Jetty Project: Art & Sustainability
International Symposium
6th March 2014
BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art

The Jetty Project: Art as a Catalyst for Sustainability

How can a practice-led fine art project meaningfully contribute to the multi-layered debate around sustainability in the urban realm?

The Jetty project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), aims to answer this question through the development and realisation of temporary artworks.  Of architectural scale, the series of artworks will be determined by the context of Dunston Staiths, a Grade II listed structure and scheduled monument, located on the south bank of the River Tyne in Newcastle Gateshead. Dunston Staiths is owned by the Tyne and Wear Building Preservation Trust and is considered to be of international historic and ecological significance.

The project brings together artists, architects and social scientists and in doing so, it is hoped that the artworks developed through the Jetty project will provoke both professional and public debate around the complex sustainability endeavor and its sometimes contradictory environmental, social and economic agendas. It also seeks to be credible on multiple community levels: from the global artistic community to urban professionals and the wider public.

This international symposium at the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art aims to bring together leading researchers and practitioners to contribute to a conversation about the role that artistic practices play in promoting urban sustainability. Questions to be addressed include:

How far can a temporary public artwork act as a catalyst for debates about sustainability, and instigate further dialogue between diverse stakeholders?

  • What is the range of sustainability concerns mobilised in these debates, and why?
  • In what new ways can public art animate community involvement in advancing or exploring sustainability issues?
  • What is the potential legacy and impact of temporary artistic interventions in the context of sustainability?

The one-day symposium will help to shape the Jetty project with international and UK practitioners, the project team and local experts. We are hoping to spark questions and meaningful debates and the symposium will offer plenty of space for such dialogue between participants.