Sustainability Month at WSA Library
This month our Senior Library Assistant Lena Munday and our Site Engagement Librarian Donna Ballan reflect on ‘sustainability’ in the collections at WSA Library.
Sustainability is a particularly topical issue at the moment, and it seems that society is becoming more and more aware of the effects of climate change and issues such as the environmental impacts of fossil fuels, plastic pollution and fast fashion. Consumers are encouraged to be more ‘eco-friendly’ by cutting down on plastic packaging and using their own shopping bags, and ‘thrifting’ clothes (and sharing your bargains online) has grown in popularity. ‘Sustainability’ is now an integral part of many of our courses here at Winchester School of Art and our students are regularly encouraged to consider sustainability as part of their practice. This month our MA Textile Design and MA Fashion Design students created exhibitions out of used and discarded “fragments” of fabric and materials. Through these exhibitions, “a unique creation emerges and new life is breathed into the waste fabrics and materials that were its origin.”*
Image 1. ‘Fragmented’ exhibition, curated by MA Textile Design students at Winchester School of Art. Photograph by Bren O’Donnell.
This month thousands of young people from across 80 countries are expected to take part in climate demonstrations and students have been swapping school for protests on Fridays to take to the streets and put pressure on their country’s governments to do something about saving the planet. Last week as part of their Ocean Rescue campaign, Sky News made history by broadcasting the first live news transmission from 250 metres below under the Indian Ocean in a bid to highlight the impact of plastic polluting our oceans and the incredible species, habitats, eco-systems and scientific knowledge currently at risk.
Sustainability isn’t a new issue – just look at our collections of ‘Make Do and Mend’ ‘books and ‘The Land Girl’ from the Second World War – but it is an emerging area where scholarly publications are concerned. We’ve created a dedicated area in our Library at classmark 745.0286 and added to our e-book collection because more and more books are being published on sustainable fashion and design.
It’s clear that we can all make changes to our lifestyles to be more ‘sustainable’, but it can be difficult to know where to start, or even to understand the true environmental impact of some of the products we buy and consume. Consequently, we’ve been celebrating ‘Sustainability Month’ here at WSA Library to highlight the relevance of ‘sustainability’ to artistic practice and to showcase the range of resources we have on this area.
Image 2. Pop-up sustainability display outside Library 1
We’ve created a pop-up display of sustainability books outside Library 1 and we’ve been posting sustainability book and magazine covers on our Instagram stories each day (these are highlighted on our Instagram profile page). We also hosted a zine session for our PhD students to discuss items in our collections that have been inspired by zines; particularly those that re-use found and discarded text, images and objects. It was fantastic to see these students then create their own zines by cutting up and re-using items that would have been thrown away.
Sustainability is a broad issue and covers many disciplines. Our own resources vary in format – for example, books, artists’ books, magazines, electronic articles and databases, and recordings of documentaries saved in Box of Broadcasts. Below is a selection of some of the resources in our collections:
* Taken from the exhibition introduction. “Fragmented” (MA Textile Design) and “Infinity” (MA Fashion Design) are on display at Winchester School of Art until 28th March 2019.