CreaTures and Friends seminar series

Curation: Cristina Ampatzidou
Organisation: Cristina Ampatzidou, Inés Crosas
With the support of the whole CreaTures team that contributed ideas and suggestions and moderated the sessions.
October 2020 – June 2022
Speakers: Sjef van Gaalen, Julia Lochman, Andrea Botero, Marketa Dolesjova and Namkyu Chun, Ruth Wolstenholme, Giuseppe Feola, Špela PetriČ, Pelin Tan and Katya Sander, Isabelle le Gallo and Sören Meschede, Maarten Hajer, Laura Pereira, Marjo Mäenpää, Christian Fieseler, Hilary Jennings, Vicki Couzens, Roy Bendor, Ana T. Amorim-Maia, Mianna Meskus, Cassie Robinson, Andrew Gryf Paterson, Genevieve Rudd, Martyna Miller, Josefina Buschmann, Daniela Camino and Michal Mitro, Ben Twist

CreaTures and Friends is a series of informal online seminars on creative practice, engagement and transformation, organised in the framework of the CreaTures (Creative Practices for Transformational Futures) project. Understanding and debating key concepts such as engagement, transformation and future(s) happened on all levels of collaboration within the research team. In order to expand these conversations beyond the consortium members, we initiated a series of informal, monthly seminars. The goal of the seminar series was to invite both creative practitioners and other researchers to informally present and discuss their work on engagement and sustainable transformations.

#1 Sjef van Gaalen – Functional Fictions, Futuring for Design Research in the Zoöp Project.

The first CreaTures & Friends seminar had Sjef van Gaalen introducing the Zoöp project, a new legal format to strengthen the position of non-humans in human societies and engender ecological regeneration.

#2 Baltic Sea Lab meets CreaTures: Julia Lohmann in conversation with Andrea Botero, Markéta Dolejšová and Namkyu Chun

This seminar was streamed live from the A Bloc shopping mall in Espoo Finland, where Julia Lohmann, Andrea Botero, Markéta Dolejšová and Namkyu Chun gave us a tour of their temporary working space and the Experimental Productions they were developing.

#3 Ruth Wolstenholme – Facilitating change: Sniffer’s journey and the increasing role of creative practices

In this closed seminar Sniffer, a Scottish charity and a CreaTures partner shared insights on the role of creative practices in transformations towards sustainability and resilience. Having worked in the environmental sector for over 25 years, as a knowledge broker and more recently in collaboration with creative practitioners, Ruth Wolstenholme reflected on our learnings from these processes and our aspirations in a conversation with Iryna Zamuruieva.

#4 Giuseppe Feola – Transformation to sustainability: theoretical roots and (some) research directions

Giuseppe Feola, Associate Professor of Social Change for Sustainability in the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development at Utrecht University, introduced his research on understanding transformation by mapping the conceptual diversity of the term ‘transformation’ and trying to establish a structure to the dialogue on societal transformation in response to environmental change..

#5 Špela Petrič – Of Algos, Plants and the Vegetariat

New media artist Špela Petrič shared her recent work on examining the potential of machine learning, AI, and robotics to create compelling new ways of caring for Earth’s creatures and habitats.

#6 Pelin Tan & Katya Sander – Resilient Infrastructures, Entangled Knowledge, Transversal Methods

Prof. Pelin Tan and Prof. Katya Sander from the Kabelvag Film and Art School, Lofoten Islands, Norway, presented Resilient Infrastructures, a research project on the Anthropocene effect on the Lofoten Islands and the North Sea, focusing on food and ingredients infrastructures.

#7 Isabelle le Galo & Sören Meschede – New Patrons: a methodology for a socio-political transformation through the arts, applied in Spain by Concomitentes

Isabelle Le Galo Flores, Director of Fundación Daniel y Nina Carasso (Spain) and Sören Meschede, coordinator of Concomitentes, presented New Patrons, a methodology that reconnects contemporary art with the needs and urgencies of society. It helps groups of citizens to commission an artwork in order to tackle the questions that they consider important for their context. 

#8 Maarten Hajer – Situationist Politics: why we need to study drama to act on climate change

Professor Maarten Hajer, director of the Urban Futures Studio at the University of Utrecht, explored the value of dramaturgical analysis for understanding the politics of climate change. He drew upon the historical example of the Situationist International of the 1960s revealing the omissions in our current thinking about the cultural politics of climate change.

#9 Laura Pereira – Operationalising the Nature Futures framework

Laura Pereira presented the latest work from the IPBES (Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services) task force on scenarios and models regarding the operationalisation of the Nature Futures Framework (NFF).

#10 Marjo Mäenpää – Creating a common vocabulary between creative practitioners and policy makers

Cupore’s director Marjo Mäenpää finds herself in the middle of a polyphonic community of researchers and practitioners. Her task is to produce and disseminate research information, studies and evaluations on cultural policy for decision-making and civil society.

#11 Christian Fieseler – The Artsformation Project: Creating A Better Digital Transformation through the Arts

Artsformation is concerned with understanding and improving pathways through which the arts can be a powerful voice and agent in the digital transformation, through the development of knowledge, toolsets and participative experiments. Artsformation is interested in the potential participative and empowering role the arts may play for the socially disadvantaged. In his talk, Christian Fieseler discussed some of the project’s initial work with socially engaged artists and initiatives in Europe, who use diverse artistic methods to explore, investigate and understand the digital transformation as a driver of our future as society.

#12 Hilary Jennings – Reimagining museums for a sustainable future

Hilary Jennings is Director of the Happy Museum Project, an organisation that invites people to think afresh about the role of museums, offering different perspectives and responses and stimulating and supporting change towards its vision: To re-imagine museums for a sustainable future by fostering wellbeing that doesn’t cost the earth. In this seminar, Hilary outlined the framing behind Happy Museum and explored responses generated by the wide range of museums in the project’s Community of Practice. 

#13 Vicki Couzens – Life work and Living Legacy: remembering, reclaiming, regenerating and revitalising cultural knowledge and practice

Dr Vicki Couzens, Keerray Woorroong Gunditjmara creative and research fellow at RMIT relates insights and stories from her 40+ years actively working in Aboriginal community affairs;  from her early years as a ‘non-creative’,  through her emergence into the arts and creative cultural expression spectrum leading to her focus on language revitalisation;  what this means for her, her family, clan and community now and into the future. – Cancelled

#14 Roy Bendor – Re-Imagining the City with Value Replacement Therapy

The future of cities, smart or not, depends on the public’s capacity and willingness to stretch their imagination and envision new sociotechnical possibilities. In this session, Roy Bendor, Assistant Professor of Critical Design in Delft University of Technology, discussed the use of speculative design as a means to disclose the malleability of urban technologies and invited seminar participants to try out an urban futuring exercise called Value Replacement Therapy.

#15 Ana Terra Amorim-Maia – At the intersection of climate and gender justice: creative designs for inclusive climate action

In this talk, Ana, Doctoral Researcher at the Barcelona Lab for Urban Environmental Justice and Sustainability, proposed an intersectional pivot in climate action to help understand the interconnected forms of social-environmental injustices that drive vulnerabilities in cities. She presented a new conceptual framework for ‘intersectional climate justice’ and illustrated it with examples of ongoing projects in Barcelona, which put gender and climate justice at the fore. 

#16 Mianna Meskus – Working in ‘the gap’: Methodological implications of interdisciplinary speculative collaboration

Given the current atmosphere of social and ecological crises, there is increasing interest in conducing collaborative research across disciplinary boundaries that engages with different publics to tinker with futures. In this session, Mianna Meskus, Associate Professor of Sociology and Science and technology Studies in Tampere University shared her experiences and thoughts about methodological and ethical issues in conducting speculative research events. Drawing from case studies in social science and design research on emergent biotechnologies, she invited participants to deliberate on what speculative research sets in motion when asking participants to imagine uncertain futures.

#17 Cassie Robinson – Imagination Infrastructuring

Cassie Robinson shared the work happening in the UK to seed and grow an imagination infrastructure – a long term investment, with multiple practitioners and partners, to grow capacity in communities to collectively imagine and shape their futures so that many different worlds become possible. She talked about where the work is situated, how it’s being practiced and the ambitions for it as a UK-wide initiative.

#18: An anthology of ongoing CreaTures ExPs:
Andrew Gryf Paterson, Genevieve Rudd, Martyna Miller, Josefina Buschmann, Daniela Camino, Michal Mitro

Through a series of open calls, CreaTures commissioned five Experimental Productions. The aim of these calls was to enable smaller organisations and/or individuals to participate in the co-creative activities of the research project, by contributing site-specific, small scale projects. This seminar was an opportunity for the creative practitioners that had recently joined the CreaTures family to present their practice and ongoing work.

#19 Ben Twist – Compliance or social transformation: What is the role of a cultural development agency in a climate emergency?

Creative Carbon Scotland spent nine months working with the staff and board of Creative Scotland, Scotland’s development agency for the arts, screen and creative industries, to write a Climate Emergency & Sustainability Plan. Ben Twist outlined the process, the outcome and what it might mean for the creative and cultural sectors in Scotland.