Looking North | Call for Participation: Round Table Discussion

Call for Participation: Exploring Sufficiency and De-Growth in Visual Art Making and Exhibition Practices in Scotland – A Roundtable Discussion

While de-growth and re-framing our definition of what makes a good life from excess to having “enough” are slowly entering public debate, they are not discussed with much nuance within the world of art and exhibition making. Approaching those research questions as part of a roundtable discussion with fellow professionals will be an important step to identify and explore different facets and arguments. 

Many environmental humanities scholars argue that adequate climate action must be based upon reducing global consumption levels, in addition to embracing nature-based solutions and opportunities afforded by tech and innovation. Whilst Western conceptions of a “good life” are currently built on excess, (green) growth critics often argue we should reframe such definitions, and strive towards maintaining a level of sufficient resources, rather than excessive amounts. What does that mean for art production and exhibition practices, however?

How may arguments on (quasi-) autonomy of art, and criteria within art criticism ought to adapt when considering concepts like “sufficiency” and “de-growth”, given the extraordinary urgency of climate change and related ecological crises, such as decreasing biodiversity? How could one engage with “sufficiency” and “de-growth”, and acknowledge the scale of change in circumstances we experience without risking to(self-) censor art and curation practices?

This event invites a curator, an artist, a scholar and a fourth individual, potentially a representative of a creative funding body from Scotland, to explore the aforementioned questions in the format of a roundtable discussion. The event comprises three main parts. At the beginning, each speaker presents their thoughts and initial position (15 min each). After a short break, the second part is dedicated to the actual round table discussion in which the speakers will explore the central questions in the form of a conversation (1hr). That conversation will be followed by a Q&A in which the audience can join in and contribute their thoughts and questions (45min). 


Dates: Once speakers are determined, we will move to find a date that works conveniently for everybody. The event must take place between September and November 2023

Format: This event is most likely to be held in a hybrid-format; while in-person participation is preferable, some may be based in far-away locations and find travelling difficult or expensive. 

Location: The location is yet to be determined and depends slightly on where participants are based. Tentatively, we would aim for either Glasgow or Edinburgh, however, if another city ends up being closer to most speakers that will be considered, too. 

Remuneration: We would love to renumerate each speaker according to the Scottish Artist Union. Unfortunately, due to a rather tight budget, we can only offer a guaranteed speaker fee of £100. We hope to further increase that sum through donations but cannot foresee how much.

Impact: We would hope for a lively conversation and debate during the roundtable, and therefore anticipate the event having an impact on the mindsets and work practice of both participants and the audience. Further impact would depend on future development of the project, such as a joint paper or a conference session. 

Speaker Selection: If you’re interested in participating as a speaker we would love to hear from you! Please do send a message to lookingnorthtalks@gmail.com until July 1, 2023, in which you elaborate a little bit on your perspective/ take on “sufficiency” and “de-growth” in the art world.


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