The Imagine2020 Summerlab

was a four-day residential lab, that explored questions of artistic practice in relation to climate change.

Since 2011, the Imagine 2020 Network has run a programme of international Summer Labs for artists, supported by funding by the European Commission Culture Programme. The Labs provide an opportunity for artists from across Europe to meet with other artists, scientists, economists, philosophers and policy makers to learn and share new approaches to how artists can bring together art, activism and science to act on climate change, and engage in and activate a dialogue on wider global change.

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The Summer Lab 2014 was hosted by UK network partner Artsadmin and took place from 30 June-4 July at the Sustainability Centre in the South Downs. Thirty participants from across Europe and the UK took part in the lab, which took the form of a camp, utilising the Sustainability Centre’s campsite, woodlands and the surrounding National Park.

To develop the Lab programme, Artsadmin producers Sam Trotman and Mark Godber were joined by Andrea Günther (Artist, Radical Educator and Political Activist) and Richard Houguez (Artist, Radical Hairdresser, and Observer at all previous Imagine 2020 Summer Labs). The team of four worked together over nine months with a commitment to working collaboratively with a holistic approach to knowledge production and exchange. We aimed to create a lab structure that facilitated meeting and exchange, empowering participants to explore new ways of knowing, as part of a community of care. These aims applied to the planning of all aspects of the Summer Lab from catering, to transport, to aesthetics, to facilitation.

One month before the Summer Lab, all participants received a Travel Pack, to read before and during their journey to the Lab. Designed and hand printed by Richard Houguez, the pack contained material on the themes we hoped to explore in our four days together, and served as introduction between the participants and to the landscape. Upon arrival at the Sustainability Centre all participants were welcomed with a ‘camp comfort pack’ (a blanket and reusable enamel camping cup) and shared an organic vegetarian dinner, followed by a twilight walk around the site ending at a woodland clearing where artist Nic Green performed Slowlo. This initial welcome evening aimed to build the foundation for a shared experience in the following days.

The remainder of the Summer Lab was spent in group workshops and activities over three days each devoted to overall themes of consciousness, collectivity and communication, with an continued aim to explore group process and creative ethical praxis. Participants were guided through the week by Neil Callaghan and Simone Kenyon, movement-based artists, who framed the Lab with a mindful facilitation that included opening and closing daily practices and reflective procedures.

Regular opportunities for feedback, and scheduled open time, were built into the programme of the Lab, allowing participants the opportunity to address subjects or activities that they felt had not been given enough space. On the final morning of the Lab, the group came together to discuss and reflect on the evaluate the Lab programme, before a farewell ceremony and beginning their journeys home.



Alexis Zafiropoulos / Ana Dusa / Andrea Günther / Anja Kanngieser / Artur van Balen / Celine Aguillon / Claudia Galhós / Erin Gilley / Floor van Leeuwen / Guillaume Gatteau / Jo Hellier / Judith Knight / Karin Bählér Lavér / Marc Herbst / Mark Godber / Neil Callaghan / Nic Green / Persephone Pearl / Richard Houguez / Rosalie Schweiker / Sam Trotman / Simone Kenyon / Sintija Silina-Zante / Sónia Baptista / Stijn Demeulenaere / Tamara Bilankov / Theresa von Wuthenau / Thomas Bush / Victoria Hauke

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