Aesthetics and Politics of Sustainability

Ann-Sophie Lehmann, University of Groningen,

Merel van Tilburg, University of Groningen,

Against the acceleration of time inherent in increasingly globalised and corporatized notions of work, this panels seeks to focus on artistic and research practices that disrupt, question, resist, or set aside the ethos of speed, efficiency, and unlimited -potentially destructive- growth. We seek to investigate individual and collective (small-scale) sustainable practices of artistic making and thinking involving care and attention, based on a deep engagement with the planet’s living systems. This panel aims to map out what sustainable practices of making and thinking might look like; what the term sustainability can bring to the field of art history; and if and how art history as a discipline can promote sustainability. It also wants to understand how sustainable acting/thinking underlying artistic and art historical practices relate to a potential aesthetics of sustainability.

Proposals can focus on but are not restricted to the following questions and themes:

  • sustainability as topic and conviction in art history curricula
  • does material knowledge make art historians more sustainable thinkers?
  • specific (contemporary/historical) sustainable, artistic practices, such as the recycling of materials, of own work
  • sustainablity as fashionable practice and sales incentive (artists, art market)
  • museum’s sustainability initiatives, i.e. reducing loans, re-cycling exhibition designs, implications of sustainability policies for small instutions

Information about the speakers and papers on this panel will be posted shortly. 



70 Cowcross Street
London EC1M 6EJ

+44(0)20 7490 3211