Published August 15, 2013
Having completed my first year at YorkU as Assistant Professor of Ecological Design for Performance in the Faculty of Fine Arts, I'm thrilled that this next year will see the addition of a graduate course on Sustainable Design in Performance. Though we ran a version of it last year for our first cohort of MFA Designers--a programme for which the course serves as a core of the first year course work--the 2013/2014 academic year will see it fully supported and integrated into curriculum.
Sustainable Design in Performance will prepare students to tackle issues of sustainability in theatrical and related artistic practice, especially, but not limited to, as it relates to performance disciplines. Students will build their literacy in contemporary sustainable thinking, environmental/climate issues, emerging models of creation, pedagogy, and community stakeholder engagement through a combination of research, modelling and field work as strategic change agents in professional settings. Artists have the goal of creating good art; all people should have the goal to do things sustainably and take every opportunity to remake the way we make for a sustainable future. The goal is to create new, more sustainable methodologies in art and performance by looking at the history of arts practices through the lens of new techniques being embraced across design, construction and other fields. This course takes a systems thinking, solutions oriented approach to cross-disciplinary innovation with application and resonance in theatrical and artistic production.
In it's previous iteration last year, student projects focused on a variety of topics such as the the commercial use of pine beetle wood in BC, the impact of programmable paints on the modularity of artistic construction, and interacting with park management for site specific performance. We also welcomed a few guests like Adam Metlzer from the Arts:Earth Partnership in Los Angeles, which is focused on green business certification for arts organizations, and Australian Eco-Scenography researcher Tanja Beer. The course culminated in change agency projects that presented cases for expanded investment in Energy Efficiency at the Grand Theatre in London, ON and a best practices guide for designers working in outdoors theatre.
This next year will feature work with Cape Farewell, the organization founding in 2001 by artist David Buckland to instigate a cultural response to climate change. Cape Farewell is now an international not-for-profit programme based in the Science Museum's Dana Centre in London and with a North American foundation based at the MaRS centre in Toronto. We will be fortunate to work with Cape Farewell as they plan for their Carbon14 festival which will feature an exhibition at the ROM from October 2013 - January 2014 and a performance series at the new Theatre Centre in February 2014. We will also work on helping to plan "Staging Sustainability" conferences in downtown Toronto (February) and Zurich (May) as a follow-up to the conference hosted by York in April of 2011.
If you're interested in knowing more about the course please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, enrolment will continue through the end of course sign-up this fall.