At UAL, sustainability is central to everything we do. That means it’s important that our staff and students are given the opportunity to engage with, and provide oversight on our vision and are empowered to deliver a sustainable environment and education for all.
This is why senior staff including Prof. Jeremy Till (Pro Vice Chancellor) and Prof. Dilys Williams (Research Director at the Centre for Sustainable Fashion), are working together with UAL stakeholders via the Climate & Environment Action Group (CEAG PDF 128KB) on strategic decision-making regarding climate justice at UAL. Jeremy Till is also executive lead for Climate Emergency. You can also take a look at our Student & Engagement Strategy (PDF 1.66MB).
There are lots of opportunities to contribute to climate justice at UAL;
- CEAG (PDF 128KB)
- Climate Advocate Programme
- Climate Studio
- Green Roof Society
- Earth Day
- Climate assemblies
- Climate Emergency Network
- and Knowledge Exchange projects such as our recent community dye garden built by students and staff in Stave Hill Ecological Park.
The UAL Climate Action Plan outlines our commitments to achieve climate justice at an institutional level. We pledge to change
- the way we teach and do research, so that students can develop sustainable practices and business models, and we can conceive and conduct research that contributes to climate justice
- the way we work with others, engaging with people, cultures, and creative practices from around the world – sharing our creative insights with wider society, and collaborating with global climate justice movements to bring about change
- the way we operate, with the aim to reach net-zero by 2040, setting carbon budgets, reducing emissions, and cutting waste.
You can also read more about this on our Contacts and how to get involved page.
Climate Emergency Network
The UAL Climate Emergency Network is a growing community of staff and students that launched during lockdown as an extension of the Climate Assemblies that took place at Central Saint Martins, Camberwell and Chelsea in 2019 and early 2020. The Network is open to staff and students at UAL.
Their focus for 2021 was to develop a creative response to the COP26 climate summit in November, which resulted in a 2-week long campaign called Carnival of Crisis. The network also worked in partnership with Glasgow School of Art and other cultural and educational organisations to build on the Five Days. Ten Years. One Planet conference with an ambitious festival programme and campaign demonstrating the unique role of culture and education in imagining more just and eco-centric futures.
You can read more about the network, what else it's been up to and find information on how to join on the Climate Communities webpage.
Annual climate campaigns at UAL
UAL is very active in advocating for climate change and leading practical action across the University and colleges. In previous years, UAL took part in nationwide climate campaigns such as Green Week in 2020. But with the establishment of our Climate Emergency Network and Climate Advocates, our focus has been on building recurring campaigns for our UAL community and the public, as well as embedding climate justice into our research and Knowledge Exchange. Some examples include our 2-week Carnival of Crisis which ran alongside COP26, this year’s Earth Day with an extensive programme covering all sites, while continuously working in conjunction with our Climate Advocates.
Funding Climate Advocates as Eco-Champions
Climate Advocates are students led by Nicky Ryan (Dean of Design) and promote environmental awareness and sustainability in curricula and teaching practices. All Climate Advocates are paid through Arts Temps, our social enterprise recruitment agency at UAL.
As of April 2022, we now have Climate Advocates in each College, who will work with a common purpose across UAL. Their primary role is to support the work of embedding Climate, Social & Racial justice into the curriculum, working closely with Course Leaders and Programme Directors. They are also participating in events such as Earth Day as well as Staff Development activities to support the embedding process. Climate Advocates will also come together with the Climate Advocate Staff Leads at regular intervals to share good practice and to create and empower this highly motivated community of student activists.
Read more about the Climate Advocacy scheme.
This year, 3 UAL colleges launched Climate Studio: a new initiative to develop an urban network of citizens, organisations and government to support collaborative place-based climate action. The initiative has been co-developed by Dr Lara Salinas, Senior Lecturer in Service Design at London College of Communication; Andreas Lang, Course Leader for MA ARCH: Architecture at Central Saint Martins; and Claire Swift, Director of Social Responsibility at London College of Fashion. A group of UAL graduates will also play a key role in Climate Studio — 9 Design graduates have been selected to take part in Climate Curriculum sessions and embed themselves in local community organisations as part of the project. Graduates will be paid through Arts Temps.
Climate Studio will be delivered through a public programme of activities involving local residents, council representatives and UAL students, graduates and academics in knowledge exchange activities. The aim of these collaborative practices is to form a joint network to tackle climate justice at a neighbourhood scale, building on local needs, practices and knowledge.
Student and staff representation and the Students' Union
Please see our list of names, roles and responsibilities of staff and students who contribute to climate justice at UAL
Staff and student induction
Sustainability is a key part of the staff and student induction process at UAL with the Sustainability Coordinator presenting at both. The induction centres on UAL’s approach to sustainability, offering practical sustainability advice and the various ways to get involved. This includes events and campaigns. For example - beekeeping, gardening, the Sustainability Projects Fund and the Sustainability Working Group.
During Big Welcome – UAL’s campaign welcoming new and returning students to the University – our Big Welcome Guide informs students about the ways in which sustainability is central to everything we do. This covers, among other topics, our green buildings, energy use, and encouragement to join our Climate Emergency Network. Take a look at an example page in one of our student guides (PDF 24MB). We also induct students online by what we call an e-induction (PDF 1.74MB). They’re orientated when they check in, and receive a variety of additional sources to learn about sustainability at UAL, such as:
New staff members are also required to complete our Carbon Literacy Training (PDF 1.32MB) module, which introduces 5 key chapters to staff. This covers climate emergency – the facts, carbon positive, waste and circularity, buying with a conscious, and sustainable learning teaching and research.
Following our climate emergency statement, sustainability and climate learning outcomes have been introduced into every course, and our Climate Emergency Network have rolled out the award winning Climate Emergency Interactive – an introduction video for staff and students.
Take a look at our ‘Contacts and how to get involved’ page for information on events, campaigns and funding available for sustainability projects.