UAL students host ‘Carnival of Crisis’ demonstrating importance of creative education in response to COP26

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2021-11-16 13:52:01 – United Kingdom

The Climatic Emergency Network at the University of the Arts (UAL) has presented a series of activities to coincide with the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), showcasing how creativity can be utilized to respond to climate and ecological emergencies.

'Carnival of Crisis: Mobilising Creative Action in the Age of Emergency,' which took place over the course of two weeks, brought together students, faculty, and alumni from across UAL's six colleges and institutes. The Carnival's final climax coincided with the completion of COP26, and events covered a wide range of topics, from conscious consumerism to how the climate emergency intersects with racism and equality.

The purpose of the interactive events was to highlight the creative sector's innovative contributions, which are currently not recognized as part of the COP26 Summit. The platform aimed to give those in the sector a chance to show off their creativity and joint efforts in the fight for climate justice.

James Purnell, president and vice-chancellor of UAL, said that the Carnival of Crisis will highlight how creative changemakers can help bring about climate justice. Culture could be considered one of the key pillars of sustainability, alongside social, economic, and environmental initiatives.

The culmination of two weeks of activities was a Climate Justice Parade at Chelsea College of Arts' Parade Ground. Members of UAL were joined by Carnival partners and co-producers to demonstrate the creative industries, as well as the cultural and educational sectors', combined power. The finale event featured installations and artworks, including Helen Storey's 'Dress for Our Time' and Lucy Orta's 'Nexus Architecture,' as well as a platform for remarks by special guests and UAL affiliates.

Other events that took place throughout the month included the 'Colour of the Climate Crisis' program, which included students of color with established artists and designers of color from around the world. The virtual exhibition highlighted the relationship between race and climate justice, addressing the division it causes.

The Carnival of Crisis' theme aligns with UAL's larger commitment, which is expressed in a vow to reach net-zero energy by 2040, ten years ahead of the UK Government's deadline. Following COP26, the institution will release an ambitious new Climate Action Plan that will address commitments across four important strands: academic discourse, governance through purposeful policies, co-designing a movement, and ecosystem infrastructure.

Professor Ramia Mazé, of the Design for Social Innovation and Sustainability at London College of Communication, said that today, design is expanding upwards in government and upstream in policymaking processes, and design also works on behalf of communities and activists. These many influences of design imply a considerable role - and power - of design in influencing society. This power comes with a price: they must shape and employ design in order to create a more sustainable and just society.

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