Jodi Newcombe

Carbon Arts

Jodi NewcombJodi Newcombe is a curator and creative producer specialising in artistic responses to environmental challenges. Jodi is director of Carbon Arts, an organisation working to facilitate an increased role for artists in generating awareness and action on climate change. An environmental engineer and economist by training with an international career in consulting to business and government, Jodi is committed to multi-discliplinary and creative approaches to progressing a low-carbon future. Carbon Arts is working with partners such as the City of Melbourne, Melbourne Museum, the Australian Network of Art and Technology and the National Institute of Experimental Arts to explore the nexxus of sustainability, science, art, technology and public space.

Measuring cultural contributions to sustainability: Case studies in eco-public art

Globally, a number of public art/design projects have demonstrated the capacity of art to effect positive environmental change in urban settings. Such projects have mobilised communities around lead- contaminated soil, repurposed toxic “brownfields” and disused housing, and revitalised communities around food production, urban agriculture and clean energy initiatives. In doing so they have challenged conventional patterns of consumption and behaviour, promoting—and actively realising—forms of eco-sustainable urban living. A small but growing number of projects have been able to effect larger-scale urban transformation, revealing art’s capacity to innovate where planning or existing administrative arrangements have failed.

Currently, however, there is no detailed study of how and under what conditions art interventions achieve significant change in relation to sustainability —or may be usefully adapted. Carbon Arts is working with the UNSW’s National Institute of Experimental Arts to evaluate precisely the characteristics that lead to successful arts projects in this realm.

The paper will present preliminary findings of the research from an analysis of selected case studies according to a framework for evaluation specifically developed for the project. The framework will be informed by both the literature on the valuation of intangible costs and benefits developed from within the discipline of environmental economics, as well as the more traditional literature on criteria on the economic and social value of public art. Special emphasis will be placed on the environmental outcomes, measures of their socio-economic value, and the pathways through which they are achieved, for example, through behaviour change, education or direct remediation.

Outcomes of the research are intended to guide future projects of this nature, highlighting the benefits to key stakeholders as a means for driving investment from both the public and private spheres.



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