The Debate:

Striving for a sustainable world is a concern that should occupy everyone and we believe that the art, design and creative sectors have a unique role in support of this. 

University of the Arts debate series on 15 May 2013 explored what kinds of future await our graduates and how they might contribute to creating a more sustainable future. The debate provided a space for conversation on the subject; to explore the link between enterprise and sustainability but also the relationship to art and design.

A sustainable future is one where people can meet their needs without compromising the ability of people to do so in the future. Sustainability is a compound concept and provokes new questions around ecologic, economic and social issues and also the cross overs of these areas.

Presently, we find ourselves in the position where we are threatening our own ability to enjoy our own future. The journey to a sustainable future is a creative and inspiring act. As a society we all learn, use this learning for insights and turn these insights into action.

Sustainability issues are shaping the context of which businesses will have to make money; therefore it is in the long-term interest of enterprise to address issues of sustainability. Doing nothing presents real risks and doing something opens opportunities.

Artists and designers need to understand human behaviour; the key tool is empathy. A deep understanding and respect of your audience and the people you are trying to communicate with to increase and affect people’s willingness and ability to change.

Sustainability needs storytellers & problem solvers to design for human behaviour. Through storytelling we can make behaviour seem normal and enable change through infrastructure with design interventions that affect people’s willingness and ability to act.

  • Through the arts we can make sense of complexity.
  • Through media, culture, advertising we can shape expectations.
  • Through design, architecture, product and service innovation make it easier to act.

There is a massive opportunity and need for the creative economy to respond. Enterprise can shape the context, the system so we are on the path to a sustainable future.  Enterprise can also innovate so we can win on that path.


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