Andy Hughes Plastic Scoop

Andy Hughes Plastic Scoop

This event took place on Friday 24 January 2020

How is the Arts and Humanities responding to environmental and ecological challenges? What role might they play in productive interdisciplinary collaborations?

The Arts Institute is delighted to launch its newest research cluster, Environmental Cultures, which brings together a critical mass of researchers and practitioners at the University of Plymouth whose work recognises how the arts, culture and the humanities are inextricably bound up with questions concerning the environment.

The group’s activities have the potential to dynamically contribute to and enhance work being done on environmental challenges by colleagues across the University, from STEM to the social sciences, as well as to partners beyond the institution, such as those in government, NGOs and the charity sector. This workshop will identify and establish connections, explore new collaborative opportunities, identify funding streams, and work to develop Plymouth’s potential to be a centre for cutting-edge interdisciplinary approaches.

Led by Dr Mandy Bloomfield and Dr David Sergeant, the event is also supported by the University's Research and Innovation team. At the bottom of this page you can see some examples of recent collaborative work carried out by members of the cluster.


09:00 | Arrival and registration

09:15 | Welcome and introduction

09:30 | Project scoping

Three-minute elevator pitches from Arts Institute researchers, describing their areas of interest and expertise.

This will be followed by round-table discussions, for participants to identify and discuss potential shared interests and opportunities that Environmental Cultures researchers might share with colleagues from Plymouth’s wider research community.

10:30 | Creative showcases 

A brief interlude featuring recent interdisciplinary and multimedia collaborations.

11:00 | Project development 

In round-tables and with the whole group, a session working to develop, hone and strategize ways forward, including future collaborations and projects.

12:15 | Workshop close, networking and lunch

Who is this event for?
This event will be of most interest to researchers with an interest in sustainability, whether directly relevant such as geography, environmental sciences, marine sciences etc, or as part of their research in other fields such as health, medicine and social sciences. This may also be of interest for environmental groups and local cultural partners who may be looking for collaborative opportunities with the University.

‘The Art of Politics’

Dr Nichola Harmer with artist Naomi Hart

Nichola’s interests bring together sustainability and creative approaches to research in human geography. This collaboration explored how UK parliamentarians represent environmental challenges in Britain’s overseas territories, producing paintings that depict iconic species of territory flora and fauna that also reflect and speak to ongoing links with the UK.

Find out more about this project

Creative Associates - The Art of Politics

‘The Feast Table’

Dr David Sergeant with artist-maker Barnaby Stone’s interactive table

David’s current research on the imagination of the near future engages issues of embodiment, community, technology and environmental scale. A recent collaboration with Regen, local energy groups and an artist/maker used “utopian feasts” as a means of exploring the importance of narrative, and a structured imagining of the future, to the achievement of material change in the present.

Find out more about this project

‘Plastic Scoop: A Synthetic Ocean’ 

Dr Mandy Bloomfield with photographer Andy Hughes and students of English and Geography

As part of Mandy’s current research into cultural imaginaries of the ocean, this film explores the complex relationships between plastic, nature, the ‘real’ and the virtual. The film uses game footage from Grand Theft Auto V, archival footage and new research material to encourage fresh perspectives on plastic pollution and the Anthropocene.

Find out more about this project

Creative Associates - still from Pseudotachylyte


Heidi Morstang with Films at 59

Heidi’s research combines interests in documentary film and photography, landscape, history, seed collections, ecology and scientific interventions. Her recent film ‘Pseudotachylyte’ portrays how geo-scientists explore the Arctic landscape of the Lofoten Islands. The film contributes to an understanding of how field scientists work and why physical field work is crucial to understanding the significance of visual interpretation.

Find out more about this project

Professor Robert Brown

Inaugural Professorial Lecture series: Introducing...

dialogues: towards a community of praxis by Professor Robert Brown
Tuesday 11 February

Our cities are sites of difference, marked by the presence of often disparate communities and conflicting socio-cultural, economic and political forces. Our challenge is how we respond to that difference. Professor Robert Brown will explore how we consider our responses to dialogically embrace 'the other' and what this means for architecture and disciplinary practice.

Find out more and reserve your place

Research in the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business

World-leading research across, between and with arts and humanities disciplines

Where arts and humanities research meets cultural ecologies and economies in south-west England.

Learn more about our research
Slow Painting installation