The proof of the pudding…

Our final workshop of this stage of our network was held in Bangor, North Wales, on Oct 3rdin the Pontio building. This workshop was tasked with a dual purpose of looking back over the networks’ achievements over the last couple of years; and also to specifically reflect local themes and issues. Reflecting the fact that several presenters were first language Welsh speakers, we had simultaneous translation provided by local firm Cymen. It made me think, that the entire aim of the network, has been to provide a “translation service” between disciplines, and between academics, stakeholders, and the public. I very much feel that the network has achieved this aim, and has facilitated multiple conversations between different people in different places.

It will take more than one blog for me to give a full account of everything that happened and what I (and others) have learned from it. It was an incredibly thought provoking, exciting, and creative event, which spread out over a couple of days, with us being fortunate enough to have a talk and a guided tour from Dafydd Roberts, the Director of Llanberis slate museum, on the day before the main event. I’m making a start on setting down some thoughts while they are still relatively fresh; and to say a huge thank you to all participants and presenters. Diolch yn fawr iawn i pawb! It was a wonderful day! Many presenters’ talks are now available on the Bangor page of this website.

The workshop’s organising theme was “Make do and mend”; materials innovation in a rural city region. New materials scientific innovation, for example the production of biodegradable plastics, and scientific innovation which reflected the region’s slate mine legacy, were strong themes, developing the issue of “waste” in the context of industrial heritage, which was also a core theme in our 2016 Maastricht workshop. Both Bangor and Maastricht are small cities, situated within rural regions, with a legacy of mining and subsequent de-industrialisation. Helping to bring out this parallel, Paul Koenen, who talked about his artwork using mine waste at our Maastricht workshop , gave his presentation again here in Bangor (more on this in my next blog).

These issues of science innovation and industrial heritage were developed in talks by Rob Elias from Bangor’s biocomposites centre, (and who brought in a number of different bio plastics and composites derived from waste plant /bio materials to show us) and by Professor Barrie Johnson, Bangor university, who has pioneered ‘biomining’ as a method for both industrial clean up and for more sustainable resource extraction.

We had an interesting discussion around consumption practices which catalyse the demand for new resources. A recurring theme for the network, is how scientific innovation is working hard to develop more sustainable products and approaches; yet at the same time, human consumption continues to trigger demand in unsustainable ways.

We also heard from Steffan Jones and his colleague from Gwynedd Council, about the targets and challenges of tackling waste in this region, and the ambitious targets for waste reduction (set by the Welsh Assembly), which they are meeting. We learned that fines are imposed on the council if they do not meet these targets, and discussed some of the challenges of tackling waste in a rural region and innovative ways of dealing with issues such as a spatial mapping of fly tipping ‘hot spots’. Einir Young , Director of Sustainability at Bangor University, provided a “bigger picture” policy context of how ‘we do it in Wales’, explaining the context of the 2015 Wales Wellbeing of Future Generations Act which provides significant scope for holistic and joined up approaches linking environmental sustainability with human health and wellbeing.

The White Box space at Pontio where we held our workshop was full of artwork which was beautifully displayed by artists in our network. The space looked amazing, and the artwork created a very special atmosphere in the room. Rachel Rosen displayed a number of beautiful pieces, made out of waste construction materials from the new Menai science park (mSparc) being built on Anglesey. Rachel , aka the ‘scrap yard queen’, has been working with waste materials as an artist for a number of years, and also gave a great talk, providing a colourful and thought provoking exploration of her practice; “Wasthetics”, as she called it.

Several other artists who have previously participated in other workshops also displayed their work in the space, contributing to the beautiful aesthetic and vibe of the room, particularly Maria Vandenput, Netty Giljesteen, Rii Daalitz, Tilmann Mayer-Faye and Irene Janze (who also gave a talk about the art “pop ups” she has been working on with other network artists-which I’ll blog more about soon! It deserves its own blog!). You can find more about their artwork on the Amsterdam and Maastricht pages of the website and also in previous blogs here. There were additional displays from local sustainability innovators Barbara and Simon who are creating new eco materials and new eco buildings respectively.

The Netherlands artists who displayed and talked about their work were among a “posse” of about ten artists and social scientists (and a “token scientist”- the networks core scientific team member, the nanotech scientist James Baker), who took the time to travel from the Netherlands, to take part in this final workshop. It was a very humbling thing for me to see them all here, and to realise that they have all been so keen to continue to develop the network that they wanted to come and participate here (as have other previous speakers). We got this AHRC grant to develop an interdisciplinary network and to engage in knowledge exchange. The proof of the pudding is in the eating; the success of the networks’ core aims is evident in the fact that people have wanted to stay connected and engaged, and to continue to create and to develop connections. We have come a long way together and I can’t wait to see what happens next!

This is by no means everyone who presented or everything I want to say about this event- so I am splitting it into 2 blogs. More soon! Hwyl am y tro!

cheers everyone!

photos by Simone Willcock.

The cat's cradle.

Maastricht blog by Irene Janze

It took a while before I found some space to write about the wonderful workshop Techno - -Scientific Innovation and Waste: Opportunities and Consequences, I attended on December 9, 2016 at the Jan van Eyck Academy in Maastricht.

I didnot know were or how to begin. I was completely into the event. I met all kind of interesting people, heard fascinating lectures and encountered very interesting artworks. I think about it a lot, I felt a lot, I was even elevated and full of spirit to go on with the network at this higher level. Because that is how this event felt for me. It felt as if we had taken an elevator and left the ground floor. So how to describe the workshop and give the people, the works, the lectures, the meetings and so on and so forth the credits they deserve. Sometimes you just had to be there. Everything else downgrades the works and the talks due to the cross-pollination that occurred. Or to put it differently the humanistic/sociological/artistic worlds and the physical world were entangled. (they are entangled of course but not always noticeable). I thought about Donna Haraway…*

We were so to speak in a diffraction pattern of the reality. The reality takes place indifferently and the whole reality is unknowable, but we found ourselves in a part where there was a close look and thorough investigation, a research into different practices. Through this exchange new ideas might emerge, may be a new practice, a new sprout on a tree, a wave bends a little different. We were inside a frame as it were with an inside and an outside, where the inside is still not total clear. We travelled in an adventure where the border posts were still far away. Yes were a “chaos light” governed until also this split is explored or another diffraction occurs.

Matter was rather present in this reality. We were sitting under or with a halve head above, inside or just outside a grid made by the artist ML Vandenput. On tables, chairs and the floor lay different half or round balls made out of clay or gypsum. Some had a print on them- of the periodic system, a digital language for instance– others did not. Some balls had a smooth surface; others had a skin made out of fingerprints. The installation (and matter) was very present during the symposium: it gave rise to physical bumps, we had to carry the heavy balls up and down the stairs, they were on our laps or we could stroke them lightly on the head. The balls looked like small worlds on it own, but it reminded me that all this worlds are entangled. But how and in what way are they entangled? Through hubs, knots, cat’s cradles ? And do I see a mainstream world or a forgotten one? A dominant world or a suppressed one? A physical world or a human one? It all depends on the grid, on how the world is mapped the installation seems to say. And where I am. The worlds consist out of matter, and that matter matters. We are at some place on a certain moment. We can touch the earth, the liquids, the refuges, the nuclear fall outs, the skies: human and non- human materials. Through matter connections are made, ideas noted, surprises taken. But we are very often at distance, so it seems, as if it has no effect on me.

The scientists Marco Scoponi and Yvonne van der Meer talked about bio-materials. Marco uses waste from the food industry in Italy as base ingredients: the soft skin of rice and tomato’s. We have to eat unhealthy then somebody from the audience said. Marco brought all kind of materials made out of biomaterials to the workshop. The coffee and milk cups were taken away immediately. I still have the nets and granules. Yvonne van der Meer put the scarcity of water to our attention. It seems that for biomaterials a lot of ground still has to be explored, but both emphasized that such problems should not hold us back in developing biomaterials. For it could be a great solution for the plastic bubble. Since plastic is an unearthly material I would say. Unearthly in the sense that it cannot be taken up or gulped down by the earth.

Tilmann Mayer Faye asked us to carry all kind of wood up and later down the stairs. Branches, twigs, shelves, board and planks you name it. We had to build something out of it. Some made fashionable wood wear, others little houses or sculptures. Conclusions of the participants: A. the more industrial the wood the less you could do with it B. with collaboration one achieves more and faster C. everybody is always surprised about - and proud with their outcome

I want to mention the work of the artist Rii Dalitz. She sat at a table with some small books. All were filled with beautiful fragile drawings that draw my attention. I could not keep my eyes off them. Rii tries to describe the world in a whole new language based on units found in nature. You have to meet Rii and ask her to show you the books and hear her explain. It is an experience. I would do her wrong to try to tell it in my words. I hope she will publish an article about her work on our website in due time.

And last but not least there was the work and lecture of the artist Paul Koenen. Paul creates benches made out of mine stones (left overs from the former mines) and places the benches on top of the former mineshafts, which form a honeycomb under the surrounding region of Maastricht. He had to visit the former miners and rang the bell at their houses. He heard lots of stories and gathered all kind of information and local knowledge about the area. When all the benches are placed (in the future) Paul is thinking about creating a way one could listen to the stories. And may be to connect those stories to other stories informer mine areas like Wales (where out Bangor workshop will take place). A complete local narrative is involved in his work. One of things he mentioned stayed in my brain. He said that every four or five years a international fanfare (band) competition takes place in the area. Fanfares were and are big in the mining areas. In Germany and Wales for instance as well. So although the mining stopped, the music is still going strong in all those former mining districts. The musical culture and structures survived the economical ones!!!

Read more about speakers, artist intervention and actions in Alex' blog below

I will conclude by saying that next to other domains an artistic domain exists in which one communicates through matter. Matter matters. May be this domain has more in common with the practices of scientists than one might think of at first glance.

* Donna Haraway Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene

Waste and Value(s): Material Girl. Maastricht Blog Part 2

Time slips by fast and we are already organising the next interdisciplinary workshop in London (working title Urban Waste Streams). The ripples from our Maastricht workshop are informing this wave of activity -which is all the more reason for me to get on and write up part two of the Maastricht workshop blog!

We Are Living in a Material World…

In my last blog Messing About with Materials, I emphasised the centrality of materials as a cross cutting theme; that our multi disciplinary Maastricht waste workshop speakers and participants were exploring the nature of different materials. This included creating new materials (bioplastics-discussed by synthetic biologist Marco Scoponi); testing and exploring the properties of existing materials; seeing what could be done to extract value and use from waste materials; testing how to limit/mitigate the environmental impact of waste materials in specific contexts. For example- Maastricht waste management policy advisor Anhilde de Jong showed how she was working with particular groups of residents- schoolchildren, and older residents in high rise flats- to improve on (already excellent) recycling rates.

Dr Nora Vaage talked about some creative “citizen science” projects where schoolchildren explored the environmental impacts of waste through scientific experiments and creative play.

As a group we played around and did some material exploration ourselves, not least by interacting with the artworks on display in the space, and creating our own artwork and inventions, from “waste” materials. See my previous blog for more detail.

We even had some additional artwork, work in progress, in the space brought along by one of our participants; Anna Reutinger, currently artist in residence at the Van Eyck. Anna is exploring “the volatility of objects” (the title of her recent book) and brought along her “waste trolley” of unwanted or discarded objects she’s been gleaning from her colleagues’ desks.

It was really fantastic to have additional artwork in practice in the space and to feel part of an ongoing, live creation which changes with every installation; I felt the same about Maria Vandenput’s installation, Worlds on Drift off Grids. discussed in my last blog.

I am continuing to wonder, whether this playing with materials, the exploration and testing of properties, and values, of different forms of matter, is something which artists and scientists in particular, share in common. Does it unhelpfully reify “what art is and what art does”, to think about it in these terms? Or does it help to explore “common ground” in this way? During our afternoon discussion, a local artist discussed how they were trying to make a vase to hold water, out of paper; the vase kept leaking. Others suggested techniques and materials which might help with functionality. I thought this was quite “scientific” and suggested that this material experimentation was a crossover space between art and science; a hinterland. Some artists agreed with me. Others didn’t, feeling quite strongly that art was very different to scientific practice.

I guess I might need to qualify; when thinking about how to go about interdisciplinary, co-produced, participatory design, it may be useful to think about this exploration of material properties, as a useful way of finding interdisciplinary common ground. Outside of this, (as this blog, and both the Amsterdam and Maastricht workshops have emphasised), “art “, and “artists”, are generally exploring things in their own way and their own terms. A scientist will evaluate the properties of a material; an artist will do this too, but beyond this, an artist is also exploring values associated with this material, or object, something which all of our artists have made very clear (and if I can put my hat in the ring, something that social science does too). When an object has no value it is seen as waste. But waste is also dense in meaning and value(s).

Spirit of Place

An important example of this exploration of values inherent in waste is the work of local artist Paul Koenen. In his Maastricht talk Paul made some extremely moving links between waste, materials and values, showing some more of the multi faceted meanings of the word “waste”, in this particular urban context. Paul creates benches made out of the waste material taken from the miles of industrial mineshafts which form a honeycomb under Maastricht and the surrounding region.

images: Paul Koenen mine waste bench and map of disused mineshafts, Maastricht region

He says of his work that The invisible “underworld” is made perceptible again

In talking about his work, formed from the waste left behind from the mines, Paul also made very visible the “human waste” which comes from the death of an industry, and gave us an important sense of “spirit of place”- a knowledge of Maastricht as a small city in a de industrialised region, where the impact and the legacy of a mining heritage, continue to be felt. These were very powerful, emotional themes for me, coming as I do from North Wales- which has its own physical and cultural heritage of mining, underground tunnels and a de industrialised landscape.

image: map of disused copper mine shafts, Parys Mountain, Anglesey

These themes made important links back to Dr Yvonne van der Meer’s talk (discussed in my last blog); Chemelot, the industrial innovation centre in Maastricht that Yvonne works for, now works with new bio/nano/ synbio materials, while having its roots firmly in Maastricht’s mining past. This theme of industrial waste will be picked up again in our London and Bangor workshops.

To “wrap up”; many of the artists within the smARTcities and Waste network are specifically “daylighting”, the hidden meanings and values inherent in our waste streams and waste flows, and showing how there are many different sorts of waste flows- different sorts of “flotsam and jetsam”. These themes are coming to the surface time and again, in the different contexts of our different workshop locations. I will pick up the terms “flotsam and jetsam” again, in the context of our next workshop on “Urban Waste Streams”.

With thanks/apologies to Madonna

Messing about with materials

A very overdue blog reflecting on the success of the very lively, inspiring and well attended Maastricht workshop Techno-Scientific Innovation and Waste; Opportunities and Consequences on December 9th . It was an incredibly full day and it will take a couple of blogs to do justice to everything that happened and to give a proper account of everyone’s contribution. (For now, a quick overview of presenters and info about the day as a whole can be found here). So this is part 1)….

Firstly a big thank you to all of our presenters, to our hosts the Van Eyck Academy , and to all participants. This really was a collaborative event which couldn’t have happened the way it did without the enthusiastic and dedicated support from everyone attending. It was a very “physical” event, involving a lot of participation and interaction in physical space, and directly with material objects- “stuff”-, as well as intellectual and creative discussion. Special thanks to Van Eyck for allowing us to use the space in the way we did!

The above is the only photo I managed to take on the day (!), though other people did take lots of pictures and I will web-mount them as and when they come in.(note 24.1.17- some more photos now added to this blog and also to the Maastricht page) It’s of the artist Maria Vandenput (sweeping up) , who , together with the little band of friends and artists from Amsterdam who are the core of our smARTcities network, turned the room into a living art work /installation, Worlds on drift off grids. I think its quite apt, that the only picture I have of the entire, lively and messy day is of Maria and Ida right at the end, doing the final bits of ‘waste removal’, sweeping up the final bits and pieces, the final traces, of the artwork, and of our workshop.[ It would be unfair to characterise this final waste removal as ‘gendered’ though – the men were just as involved in the tidy up!! ]

Maria’s installation involved a net, or a web, suspended from the ceiling, and a number of spheres made of different sorts of clay ,imprinted with thumb prints and covered in a range of human signs, sigils and symbols, scattered across the floor and the space. These were very heavy and one of my favourite memories of the day was the way we all rolled our sleeves up and carried these into the building, set them up, and then carried them all out again. The suspended net sagged a little and as we moved around the room we had to negotiate it, ducking our heads sometimes; I really felt that the artwork changed the space and our dynamic, literally affecting the way we moved around the space and related to each other.

Worlds on Drift off Grids: Metroplans. Maria Vandenput

Relating to each other through material objects as well as through discussion and presentations is, I realise, a very important theme emerging ‘organically’ from this workshop. Other artists also brought their work into the space (more on this in other blogs to follow)physically and through photos, and the artist Tilmann Mayer Faje brought a vast array of scrapped wood, bits of dead trees, and other ‘junk’, for us to play with and make things out of. We split into little groups and made all sorts of funny objects , in the process testing things like the physical quality of material to bend, to balance (this reminds me of my tipping points' theme from the Amsterdam workshop-see previous blogs), and to break. Some of us became “hybrids” and wove bits of the materials into our clothes- very cool! We had a lot of fun playing and reflecting on our crazy creations. There was, as with Maria’s artwork, the need for a great deal of setting up and then taking down at the end of the workshop , with us all like a huge trail of ants tramping up and down the stairs with bits of tree and planks and bags of bark. It took a great deal of collective effort to get everything set up and taken down again. Tilmann pointed out the creative potential of our collaborative work, noting that it would have taken him literally weeks to have made the pieces we did in 20 minutes of messing around.

This was an interdisciplinary workshop and also involved very new materials, literally from the lab. We had the opportunity not only to see, but to handle, examples of completely new forms of plastic –bioplastics- created as a result of research by another of our key speakers, the synthetic biologist Marco Scoponi. Marco’s new bioplastics are made out of organic material; biopolymers, and increasingly he and his colleagues are seeking to source and catalogue waste organic material/bio produce (such as, literally, old tomato plants left in the ground after the Italian harvest), as a base material for creating these new bioplastics. Marco provided convincing evidence that these new bioplastics have environmental benefits – unlike petroleum /fossil derived plastics, they can harmlessly biodegrade, and, he argues, can be carbon neutral. In her presentation Dr Yvonne van der Meer, Head of Biobased Materials at Chemelot, picked up this issue of evaluating the sustainability of materials, flagging that new materials can also have an ecological footprint, and identifying the need to fully account for all aspects of a material’s supply chain.

Marco Scoponi discusses bioplastics: Maria Vandenput's web installation in the foreground

After the event over a much needed glass of wine, I chatted to Yvonne about the workshop, and about the challenges of running an interdisciplinary network with a core function of knowledge exchange between disciplines, in the context of waste. Yvonne works at Chemelot, a chemical innovation centre at Maastricht. I asked her, if she was to try to communicate to her scientific colleagues, what the “value” of the workshop was, in a way they could relate to, she said that she thought materials were the common ground. I agree, I think materials are a common ground for communication and interdisciplinary collaboration; we are exploring them in many different ways, and I am still thinking through the potential this might have for critical thinking and innovation around sustainable materials and the waste chain. I’ll pick up this again in my next blog but I like to think that just by “messing around with materials” we learned a lot about each other’s practice, a necessary start point.

In this blog I have, literally, only scratched the surface of the workshop presentations , activities and themes- there is much more to report back on, including presentations from Paul Koening on his installed benches made from local mine waste and his discussion of the Maastricht’s industrial past and its network of underground mineshafts; an inspiring talk from Maastricht waste manager Anhilde de Jong on their innovative work involving local citizen groups in waste management, and a presentation from Dr Nora Vaage, Maastricht University, discussing the connectivities between science, art and societal challenges, and providing inspiring examples of arts-led citizen science. I will focus more attention on these presentations and on other stuff that happened on the day, in my next blog as I reflect further on findings and impressions of the workshop and next steps.

====== A brief blog on Brexit….and Maastricht ======

So, our next smARTcities and waste workshop is happening soon in Maastricht on December 9th, and has the theme Techno-Scientific Innovation and Waste; Opportunities and Consequences.

We have a fabulous range of interdisciplinary speakers- scientists, artists, social scientists and policy makers, exploring innovation, industry, and waste, in the particular context of Maastricht’s old and new industrial heritage. There will also be the chance to creatively interact and chat to each other and get our hands dirty!

All information about this FREE workshop can be found here and I will be blogging about the workshop again soon. Here I blog, briefly, about Brexit , something that as a Bremainer, I’ve put off doing for several months!!!

A Bremain demo pic

I find it very funny, in a bitterly ironic kind of way, that the venue for our next workshop is Maastricht, home to the famous Maastricht Treaty, in 1992- also known as the Treaty of the European Union. With it the EU came into existence for the first time; the UK was of course a signatory.

So I’ll be pitching up at Maastricht , post the UK Brexit vote, to help deliver our 2nd workshop for the smARTcities and waste network; a network which has developing European interdisciplinary links as its core objective….

….Of all the times to be developing , in fact leading on, the development of a European network, this has to be the most challenging for a Brit- but as I tweeted at the time, Brexit makes me more determined than ever to grow the network and facilitate creative interdisciplinary knowledge exchange within and across different contexts and places.

The little core of us who started the network, particularly myself and our creative director Irene Janze, were swopping ideas and engaging in creative practice, even before we got a little bit of (very much appreciated) grant funding from the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) last year, to help grow the network.

Whatever Brexit means to the UK and to Europe, and whenever it happens, we will continue to develop our network. Our work explores and translates across many different sorts of boundaries and barriers- we have “bridging social capital”.

Bridging social capital

Maastricht couldn’t be a better place for us to hold our next workshop! Synchronistic symbolism…. Bring it on, onwards and upwards!

Irene Janze, Blog 5, 7.9.16

Much is said about the role of art in the smARTcities and waste workshop in Amsterdam Read for instance the report Alex wrote (link): “ As the world café discussion on art/science /innovation shows, there was much resistance from artists to taking an ‘instrumental’ approach - or at the very least , artists were very cautious about this. Art does different things. And this is an arts - led interdisciplinary network. But this is not necessarily an either/or; art enables an exploration of ideas and issues in its own.” Alex stated: “ I anticipate this theme being returned to a lot; it sort of underpins the network…” pg. 21!

So let us focus a bit more on the artists, their works and point of views during the day. What did we debate about during the workshop? We debated around some questions raised like: Has the art discourse changed with the use of new different materials? Are there artists that produce artworks with an end of life or with recycling and reuse in mind? Are artworks still here to promote or protect an idea for a next generation? To answer the latter question: we do not need to use new materials for that. The pyramids are still standing and bronze statues from Greece can still be admired.

Concrete, which behaves like plants in the sense that it turns CO2 into oxygen (an innovation made in Eindhoven by the team of Prof Brouwers), is being used in sculptures nowadays. This innovation adds value to sculptures on roundabouts made out of “ reverse breathing concrete “ that convert carbon dioxide in oxygen. But does this adding of value imply a loss of autonomy (and independence) in the arts? What would happen if Tillman Meyer Faye would add, as an experiment, this new very hard concrete (concrete made out of leftover materials of incinerators) in his sculptures? Can he add length to his sculptures before they collapse? Tillman is interested in the collapse of constructions, see link on this site. He found out that building on the collapsed materials offers interesting constructions that are often stronger. Should we consider this find of him when we take the rubble away after earthquakes happened? What if we built on the rubble? Of course this is a far to practical thought. But it triggered the debate between scientists and artists. Somebody mentioned Daan Roosegarde- as an innovative, crossing borders form of art.

What Daan Roosegarde does is often placed outside the art discourse. It is seen as the work of a great “marqueteer” for industrial innovative products. Often his ideas look very impressive and esthetical on the computer. Like the flowers you would drive by next to the highways. I am also aware that he uses lots of innovation techniques (and ideas) without mentioning the intellectual and or artistic owners, and with that he violates rights. Rights of the old world, he would say I guess. But his self-articulated new world fascinates me. I think his world is very creative and artistic. It put “things” into motion. It is action art.

In my own arts (how long is a thought?) the beginning and the end of thoughts, (doings, things) is very prominent. My arts have to do with the length of matter, thought and feelings. It is not about staying longer after death.

In everything I do Hanna Arendt plays an important role. Organizing a meeting with multidisciplinary people, sculptures, narratives, photographs and drawings like the workshop in Amsterdam for example.

Intermezzo: “Barad and Arendt are my birds, both wonderful with words.”

My art is not an oeuvre or work, to quote Hanna Arendt. It is the third way, the spy path; it is action (handelende) art. (Not to be mistaken with activist art). My art is thinking and feeling in the world. Not about the world. My art is in societies, practices, it is part of, crossed and connected. The sculptures, movies, the installations are part of a project. They are made for the project, in the project, and by the project on emerging places and occasions. The sculptures, pictures and drawings change until every actor is finally silent. By this time people buy my sculptures, paintings and drawings because they want to save them from being reused, burned, electrocuted or buried. They like them or they feel affiliated to them. Sometimes people even buy them free in an in between state of the process. This happened to some of the Apostates out the House of the Apostates. People connect to the Apostates, the lucky bastards. But I haven not sold any of them yet, just the options to buy them. This options guarantee that the Apostate is not changed during the process.

The sculptures and paintings that are bought, get a second life or may be a ninths life even, since I work with “thrownaways”, those actors that are not selected by the main or dominant processes: the drawings of our time. It all depends on how we ‘see’ when they began. How long the sculptures will last after they leave my studio? I have no clue; until the new owners get bored I guess. But usually, as far as I can tell, they are well taken care off.

Having said all this how can we still stand for autonomous art in this project? Are the artists able to create distance and layers, which makes it possible to see different from the usual way? Alienating, spiraling, bending or in clouds?

I quote form the BK informatie nr 4, 3 juni 2016

Dirk van Weelden: (translation is mine) If we look at the word itself, autonomy means “eigenwettig“: an activity or attitude that follows peculiar rules, private values, that won’t get lost in social interaction. Autonomy is not the same as autarky and exists only as a property of behavior. This property assumes a greater social whole.

Artworks can have an autonomous impact. They add to the relation with the audience in other ways than other items do… Something that triggers the senses and imagination according to its own laws, although the work is ambiguous and instable…

It is not something secret. Such a friend we all want to have: somebody who is independent, not telling what you want to hear, not following money, power or affirmation, but introducing something in the relation from his or her own experience and thinking. Something surprising or irritating, something to make us think, surprises us or educate us. We value relations with persons who take the stand, who are unpredictable, slippery even. Such a friend or lover we want to be ourselves! … With values that stay put even there is nothing to gain…

…Autonomous does not mean: only for white places or history books. It does not mean: only for oneself or for the intellectual reflection on your own discipline. Autonomy is an impact on the relation with the spectator and no eternal invariable. It is context dependent, culturally determined, vulnerable and temporary. The artwork can loose this quality and becomes an investment, heritage or subject for study. And after a century it is rediscovered and seen with different eyes. (Often by artists). It is exiting again and meaningful. It is why it is of importance to give space to experiment and research to what that autonomous quality of art can be, in every new epoch, with new means, new contexts, and new people from different backgrounds… End of quote

So let me defend the autonomous artworks in this project. The artworks that were presented by Ariaan van Walsum: take off your skin, the installation of Maria Louise vanden Put and of course my own sculptures at the first exhibition made for the project. It was called pop up 3 and took place on the Zeeburgerdijk 112 (temporary exhibition space) at the open studio route on May 22,23 2016. Such exhibitions of autonomous art are very important on their own, next to the other pop ups, that are more community based, may be even community arts, which can give us an inside what people think about waste innovation or how they are involved in waste innovation. Those more portable pop ups of the House of the Apostates (het Huis der Afvalligen) are used as a tool to approach people in different neighborhoods and in different circumstances. From those pop ups in Amsterdam we learned about inclusion and exclusion that differ in variable neighborhoods. In the multi- differential, low- income neighborhood every Apostate has to be included in the House of the Apostates. In the middleclass neighborhood criteria were mentioned to let the Apostate enter and lots of discussions were provoked about waste industry and ecology. In the park surrounded by beautiful houses, were generally speaking more elderly people with nice incomes live, I could not talk about criteria for Apostates to enter the House. Before I inquire into criteria I ask people to donate left overs and throwaways. But nobody produced waste, so they said. They separate everything! Since they had nothing to spare I was not able to debate if I should accept their wastegift. Waste and of course my Apostates stand for what falls off a process. Human - and non human materials that are pushed aside. But this was not debatable, seen or felt. They like the art sure and to let the people make little sculptures( afvalgoden- waste deities) it was an art workshop after all - I had to attract children with funny statues. During the makings the waste induatry was discussed. In particular the plastic waste industry. People were worried about the dangers of plastics. As said before it was no statistic inquiry. But it touched something. Social scientists or policymakers can use this art as an agent or instrument to gain some insight how on different places and localities waste is being looked at. The votive talisman - sharing of values- of Netty Gelijsteen travel all over the world. Look at www.

Irene Janze, Blog 4, 8.6.16 Thoughts about the workshop in Amsterdam

As we started out some years ago we, James Baker, Virginia Heidweiller, Alex Plows and me considered the city as a conglomerate of resources, waste being one of them, an important one. When we started to explore the resources of waste streams in the city of Amsterdam we wondered how the city spoke back?

The city

How does the city speak back? What is she doing or telling us? Does she squirm under the pressure of distanced innovation and big sizes? Does she shape squeezed spaces, enclaves of silence and will delay and cooling off periods pop up? Are there caves of slow art and slow processing, of small sizes and human scales, of lashes and splashes? Who and what tumbles into forgotten places or is pushed aside, banned to reservations, sentenced to become snitchers and scrapers? Who and what falls into antrums and black gaping holes, out of where others as fully trained archaeologists pick twinkled and shining items and in where an outstretched hand is being grasped? A story being fished up just before it disappears into oblivion.

The process of making and shaping

It is in the process of making that we speak and act. Every one differently in his or hers own way. It is not to think about, but to think in, in collaboration with acting, speaking and making. As Ingold said: “it is in the process of thinking, not the projection of a thought, the thinking process turns into an act of waiting, listening, collaboration and dialogue in which one gradually learns the skill of co-operating with one’s own work.” (Ingold, Tim(2013) making: anthropology, archeology, art and architecture, cited by Ruth Benshop in De eland is een eigenwijs dier, ZYUD, pg 37) In the dialogue skills emerge. What or who collides, what or who speaks and what or who speaks back? The maker conforms to the materials; space takes shape through the act.

The public place

During the workshop it occurred to me that the artists, if I may generalise, spoke about investments in people in the public place, where Albert van Winden of the municipality of Amsterdam spoke about making Amsterdam “smarter” by digitalising the infra structure of the Amsterdam waste collection to achieve a 65 % recycling rate target. Cars (possible without drivers in the future, driven by GPS - satellites) collect in the smartest possible route (figured out by computers) only waste bins that are for three quarters filled (measured by a smart device inside the waste bins). Again and again artists introduced initiatives that activate people instead of robots to collect waste, to weigh the waste, to make plastic waste bitcoins and introduced the idea of Amsterdam waste shares in the waste industry (the Amsterdam waste industry, is still not a private company and owned by the municipality and with that by the people of Amsterdam)(many thanks to Judith Baten for preparing a discussion paper) for those people who produce the least waste. There seems to be a run for waste that is considered a resource now and new companies that digest the newly named resources like plastics need a lot of plastics to reach there point of even and beyond. We have to produce more and more (waste) materials instead of less. The artists seem to point to people and delay. Of course every artist has learned to kill their beautiful babies and try to perform with less instead of more. To my surprise Jaap Meindersma, director of urban management in Almere (a small town in the Netherlands close to Amsterdam) explained that in his city people were employed to collect the waste.

I remembered, that not so long ago, the local government withdraw from the maintenance of public places in the cities of Amsterdam. Everybody had to take care of his own and help him or herself. The public places became deserted, transport routes and some became the playground for gangsters around “drop outs” who where dependant on alcohol, drugs and/ or help from street corner workers who were banned form the public places because of cuts. So after a while artists were brought back into the public place with community art works on temporary contracts and for less money to try to engage inhabitants in the public place again. It worked. And small activities reoccurred in the public places.

I was, sitting in the workshop, imagining a deserted public space again with robotic cars and waste bins with sensors. Does the public place have to be inhabited by people making, doing and acting in it? I really enjoy throwing my waste bags in the container in front of my house. Not to have to take it to some waste point and having to meet people. We have couch days in front of my house. Drinking coffee with the neighbours, taking care of the plants and clean the sidewalks. It is enjoyable, but for a while I missed having another conservation than small talk and I never met university trained people or artists. Everybody was nice and interesting but my artist-studio is on a topfloor of a residential apartment building with rental homes - not for the rich. It changed in the course of time because indeed, we had artist interventions and with that gentrification. Still the lectors and professors of universities, art academy educated artists are not to find in large numbers in front of my door. I am honest: I like to have intellectual conversations.

On the other hand when we did our latest pop up (for the pop ups see the public engegaement page) with the House of the Apostates in the Wertheim park next to the Hortus Botanicus in Amsterdam we, Ariaan van Walsum, Netty Gelijsteen and myself where very surprised to meet the people who participated in the festival. It is strange how those places and events select a certain public I never encounter without even knowing that. So to meet people in public places and encounter actions and makings might be a good remedy for becoming less emphatic. I have this hunch one might loose social capacities and empathy without just meeting people randomly in the street. Having to deal with them one way or another. But may be it says more about me than other people.

Blog 3 , 9.5.16 “Tipping Points” and the Meaning(s) of Waste- reflections on the first smARTcities and waste workshop, Amsterdam

Our first, well attended, workshop was held at the VU Free University, Amsterdam, on April 28th 2016. A very big thank you to all participants, speakers and the local organising team! We had a fantastic set of speakers across a wide range of disciplines-arts, humanities, social science, policy and science- who explored the workshop’s theme of waste and place(s) and space(s)from the context of their own work. This was incredibly thought provoking. We had a very interactive afternoon, firstly having the opportunity to engage with our ‘art pop up public engagement’ champions Netty and Irene who have been ‘popping up’ at various locations around Amsterdam.

photo:waste pop up, Amsterdam, April 2016

This was followed by structured ‘break out’ group discussion around key themes. The workshop space was filled with great art work, photos and other material brought along by workshop participants, which made for a ‘living art work’ feel to the entire day. The bar has been set very high for our next workshop in Maastricht later this year! The wealth of knowledge, information, and creative and critical thought and outputs generated by speakers and by the group as a whole, is still being “processed” by me and I am sure by everyone who attended. On a practical note: photos, copies of presentations, films etc are being web archived on this site as they come in; and I will be writing a report (with input from everyone!) which will also be webmounted in the near future. A list of all speakers and their biographies, and more about the workshop themes, can be found here (see also my previous blog).

“Tipping points”

In the meantime, some quick(ish) reflections. As I said in my previous blog, the challenge for the workshop and indeed the network as a whole, is to find its own ‘balance point’ between open ended, free form, interdisciplinary knowledge exchange loosely organised around a theme, and a more instrumental desire to identify (potential, existing) sites, intervention points, which are particularly open to interdisciplinary, participatory innovation in relation to waste management and treatment. This is challenging! And is an iterative process –we hope that each workshop will inform the next; that creative knowledge exchange will trigger ‘eureka moments’; that simply by being brought together, people will have the opportunity to inform each other’s practice in interesting and unexpected ways.

I had a couple of “eureka moments” of my own on the day- and have cherry picked a key one. Both the social anthropologist Irene Stengs’ talk on sacred waste, and the artist Tilmann Meyer-Faje’s discussion of his own work, flagged up the notion of a place-in-between, where one state becomes another- an ambivalent place of becoming and un-becoming; what I might call (pun intended) “tipping points”. These seem to me to be spaces where meanings are plural- where meanings are open-ended, multiple, and have the potential to shift in many different directions. There’s some sense of “shroedinger’s cat” about these unformed, in-between, plural spaces, in a process of becoming and un-becoming.

photo: Irene Stengs, Amsterdam workshop

For Irene Stengs, talking about votive offerings, for example the flowers and gifts left at the scene of a tragedy, the “tipping point” comes at the interface between an object being seen as “sacred”, and being seen as “trash”. At what point, do votive offerings get thrown away? (We learned that some such group displays of mourning, are in fact, digitally archived). When I was making notes, I was so taken with this that I drew it as a diagram.tipping1.pptx

photo credit: Tilmann Meyer-Faje

Talking about his explorations of materials (clay) to create artwork in relation to his research of Soviet era housing blocks, and also the breaking up, on Indian beaches, of ships used to transport goods across the world, the artist Tilmann Meyer- Faje also discussed this “tipping point”, this in-between space, where one thing potentially could become another; he noted that at a key stage, it is difficult to tell whether a building or a ship is being built or broken up. Again I wrote up my notes as a diagram:tipping2.pptx

I feel, instinctively, that these “tipping points” are important, not just in an abstract philosophical sense, but as potential practical intervention sites for waste innovation; literal “tipping points”, points in time and space where many values, meanings, materialities, come together and have the potential to be re-formed. “There is always something coming”… says Tilmann, reflecting on the process of decay and demolition. I am reminded of the saying, “nature abhors a vacuum”.

The Meaning(s) of Waste

This brings me, quickly, to the really key issue of “what we mean by waste”.( I say quickly because I can only flag up here what clearly underpins the entire network and will inform the next two years’ work and hopefully beyond). photo: Dr Miruna Florea, Amsterdam workshop

Miruna Florea, who gave us a fantastic insight into her cutting edge research on the re use of incinerated waste in new forms of concrete, noted that speakers in the workshop hadn’t defined waste- I sympathise, and note the understandable scientific imperative to name and define terms; therein lies part of the heart of the challenge for truly interdisciplinary practice. Others mentioned, in the afternoon discussion, the hope that “the network” might ultimately provide a good definition of “what we mean by waste”- where “we” is “participants in the network”. Well we might, and there again we might not….

We certainly identified that waste is a resource, with much economic and material value contained within waste of different sorts; that waste is therefore “big business” with all that that implies; that waste is a subjective concept (one person’s sacred votive offering, is another’s trash); and therefore that waste is a very plural, ambivalent, in many ways unhelpful, word. Would another word be better? Possibly, yes. However it’s exploring this very ambivalence around the concept of “waste”, which I feel is at the heart of where we might make a difference- for example by identifying, and working within, “tipping points” ( a concept,I note in passing, with a strong scientific meaning of its own). So rather than pinning down a meaning for waste, I personally feel that we need to keep exploring, keep deconstructing: Ambivalence and complexity and uncertainty is a hard space to keep open, but it’s a very creative space to be. Alex Plows 9.5.16

Alexandra Plows, Blog 2 15.4.16: “Grounding myself: watch this space”

It is getting closer to the date of our first workshop in Amsterdam with the broad organising theme of [Waste, Innovation and] Buildings, Place(s) and Space(s). We have an exciting interdisciplinary list of speakers –artists, scientists and practitioners. The arts pop up public engagement events will also be taking place very soon!

As we’ve developed the schedule for the workshop, I’ve realised that the many ways in which we can think about waste in relation to place, space and buildings becomes almost overwhelming- from the use and re-use of materials in construction, through to the ways in which building and space design might encourage or limit our ability to dispose of waste sustainably, through to more ‘lateral thinking’ concepts such as playing with the idea of “a waste of space”, which makes me think about many things including “wastelands”; post industrial (urban) landscapes.

The challenge in this workshop will be to combine having an open platform to explore all these dimensions, together with a background aim of thinking about/moving towards practical, focused ways in which arts and interdisciplinary practices can inform sci/tech innovation at various points in the waste cycle in relation to buildings and places.

image source:

I admit to having slight “panic attacks” about all the ground we’re trying to cover, so to speak…not just in this workshop, but in relation to the aims of the network as a whole. At the same time, I’m “grounding myself”- its early days, we’re just getting going, things will develop “organically” over time. As I’ve been developing the @citiesandwaste twitter, I’ve been linking up with a huge number of really cool, really inspiring, innovative arts and interdisciplinary waste projects, and have found a great deal of comfort in the way that the arts/waste collective Basurama talks about its aims and objectives:

Far from trying to offer a single manifest to be used as a manual, Basurama has compiled a series of multiform opinions and projects, not necessarily resembling each other, which explore different areas related to trash. We try to establish subtle connections between them so that they may give rise to unexpected reactions. We are not worried about its lack of unity; moreover, we believe it as evocative and potentially subversive values.

image source:

I’m just loving this, on lots of levels. It got me thinking about some of the commonalities between art and science; not least, that at their core, both artists and scientists are on journeys of discovery- they are exploring new worlds, breaking new ground, experimenting, playing. There is also (perhaps less so in this target- driven, indicator –obsessed world), space to fail- or to just do it for the sake of seeing what happens. Not that I’m trying to get myself off the hook or anything (!), but I do think the smARTcities and waste network is also in a very good position of having a bit of time to play, to explore, to see what emerges.

Some of these potential, emergent outputs might be practical (even as simple as better designed recycling leaflets!); others may be far more conceptual but still have “impact”. In my last blog I talked about the origins of the network,-from an identified need to involve people in the innovation process, and the role of arts and humanities and social science in “bridging” this.

Another role for arts/humanities is how we explore “bigger picture” issues and how exploring these could be useful for scientists, technology and industry involved in waste innovation. An example is the unintended consequences of innovation; such as the environmental and social justice impacts of e-waste created by and through our use of “smart technologies” for so –called “smart cities”. I recently read an excellent paper on the “unplugging” and “deconstructing” the concept of the “smart city”: A free download is available here:

Our network title “smARTcities and waste” is of course a playful deconstruction of the “smart cities” concept… a theme I will return to in future blogs. For now; our “real space” arts pop ups will be happening soon, and the workshop too; watch this space.

postscript: in researching images used in this blog (see urban wasteland image above) I found this very cool piece which is well worth a read:

23.3.16 Project leader Dr Alexandra Plows: First Blog!

so the smARTcities and waste network has been officially up and running for 2 months now and we are very excited about progress. The Amsterdam workshop theme of buildings, space(s) and place(s) has been a great way to organise an inspiring number of speakers and participants for our first workshop on April 28th and we are very much looking forward to this. Some interactive art pop ups to engage the Asmterdam publicin the theme of waste and their city will also be happening. I will be blogging about both these events again soon.

I thought it might be a good idea to reflect more personally on my original motiviations for getting going, where this all came out of, and where we are now. I am a social scientist whose area of expertise is broadly public engagement with the environment and with science and technology. Back in 2013 I was put in touch with the Amsterdam based artist Irene Janze. Irene was involved in a Horizon2020 bid, which was led by scientists and industry, to develop innovative ways (involving nanotechnology, amongst other things) of extracting added value from waste streams, such as traces of metals.

[the nano image is from the following paper: ]

What myself and Irene knew was that this sort of high technical innovation could only work, if “end users” (ie, the public: as citizens, as residents, as litter creators and recyclers) were brought in. Waste is a social and cultural product. It is made by people, and needs the input of people to work out how best to deal with it. People need to be brought into the innovation process early on- to get together with scientists, with industrialists, with policy makers. From my own personal experience, as a committed “early riser” environmentalist, I still struggle with the difficulties of recycling- it is not that easy! Plastic bottles, for example, are not all the same-only some can be recycled. How are we supposed to know? It gets very confusing very quickly, and it is understandable that people get put off.

Even when we have the best of intentions!!

So- Irene and I knew that this was where art and social science had a role, in a): seeing how our disciplines could (already are!) directly inform the science/technology waste innovation process and b): linked to a), in helping to “bridge” between the public and 'the scientists', to enable what the engineer/philosopher Michel Callon terms “participatory design”. The “innovation cycle” should be an iterative cycle where citizens- with 'organic expertise' and 'local knowledge' -engage early on in the innovation process, and iteratively at different stages- design, development, uptake. I came up with a very basic image to capture this: (click on image to enlarge)

While the H2020 bid was not successful, when an AHRC network funding grant scheme was announced, which had a specific aim of encouraging interdisciplinarity for innovation , I knew we were in with a chance- so i applied and we got it! thanks to everyone involved for all their hard work and effort! OK i have lots more to say about art/science/waste/public expertise and scientific innovation, but thats for another day. thanks for reading! End of part one !

GWEITHDY GWASTRAFF/WASTE WORKSHOP Image/artwork: Rachel Rosen(mSPARC project)

“Make Do and Mend”: Materials Innovation in a Rural City Region bangor_poster.docx

Croeso gynnes i bawb! Welcome to the Bangor workshop!

rhaglen yma! cy_-_bangor_workshop_programme_short.docx

Final programme here! bangor_workshop_programme_short.docx

Blwch Gwyn/White Box, Pontio, Prifysgol Bangor University 3ydd Hydref 3rd Oct 9.30-5

Hefyd- Llwybr Treftadaeth /Celf ar Hydref 2, 1yr gloch, yn cynnwys sgwrs gan Dafydd Roberts, Amgueddfa Lechi Llanberis Plus- Free Heritage /Art Trail 2nd October, 1pm including talk by Dafydd Roberts, Llanberis Slate Museum

Siaradwyr ac Artistiaid sy'n cymryd rhan:/ Speakers+Participating Artists:

  • Denise Baker, waste food entrepreneur gwastraff bwyd denisebangor_2017_presentation.pptx
  • Rhys Trimble, bardd lleol /local poet
  • Andy Goodman Prifysgol Bangor University Menter drwy Ddylunio/ Enterprise by Design

The workshop will be held bilingually and translation services will be available.

As the final workshop of this phase of the network, the Bangor workshop will play a key role in synthesising and reflecting back, on the development of the network over the last two years, flagging key findings, themes, and showcasing what has been achieved. Like the other workshops, it will also strongly reflect local place and people, showcasing issues, artists, practitioners, scientists and others who are working with the theme of waste in the locality.

The organising theme of the Bangor workshop will speak strongly to the fact that Bangor is a small city set within a wider rural, de-industrialised region. Bangor shares strong similarities in this respect with Maastricht (a previous workshop venue); several Maastricht workshop artists and scientists also explored the issue of industrial waste in their regional context. Broadly, waste in the context of post industrial waste; and a corresponding need to ‘make do and mend’ in a region where jobs and many other resources/services are scarce, are key organising principles for the Bangor workshop, (the circular economy in action!)- together with other key issues such as language, culture and rurality- a small city in a rural region, facing different – but also similar- waste challenges to those of major cities such as London or Amsterdam. Art and science in the context of waste, heritage and legacy, and scales and types of waste, are therefore core themes.

We have an exciting programme of artists, scientists and practitioners, who are addressing these broad themes. We have also invited the local Unitary Authority to share their perspective on the challenges of waste in the context of the region (rural, dispersed populations; Bangor, Caernarfon) and its surrounding villages; issues of accessibility, scale, different types of waste.

The format will be a mix of speakers and interactive activities (discussion, play) and showcased work/performance. We will also invite students and members of staff (eg design students, etc) to attend as participants. We will also run some ‘art pop ups’ in the region to engage the public, around the same time frame.

mwy o gwybodaeth yn fuan! More info soon!

2017/06/15 14:37 · alexplows

our next FREE workshop Urban Waste Streams and Flows was be held in London 6th April 2017, 9am-5pm Venue: Middlesex University, The Burroughs, Hendon, London NW4 4BT Room 305 (Third Floor), The Grove (Faculty of Arts & Creative Industries) londonposter.pdf image: Kuniko Maeda

For the final programme please download this document: finalversionlondon_waste_workshop_6april2017-1.docx For further background info about the day please download this document finalversionlondon_network_workshop_overview.docx To book a place at this FREE workshop simply contact

SPEAKERS AND ARTISTS Alex plows, coordinator of the smartcitiesandwasteprogram introduction london_intro_slides.pdf

Professor Lian Lundy Waste, Pollution and Water


Dr Diane Purchase Electronic (E-)Waste


Dr James Baker nanotechnology water and waste


Barbara Herridge & Dimitra Rappou North London Waste Authority



Nathalie Gibert presentation of an EU Horizon innovation project. How to involve the public and public awarenes.


Dr Kim Trogal University of Canterbury The Politics of Repair

ARTISTS [Exhibitions / Installations]

*Alison Harper, Bath Spa University From materialism to materiality the use and misuse of resurces, how can textile art an my textile contribute to an ethical dailogue through emerging materiality? Alison held a very interesting talk, that was not recorded unfurtunately. I did made photographs however and a tiny movie. Look here It was very interesting that Alison didnot add any extra energy accept her own labor into the process. She used only found materials.

*Lara Luna Bartley Materials-led artist and maker working primarily with found materials (forages, gathers and reuses everything from cardboard to pallets and wooden fruit boxes)

Cardboard-making workshop, look here for an impression.

*Kuniko Maeda Kuniko studied traditional wood carving in Kyoto and following BA and MA degrees in textile design

at Chelsea College of Arts, she is currently studying for a MA Fine Art at Middlesex University. Her

interest in material lifecycle and sustainability resulted in the use of recycled paper, which then

became the leading concern of her studio practice: “by exploring the relationship between Japanese

philosophy and craft techniques I found a clue in how to re-evaluate the use of materials and explore

the underestimated beauty of everyday materials and waste”.


More interdisciplinary speakers and artists to be confirmed soon!

2017/02/08 11:02 · alexplows

Hi there! if you are an artist , a scientist or a policymaker, you have your own pages- click on the links!

This page is for academics who mess about somewhere in the middle, :-) for example social scientists, Science and Technology Studies, (STS) etc. This includes both me, Dr Alex Plows, the smARTcities and waste network lead, and my colleague, Prof Graeme Evans. you are welcome to add info about yourself and your project- just contact us

First let's introduce our social scientist Irene Stengs, Meertens Instituut/KNAW, who gave a talk about sacred waste during the Amsterdam workshop. Her very intersting talk can be found here

a very quick bio/introduction of myself, Alex Plows- i have been researching how publics engage with the environment, and with science and technology, in different ways for most of my career. Environmental social justice and the importance of place are both issues which motivate me a lot. Following research on public engagement with human genetics, - I was very inspired by STS concepts of the importance of “local knowledge” (wynne 1996) and the need for their input as “scientific citizens”. STS has led the way in the idea of “cross talk ” (Bucchi 2004)- between different communities of practice and interest.

My recent projects have all been around arts-led and interdisciplinary approaches to exploring peoples' relationships with the environment. All these issues, projects and more, have fed into the organic development of the smARTcities and waste network- you can find out more about the networks origins on our blog

Also Professor Graeme Evans, Special Professor of Culture & Urban Development, Maastricht University, FASoS/Maastricht Centre for Art, Culture, Conservation & Heritage; Director of Research/Professor of Urban Cultures & Design, Middlesex University, Faculty of Art & Creative Industries

Dr Nora Vaage, Assistant Professor, Philosophy of Art & Culture, Maastricht University Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, introduced us in the workshop in Maastricht to all kind of arts and classifications. A very interesting and inspiring lecture indeed.

Professor Lian Lundy,


Dr Diane Purchase,


2016/12/04 14:13 · alexplows

we are looking for interested people and projects to join our growing network! you can use this wiki website to upload information about yourself. to find out more please email and/or follow us on twitter @citiesandwaste

2016/12/04 14:07 · alexplows

for log in/register/uploading content and other 'how to' info, please scroll down this page. what is a wiki? a wiki is an interactive website, which allows people to collaboratively upload content and develop the website together. see

how and why should i use this wiki website? you can use this website “normally”, -ie just click on pages and view content.

you can also ADD YOUR OWN CONTENT. This is particularly important because this is a website for a network; as the network grows and more people /groups/initiatives etc. join, we want to know more about you- so the best way to do this is for you to add your content to these pages.

Also as time goes on we will be running more interactive discussion and content, to support the four workshops, via this site.

how to use this website: the basics firstly you need to register. TO BE REGISTERED AS AN INTERACTIVE USER, PLEASE EMAIL

Once registered, you have the ability to add content and new pages.

How to Wiki: please check out this website for all 'how to!'

To edit an existing page or upload text or images onto an existing page: 1. log in. 2. go to the page you want to edit. 3. click on the 'edit this page' tab on the top left hand corner of the page (this option will only be available when you have logged in) 4. add and upload content- you can see it has a very basic toolbar like word for windows. there is lots of help available!! 5. dont forget to press 'save' (bottom left hand side of screen) or your changes will not be saved.

To create a new page: 1. Type the title you would like in to the search bar, top right 2. It will bring up a list of results, and most likely say 'no results' 3. At the very bottom of the page it will say 'create this page' click here 4. Edit at will and save - the page you desire will be created.

2017/06/22 16:25