Centre for Arts and Learning Events

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CAL Arts Economies 2023-24

How can the arts and learning assist in supporting economies that bring fulfilling, ecological, ethical thriving? In 2023-2024 the Centre for Arts and Learning will be focusing research events and projects on Arts Economies.

The arts have ways of envisioning beyond the facticities and constraints of contemporary life (Beauvoir 1948, Matthews 2019, 2024, Sayers 2023). Arts practice also illuminates and exhibits the cause and effect of social inequality. The arts can activate creativity, imagination, wellbeing - even happiness, all of which are priceless. However economic decisions are also made about the impacts of the arts on each of these conditions.

Economies have extensive grids of past, present and future interactions. As Yanis Varoufakis says, everyone in society can discuss economic processes – and not just economists. Posthuman creative economies might critique the capitalism of ‘recycling’ (Varoufakis 2017), or ponder ‘the value of a whale’ (Buller 2022), in its ability to capture vast quantities of CO2 (Pearson et al. 2023). In a similar way, arts economies expand to consider impacts on inclusive human and other-than-human environments.

Arts practice sustains the singularities of self and also collective expression, in the relationships between materials and maker, concepts and creation, and via ecosystems of interdependency. Art genres mediate the light, shadows and materiality created by each other, and support one another in creative ecologies.

However in education we are constantly faced with cuts to the learning experiences that enable participation in, and contribution to purposeful, engaged, necessary experiences of the arts. Arts pedagogies that reflect on the implications of capitalism and possible alternatives, could help to reassign value, and potentially prevent this embezzling from creative futures.

On the one hand, artist educators may want to protest about the normative constructions of economic value, and neoliberal complicity in education. Yet with the rising costs of living, what will we all do as creatives, artist educators, researchers and students, to keep the quality of life of our communities and families above the spiralling costs? Are ‘desperate measures’ needed? Can society afford not to invest in the arts? How can makers find equitable ways to ‘make it’? The Centre for Arts and Learning will be discussing these and other questions in the 2023-24 Arts Economies programme of events.


Beauvoir, S. de (1948) The Ethics of Ambiguity. New York: Open Road.

Buller, A. (2022) The Value of A Whale: On the Illusions of Green Capitalism. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Pearson, H. C., Savoca, M. S., Costa, D. P., Lomas, M. W., Molina, R., Pershing, A. J., and others, (2023) ‘Whales in the Carbon Cycle: Can Recovery Remove Carbon Dioxide?’, Trends in Ecology & Evolution (Amsterdam), 38.3, 238–49.

Matthews, M. (2019) Ethos of Ambiguity: Artist Teachers and the Transparency Exclusion Paradox, The International Journal of Art & Design Education, 38.4. 853–66.

Matthews, M. (2024) Moving Beyond Immanence: in R. Payne ed., Professional Learning for Artist Teachers: Pedagogy, Practice and Partnership in UK Contexts. Maidenhead: Open University Press

Sayers, E. (2023) Skateboarding, Time and Ethics: An Auto Ethnographic Adventure of Motherhood and Risk, Sport, Ethics and Philosophy, 17.3. 306–26.

Varoufakis, Y. (2017) Talking to My Daughter: A Brief History of Capitalism. London: Penguin.

Upcoming events

The Next CAL event is a book launch for Drama at the Heart of English, by Theo Bryer, Maggie Pitfield, and Jane Coles on 5 December 2023, 17.30-19.00.

This will be a hybrid event.

Past events

Arts Economies, Jenn Steverson, Diaspora Ecologies: Place Based Textiles as a Response to Climate Change

7 November 2023.

Ecologies in Practice: Art, Education and the Earth Crisis Conference

The following timings are to help locate specific presentations in the conference recording:

13 July 0 - 0.09.27: Miranda Matthews, Introduction to the conference

(Not included in recordings) Keynote Workshop: Helen Kara, Creative Methods in Practice-Based Research

Day 1, 13 July 2023

0.09.27- 0.35.12: Chloe Watfern, A Sad Tree: Visualising Eco-emotions Through Bodies in Place

38.18- 1.06.21: Carine Gibert, Relational Work is the Fundamental Work - Letters of Earth

08.50 - 1.34.48: Ben Templeton, Building a Teen Think Tank for Climate Action

1.37.06 - 2.06.29: Kirstin Somerville , Ecopedagogy, Geopoetics, and Critical-Creative Praxis: Elisée Reclus’s Radical Geography

2.06.57 - 2.13.28: Kevin Davidson with Tom Mansfield's Cards for Life

From 2.14.12 Keynote: Suzanne Dhaliwal, Art and Design in the Age of Climate and Ecocide, with an introduction from Colin Sterling

Video footage of day 2 of the conference

The following timings are to help locate specific presentations in the conference recording:

Day 2, 14 July 2023

0- 1.03.39: Miranda Matthews and Bridget McKenzie, Kevin Davidson, CAL and CMUK: Participatory Arts Methods for Engaging Young People in Climate Research

1.05.16 - 2.22.33: Emese Hall and Chris Turner, Aesthoecological Literacy

2.22.50: Samuel Shaw and Carla Benzan, Impressionist Landscapes and Taxidermy Ostriches: Using Historic Objects in UK Museums to Create Awareness of Environmental Issues. (Please view separate film link).

2.22.58 - 2.42.47: Elise Foster Vander Elst, How to Design Exhibitions with a Lower Environmental Impact

2.47.40- 2.55.50: Mike Faulkner, Nine Earths (low sound before this from 2.43.10)

2.59.34- 3.24.17: Amy Spencer Harff, Art Save the World: Exploring How Art Can Be a Tool for the Climate Crisis

3.35.07- 4.24.0: Gabriele Budach, Gohar Sharoyan, Stephania Rovira Ochoa and Landing Bassene, “The Power of Animating Objects”: Stop Motion Animation from Self-Discovery to Social and Environmental Advocacy

4.24.0 - 4.29.08: Miranda Matthews, Closing Statement

All For the Arts: International Issues for Inclusivity in the Arts and Learning. A panel discussion with three Professors of Art Education and Visual Culture - Raphael Vella, Andrea Kárpáti and Kevin Tavin, 14 June 2023.

Miranda Matthews, Arts Methods for the Self-Representation of Undergraduate Students: Sensory Transitions into University Cultures, 24 May 2023

All For the Arts: Danny Braverman, Drama in Coaching, 10 May 2023

All For the Arts: Carol Wild, Artist Teacher Practice and the Expectation of an Aesthetic Life, 29 March 2023


All For the Arts: Centre for Arts and Learning and A Particular Reality, Art, Learning and Anti-Racism Symposium, 12 December 2022

All For the Arts: Centre for Arts and Learning and PSST Practice Research Network, Creating Practice Research, Dr Özden Şahin, 29 November 2022

All For the Arts - John Baldacchino, Art's Exiting into the World: Willed Strangers in Pursuit of Inclusion, 1 November 2022

Miranda Matthews CAL Ecologies in Practice: Weaving Threads, 13 July 2022

Ecologies in Practice Series - WochenKlausur, What art can do, 4 May 2022