Collective Futures Session 6 – Leave No Trace

A visual storyboard showing the 6th Session of Collective Futures including a visit to Salford Museum & Art Gallery, and anthotype making.

Artists are trained in mark making, printmaking, object making, film making and a multitude of ways to leave a legacy. Curators and archivists are trained in how and what to preserve of this process and cultural capital. How then can we reconcile this with ecological directives such as ‘leave no trace behind’ and ‘go zero waste’? What is sustainable making and how should we decide what is collected and valued? How can a collection or a creative practice be a vehicle for change?

To unpack these questions, photographer Gwen Riley Jones gave the collective the chance to explore sustainable photography including printing with wet spinach and take a deep dive into the University of Salford’s Art Collection to consider permanence, ephemerality and the cultural and environmental cost of creating and collecting contemporary art. The collective toured Salford Museum and Art Gallery, sharing their experiences of galleries before getting up close to interrogate three pieces of the collection and making links to place – Salford – and their sense of permanence of perspectives, bodies and materials. 

Reflections were made on how the programme is iterative and how parts of earlier sessions are being internalised and embedded into the collective’s lives and workplaces beyond the reach of each session. The group left with an anthotype, to expose in sunlight, slowly at home and then note how the image fades and disappears over time. The image to expose is a montage of each member of the collective holding up their resonant objects from session three.

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