A survey of UCA students in 2015, found that 72% of students wanted to learn more about sustainability and three fifths of students were amenable to the inclusion of sustainability in their courses.

Following a decision by UCA Academic Board in 2014/15, UCA’s Learning and Teaching Committee has had responsibility for the integration, over a two-year period, of Education for Sustainable Development in all course curricula.

An example of the guidance given to staff on the integration of ESD into their courses is provided on the UCA Learning and Teaching site.

Case Study: #Net_Hack Challenge
The Centre for Sustainable Design ® at UCA is a partner in Circular Ocean, a transnational European project which aims to help turn waste plastic from the sea into a useful resource, held an eco-innovation workshop for students in October 2016 involving waste fishing nets and ropes (FNRs) in Farnham, UK.  Circular Ocean, which is funded under the EU’s ERDF Interreg VB Northern Periphery and Arctic (NPA) programme, aims to support the move to a more circular economy and inspire remote communities within northern Europe and the Arctic to realise the economic opportunities of discarded marine plastic, in particular, fishing nets and ropes.

Eight design challenges were set by experts, to encourage solutions surrounding the re-use, re-purposing and recycling of waste FNRs. The UN highlighted in 2009 that 640,000 tonnes of fishing nets and ropes are dumped into the ocean each year injuring and killing marine mammals and birds, and disrupting shipping.

Thirty UCA craft and design postgraduate students and others took part in the #Net_Hack Challenge workshop organised in October 2016. #Net_Hack Challenge process was led by Professor Martin Charter, Director of CfSD. Groups of students were given a selection of waste FNRs, with the ultimate outcome being an innovative product, which was then pitched to a panel of experts who provided their feedback. Critical to the solutions was that they were re-utilising waste materials and many creative ideas and inventive concepts were generated including; lighting design concepts, football goals, benches made from lobster pots, outdoor cushions and much more. 

UCA Post Graduate Subject Leader for the School of Craft and Design Rebecca Skeels said; “This type of project enables students to explore new ways of working, thinking and learning which feeds into each students own personal development, whilst also undertaking a fun activity without pressure of assessment and final finished outcomes.”

#Net_Hack Challenge organised at UCA seeks to find collaborators to further develop the concepts, which are displayed on the CfSD website. CfSD further developed the #Net_Hack Challenge process as part of Circular Economy Innovation conference in Reykjavik in Iceland in July 2017 and a range of other innovative concepts were produced.

There were other spin-offs for UCA postgraduate students who participated the #Net_Hack Challenge. Julia Jones MA craft and design student was inspired to produce “Ghost Gear Jumper” after the workshop. The creation has been hand woven from mono-filament yarn with channeled pockets composed of salvaged, discarded fishing gear and sea shells. For an interview with Julia see the Circular Ocean website.

More details
The Centre for Sustainable Design ®
Circular Ocean

Case Study: Art and Sustainability, Pippa Ward, UCA Undergraduate
“My work often involves the gathering, manipulating and arranging of materials; a combination of natural and man-made materials and objects. I look at the effect they have on each other, and particularly man’s inevitable impact on nature. In 2014 I started working with used plastics – bags, bottle tops and fishing line … all materials and objects that do untold damage to our environment if left to biodegrade on their own. They are disposable and ubiquitous materials with which we now have a love/hate relationship. We rely on them and at times we desire them, even though we know the damage they are causing and will continue to cause. The time I spend working and manipulating these plastics conjures up such opposing feelings … why elevate such an everyday item?  Why make them into something that is aesthetically pleasing? The degraded or discarded object calls to be given a second chance at existence and the repetitive and time-consuming methods I use allow me opportunity to consider their role. I enjoy working on projects that simultaneously attract and repel. For example, the bottle tops which hang in the gallery, mimicking nature … the tops were once created to attract and appeal; they soon became unwanted and repellent, and then in an artwork they are given a chance to help us question their existence. This theme can be found running through most of my work.”

Useful documents, please click on links below to view and/or download: