Art Sustainability Activism: ‘From the Ground Up’ Features Several Events Oct. 11-16
MFA for Poets and Writers Program joins Fine Arts Center, School of Earth and Sustainability for fifth annual event
UMass Amherst has announced the fall schedule of events for Art Sustainability Activism: “From the Ground Up,” an interdisciplinary series devoted to illuminating ecological crises through the lens of science and art.
Floods, fires, record-breaking heat, hail and hurricanes increasingly wreak havoc in our communities. Eighty-six percent of college students experience climate grief or anxiety, and 60% agree that climate change is an urgent problem. The Art Sustainability Activism (ASA) series brings together students, faculty, staff, administrators, alumni and community members with scientists, musicians, writers, organizers and activists to address climate chaos and to inspire collective action.
“From the Ground Up” is the fifth annual collaboration between the Fine Arts Center, the MFA for Poets and Writers Program and the School of Earth and Sustainability. Launched in 2019 through interdisciplinary seed grant funding provided by the Provost’s office, the university has been an early investor in the ASA collaboration.
“The work done by the ASA team is a great example of interdisciplinary collaboration and strengthens UMass Amherst's excellence in research and creative activity,” says Tilman Wolf, senior vice provost for academic affairs and associate chancellor for space and capital planning.
The events in this series articulate a desire to trace the connections between science, culture, activism, and the arts. They traverse the territory between art and citizenship. The series will also investigate the possibilities of action on the UMass campus and beyond. More information
Wednesday, Oct. 11, 4 p.m., Integrated Learning Center S240; Free
Climate scientist and activist Shaina Sadai will share the latest science and discuss policy work to reckon with the climate crisis. As a UMass alumna and current Hitz Fellow for Litigation-Relevant Science at the Union of Concerned Scientists, Sadai’s career is dedicated to understanding the science and how humans have altered the climate leading to the impacts we see today. Her work now addresses how we translate our knowledge into policies, programs, and societal change that meet the needs of this global moment.
Thursday, Oct. 12, 4 p.m., Bromery Center for the Arts Lobby; Free
Join featured artist Sirintip, Shaina Sadai of the Union of Concerned Scientists, Sandy Litchfield and others in this meeting of minds working at the intersection of climate change, science, literature, performing arts and social justice. The discussion will be moderated by UMass professor Malcolm Sen. Sen, who teaches courses in the environmental humanities in the Department of English, is a co-chair of the campus-wide Sustainability Strategy Working Group and is leading The Anthropocene Lab project at UMass Amherst.
Saturday, Oct. 14, 3 p.m., Goodell Lawn (outdoors); Free
This free, solar-powered, carbon-neutral concert is presented as part of UMass Amherst Family Weekend. Thai-Swedish multimodal artist, singer and producer Sirintip creates works that center climate action through empathy and meaningful connections. Sirintip seeks to uncover and create connections through her music and her interdisciplinary works, arriving at moments of greater understanding. The performance will feature new music commissioned by the Fine Arts Center in tribute to world-famous composer and climate activist Ryuichi Sakamoto.
Monday, Oct. 16, 12-4 p.m., Bromery Center for the Arts Lobby; Free with registration
Third Act is the first large-scale effort to organize older Americans for progressive action. Third Act's Lead National Organizer, B Fulkerson will discuss the unique role that older Americans can play exploring how to build an irresistible, all-volunteer community of elders who back up youth who are on the frontlines of stabilizing democracy and the climate.
Monday, Oct. 16, 6 p.m., Frederick C. Tillis Performance Hall; Free with registration
Bill McKibben will speak about the responsibility of artists in a moment of emergency. How might artists go beyond their personal vision to help the movements that are our chief hope?
McKibben is founder of Third Act, which organizes people over the age of 60 for action on climate and justice. His 1989 book “The End of Nature” is regarded as the first book for a general audience about climate change, and has appeared in 24 languages. He’s since written 20 books, and his work appears regularly in periodicals from the New Yorker to Rolling Stone. He serves as the Schumann Distinguished Scholar in Environmental Studies at Middlebury College, as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and he has won the Gandhi Peace Prize. He was awarded the Right Livelihood Award, sometimes called the alternative Nobel, in the Swedish Parliament. Foreign Policy named him to its inaugural list of the world’s 100 most important global thinkers.
This event is presented in collaboration with Orion magazine.
Ongoing and Future Events
Through Fall 2023
Arthur F. Kinney Center for Interdisciplinary Renaissance Studies
Apocalypse: Science & Myth
Artist in Residence Suzette Marie Martin showcases new work that layers data from climate and environmental research with the Biblical tale of banishment from paradise to reveal the eco-anxieties that link the past and the present. The American Psychological Association describes eco-anxiety as “fear of environmental cataclysm from observing the seemingly irrevocable impact of climate change.” Martin’s work acknowledges the “unequivocal scientific evidence” for anthropogenic climate change, and bears witness to the consequences of intensifying ecological decline.
THE FUTURING LAB
Wednesday, November 8 to Tuesday, December 12
Design Building Gallery, Olver Design Building, UMass Amherst Free events
Opening Reception 4:30-7 p.m.
Thematically grounded in notions of time, The Futuring Lab seeks to question, discover, and remake chrono-logical representations of temporal causality. In response to pervading anxieties about the near future– concerns about climate change, rising social inequity, racism, political division, and ecological collapse, among other things– this timely exhibition employs the practice of futuring to generate new building blocks for imagining futures that are not only possible and probable but also preferable. Futuring is pluralistic practice; there is not one future, but many; it is interdisciplinary, democratic, and inclusive of many voices. Futuring is not an escape from the present, rather it is an awareness of our becoming at this moment, which can help increase our insight and response-ability to the long and thick now.
During the exhibition, the gallery will host a series of talks, events, performances, and interactive workshops by artists, activists, scientists, and other visionary imaginarians.
All programming and events are free and open to the public.