Posts tagged: Climate Change

Sustaining Photography Exhibition Open & Events Programme Announced!

Over the course of the year, current MA student and past Graduate Scholarship recipient Lizzie King, and socially-engaged photographer Gwen Riley Jones have been working together on Sustaining Photography.

Sustaining Photography is a collaborative project to connect and engage students at the University with sustainable photographic processes. Lizzie and Gwen have been working together throughout the year to grow produce in the Community Growing Space and explore how these can be used to create plant-based alternatives to traditional photographic methods, which use harmful chemicals.

Now Open!

An exhibition showcasing the collaborative artwork Lizzie and Gwen have created during the project so far is now on display in the University’s Community Growing Space. Alongside the artwork, you can see the produce being grown, and find recipes they have developed for the plant-based photographic methods they have used to make the work.

Feeling Inspired? You can now get involved in a series of events being held as part of the wider Sustaining Photography exhibition. The events programme includes artist talks from Edd Carr and Tamsin Green, photography workshops, and portfolio reviews for current students. You can find the full details of each event here.

The Sustaining Photography project is based at The University of Salford and has been funded by the Salford Advantage Fund and The University of Salford Art Collection.

The University of Salford Art Collection Team recognised as sustainability champions

June 2023
Marta Strzelecka, University Sustainability Engagement Officer

The University of Salford Art Collection Team has been awarded two Green Impact National Awards: Innovation for Engagement and Sustainability Hero, for their continuing commitment to sustainability action and engagement.

Every year, Green Impact Special Awards are given out across institutions to people and teams who go above and beyond for sustainability. These Special Award winners are then put forward for consideration for the Green Impact National Awards. This year, the Art Collection Team received two national awards!

The first one – Innovation for Engagement – recognises ways in which Green Impact teams have engaged more people in sustainability activities, supporting staff and students to learn about and lead on sustainability. This award spotlights creative innovation in the engagement: the more people we can actively engage, the bigger the positive impact we can make.

The Art Collection Team, led by Team Assistant Rowan Pritchard, won thanks to the largest outreach and impact, international engagement and multiple stakeholders in their programmes and projects. At the end of last year, the Team also won a Platinum Green Impact award for their sustainability efforts within their department, including implementing an office switch-off campaign to save energy, ensuring the use of reusable items such as bags and packaging, and introducing plants to green up the office.

Young people from Action for Conservation spending time with older people from Pride in Ageing at the Pocket Park they created working with Gwen Riley Jones & RHS Bridgewater.
A participant exploring sustainable photographic methods as part of Gwen’s workshops during Rediscovering Salford.
Rowan recieving the platinum award on behalf of the team at the University Green Impact awards.

There’s a clear commitment to sustainability in the Team’s programme and way of working. The main sustainability actions taken by the Team to win the awards include:

  • The Are You Living Comfortably? photography project, showcasing work from artists McCoy Wynne, created through a pilot artists residency the Team hosted with the University’s Energy House facility and in partnership with Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool. The artwork, created in response to themes of climate change, energy efficiency and retrofitting, has been on display in both Liverpool and Salford during 2022, alongside displays of research materials, videos, and a series of online events and more to engage audiences of thousands. The work was also selected to feature online in the COP26 showcase, and has since gone on loan to Bury Art Museum.
  • The You Belong Here: Rediscovering Salford’s Green Spaces exhibition, displayed at Salford Museum & Art Gallery, was launched as part of the city-wide Rediscovering Salford programme, encouraging audiences of over 16,000 to reconsider and reconnect with the green spaces around them through exciting newly commissioned artworks in response to Salford’s parks and green spaces. Alongside the exhibition, the Team ran a programme of engagement including tours, talks, and workshops to encourage participants to engage with their own local environments and reconnect with the nature around them. The exhibition was led on behalf of the Salford Culture and Place Partnership, and the wider project was generously supported by Arts Council England and Suprema Lex.
  • The Peer to Peer: UK/HK 2022 project, led by the Team in collaboration with Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool, supported 9 UK visual arts organisations and 9 Hong Kong visual arts organisations, along with more than 43 artists, and over 160 students to connect, create work, and develop enduring partnerships internationally while rethinking the ways of working remotely to mitigate the environmental impacts of long-haul air travel. This resulted in an online festival, promoting these ways of working through talks and the artwork created during the project to encourage others to consider new ways of connecting with others while minimising their carbon footprint.
a photographic composite showing a traditional, brick-build Victorian terrace. The image is altered to show hot and cold spots
McCoy Wynne, Are You Living Comfortably? 2021. Image courtesy of the Artist.

In response to winning the award, Rowan said:

Taking part in Green Impact has been a challenging and inspiring process. When we began on our Green Impact journey, I don’t think any of us expected that we would win a national award. It has been a huge honour to be recognised in this way and serves as a reminder of how impactful working sustainably can be.

As a part of our University and local community and as a resource people look to, it is important to us at the Collection that we not only encourage others to work in sustainable ways, but that we lead by example, and show how even the smallest acts contribute to wider change.

We are now more motivated than ever to continue our sustainability journey. Through projects like Hybrid Futures, we’re already thinking about how our sustainability work can be more wide-reaching, working in partnership with other arts organisations and artists, as well as a cohort of community leaders who we hope will be able to spread the learning and tools needed for working more sustainably even further than before.

The second award – Sustainability Hero – recognises a person with extraordinary commitment to sustainability within a Green Impact team, as nominated by their colleagues.

Gwen Riley Jones, the Socially Engaged Photographer-in-Residence with the Art Collection Team in 2021/22, won for going far beyond the actions outlined in the Green Impact toolkit. Her work in collaboration with youth groups explored non-toxic, plant-based methods of photography and printing. The judges described her process to achieve maximum engagement through their work as “impeccable”. The group’s work has been viewed by over 50,000 people through a display with partner organisation RHS Garden Bridgewater, and it is artistically promoting awareness of plant-based techniques. The judges loved the creative heritage links, too.

Gwen Riley Jones with her Sustainability Hero award.

In the nomination, Gwen’s colleagues wrote:

Gwen Riley Jones is our team’s Sustainability Hero. Over the last 12 months she has worked with over 100 people at different creative workshops, exploring plant-based methods of photography and printing. This has included making her own spinach anthotypes, a plant-based method of printing using no chemicals. Her work with anthotypes and the Action for Conservation youth group led to an exhibition of the plant-based work at the RHS Garden Bridgewater in Salford. Over 50k people visited this exhibition, raising significant awareness of plant-based methods of creating and hopefully inspiring others to explore sustainable ways of working.

At each step of the way she has considered sustainability, ordering reusable film cameras rather than disposable ones, printing all the exhibition materials on compostable boards, and ordering entirely vegan food for her week of activity with Action for Conservation.

Demonstrating incredible commitment to sustainability within her work, Gwen has continued to explore even further how she can reduce the number of unsustainable chemicals she works with, now exploring ways of creating photographic developers using composting vegetables. Gwen’s work over the last 12 months has really inspired us to take initiative as a team and really push the ways we can be more sustainable in our everyday practices.

In response to winning the award, Gwen said:

Issues around climate change and sustainability can feel overwhelming, but I have found that by collaborating with people and working together it feels more achievable. Each action, each thought, helps us to ask more questions and think about how we can change our practices – step by step – to create a bigger impact.

When we started this journey, I had no idea of the places it would go, I certainly didn’t expect to be winning any awards for it. It has been my privilege to collaborate with young people on these projects as, in my experience, they immediately have answers and I have learnt so much from working together.

This work will have no end and will continue to develop alongside the creativity. I have a huge thanks to give to the whole Art Collection Team for their commitment to sustainability and for their encouragement. Also, a huge thank you to the ever-expanding networks of people who are willing to share ideas and try new things to try to live, study and work more sustainably.

Gwen has since gone on to collaborate with MA Fine Art student Lizzie King and the University’s Sustainability Team, to produce a further series of events and displays on campus entitled ‘Sustaining Photography’ taking place in Summer/Autumn 2023, supported by the Advantage Fund.

The Team are grateful to Marta Strzelecka, University Sustainability Engagement Officer, for her support during the Green Impact project – and encourage any other departments thinking of joining to give it a go!

The national judging panel was made up of Vibhati Bhatia (Founder of South Asians for Sustainability), Charlotte Bonner (CEO of EAUC), Grace Corn (Senior Engagement Officer: Climate Emergency for Westminster City Council) and Rebecca Turner (Careers Pathway Manager at IEMA).

About Green Impact

Green Impact is a sustainability engagement programme, run internationally by SOS-UK. It’s a simple, fun and flexible way for departments to improve their environmental performance and champion sustainability at the University, whilst receiving recognition for their efforts and impact.

Colleagues form teams across the University and work through an online toolkit of actions together. A team can be any size and cover an office, building, department, or even a whole School or Division. Each action on the toolkit is allocated either 5, 10 or 15 points, and the team decides which actions to complete; the total number of points a team achieves will determine whether they receive a ‘working towards Bronze’ accreditation or a Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum award.

Green Impact programme is open to all University of Salford staff members.

Read more on our Green Impact webpage.

If you’re interested in taking part, please get in touch with Marta.

Announcing: Hybrid Futures

Castlefield Gallery Manchester, Grundy Art Gallery Blackpool, Touchstones Rochdale, University of Salford Art Collection and Shezad Dawood Studio are working in partnership on a pilot project that they believe will make a difference to the way that they operate. Hybrid Futures will explore collective and more sustainable ways of working that will influence how the partnership commissions, exhibits and collects new work by visual artists to benefit and be more relevant to their audiences, now and in the future.

A series of exhibitions across the North West of England will feature new work and commissions by artists Shezad Dawood, Jessica El Mal, Parham Ghalamdar and RA Walden that address the urgent thematic focus of climate change.

The partnership will also be working with a group of people from their local communities with a shared concern about the climate crisis. This group called Collective Futures will investigate how creative production can help to shine a light on these issues and create solutions to the problems caused by the changing global environment.

To find out more about Hybrid Futures, and explore the artists, partners, and venues involved, visit the Hybrid Futures website:

Coming Soon: Hybrid Futures at Touchstones, Rochdale

The first public instalment of Hybrid Futures, Shezad Dawood: Leviathan: From the Forst to the Sea, launches this week from Saturday 3rd June at Touchstones, Rochdale.

Shezad Dawood’s exhibition premieres the latest episode of his epic film series Leviathan Cycle, titled Episode 8: Cris, Sandra, Papa & Yasmine, alongside related textiles, paintings and research material. Set in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest – one of the most ecologically diverse and threatened biomes on earth, Episode 8 charts an embodied, spiritual and ecological journey along the age-old Guarani path that links the forest to the sea. 

Read more about Hybrid Futures at Touchstones, here.

You’re invited to join Touchstones on Friday 2nd June from 6pm to celebrate the exhibition opening.
To RSVP, email
Please note, RSVP is ESSENTIAL in order to manage capacity. Without RSVP, you may not be guaranteed entry to the exhibition.

Hybrid Futures, a multi-part collaboration focusing on climate, sustainability, collaborative learning and co-production between Castlefield Gallery, Manchester, Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool, Touchstones Rochdale, University of Salford Art Collection and Shezad Dawood Studio, and generously supported by Arts Council England and Art Fund.

Artwork of the Month – Market Scene by Colin T Johnson

For March, we asked Marta Strzelecka, Sustainability Engagement Officer at the University to select our artwork of the month in honour of Go Green Salford, the University’s annual programme of activity promoting and celebrating sustainable work happening across campus. Go Green Saloford invites students, colleagues and local community members to get involved throughout the month in making Salford a more sustainable place to live. 

Marta has chosen Market Scene (1972) by Colin T Johnson. 

A colourful painting of an outdoor market scene.
Colin T Johnson, Market Scene, 1972, Painting. Courtesy the artist. Photography by Museums Photography North West.

On Market Scene, Marta says: 

I selected Colin T Johnson’s Market Scene because the first thing that came to my mind when I saw it was: community. I believe that connecting with other people, exchanging ideas and opinions, and providing and receiving support, is vital to achieving social and environmental sustainability, as well as our wellbeing. Recently, the power of these became evident during the Covid-19 pandemic, when community-based actions and initiatives became lifelines for many. Markets have always provided an opportunity for all of these things: a platform to come together, purchase locally made goods and produce, catch up with neighbours and friends, and spend time outdoors. I believe that empowering and supporting community-led action is essential in building a sustainable, just and inclusive society, where local citizens are at the core in the process of identifying and solving local challenges. The colours and the general feel of the painting also remind me of a Sunday morning which, from my childhood memories, is the best time for a trip to the markets, spending time with family, and preparing for the week ahead.

Go Green Salford continues until the 26th of March – with BioBlitz taking place this Friday and Saturday! Browse all the BioBlitz events and sign-up to take part here.

Marta and the Enviromental Sustainability team’s work continues throughout the year and there are always ways you can get involved. Click here to find out more about.

Colin T Johnson (1942-2017) was a prolific artist born in Blackpool. He went on to study at Salford School of Art, 1957–9, then Manchester College of Art, 1959–60, before later moving to St. Ives. Among Johnson’s many activities, he was director of the first Bolton Festival, 1979, he was artist-in-residence at Manchester Festival, 1980, and at Wigan International Jazz Festival, 1986–7. 

Read more here, on ArtUk.

LOOK Photo Biennial 2022 x University of Salford: Artist in Residence Project showcase

Artist-in-residence Gwen Riley-Jones has been working with the University of Salford Art Collection since 2021, using the Collection as a starting point to engage with young people about what matters most to them. 

As part of the LOOK Photo Biennial 2022: Climate at the University of Salford, a digital showcase of three series of images created in collaboration with young people and communities across Salford is on display in the New Adelphi Building Atrium. These include:  

  • Planting for the Planet – images of chlorophyll prints exhibited for the first time;  
  • Salford LGBTQ+ Youth Groups – images created during photography workshops on the day of Salford Pride during Youth Week August 2022,  
  • Salford Youth Council x Tindall Street Allotments – images created when Youth Council teamed up with an allotment run by and for military veterans. 

Planting for the Planet was produced collaboratively with youth environment group Action for Conservation, in partnership with RHS Garden Bridgewater. Together they explored how art and creativity can help communicate issues around climate change.  

Image: Daniel, Planting for the Planet

Using socially-engaged photography practice and sustainable plant-based printing methods, the group produced a series of images originally shown at RHS Garden Bridgewater in Summer. The photographs on display were taken by group members exploring their own relationships to natural environments; including green tinted portrait images made using spinach juice instead of ink, on recycled paper. 

Alongside the digital showcase in New Adelphi, there is a physical display of the spinach prints (anthotypes) alongside a series of chlorophyll prints; a method of creating a photographic print within a leaf using naturally occurring light-sensitive pigments.  

Gwen adds: “During my residency I have also been working with groups of young people in partnership with Salford Youth Service, together we have explored wellbeing and ways of using photography and nature to connect and feel better. 

Image: LGBTQ+ Youth Groups Salford 

The digital showcase presents a series of images created by members of Salford’s LGBTQ+ Youth Groups during a photography workshop as part of Salford Pride celebrations in August 2022. I met many enthusiastic and talented photographers during the workshops, and we are discussing ways we can work together again in the future.  

As part of my ongoing collaboration with Salford Youth Council there is a selection of images included in the digital display created when the group helped out at Tindall Street Allotments, during the summer holidays. The allotment is run by Vinny Nield and a group of Military Veterans. Vinny and the team shared their knowledge of plants and growing with the group, as well as getting them involved in the practical aspects of running an allotment. The group created photographs to explore this environment and the positive effects on both mental and physical health.”

Image: Hayden, Salford Youth Council 

Additionally, there is a second physical display of the ‘Photowalk for Wellbeing’ created in collaboration with Salford Youth Council. The photowalk activity is for anyone who wants to take some time out to take ‘notice, connect and feel better’.

The group created the prompts by responding to photographs they had taken in and around Salford. They created an accessible design, taking into account the needs of people with dyslexia.  

Image: Salford Youth Council creating the Photowalk for Wellbeing, Gwen Riley Jones 
Image: Example prompt card from the Photowalk for Wellbeing 

The cards are displayed in an open vitrine for you to pick up and take on your own Photowalk for Wellbeing, alone or with friends. Share with us by tagging us in the images @uos_artcollection @salfordyouthcouncil @gwenrileyjones 

Gwen will also be hosting a guided Photowalk for Wellbeing on Thursday 10th November 2.00-3.00pm, starting in the New Adelphi Building Atrium.  

To book tickets for the Photowalk or the launch event on 3rd November, and for more information on the other exhibitions on display click here.  

The digital showcase can be viewed online here. 

Salford Rediscovered, 16th June 2022 

Rediscovering Salford has been a city-wide programme of events, highlighting and celebrating Salford’s green spaces. The programme was inspired by the launch of RHS Bridgewater gardens in May 2021. Over 2020-2022, Rediscovering Salford animated the city with new commissions, exhibitions, workshops and events. To close the project, we gathered together to share and celebrate the project across Salford Museum and Art Gallery, the University of Salford campus and Peel Park. 

Salford Rediscovered was a celebration of music, films, tours, performances, workshops and a one-time-only appearance of Madam Mort, as created by drag artist Cheddar Gorgeous. A party for anyone and everyone in Salford to enjoy.  

Anthotype workshops

During the event, I held two Anthotype workshops, based at the IGNITION Living Lab in the heart of the University of Salford Campus. I discovered this historic process when collaborating with the IGNITION project and RHS Communities exploring nature-based solutions to climate change. You can read more about my work making anthotypes with the Youth group from Action for Conservation back at Easter here. 

Anthotypes are photographic prints made using plants, in these workshops we used spinach. The spinach is blended down to create a light-sensitive emulsion which is applied to paper in several layers. Once the paper is dry, photographic transparencies, or other objects can be placed on the paper. Next, secure everything in a frame and set out in the sun. No chemicals or harmful substances are used in this process, making it safe, sustainable and climate friendly. 

Workshop participant closing the frame of their anthotype ready to put it in the sun
Anthotypes exposing in the sunshine on a stand

Once in the sun, the sunlight fades the areas of paper not protected. Where the photograph/object blocks the sunlight, we maintain a rich green colour. When we open the frame, we find a photographic print.

However, this print is not fixed, exposure to sunlight will make the print disappear – reminding us to continually try to reduce impact we have on the planet by choosing sustainable ways to live. It is also a reminder of the power and danger of the sun. We each have a responsibility to change our behaviours to reduce the effects of climate change.

This image shows the anthotype exposing in the sun, the paper is still green but you can see the effect of the sunshine starting to bleach the page
Anthotype exposing in the sunshine, you can see the green starting to bleach
This image shows the anthotype with the leaves and flowers still on the page, but with the paper bleached from the effect of the sun
Bleached anthotype with flowers and leaves still on the page
This image shows the leaves and the flowers that have been removed from the anthotype
The leaves and flowers that were used to create the anthotype

Over 50 people took part, across 2 workshops, and the groups created 30 anthotypes. We used leaves, flower petals, and images from the University of Salford Art Collection, and the Planting for the Planet exhibition showcasing the work created by the young people I worked with from Action for Conservation, currently on display at RHS Bridgewater until 27 August 2022.

Anthotype image of woman sat on top of buildings surrounded by leaves
Anthotype by Amelia of original image by Sarah Hardacre
Anthotype image of yound person stood next to some plants
Anthotype by Megan of original image of Angelica by Olivia
Anthotype image of young person crouched on a rain garden surrounded by leaves
Anthotype created by Dan of original image of Tamar by Mariam
Anthotype image of a young man surrounded by leaves
Anthotype created by Steve using original image by Craig Easton
Anthotype image of a woman and buildings surrounded by leaves
Anthotype created by Deb of original image by Sarah Hardacre


The best thing about the event, for me, was the range of people taking part and enjoying the process – aged below 10 to over the age of 70. And the feedback from the participants:  

‘I love it! Definitely abandoning chemicals for now and trying this instead…’                 

‘I really enjoyed my dabble. Have had a session with the Grandkids. A) they read how to do sun pics B) they told me what they needed paper etc C) a very enjoyable wander down the canal collecting wild stuff.  

So thanks, it kept 4 of them ranging from 6-16 occupied all of one day and half of the next with a walk. Result 😍’ 

‘Thanks for this, looks great. Interesting that some light came through the leaves. 
Need to get some spinach and have a go. What sort of paper would you advise using?’ 

‘I enjoyed it.  I am definitely going to try out some stuff myself at home’ 

How to make anthotypes at home

So for any of you who would like to have a go at plant-based photography at home – here’s how to do it:

What you’ll need:

300g of spinach 

A hand blender 

2 x plastic jug 

1 x funnel 

Coffee filter papers 

A sponge brush 

Acid-free watercolour or cartridge paper 

A clip frame 

Some leaves, flowers or petals – or any other object you wish to use 

Or a photographic transparency – you can create your own using digital transfer film and a home inkjet printer 


Step 1: Put the spinach leaves in a large plastic just and blend with a hand blender until you create a smooth liquid 

Step 2: Line the funnel with a coffee filter paper and place on the second jug. Put the spinach liquid in to the second jug and leave to drip (aprox. 30 mins) 

Step 3: Take your filtered spinach liquid and coat your paper. Allow to dry between each coat – either naturally or by carefully using a hairdryer. Coat the paper 3-4 times.  

Step 4: Assemble leaves, petals, photographic transparencies or any other flat objects you choose on the paper. 

Step 5: Secure the paper and the objects in a clip frame and leave out in direct sunlight, ideally outside, but inside a window will also work.  

Step 6: Wait. Depending on how much sun you have the images could develop in a matter of hours, or over a few days. Your image is ready when the uncovered areas of the paper – that you can see, have faded to near white. 

Step 7: Open your frame and reveal your print. 

Note: the print will fade if exposed to direct sunlight. 

Need inspiration?

Before making your own, you can visit the Planting for the Planet exhibition at RHS Bridgewater until August 27th, where you can see the anthotypes created by the young people from Action for Conservation on display alongside a collage of photographs, ‘Our City, Our Nature’ and contributions from communities on taking climate action by greening Greater Manchester. The exhibition demonstrates the importance of plants and nature in creating resilient, healthy and beautiful spaces for people and the planet to coexist.  

Gwen Riley Jones is Socially Engaged Photographer in Residence at the University of Salford Art Collection in partnership with Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool.

Salford Rediscovered was led by the Salford Culture and Place Partnership, the University of Salford, Solid Ground, Salford City Council, Salford Museum and Art Gallery, and RHS Garden Bridgewater. Rediscovering Salford has created fantastic engagement and original commissions with Islington Mill, Paradise Works, START Creative, The Lowry and Walk the Plank. This programme is generously supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, as well as contributions from all the project partners.