Arts

If speculative design can be a catalyst for redefining reality, what are the implications for how concepts of audience engagement might be imagined in and around museums and other spaces of collection and display? Drawing upon Dunne and Raby’s idea that design speculations can promote discussion and debate, as well as proposing alternative narratives to the ways things are now, this one-day symposium will consider how speculative design might be used to explore how museum spaces can be reconfigured as social platforms.

UAL Research Fortnight, 4-15 March

UAL’s research fortnight presents two weeks of 70+ events presented by UAL’s research community. The majority of these events are open to the public, as well as UAL staff, students and researchers.

View our public programme - more events will be added daily.

Professor Oriana Baddeley, UAL Dean of Research:

The annual research fortnight events at the University of the Arts London offer staff from across our different subject areas and colleges a chance to get to know more about what their colleagues are researching. Academics, support staff and PhD students all contribute their time to a rich programme of activities that we hope will encourage new debates and collaborations.

Image shows Antarctica Village, No Borders 2007 ©Lucy + Jorge Orta Photography ADAGAP, Thierry Bal