• Waste & Materials: A Step-By-Step Guide for Sustainable Action Volume I, Posted by: Ki Culture, 15 January 2021

    Waste & Materials: A Step-By-Step Guide for Sustainable Action Volume I

    Posted by: Ki Culture, 15 January 2021

    This guide is intended to provide sustainability information to make the best possible decisions for your needs working with cultural heritage, whether you are a preparator, conservator, registrar, curator, gallerist or artist. The scope of this research is broad to include many roles and responsibilites within organizations and businesses... 


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    Posted by: Tom Gallant, 17 December 2020

    In recent years a desire to balance creative expression with a sustainable practice has shifted towards a moral imperative that necessitates the latter whilst acknowledging the importance of artistic freedom. Moreover, the need for careful preparation in the creation and exposition of individual works alongside a wider practice of minimising footprint inspires a diverse dialogue that includes social justice and environmentalism without negating cultural expression; the integration of low carbon and environmentally sensitive methods, materials and technologies can drive a richer experience for creator and spectator alike... 



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    1 December 2020

    ARTA Sustainability White Paper 2020


    As set forth in the Paris Climate Agreement, in order to “significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change” we need to limit the global average temperature rise to “well below 2℃,” pursue further efforts to limit warming to below 1.5℃, and achieve net zero emissions no later than 2050. This is a lofy goal, but an essential one to avoid the most catastrophic effects of climate change the world is beginning to witness... 


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    Speakers (from upper left) artist Katie Paterson, artist Samir Bhowmik, artist, researcher Susan Schuppli, artist Jana Winderen, executive director, curator Paula Toppila, artist, researcher Antti Majava.


    16 November 2020

     In January 2021, the contemporary art commissioning agency IHME Helsinki will launch an Art, Science, Ecology course in cooperation with the Institute of Sustainability of the University of Helsinki and the Academy of Fine Arts of the University of the Arts Helsinki. Internationally acclaimed artists and scientists act as lecturers for the course and facilitators of the workshops. All lectures of the course are conducted online and are free and open to anyone interested. The course is in English.


    Another of the partner universities, the Academy of Fine Arts at the University of the Arts, trains visual artists who understand the global and planetary challenges of humanity in future. “The course offers students from both universities an excellent place to experience the collaboration of science and art in perceiving ecological crises and implementing an ecological transition together with internationally acclaimed artists and researchers.“states Hanna Johansson, Dean of the Academy of Fine Arts.


    The lecturers of the course and the facilitators of the workshops are artists, researchers and curators from Finland and abroad: artist and BIOS research institute researcher Antti Majava, UK-based researcher and artist Susan Schuppli, IHME Helsinki Commission 2020 artist Jana Winderen, IHME Helsinki Commission 2021 Scottish artist Katie Paterson, professor emerita Jan Zalasiewicz  from University of Leicester, paleoclimatologist J. Sakari Salonen from University of Helsinki, Helsinki based artist Samir Bhowmik and  IHME Helsinki Executive Director and Curator Paula Toppila


    More about the course

  • Notes on Packaging

    Posted by: Kate MacGarry, 22 October 2020


    My personal research into packaging has alerted me to some big gaps in the market for sustainable products designed for the art world. There are some exciting new materials which could be adapted for our needs going forward - including an alternative to polystyrene made with a carbon-hungry mushroom technology. We are investigating this material to develop packaging, blocks and corners for frames, but this will take time and in all areas there is much work to do. https://www.magicalmushroom.com 

    In the meantime we are trying to reduce what we buy and re-use what we have wherever possible. Having had a carbon audit done on my gallery I think its worth spending a bit more on packaging with a view to re-using it. 
    An important part of the packaging dilemma is to make sure you can recycle what you buy. 
    There are lots of new compostable products coming onto the market which is good news https://www.bioviron.com/ but unfortunately there are only a few waste services that collect them. 
    Compostable plastics need to go into the right environment to break down, they cannot go into plastic recycling and they don't do very well in landfill. The commercial waste company we use will now take glass, cardboard, electronics, plastics, paper, food waste and they can now take compostable plastics which is a breakthrough as we can now replace polythene with a compostable version. https://thefirstmile.co.uk/the-big-picture It’s important to get the best waste management service you can - the more you can separate the waste at source the better the recycling outcome. Also these separated items are collected in one truck (not electric yet but they are working on this) and recycled in the UK. 
    Wooden crates are shipped in their thousands around the art world. A well-built crate can last for years but many are used for one journey and then discarded. We try and re-use them in our storage where possible but re-using them for shipping difficult as they are made to measure. There have been some schemes for recycling crates, including one by Martinspeed, but we need more new solutions that don’t involve trees. 
    Rokbox are based in London and have made adaptable, durable crates with recycled materials designed to be re-used time and time again: they are also lighter in weight so reduce the carbon footprint of a shipment. https://rok-box.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/20190905-Environmental-Summary.pdf
    Circular Arts Network is a scheme for sharing surplus materials - you can give or get useful things including materials, equipment, plinths, tools etc for free or for a low price. https://www.canarts.org.uk/
    Blankets and cotton straps are an old fashioned alternative to bubblewrap and packing foam and are still widely available. They might require a little more investment but can last for years. Most moving blankets do contain polyester but are usually made from 100% recycled materials. There are some new re-useable bags on the market for smaller framed works:
    Nitrile gloves are very popular because they have such good grip for delicate works. There are biodegradable options, (in short supply right now) but I have not been able to find a compostable version that does the same job. We are trying to use washable cotton gloves only, but if you have to use Nitrile gloves you can recycle them with this scheme. 
    If you have any information on good packaging practices please email us so we can share it on our news page.
  • ENERGY SUPPLIERS, Posted by: Matthew Slotover, 22 October 2020


    Posted by: Matthew Slotover, 22 October 2020


    On the energy question, and changing providers to a green company:  - this is a good article from Ethical Consumer.