Centre for Rural Economy

Sabina Sallis

Sabina Sallis

Aesthetics of Sustainability: What impact can a critical multi-media arts practice have on our visions for a sustainable future?

Email: s.sallis2@ncl.ac.uk

Supervisors: Irene Brown, Richard Grayson, Dr Menelaos Gkartzios

Project overview

This practice-led research seeks to contribute to an emerging field examining what the aesthetics of sustainability might look like and how this can impact upon collective visions for a sustainable future.

In particular it asks: In what ways can a critical multi-media arts practice both inform and impact on our visions for a sustainable future? 

This research challenges the common understanding of sustainability as solely management of resources, and the idea that impending environmental catastrophe can only be avoided by consumer choices (Adrian Parr, 2009).

Rather, it explores sustainability as understood by emerging theories of the post-humanities, as more deeply rooted in our physical and spiritual evolution.

Rosi Braidotti (2008) promotes the idea that sustainability implies a different kind of social relation that is “not dictated by individualism or political belief – but by the sustainability in and of transformations”.

This research is concerned with contributing to the enrichment of the aesthetics of sustainability through examination of potential transformations.

Sacha Kagan (2011) writes that the aesthetics of sustainability requires sensibility to the environment’s complex and dynamic webs of life and to the social, political and economic complexities of contemporary societies. 

Kagan's understanding of aesthetics follows on from both John Dewey (1934), who writes of “art as experience” and points to aesthetic experience as a human’s overall interrelationship with their environment, and from Christopher Crouch, (2015) who understands aesthetics as a force for social change.