The ‘System Change HIVE’, hosted by the University of Brighton’s School of Media, brings together emerging artists from the Sussex area and university arts and media students, with experts in sustainable development, post-growth economics and climate communication.
The pilot project will be “an important landmark for interdisciplinary work exploring how art and research can combine to open up new pathways to zero-carbon economies and the pursuit of well-being”, according to Professor Julie Doyle, Director of the university’s Centre for Spatial, Environmental and Cultural Politics, and co-investigator on the project.
“The HIVE aims to produce visual and sonic art, including immersive digital art, to help imagine how social and environmental systems could change for the better.”
As part of the project, participants will be supported to use Virtual Reality software under the mentorship of technology start-up businesses resident at FuseBox, the home of Digital Catapult Centre Brighton, itself a knowledge transfer legacy between the University of Brighton and Wired Sussex, and there will be a touring exhibition starting in 2019.
The project has been awarded an arts grant from Arts Council of England, and will be co-led by interdisciplinary arts organisation Swarm Dynamics, researchers from the Economic and Social Research Council’s STEPS Centre at the University of Sussex, and the University of Brighton’s School of Media and its Centre for Spatial, Environmental and Cultural Politics and a part of Connected Futures Immersive Media theme.
Professor Doyle said: “A rich public engagement programme of workshops with policy makers, open days for journalists, and public exposure at festivals and galleries is anticipated for late 2019 and 2020.”
The project aims to help researchers, digital technologists and artists learn from each other about the interactions between social science, alternative economics and visual culture. Through the artworks, the HIVE’s creators hope to engage the public in imagining new and creative responses to climate change, urbanisation, the rise in automation and environmental injustice.
Professor Doyle said: “The Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change report has warned that we need rapid global emissions reductions over the next few years to prevent the worst impacts of climate change. In the face of urgent, apocalyptic visions of the future, we need to open up new possibilities for visions of the future that actively involve young people in their creation. By working collaboratively and creatively across disciplines and practices, we hope that the Creative HIVE will help us to understand how young artists, and researchers can work together to create more hopeful futures.”
Professor Karen Cham, Academic Lead for Connected Futures, said: “The SWARM project is an excellent example of how, in the digital economy, creative collaboration with a university can simultaneously support the civil sector, increase absorptive capacity for R&D in the business sector and demonstrate academic research impact. This is exactly the sort of partnership outcome our contribution to the Digital Catapult Centre Brighton aimed to support.”
David Holyoake, Creative Director of Swarm Dynamics, said: “There is untapped potential from involving artists and creatives not only in how to better communicate the benefits of rapid transition, but also to involve them in thinking and prototyping of new solutions. It is clear that technological innovation on its own will not save us. The System Change HIVE will be unique in using art and virtual reality to explore challenges and solutions for the societal and economic transformations necessary, and that hold potential for a brighter future for young people in the UK and beyond.”
Nathan Oxley, Communications Manager at the ESRC STEPS Centre, said: “To enable deep, radical transformations required in economies and human relationships we need not only research and evidence, but also new ways of exploring and developing ideas about the future. We are excited about the potential of this project to help researchers, students and young artists to open up a deeper conversation about systemic change with a broad public audience.”
The System Change HIVE project will begin in February 2019.
For more information contact Professor Doyle via firstname.lastname@example.org.