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Climate Emergency Network

Figures standing  wearing green moss, cardboard and pale fabric garments
Figures standing  wearing green moss, cardboard and pale fabric garments
Parade for Climate Justice (photo: Ana Blumenkron)

A growing community of interest and concern, creative practice and action

UAL's Climate Emergency Network is an evolving, responsive movement. Propelled by staying in the tension of what can no longer be, what is happening now, and what is yet to arrive.

Since the network’s first Climate Assemblies at UAL in 2019 – it has gained traction and agency. The network unites around a shared purpose, across differences. It has agitated and organised, built up, burnt out, and built up again. And still, there remains a huge amount of work to do, to meet the collective challenge of our time.

It is an untamed and non-hierarchical network. That breaches the boundaries of generation, discipline, college, and historical allegiances. It comes together to harness the full force of existential creativity. To match the existential crisis, that threatens our world.

We are constantly re-evaluating our purpose and impact on our community at UAL. Our purpose is defined as:

  • Community as a catalyst for action. By accelerating and amplifying individual agency, and nurturing future leadership.
  • Community of reflection. A network that looks inwards and outwards to find what is most urgent and relevant. Through critical friendship and honesty.
  • Community as a refuge. Where hope and resilience can be restored and replenished together. Where rest and care are valued and protected.
  • Community as a compass. Directed by moral imagination and moral courage.
  • Community as an accelerator. To channel outrage, coupled with innovation into personal, collective and systemic change.

There will continue to be moments to mark by events, or gatherings. Moments to stop and name, reflect, measure and test. Creating a balance between evidencing progress, and continued experimentation. The network is finding their best way forward. Led by the creativity of our students, staff, collaborators, challengers and friends. Keep up to date by signing up to our newsletter.

Creative Ecologies

Designing in Turbulent Times exhibition, Lethaby Gallery for London Design Festival

The story so far

Organised by the Network, Earth Day 2022: Appetite for Justice invited one and all to “take a seat at the table”. Using the table as both metaphor and prop for communal experience, the day disrupted the usual curriculum to share projects and form collective connections. This year, the Colleges across UAL saw a wellspring of activity from staff, students and alumni. Across UAL sites, workshops, performances and talks filled the communal and public spaces highlighting creative and optimistic ways towards ecological justice.

In response to the COP26 Climate Summit, In Autumn 2021 we hosted Carnival of Crisis: Mobilising Creative Action in the Age of Emergency. This ambitious season of events promoted conversation, collaboration and action within our community as well as with other creative higher education institutions, the cultural sector and creative industries.

In September 2020, we hosted the online conference Five Days. Ten Years. One Planet. bringing together academics, students and external guests in a week-long series of talks, workshops and debates.

During lockdown, a group of students and staff from the Network produced an interactive introduction to the climate and ecological emergency and hosted online ‘watch parties’ to groups of students at UAL and beyond. The project continues to develop dynamically and reach young audiences through our local engagement teams.

So far, we have curated two Graduate Showcase Collections: People & Planet (2020) and Ecocentric (2021) - these collections of graduating students’ projects from across UAL’s Colleges aim to inspire, provoke and empower: elevating work that speaks to the vital urgency of our intersecting cultural and environmental crises, advocating for human and non-human species, proposing alternative materials, systems, relationships and practices.

  • Virtual liquid bubbles against a lavender background in a scene from a 3D game
    Pastures New by Jessica Mumby-Price, UAL Graduate Showcase: https://graduateshowcase.arts.ac.uk/projects/253959/cover

    Climate Emergency Network presents: MATERIAL HEROES

    In collaboration with King’s Cross Design District for London Design Festival, MATERIAL HEROES aims to provide a platform for UAL recent graduates to showcase their work through a physical exhibition hosted on the ‘Outside Art Project’ photography benches located around King's Cross. We are inviting UAL graduating students to submit one image that provides a visual ‘clue’ to their work that highlights a material ‘hero’ from their final major project.

  • Various graphics from a computer game about bees
    Adipa Klomchitcharoen, BA Graphic Communication Design

    Class of 2021: Ecocentric

    On the Graduate Showcase you'll find a collection of work curated by the UAL Climate Emergency Network. Here, we pause on a few of those selected projects responding to the climate emergency in bold and witty ways.

  • CAD image of orange furry objects on green background
    Sachi Patil, MA Graphic Communication Design

    Maison/0 Green Trail 2021

    We're proud to announce the six winners of the Maison/0 Green Trail which celebrates innovative responses by graduating students to the climate and biodiversity emergencies.

  • Photo of used plastic bottles

    Climate Emergency Interactive: hear from the students involved

    We spoke to two current Central Saint Martins, UAL students who have been actively involved in the creation of the ‘Climate Emergency Interactive - an Introductory Video from UAL’.

  • Story image

    University of the Arts London responds to climate emergency

    UAL aims to use our leadership in human-centred research, teaching and knowledge exchange to influence the creation of a sustainable future for everyone.

  • Climate Emergency Posters pinned to wall
    Climate Emergency Posters

    Climate Emergency Assembly

    Ahead of Central Saint Martins' first Climate Emergency Assembly, we hear from staff and students about their perspective on, and hopes for, this open and experimental process to creative collective action across the institution.