How can we produce art that reflects, celebrates, critiques and advances the cultural life of our community without contributing to the destruction of the setting that inspires these artistic endeavours?
The Faculty of Fine Arts at York University (Toronto/Canada) held the international conference Staging Sustainability - Arts, Community, Culture, Environment April 20-22, 2011 to address this question.
To borrow a phrase from the art critic, author, curator and environmentalist John Grande, the goal of the conference was to foster discussions addressing “the borderline between art and what is perhaps the most pressing global concern in the new millennium – the quality and sustainability of the environment.”
Staging Sustainability - Arts, Community, Culture, Environment brought together more than 100 presenters and several hundred conference delegates to consider how the arts engage questions of sustainability from a dual vantage point: cultural and ecological. The conference created an opportunity for artists and those who support the arts in a myriad of ways – from scholars, critics, producers and designers to policy-makers, industry and government – to engage in interdisciplinary dialogue about the issues and challenges associated with sustainable arts practice and performance.