On September 28, join the Centre for Sustainable Curating online and in person for an open house, a workshop, and a series of short talks.

 Register at this link.

All times EST. Closed captioning available for online talks.


Room numbers shared in Eventbrite order confirmation (register at link above).
For those in London, talks can be attended in person and other events will be available throughout the day:

10am-2pm Open house, book, and art supplies give away at the Centre for Sustainable Curating

2:30-5:00pm Materials workshop with Mikaila Stevens. Extremely limited number of spaces available. Please contact sustainable.curating@uwo.ca to sign up.
In the workshop Art and Storytelling, Stevens will explore how Beadwork/Art is medicine and a powerful tool for sharing stories and finding strength in vulnerability to create meaningful connections to others.


5:30-6:00Kirsty Robertson and Friederike Landau-Donnelly introduce the CSC’s MATERIAL research stream and launch the zine Curating Waste (see below).

6:00-6:30Sheri Osden Nault. In their short talk Hide Tanning Intimacies and Care, Nault will discuss the acts of close care and tending that take place when transmuting a raw, unprocessed hide into the textile material of buckskin.

6:30-7:00Clara Polanco Talavera and Javier Garcia Jurado Cors join us from Mexico City. In their short talk Weaving the Fabric of Tradition: Celebrating Native Cotton Varieties and Community Guardianship they will explore the rich diversity of cotton varieties and the vital role communities play in preserving them. Delving into the cultural, ecological, and sustainability aspects, their talk emphasizes the need for collective care and stewardship in safeguarding these invaluable seeds for generations to come.

For more information and bios, please follow the CSC Instagram @centreforsustainablecurating

We hope to see you there!

Image Credit:
dentritic-organoplastoids / neptune balls, collected at Lake Huron, photo by Bruno Sinder, 2022

Image description: a small spherical ball of tightly woven sticks, grasses, plastic ribbon, and other detritus is photographed against a white backdrop.

Solar-powered Digital Archiving

Imogen Clendinning

Screenshot of Solar Protocol Network site, http://solarprotocol.net/index.html (shared with permission)

Prior to 2020, the world of net art existed, for the most part, outside of the bounds of institutional spaces and white cube galleries. Due to the closure of physical arts spaces in compliance with Covid-19 health and safety standards, many public galleries and artist-run centres created new partnerships with net artists. Galleries, museums, and DIY spaces commissioned digital projects that offered more accessible arts programming during a time of isolation and unease. In so-called Canada and elsewhere, this recent turn toward the institutional support of net artists represents a pivotal moment in contemporary arts for the presentation of net art. Consequently, it also introduces a series of questions and possibilities concerning how galleries and net artists might work collaboratively towards preserving these historically significant net art projects. Because the field of Internet art is defined by an ability to fluctuate and evolve over time, net artwork presents challenges within classical arts conservation and archiving. Which aspect of the net art can we archive? Should we be archiving every iteration of an expansive digital artwork?

While archiving and preserving net artwork raises questions of authenticity, artists and institutions additionally face obstacles finding sustainable methods of conserving digital artworks which exist online, as our use of digital infrastructures and technologies are often linked with extractive energy consumption and e-waste. The creation of new websites to host digital archives online, for example, means that a computer must host the server long term. An expansive digital archive is intrinsically linked to a large data set and a larger data set means more energy extraction to support its storage in a server or data centre. Therefore, the visual information of a net art object held in a digital archive, that is, the number of pixels held in a subsidiary’s cloud software, is data heavy. This method of archiving using cloud-based digital infrastructure is therefore connected to an environmentally unsustainable conservation approach. Digital conservation is unreliable in that it threatens its own future through its existence within a problematic structure.[1]

In order to resist the draw of cloud-based digital infrastructure and data centers, we might look to artist networks using the sun’s rays to power their own community driven virtual networks. The Solar Protocol Network is a distributed solar powered website powered and hosted by six servers across the globe. The website and collaborative network was founded by Tega Brain, Benedetta Piantella, Alex Nathanson, and Keita Ohshiro. When the user navigates to Solar Protocol, they are greeted by a large chart encompassing two-thirds of the screen. This chart is composed of a series of concentric circles and intersecting lines, along with blocks of colour and text that track the source and energy production of the solar-powered network. Beside this graph is a title and text reading: “A naturally intelligent network,” along with information about which server is currently powering the site and how much juice is in the server’s battery. This site and global network are distinct from other projects in that they gesture towards a new mode of thinking about our relationships to the digital world, in terms of both design, utility, and connections with the Earth and the solar system. Solar Protocol critiques our predominant modes of using the Internet and digital space through offering new sustainable ways of interacting with technology. In their manifesto, the Solar Protocol collective states that the intelligence of their network is controlled by “earthy dynamics,” just as our daily lives are impacted by “weather, seasons, tides and atmospheric conditions” in many ways, from behavioural shifts, how we move through our environments, food production etc. Their model can be classified as “naturally intelligent” because the network’s signal is reliant on the sun’s rays. There is always the potential for the site to go offline if access to this natural resource decreases. Piantella and Brain, the creators of Solar Protocol stress the importance of digital networks which engage with the natural instead of existing outside of it.[2]

As Internet Art and digital media become more central in interdisciplinary artistic practice, we must prioritize the development of digital archival strategies which do not participate in extractive models. The Solar Protocol artists are not archivists per se, but they are doing important work in reshaping the ways in which we interact with technology and the Internet. Perhaps, by building Internet servers which operate in tandem with our solar system and the Earth, we might propagate virtual archives which are connective forces between the digital and the natural world.

See the work here: https://icefollies.ca/imogen-clendining-2023/

[1] Pendergrass et al., “Towards Environmentally Sustainable Digital Preservation,” 165-206

[2] Artist talk by Tega Brain, and Benedetta Piantella, Solar Protocol: Reimagining the Internet Through Natural          Logic, accessed May 1, 2022, https://cusp.nyu.edu/past-events/solar-protocol/.

Burn Up/Burn Out: Curating for the Future

Burn Up/Burn Out: Curating for the Future
Sunday June 5, online, 2-4pm*

Eventbrite zoom link: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/burn-up-burn-out-curating-for-the-future-tickets-335500831017

What does it mean to be an arts worker in a time of crisis? Join us for Burn Up/Burn Out: Curating for the Future, part of the Centre for Sustainable Curating’s Waste/Care/Carbon/Labour Speakers’ Series. For this event we have invited four early career curators, artists, and arts administrators with innovative practices to share and think about their projects in terms of the Synthetic Collective’s approach of “enough.” What does “enough” look like when confronted with the pressures of granting cycles, job insecurity, and growing wealth disparity? Are there ways to nurture our practices collaboratively, slowly, or in a dispersed manner?

Teresa Carlesimo, Lillian O’Brien Davis, Juliane Foronda, and Maya Wilson Sanchez will share short presentations on their work, followed by an in-depth discussion hosted by Amanda White.

The Synthetic Collective writes: “An approach of enough … means we should put in a lot of effort to build more equitable worlds, and that should be accompanied with an ethic of care, mindful that we don’t burn out and the planet doesn’t burn up….”

Poster designed by Xiaoyi Cao

Image description: The background is an abstract colour field of various shades of green in shapes reminiscent of flames on a bright pink background. Text reads: Burn Out/Burn Up: Curating for the Future, June 5, 2-4pm. A list of the presenter names is included on the left hand side.

This event will have ASL and graphic interpretation.

*In Fall 2021, the Centre for Sustainable Curating posted a survey on accessing virtual events. Weekend afternoons scored very highly, particularly for those working full time. For this reason, Burn Up/Burn Out will be hosted on a Sunday afternoon for a live audience, and recorded and posted on the website.

The carbon impact of all events in the Waste/Care/Carbon/Labour Speakers Series will be calculated and shared in 2023.

Lost Utopias/Islands of Abandonment

Centre for Sustainable Curating and Museum London present:

Jade Doskow and Cal Flyn
Thursday, April 7, 2022 at 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm EST
Cost: Free

Online/Zoom: Registration link: https://westernuniversity.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_QtHemvtnSDCCV4kenOKe7Q

Jade Doskow, Montreal 1967 World’s Fair, “Man and His World,” Buckminster Fuller’s Geodesic Dome with Solar Experimental House, 2012 

From the crumbling remains of the lost utopias of world’s fairs to the uncanny landscape of regrowth in a former landfill, and touching on ghost towns, exclusion zones, no man’s lands and post-industrial hinterlands, this discussion between New York-based artist Jade Doskow and Scottish author Cal Flyn considers broken landscapes (partially) reclaimed by nature. Presented in partnership between the Centre for Sustainable Curating and Museum London, this event builds from Jade Doskow’s Lost Utopia photographic series, on view now in the exhibition From Remote Stars: Buckminster Fuller, London, Speculative Futures (March 5-May 15).

This event will be in English and closed captioning will be provided.

Lost Utopias/Islands of Abandonment is part of the 2022-23 CSC Speaker’s Series: Waste/Care/Carbon/Labour. Please follow us on Instagram @centreforsustainablecurating or sign up for the newsletter at www.sustainablecurating.ca for information about future events.

Jade Doskow


New York-based architectural and landscape photographer Jade Doskow is known for her rigorously composed and eerily poetic images that examine the intersection of people, architecture, nature, and time. Doskow is best-known for her work Lost Utopias, Freshkills, and Red Hook. Doskow holds a BA from New York University’s Gallatin School and an MFA from the School of Visual Arts. She is the subject of the 2021 documentary Jade Doskow: Photographer of Lost Utopias; the film’s New York premiere was held at the International Center of Photography in October 2021 and has also screened at the Asheville Museum of Art and in film festivals internationally. Doskow was one of 50 women featured in the award-winning 2018 publication 50 Contemporary Women Artists from 1960 to the Present. Throughout her work, a sense of timeless monumentality in juxtaposition to modern details highlights surreal aspects of the contemporary cityscape. Doskow’s photographs have been featured in the New York Times, the Virginia Quarterly Review (VQR), Aperture, Photograph, Architect, Wired, Musée Mag, Smithsonian, Slate, and Newsweek Japan, among others. Doskow is on the faculty of the International Center of Photography and the City University of New York.  Jade Doskow is the Photographer-in-Residence of Freshkills Park, New York City.

Jade Doskow The New Wilderness (Freshkills), 2019

Cal Flyn:


Cal Flyn is an award-winning writer from the Highlands of Scotland. She writes literary nonfiction and long-form journalism. Her first book, Thicker Than Water, about frontier violence in colonial Australia, was a Times book of the year. Her second book, Islands of Abandonment—about the ecology and psychology of abandoned places – has been shortlisted for a number of prizes including the Wainwright Prize for writing on global conservation, the British Academy Book Prize and the Baillie Gifford Prize for nonfiction. Cal’s journalistic writing has been published in Granta, The Sunday Times Magazine, Telegraph Magazine, The Economist and others. She is the deputy editor of literary recommendations site Five Books, and a regular contributor to The Guardian. Cal was previously writer-in-residence at Gladstone’s Library and at the Jan Michalski Foundation in Switzerland. She was made a MacDowell fellow in 2019, and was recently announced as the 2021 Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year.

Cal Flyn Islands of Abandonment, 2021

Using the Resources at Hand: Sustainable Exhibition Design Guide Now Available!

Every step of exhibition design, from the initial organization to the deinstallation, can benefit from a lower carbon footprint.
Using the Resources at Hand is a guide designed primarily to help students think about eco-friendly options in designing exhibitions. Skills learned here can also be used elsewhere and can help to make the cultural sector as a whole more sustainable. The booklet offers tips for low-carbon design, outlines resources in Southwestern Ontario (with a focus on London), and includes information on borrowing and sharing resources and materials so that we can reduce and reuse at Western University.

If you’re interested in the guide, but not located in Ontario, Using the Resources at Hand is open-source and can be adapted and used by anyone hoping to share information about ecologically-friendly exhibition design. Email us at sustainable.curating@uwo.ca for the source files – we’re happy to share! 

Plastic Heart: Surface All the Way Through

September 8–November 20, 2021 at The University of Toronto Art Centre
Organized by the Synthetic Collective

Link to Exhibition and Related Programming

Works by:

Christina Battle, IAIN BAXTER&, Sara Belontz, Leticia Bernaus, J Blackwell, Amy Brener, Hannah Claus, Sully Corth, Heather Davis and Kirsty Robertson, Aaronel deRoy Gruber, Fred Eversley, Naum Gabo, General Idea, Kelly Jazvac, Woomin Kim, Kiki Kogelnik, Les Levine, Mary Mattingly, Christopher Mendoza, Tegan Moore, Skye Morét, Meagan Musseau, Claes Oldenburg, Meghan Price, Françoise Sullivan, Catherine Telford-Keogh, Lan Tuazon, Marianne Vierø, Joyce Wieland, Nico Willliams, Kelly Wood

Plastic Heart is an experimental exhibition that examines plastic as art material, cultural object, geologic process, petrochemical product, and a synthetic substance fully entangled with the human body. The exhibition includes new commissions, historical and contemporary artworks that relate to plastic as a politically loaded material, and investigations into the paradoxes of plastic conservation in museum collections. The exhibition acknowledges plastics as both lubricants of artistic, gallery, and museum practices and also as ‘wicked problems,’ made even more complex by their use and discard in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Plastic Heart mobilizes practices of institutional critique and proposes an alternative method of exhibition development and presentation that addresses ecology and sustainability in content and form. Seeking to stimulate viewers to be active subjects, the exhibition challenges received modes of art-making and viewing that are deeply dependent on fossil fuels. It also features data visualizations of a study conducted by the Synthetic Collective that provides a first-ever snapshot of post-industrial microplastics pollution on the shores of the Great Lakes. This exhibition links scientific and artistic methodologies to show how arts-based approaches to thinking and working can make viable contributions to environmental science and activism.

Watch the exhibition teaser.

Dialogue 1: Plastic, Pollution, and Policy Change

Wednesday, September 15, 6pm–7:30pm EDT
With Mark Fisher, Vanessa Gray, Michelle Murphy, and Chelsea Rochman, with moderator Heather Davis
Watch the recording

Dialogue 2: Plastic Pollution in the Laurentian Great Lakes: Industry and Invisibility

Wednesday, October 6, 6pm–7:30pm EDT
With Ian Arturo, Dr. Sara Belontz, Tegan Moore, Mary Mattingly, and Alice (Xia) Zhu, with moderator Kelly Jazvac

Dialogue 3: The Plastic Conservation Conundrum: Preserving Plastics in Museum Collections and Plastics’ Durability in the Environment

Wednesday, October 13, 6pm–7:30pm EDT
With Courtney Asztalos, Dr. Patricia Corcoran, Roger Griffith, Sherry Phillips, and Dr. Lorena Rios Mendoza, with moderator Kelly Jazvac

Dialogue 4: Sustainable Museums

Wednesday, October 27, 2pm–3:30pm EDT
With Suzanne Carte, Maya Ishizawa, and Sarah Sutton, with moderator Kirsty Robertson

Virtual Spotlights

Looking Ahead to Plastic Heart: Surface All The Way Through
What is a Wicked Problem? Introducing the Synthetic Collective
Turning the Tables on Research: A Q&A with Kristen Bos of U of T’s Technoscience Research Unit

Exhibition Resources

A DIY Fieldguide for Reducing the Environmental Impact of Art Exhibitions
Press Release
Exhibition Brochure
Large-Format Text

Our Supporters

We gratefully acknowledge the operating support from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Toronto Arts Council, and the Ontario Arts Council, with additional project support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and the Jackman Humanities Institute.

CSC Launch Recording Now Archived

In keeping with the CSC’s efforts to keep a low energy footprint, the video from the launch of the CSC on May 27th was available online for 30 days following the event and has now been saved to our archive.

Please contact us if you require access, it may also be available as an audio file (vastly reducing its size) upon request.

Thank you for watching!

CSC Launch: May 27th, 1-5pm EST



At the launch event, we will introduce the Centre, including the work of the two inaugural postdocs. A panel will consider Radical Pedagogy and Curation, focusing on the expansive forms of teaching and learning that can take place in museum and exhibition spaces. And we will conclude with a second launch, that of the Synthetic Collective’s catalogue Plastic Heart: A DIY Fieldguide For Reducing the Environmental Impact of Art Exhibitions. 



Intro to the CSC by Kirsty Robertson and Kelly Wood with presentations by CSC postdocs Zoë Heyn-Jones and Amanda White 




Curating and Radical Pedagogy (Christiana Abraham, Christina Battle, Eugenia Kisin, Gabby Moser, Ryan Rice), hosted by Sarah E.K. Smith 




Launch of Plastic Heart: A DIY Fieldguide For Reducing the Environmental Impact of Art Exhibitions, Synthetic Collective with artists Christina Battle and Lan Tuazon