Monthly Archives: June 2011

Space is the place

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

Landscape in Artists’ Films

14 Jun 2011 – 4 Jul 2011 (Every Tuesday at 18:30)

Glasgow Film Theatre invites you to a four-week course Space is the Place: Landscape in Artists’ Films.

Landscape has long held a fascination for the avant- garde. This course examines how British filmmakers such as William Raban, Chris Welsby, Emily Richardson, Andrew Kötting and Patrick Keiller have gleaned images directly from the landscape of their surroundings and incorporated them creatively into the fabric of their films. Led by Aimee Mollaghan.

The course comprises four illustrated seminars and discussions accompanied by key readings held in the GFT Learning space.

Full details on the course or please pop in to GFT / call box office on 0141 332 6535 to book a place.

 

ecoartscotland is a resource focused on art and ecology for artists, curators, critics, commissioners as well as scientists and policy makers. It includes ecoartscotland papers, a mix of discussions of works by artists and critical theoretical texts, and serves as a curatorial platform.

It has been established by Chris Fremantle, producer and research associate with On The Edge ResearchGray’s School of Art, The Robert Gordon University. Fremantle is a member of a number of international networks of artists, curators and others focused on art and ecology.

Go to EcoArtScotland

Arcola joins the theatre DEC pool

The Theatres Trust and Julie’s Bicycle have joined together to undertake a comprehensive survey of environmental and sustainability issues facing performing arts venues in the UK.

Arcola is participating in the Theatres Trust Ecovenue project, which is improving the environmental performance of 48 London theatres by providing theatre-specific advice and awards of Display Energy Certificates. The Theatres DEC Pool will compare the performance of participating London venues with national theatre building performance.

The Theatres DEC Pool will cover all theatres throughout the UK and enable venues of similar types to compare approaches and share best practice. Theatres will also be able to see where they can contribute to promoting a more sustainable theatre sector. Analysis of the data will inform the next series of Government DEC benchmarks so they can be relevant to the theatre industry as a whole and will be incorporated into the Trust’s established Theatres Database.

See the Theatres Trust press release for further information: HERE

Go to Arcola Energy

Fracking

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

The minor earthquake in Cumbria last week brought fracking to the UK headlines.

Fracking is a technology for extracting gas from unconventional geological formations.  Very topical in the North Eastern US where there hasn’t been a huge oil industry, but where now fracking is being considered as a means to extract gas.  The problem is that the chemical cocktail which is forced down the wells can affect whole watersheds, polluting the watertable and poisoning the land.

Josh Fox’s film Gasland has received extensive media attention, revealing some of the unintended consequences of fracking

SEA (Social Environmental Aesthetics)’s project Fracking: Art and Activism Against the Drill, at Exit Art Gallery, New York City, December 7, 2010 – February 5, 2011.

But extracting oil from Shale has a long history in Scotland – the area around Broxburn in West Lothian has a number of bings which are the result of the 19th Century shale mining industry – different process, but no less environmentally damaging.

PS. John Latham redefined these, the Niddrie Woman and the Niddrie Heart, along with the Five Sisters, as artworks and historical monuments, during his APG Feasibility Study at the Scottish Office in 1979-80.

ecoartscotland is a resource focused on art and ecology for artists, curators, critics, commissioners as well as scientists and policy makers. It includes ecoartscotland papers, a mix of discussions of works by artists and critical theoretical texts, and serves as a curatorial platform.

It has been established by Chris Fremantle, producer and research associate with On The Edge ResearchGray’s School of Art, The Robert Gordon University. Fremantle is a member of a number of international networks of artists, curators and others focused on art and ecology.

Go to EcoArtScotland

“Can Artists Change China?” Lecture, film and panel debate around the arrest of Ai Weiwei

This post comes to you from Cultura21

By Ronja Röckemann

Since April 3rd 2011, world-renowned contemporary artist and activist Ai Weiwei is detained by the police in China, sparking worldwide protests from governments, human rights groups and art insti-tutions, among others, calling for his release. How far can artists contribute to social transformations towards sustainability in contemporary China? On June 16th 2011, a special evening is being organized at Leuphana University Lüneburg (Germany), asking this and other questions, around the case of Ai Weiwei and addressing the contemporary human rights situation in China, as well as the roles of artists engaged in questions of social transformations and sustainability. An 18-minute segment produced by filmmaker Alison Klayman will be shown as part of the event, followed by a panel debate with the exhibition organizer Roger M. Buergel, international human rights activist David Knaute and conceptual artist Anke Haarmann.

The panel will be moderated by political scientist Ursula Scheid as well as Volker Kirchberg, who is the professor for cultural distribution and cultural organization at Leuphana University. The film will be preceded by a press conference by the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and by a lecture on artistic initiatives for ecology and sustainability in contemporary China.

About the participating speakers:

Roger M. Buergel studied art, philosophy and economics. He is an exhibition organizer and author. In the years 1997 to 2004 he realized several exhibitions together with Ruth Noack, among them „The Government“ at the Kunstraum of the University of Lüneburg. He was director of documenta 12 in Kassel (2007), a show for which he had invited Ai Weiwei. In the last years he has been teaching at the art school of Karlsruhe. 2010 he curated an exhibitions with works by Ai Weiwei in the new DKM museum in Duisburg. He is known to be one of the persons with the highest familiarity with the artistic work of Ai Weiwei.

Anke Haarmann is a conceptual artist, curator, PhD in Philosophy and PostDoc at the ICRA/ IKKK, Leuphana University Lüneburg. Since 2004 she visited China and Japan many times for theoretical and artistic research. Her work focused recently on public urban space, art interventions and art in the public interest. In 2008 and 2010 she realized two exhibition platforms on Shanghai in collaboration with Chinese and German artists. The 2010 platform in Shanghai had to be canceled due to pressure by local authorities, and turned to the public space as its venue.

David Knaute is the Asia Director for the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH). As such, he works closely with FIDH member organization in China, Human Rights in China (HRIC), which operates in exile from New-York City. David has previous human rights work experiences in conflict-affected countries in Asia.

Moderation:

Ursula Scheid studied Political Sciences with a focus on China at the LMU Munich, attended the German School of Journalism (DJS) and worked as a free writer. In 2003, she further studied at the Munich Film School (University of Television and Film). Her first documentary is an essay about the new bourgeoisie in China. While she was living in Beijing for four years, she got to know Ai Weiwei and accompanied him in his documentation project Fairytale.

Volker Kirchberg: Director of the ICRA/ IKKK, Volker Kirchberg is University Professor for Cultural Distribution and Cultural Organization in Applied Cultural Sciences at Leuphana University Lüneburg. He is the author of numerous publications on culture and urban sociology at the interface of market, state and the non-profit sector. His current research includes studies of museum visitors (e.g. “eMotion” project), cultural consumption, and multiple relations between creativity and urban development.

About the Lecture:

At 19:45 Sacha Kagan will give an introductory lecture about the engagements of contemporary artists for sustainability in China. He is Research Associate at the ICRA/ IKKK, Leuphana University Lüneburg and founder of the International level of Cultura21 – Network for Cultures of Sustaina-bility, as well as the International Summer School of Arts and Sciences for Sustainability in Social Transformation (ASSiST). The focus of his research and cultural work lies in the trans-disciplinary field of arts and (un-)sustainability. His work in past years involved several Asian-European cultural exchanges, including a conference in Beijing in 2008 organized by the Asia Europe Foundation.

About the documentary film “Ai Wei Wei: Never Sorry: Can an Artist Change China?”

The 18 minutes film we will project on June 16th at 20:30 is a preview of an upcoming feature-length documentary film About Ai Weiwei by Alison Klayman. From 2008 to 2010, Beijing-based journalist and filmmaker Alison Klayman gained unprecedented access to Ai Weiwei. Klayman documented Ai’s artistic process in preparation for major museum exhibitions, his intimate ex-changes with family members and his increasingly public clashes with the Chinese government. Klayman’s detailed portrait of the artist provides a nuanced exploration of contemporary China and one of its most compelling public figures.The film’s website is: www.aiweiweifilm.org/en.

About the partnership with the FIDH: The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) will be present at the event. Apart from David Knaute (see above), the Permanent Representative to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) for the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), based in Bangkok, Thailand, will be attending. Shiwei Ye works closely and coordinates action with FIDH’s member or-ganizations in Southeast Asia. Shiwei has prior experience working on China-related projects for US-based human rights organizations.

About the organizers

This event is organized by Cultura21 and by several departments of the Leuphana University Lu-eneburg, i.e. the students cinema association (Unikino), the Institute of Cultural Theory, Research, and the Arts (IKKK) and the Kunstraum, in partnership with the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH).

Cultura21 – “cultural fieldworks for sustainability,” is a transversal, translocal network gathering artists, cultural practitioners and aca-demics engaged for the promotion of ‘cultures of sustainability’ in the sense of a sustainable, social ecological change process. It is constituted of an international network and of several Cultura21 organizations around the world. In Germany, where Cultura21 first emerged in 2005, the organization ‘Cultura21 Institut eV’ supports the German-speaking Cultura21 network. Website: www.cultura21.net.

The Leuphana University Lüneburg is a German University committed to humanistic values of liberal arts and sciences as basic principles for self-determined lives, successful careers, and social responsibility in a changing global society. “A university for civil society in the 21st century,” Leuphana introduced a university model which is unique within the German academic landscape. Website: www.leuphana.de.

FIDH is an international NGO defending all civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, set out in the Universal Declaration of Hu-man Rights. It is also a federalist movement that acts through and for its national member and partner organizations. By remaining in per-manent interaction with local civil societies, it can rapidly identify local obstacles to the work of defenders and take the necessary steps to mobilise support for them. Website: www.fidh.org.

Unikino is Leuphana University Lüneburg’s students association for cinema. This honorary, self-organized group of students often coop-erates with seminars, courses and other groups of interest who are in need of movies to complete their aspired informational goal. During a normal semester they regularly show movies on Mondays.

The Kunstraum of Leuphana University Lüneburg is a contemporary art institution. Its exhibition program is based on collaborations of art-ists, curators and scholars of the humanities as well as the social sci-ences, including their students. Website: www.uni-lueneburg.de/interarchiv/projekte.html.

The Institute of Cultural Theory, Research, and the Arts (ICRA – IKKK in German language) pursues theoretical and empirical research on culture and the arts, the scientific and cultural transfer from academia to praxis as well as teaching from perspectives based in the humani-ties, social and economic sciences. The Institute is organized in the following units: Philosophy, Sociology of the Arts, Cultural Marketing and Communication, Literary Studies, Cultural History. Website: www.leuphana.de/ikkk.

Contacts

Organizer: Sacha Kagan (Leuphana University Lüneburg)

E-Mail: kagan(at)uni.leuphana.de; phone: (+49)1785441789

Press inquiries (event): Ronja Röckemann (Cultura21)

E-Mail: ronja_roeckemann(at)hotmail.com; phone: (+49)1608035165

Press inquiries (FIDH press conference): David Knaute (FIDH)

E-Mail: dknaute(at)fidh.org

 

Cultura21′s international network, launched in April 2007, offers the online and offline platform for exchanges and mutual learning among its members.

The activities of Cultura21 at the international level are coordinated by a team representing the different Cultura21 organizations worldwide, and currently constituted of:

– Sacha Kagan (based in Lüneburg, Germany) and Rana Öztürk (based in Berlin, Germany)

– Oleg Koefoed and Kajsa Paludan (both based in Copenhagen, Denmark)

– Hans Dieleman (based in Mexico-City, Mexico)

– Francesca Cozzolino and David Knaute (both based in Paris, France)

Cultura21 is not only an informal network. Its strength and vitality relies upon the activities of several organizations around the world which are sharing the vision and mission of Cultura21

Go to Cultura21

Conflict Resolution on Highland Estates

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

The Aberdeen Centre for Environmental Sustainability is currently hosting four artists’ residencies leading up to a major conference on Conservation Conflicts: strategies for coping with a changing world which takes place at the end of August.

Dalziel + Scullion are undertaking one of the residencies, and Matthew Dalziel described the project,

You might be interested in the residency we are currently involved in which is at ACES at Aberdeen University. We are working with Steve Redpath and his Conflict Resolution Unit who have a long term project in Langholm looking at how to reconcile Raptors with Grouse moors and estate owners. You may have seen the programme on BBC on Tuesday night which was very much on the same topic.

We have spent time observing Hen Harriers, Goshhawks, Buzzards, etc., and met with activists, conservationists and game keepers. There is a big conference coming up in the Autumn focusing on Conflict Management and Resolution, all interesting stuff. 

ecoartscotland is a resource focused on art and ecology for artists, curators, critics, commissioners as well as scientists and policy makers. It includes ecoartscotland papers, a mix of discussions of works by artists and critical theoretical texts, and serves as a curatorial platform.

It has been established by Chris Fremantle, producer and research associate with On The Edge ResearchGray’s School of Art, The Robert Gordon University. Fremantle is a member of a number of international networks of artists, curators and others focused on art and ecology.

Go to EcoArtScotland

“By Leaves We Live”: the vital politics and poetics of the tree

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

Jennifer Clarke and Rachel Harkness are convening an excellent session focused on trees, referencing Patrick Geddes’ “By Leaves We Live”, within the Conference of the Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK and Commonwealth.

Abstracts come from all over the world and take trajectories across the topic: religious practice and space; time and trees (both their metaphorical properties and their function as recording devices); private reafforestation and personal redemption; tree burial in Japanese culture; empathic relations with trees, the experience of life and death of trees, Basque politics and trees, orchards in Devon and fields near Stansted.

 

ecoartscotland is a resource focused on art and ecology for artists, curators, critics, commissioners as well as scientists and policy makers. It includes ecoartscotland papers, a mix of discussions of works by artists and critical theoretical texts, and serves as a curatorial platform.

It has been established by Chris Fremantle, producer and research associate with On The Edge ResearchGray’s School of Art, The Robert Gordon University. Fremantle is a member of a number of international networks of artists, curators and others focused on art and ecology.

Go to EcoArtScotland

Open source city: Vancouver

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

Focus on the  Zen question: “What can we not do?” Not cut down weeds, not tidy up derelict ground, not plan, organise, manage and control parts of our cities.  Asking how an open source ethos might affect urban living. Read the rest of the article in the Vancouver Observer here.

Oliver Kellhammer is leading a week-long investigation into some of these topics entitled Open Source City: Field Study at Emily Carr University from June 20-24th. It’s part of the Continuing Studies Program and there is still space available. More info here: http://www.ecuad.ca/programs/courses/CESE/355/SU01

ecoartscotland is a resource focused on art and ecology for artists, curators, critics, commissioners as well as scientists and policy makers. It includes ecoartscotland papers, a mix of discussions of works by artists and critical theoretical texts, and serves as a curatorial platform.

It has been established by Chris Fremantle, producer and research associate with On The Edge ResearchGray’s School of Art, The Robert Gordon University. Fremantle is a member of a number of international networks of artists, curators and others focused on art and ecology.

Go to EcoArtScotland

Symposium: “Animal Ecologies in Visual Culture”

This post comes to you from Cultura21

By Ronja Röckemann

Reposted from: www.antennae.org.uk/Symposium

The symposium on October 8th 2011 at University College London proposes an exploration of artistic practices involved with animals and environments. In the recent re-surfacing of the animal in contemporary art, emphasis has been given to mammals, mainly because of the most immediate relational opportunities that these animals offer to us. However, a number of very interesting artists has been recently trying to bridge the abyss between ‘us’ and more ‘taxonomically remote’ creatures through the use of art and science as active interfaces. This new focus reveals the interconnectedness between humans, amphibians, reptiles and insects, and the environments in which we all live. Through a multidisciplinary approach, the symposium aims at facilitating a dialogue between artists, scientists and academics interested in informing wider audiences through visual communication.

Speakers Include: Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey / Ron Broglio / Maja and Reuben Fowkes /Rikke Hansen / London Fieldworks / Joyce Salisbury / Linda Williams. See www.antennae.org.uk for registration.

Cultura21 is a transversal, translocal network, constituted of an international level grounded in several Cultura21 organizations around the world.

Cultura21′s international network, launched in April 2007, offers the online and offline platform for exchanges and mutual learning among its members.

The activities of Cultura21 at the international level are coordinated by a team representing the different Cultura21 organizations worldwide, and currently constituted of:

– Sacha Kagan (based in Lüneburg, Germany) and Rana Öztürk (based in Berlin, Germany)

– Oleg Koefoed and Kajsa Paludan (both based in Copenhagen, Denmark)

– Hans Dieleman (based in Mexico-City, Mexico)

– Francesca Cozzolino and David Knaute (both based in Paris, France)

Cultura21 is not only an informal network. Its strength and vitality relies upon the activities of several organizations around the world which are sharing the vision and mission of Cultura21

Go to Cultura21

FIELD_NOTES – Cultivating Ground

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

Call for professional collaborators

FIELD_NOTES – Cultivating Ground
Kilpisjärvi Biological Station in Kilpisjärvi/ Lapland/ Finland.

26. September – 2. October 2011
Deadline 30th of June 2011

Organized by the Finnish Bioart Society in the context of the Ars Bioarctica project together with the Kilpisjärvi Biological Station.

“ Field_Notes – Cultivating Grounds” is a week long field laboratory for theory and practice on art&science work at the Kilpisjärvi Biological Station of the University of Helsinki in Lapland. Five working groups, each hosted by an expert (Oron Catts, Marta de Menezes, Anu Osva, Tapio Makela and Terike Haapoja) together with a team of four, will develop, test and evaluate specific artistic approaches based on the interplay of art&science. The outcome of Field_Notes will result in a publication published by the Finnish Bioart Society in 2012.

We warmly welcome artists, scientists and practitioners to participate and contribute to the development of the field.  We are looking for 20 artists, scientists and practitioners, which are interested to develop, collaborate and work in one of the groups.

Please send your application including CV, Biography, group preference and a max A4 letter of motivation and/or direction of possible Field_Notes research/contribution to erich.berger@bioartsociety.fi

More information can bee found at http://bioartsociety.fi

ecoartscotland is a resource focused on art and ecology for artists, curators, critics, commissioners as well as scientists and policy makers. It includes ecoartscotland papers, a mix of discussions of works by artists and critical theoretical texts, and serves as a curatorial platform.

It has been established by Chris Fremantle, producer and research associate with On The Edge ResearchGray’s School of Art, The Robert Gordon University. Fremantle is a member of a number of international networks of artists, curators and others focused on art and ecology.

Go to EcoArtScotland

Can we change the environmental conditions in museums and galleries?

This post comes to you from the EcoMuseum

This question cut to the point for 75 cultural colleagues from across Victoria and NSW who attended a freeMuseum VictoriaArts Victoria and Sustainability Victoria seminar on the 18th of May to discover the challenges and current international position.

Julian Bickersteth, Director of International Conservation Services in Sydney, laid the groundwork for current recommendations for object storage and display conditions. An expert panel comprised of leaders from the building and environmental sectors also joined Julian. They were Professor Kate Auty (Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability), Bernard Da Cruz (Director WSP Lincolne Scott) and Pippa Connolly (Principle at Arup).

The seminar was convened amongst concern about the reality of climate change, and rising energy and product costs. Such costs are driving museums, galleries (and much of contemporary business) to reduce their carbon footprint. Unsurprisingly the maintenance of specific temperature, relative humidity (RH) and light levels is in doubt. The temp and RH international guidelines represent the major energy and money consumption in the museum, library and gallery organisations. Facing the prospect of an uncertain future, a number of international groups are driving research into the possibilities for the relaxation of the parameters museums and galleries are required to fall within.

The UK to date has been taking the lead with the NMDC (National Museum Director Conference) setting up EGOR (Environment Guidelines: Opportunities and Risks). Heading up the Australian taskforce is the AICCM (Australian Institute for the Conservation of Cultural Material). Each of these groups is involved in investigating possibilities and risks in order to promote change which will benefit the environment and organisational budgets.

EGOR (coordinated by The National Archives UK), is investigating if current environmental standards align with the conservation of the three main priorities affecting museums and galleries;

  1. Movable cultural material (collections)
  2. Cultural heritage (buildings)
  3. Communities (visitors and staff)

EGOR is investigating the implications with researchers from the disciplines of arts and humanities, conservation, science and engineering, as well as practitioner communities.

One question that keeps arising is the one of acceptable loss? Is it realistic to expect objects receive optimum temperature and RH attention considering the enormous cost energy use extracts from the environment and society? Or should we develop a different understanding around the protection of movable cultural heritage? It is conceivable that changing attitudes for reuse, renewable resources and human adaptation to climate change will alter access, presentation and interpretation of cultural heritage in the future. It may also affect how we value cultural heritage.

The following graphic from Barbara Reeve (Australian War Memorial) demonstrates safe RH humidity ranges for a range of materials and reveals that the RH range followed by museums and galleries are not required – except in isolated cases.

The following graphic from Barbara Reeve (Australian War Memorial) demonstrates safe RH humidity ranges for a range of materials and reveals that the RH range followed by museums and galleries are not required – except in isolated cases.

However the conservation needs of movable cultural heritage need to be considered in conjunction with the limitations and potential provided by the buildings they are housed in. Many of these buildings are listed cultural heritage in their own right.

Upfront capital costs to adapt buildings to achieve preservation environments are an unhappy reality that prevents many from considering this path, and yet new museums and galleries are still being designed and constructed to heavily rely on electricity. In fact many examples would be unable to support human occupants without electricity, let alone preserve precious and rare artifacts. One example from regional Victoria during the seminar cited how their efforts to bring their heritage building into the 21st century and object preservation guidelines saw their quarterly electricity bill skyrocket to 15% of their total annual budget.

So what are the alternatives EGOR and others are exploring? International interest has only recently turned toward new technologies – and more from the need to escape rising energy costs than a sense of moral responsibility toward the environment. New building designs will need to take this into account and seek advice which will allow them to make allowances and infrastructure for emerging technologies that can be retrofitted. Melbourne Museum followed this advice ten years ago when infrastructure was placed on the roof allowing for solar technology to be fitted. Solar technology is now approaching a state where this particular retrofit may be looking like a possibility.

The small museum from regional Victoria took action that can act as a guide to us all. The first step was possibly the greatest – that remedial action was not necessarily connected to anything requiring electricity. Recognising the problem was related to sustainability and environment led them to seek advice from Sustainability Victoria. After exploring a number of options the museum expanded environmental control parameters to 18C and 60% RH from current parameters (25c and 55%RH) and achieved a 33% reduction in costs.  They are also now trialling running their HVAC in 4 hour bursts. The outcomes from their research and testing will be eagerly followed by everyone who attended the seminar.

The UK, through the authority of the NMDC developed guidelines that were accepted by the European Bizot Group of major museums at their May 2009 meeting. The four primary points were led by an aim to minimise energy use;

1.     Environmental standards to become intelligent and better tailored to needs. No longer use blanket conditions for entire buildings

2.     Care of collections should not assume air conditioning

3.     Natural and sustainable environmental controls to be explored and exploited

4.     New or renovated museum buildings should aim to reduce carbon footprint as their primary objective

NMDC guiding principles for reducing museums’ carbon footprint (2009)

ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers) is an organisation that advances the sciences of heating, ventilating, air-conditioning and refrigerating within the limitations of humanity and sustainability. Their 2003 specifications for museums, libraries and archival conditions recommends different ‘classes’ of control.

Class of Control Short Fluctuations plus Space Gradients Seasonal Adjustments in System Setpoint Collection Risks and Benefits
AAAPrecision control, no seasonal changes +/- 5%RH;+/- 2oC RH no change;Up 5oC / Down 5oC No risk of mechanical damage to most artifacts and paintings (so long as conditions are maintained).
AAPrecision control,

some gradients or seasonal changes but not both

+/- 5%RH;+/- 2oC Up 10% RH /Down 10% RH;

Up 5oC / Down 10oC

Small risk of mechanical damage to high-vulnerability artifacts; no mechanical risk to most artifacts, paintings, photographs, and books (so long as conditions are maintained).
APrecision control,

some gradients or seasonal changes but not both

+/- 10%RH;+/- 2oC RH no change;Up 5oC / Down 10oC Small risk of mechanical damage to high-vulnerability artifacts; no mechanical risk to most artifacts, paintings, photographs, and books (so long as conditions are maintained).
BPrecision control,

some gradients plus winter temperature setback

+/- 10%RH;+/- 2oC Up 10% RH /Down 10% RH;

Up 10oC, but not above 30 oC; Down as required to maintain RH control

Moderate risk of mechanical damage to high-vulnerability artifacts; tiny mechanical risk to most paintings, some artifacts, photographs, and books. No risk to most artifacts and books.

There are a number of new standards and guidelines incorporating environmental sustainability on this matter.
Europe CEN/TC 346

UK BSI:                *Code of Practice on Environmental guidelines PAS 198 (document will become publicly available in July 2011)

*New PD 5454 replacing BS 5454

EGOR:           *Consensus on 50% RH +/- 15%

It is important to note that the PAS 198 was developed rapidly to fulfill an immediate need and is not narrowly prescriptive. Decisions will still involve individual organisations’ preservation aims, use and display, transport, loans and the budget available for energy.

SUMMARY

There is still uncertainty whether these initiatives will actually save any money or energy. This information will no doubt present itself in time as more organisations are influenced or compelled to rethink where they most need their energy. It will be interesting to note where, geographically, the greatest savings occur, since external climate will be a factor in these results.

Major international cultural organisations who are active in this debate include the National Gallery of Denmark who has claimed it is on the way to being carbon neutral, and the Smithsonian who are recommending 37-53% RH ‘tight’ parameter, and a 30-62% RH ‘allowable’ parameter.

Discussions during the seminar forum reiterated the following perspectives;

  • Larger, more resourced institutions should be leading the debate with a view to contributing to Australasian standards;
  • Benefits of this leadership needs to be disseminated effectively to small and regional cultural organizations;
  • Building design needs to include museum professionals and account for environmentally sustainable design (ESD);
  • The advantage of long term savings from ESD capital outlays are proven, and support needed for smaller institutions to undertake ESD;
  • ESD is often dropped from the planning process for cost, schedule and other constraints. ESD is seen as a ‘feel good bonus’, and not a critical inclusion;
  • There is a need for a collegiate network to continue this debate and take it further.

There are currently no guidelines or standards from an Australasian perspective. The AICCM taskforce is currently gathering information from research, literature and projects with the view to developing guidelines for Australian conditions. The May 18 seminar served to bring those in the Victorian cultural community together to learn and share. It was clear there is a great deal of concern surrounding the future, and the ability to keep up with the rising costs of energy. However it was also clear that financial issues were not the only driver of the community, and that a genuine desire to preserve the natural environment was also a high priority. The Strategic Audit into the Victorian Government’s environmental progress (Office of the Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability) and the Greening the Arts Portfolio (Arts Victoria) are two instances of the current prioritization of the environment.

Examples from attendees (State Library of Victoria, Gippsland Maritime Museum, Museum Victoria et.al.) provided information that individual organisations were involved in research and trials on this subject, but the information was largely limited internally since there is no localised forum for them to collaborate with or feed into. With this in mind the Sustainability Victoria Arts Roundtable will look to recommending and supporting a working party. Part of the working party’s mandate will be to disseminate information and case studies, and also to work with organisations to participate and provide advice to cultural organisations wishing to explore new environmental conditions, technologies and methodologies.

Seminar attendees will be kept informed of further developments.

Useful websites:

www.climatechange.worldbank.org (climate portal)

http://www.aspo-australia.org.au/References/Bruce/ITD-ETTG-Subm-0307.pdf

www.iiconservation.org/dialogues/Plus_Minus_trans.pdf

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/information-management/projects-and-work/environmental-guidelines-opportunities-risks.htm

the EcoMuseum, is a project of Carole Hammond, Exhibition Manager and museum professional: combining the complex ideologies of aesthetics, culture, objects, entertainment…and environment.

Go to the EcoMuseum