A synthetic material made from a wide range of organic polymers

Plastics Exhibition, Art & Design Foundation studies, School of Design & Creative Arts, Loughborough University.

As staff and students of Loughborough University we have made a commitment to raising awareness and prompting a shift in behaviours around the environmental impact of the manufacture, use and disposal of plastics.

Inspired by scientific possibilities and extensive environmental evidence, and shocked by the severity of continually emerging information surrounding the plastics crisis, we as a group of educators have taken on the task of raising awareness amongst staff, students and our combined professional and personal communities.

Through the introduction of a practical project brief in 2019 we have set out to challenge behaviour relating to our daily use of plastics. Our inaugural body of work was exhibited in London, at the Home Office, in support of the 25 year vision for environmental change issued by the Department of the Environment, Food & Rural affairs (DEFRA). We continue to collaborate and connect with positive impact groups and sustainability initiatives to expand and share awareness and actions.

The plastics project is embedded in our Foundation studies programme and now extended for deeper investigation and personal impact. This year we have 119 students undertaking in depth research and creative development work, challenging perceptions, seeking to raise awareness, shift attitudes and initiate thinking that has a real and practical impact on the actions we all take.

Our Creative Art and Design students are engaged with these issues across our four specialist disciplines of Visual Communication, 3 Dimensional Design, Textiles & Fashion and Fine Art. Starting with their project investigations and following their personal curiosities they begin with the implementation of changes here and now. As they develop their creative studies and careers they are able to take this knowledge and awareness into their personal practice and creative professions as influential artists, designers and industry decision makers.

The images you are able to enjoy here are a curated selection from the diverse individual concepts, investigations and creative responses produced and celebrated by our 2020/2021 cohort.

Through this project we believe we have heightened the awareness of the enormous issues that our daily use of plastic presents, and that we will have in some way influenced future actions. We hope that through continued audience engagement the wider community and broader demographic will consider their personal responsibility towards ensuring the future protection of our planet.

With a commitment to sharing in the responsibility for our environmental performance we the Foundation community pledge to:

  • Reduce and eliminate the use of single use plastics
  • Re use and dispose of plastics responsibly
  • Challenge choices and shift behaviours around the manufacture, use & disposal of plastics
  • Embed ethical and environmental considerations within future projects
  • Promote awareness and action through visual information and discussion