Developing the Exhibition
To develop the exhibition, the 1.5 Degrees project team joined Metal as artists-in-residence for a period of 6 months. The team initially explored the history of the 1830 Liverpool and Manchester railway, considering the pioneering innovation and creativity that led to the first railway line to carry both passengers and goods between two cities. We explored this industrial innovation as a key moment for our reliance on fossil fuels and considered the expansion of industry that the railway ignites.
Taking inspiration from this history, the team then began considering the environmental challenges that we now face as we move away from our reliance on fossil fuels and work together to tackle climate change. The team began searching for innovation in the North West and people making a positive change in response to the environmental crisis, as well as examples of graphic designers and illustrators acting on climate change. We visited Manchester Fuel Cell Innovation Centre to explore green energy innovation through hydrogen fuel cells and also considered how growing food locally could make our cities more sustainable. We were greatly inspired by our visit to Farm Urban in Liverpool to explore how local food growing solutions can help us to reduce our carbon impact.
The resulting exhibition considers the role that artists and creative people can take in responding to the environmental crisis, exploring ways graphic designers and illustrators can join the environmental movement, raise awareness of climate change and inspire collective action in response to the environmental crisis.
"The students have done a fantastic job creating thought-provoking work with a playful element which we hope all rail passengers travelling between Liverpool and Manchester will appreciate." - Jen Porter, Interim Director at Metal Liverpool
Throughout the development of the exhibition, we have tried to explore new ways of working sustainably and reducing the environmental impact of the project. The project team used public transport for all our research trips and site visits across the railway and served only plant- based food at our project events. We also developed the project website with an energy saving low power mode.
Showcasing work outdoors that would be able withstand the weather was a challenge and meant that some of our artworks are printed on vinyl. To offset this impact, we allocated a bit extra from our budget so that the remaining artworks could be printed on recyclable dibond panels. This meant these artworks could be printed directly to the panel to eliminate the use of vinyl and the panels could also be reused for future exhibitions too, as well as being fully recyclable. All the exhibition text panels are also printed on recyclable ecoboard.
Some members of the team also repurposed waste materials into their designs – ‘Eat the Seasons’ artists Puja Varia and Kira Whyte used waste paper and card to create their artwork using collage technique.