Considering issues of sustainability for art in a digital environment

Sustainability is not often thought about in relation to art making or exhibiting, for example, I was shocked recently by the large amount of good quality material that was simply thrown away by a gallery after an exhibition had finished and the installation taken down, and what questions are asked about the impact of using digital tools to create and present art?

For some this may seem an unimportant issue but as the use of flat screens, projectors, computers and other power hungry devices increases it is important that this area is investigated.

This mini project will require you to engage with the issues of sustainability both in the theoretical research you do and also in the way you do the research. Therefore the learning will come both from what you find to present to the wider group but also through the actual tools used to create and share your findings.


(This may change)

You will be divided into 2 groups

Ben, Eduardo & Sneja

Katrine, Justin, Kiers & Ola


a short presentation (approximately 7-15 minutes) that presents your research into any element of sustainability in either:

a single work of art, or a body of work that engages with digital technology


how one gallery or art event/festival approaches issues of sustainability in relation to art and digital technologies.


However there is a specific way that we want you to actually go about doing this project.

Steve Wheeler (an education theorist and lecturer) suggests that ‘the future of learning is definitely smart mobile’ and this already relies heavily on cloud computing, therefore in the whole process of research, creation and presentation you must consider both mobile devices and cloud computing.

For example:

a. wherever possible use mobile devices in the project as a way to test them and investigate their sustainability (however this does not assume you all own a smart phone or tablet computer, use whatever you have)

b. with your partner or team use cloud computing options to collaborate and share

c. make an informed use of creative commons licensing for everything you create (http://creativecommons.org/) which is itself an element of digital sustainability as it encourages reuse.

This project is part of your learning on this course, it is designed to embed the ideas and considerations of sustainability into your thinking and art making but it is also a live research project. At the end of the process I will conduct a focus group session where we will examine the process of the project to better understand the benefits and frustrations of using mobile devices and cloud computing tools for the project.


The whole project will be published on the university website with all contributors (that is you!) listed as authors of the research.

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