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Meet: Rebecca Lardeur

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Written by
Eleanor Harvey
Published date
14 December 2020

Rebecca Lardeur started Climate and Cities, a collective which investigates the interactions of climate and cities through creative research and projects.

Rebecca studied on the Foundation course at Camberwell College of Arts, UAL before completing her BA (Hons) Graphic Communication Design at Central Saint Martins (CSM). We recently caught up with her to find out more about her work, and what she's got planned for the future.

Portrait photo of a woman smiling at the camera
Rebecca Lardeur

Tell us about your time at Camberwell and CSM. How did your experiences of the colleges differ? Were there any similarities?

My time at Camberwell was absolutely sensational – a lot of first times and experiments has filled the year, with so much encouragement to do so. It was a very inviting and supportive environment. CSM taught me that confidence, sassiness and faith in my own vision were important parts of the creative process. Fabulous became an everyday thing there. Both Camberwell and CSM have a unique identity and yet share many qualities. I have met my best friends at UAL. I would go back to both schools without hesitation!

What was a highlight during your time at UAL?

The constant exchange of ideas, support, and creativity which filled each building.

Photo of a pavilion
#AirWeShare Pollution Pavilion. Copyright: Climate and Cities

You’re part of the collective Climate and Cities; can you tell us more about this. How did you all meet? What does the collective do?

The collective started when I sat down with a few friends and we decided to use our combined skills to do something about climate change. I felt that conversations around the topic are always so unengaging and disappointing; listening to complicated words and being told to recycle isn’t sexy. We wanted to change that, by crafting new narratives around climate change and the urban environment. I guess something special about this is that we have put research methodologies at the centre of our work. We really benefited from this investigative approach.

The collective is made of graduates from Camberwell, CSM, Chelsea, London College of Communication (LCC) and Royal College of Arts (RCA). Having met over the years, we’d all collaborated before. As you can tell by the breath of names, we have a beautiful mix of creative practices!

Why is the focus on climate and cities?

Because cities are what we know. We are all Londoners, who know cement better than soil. It felt more genuine to focus on this area for climate action.

Photo of a pavilion
#AirWeShare Pollution Pavilion. Copyright: Climate and Cities

Can you tell us about a few of the projects you’ve worked on as part of Climate and Cities?

We started the collective with a commissioned installation in January 2020! Hosted in Covent Garden for two weeks, our #AirWeShare Pollution Pavilion was an interactive piece inviting the public to engage with air quality data. It was made with Life Cycle Assessments in mind and had a low carbon footprint. Our client was Hubbub.

As a collective, we also lead our own creative research projects. The magazine IFLA! kindly invited us to exhibit our work in progress research during their Issue #5 launch last September in Soho. We are currently investigating nine themes: air quality, trees, London’s allotments, plastics, ways of eating, noise pollution, the ecological impact of mass surveillance, global dimming, and the Olympics.

Our latest news is that we have been shortlisted in the Reimagining Museums for Climate Action competition. We proposed the Tidal Museum, a climate museum for London on the Thames (this is yet to be released).

Photo of an exhibition
IFLA! Creative Research Exhibition. Copyright: Climate and Cities

Have you always been interested in the connection between research and design?

Yes, definitely, probably to the disappointment of some of my teachers to be honest. I studied graphic design, and you can't do graphics without something to communicate! But I was always questioning my message. Is it true? Is it right? What else?

I feel like when investigation meets the creative process, it adds a special spark. It will bring a thoughtful touch where simplicity and complexity meet. There is something beautiful about this encounter. I cannot get enough of it.

Photo of an exhibition
IFLA! Creative Research Exhibition. Copyright: Climate and Cities

What are your plans for the future of Climate and Cities?

Broadly, to continue and to grow. Get better. Do more. Practically, our current focus is on delivering our first nine projects, each on a different theme, which will deliver new narratives for climate change in cities. We share progress updates on these regularly on our socials so please do give us a follow if you’re interested! We’ve got a few other things in the pipeline, but would rather not spoil on these!

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