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Arts and Science collaborate in creating sustainable futures
2016-03-16

Description: Dr Keith Armstrong Tags: Dr Keith Armstrong

Creating a future where living green is the status quo: Dr Keith Armstrong
Photo: Lihlumelo Toyana

In creating partnerships across disciplines, mankind gains a deeper understanding of how to create the future. This is the premise upon which Dr Keith Armstrong bases his research and experimental art. Dr Armstrong is an Australian Hybrid Media artist and a Senior Research Fellow at Queensland University of Technology in Australia.

Artists that make things happen

“My journey has shifted from an artist that makes things to an artist that makes things happen,” he said at the New Futures: Innovations in Arts and Science public talk recently at Oliewenhuis Art Museum. The talk, organised by the Johannes Stegmann Art Gallery, was part of a series of artistic projects presented by the Programme for Innovation in Arts and Development (PIAD). This initiative is spearheaded by the UFS and Vrystaat Arts Festival, kindly supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Dr Angus Hervey – an Australian writer, technologist and science communicator– was also a speaker at the event. Dr Hervey is a co-founder of Future Crunch, a platform for intelligent, optimistic thinking about the future. He strongly shares Dr Armstrong’s passion and viewpoints.

Dr Armstrong’s work is motivated by social and ecological justice. His non-traditional research and more than 60 artworks serve to evoke audiences to create sustainable futures.

Building the future

Dr Armstrong is in the process of making “things happen” in informal settlements across the Free State by means of his Re-Future project. The project brings together sustainability, community development, and creative action. It moves away from conventional art practices and instead offer a platform to rethink and therefore re-future our practices of sustainability.

The Re-Future project has been initiated through a collaboration between the Johannes Stegmann Art Gallery, the UFS Centre for Development Support (CDS) and Qala Phelang Tala (QPT) and the Vrystaat Art Festival.

According to Anita Venter, a lecturer at CDS and founder of QPT, empowerment is at the centre of the artist-initiated, yet community-controlled project. “It gives a new direction and new hope to the community,” she said.

For more information
Angela de Jesus, dejesusav@ufs.ac.za or +27(0)51 401 2706

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