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Arts & Environment: Reuse. recycle and repair

Updated: Apr 10

Another set of student submissions for our Summer of Sustainability. We will recap on the programme of events and all the amazing work shown and review and plan for the next one! Thank you to everyone who has taken part, do continue to share your work and tag us on instagram @OCAStudentAssociation.

BA Hons Photography student Rachel Whittaker

"I wanted to share images of my son pursuing his initiative to reuse and compost pumpkins to reduce waste and methane release."

BA Hons Painting student Sue Parr

Sue Parr is a Dorset-based artist whose work explores the more-than-human stories that exist within the materials of the world.

Her work has developed from drawing, painting and printmaking into a more multi-disciplinary and ecologically-minded practice.

This body of work began during Covid lockdown and explores a deep personal connection with the local stinging nettles. Honouring the relationships between humans and these plants; considering all the gifts they have bestowed us over millennia, as well as our shared attributes. Our bodies are fibrous, pigmented, porous and leaky. We respire, expire, digest and decay together, leaving traces as we go.

Through slow making and intimate ritual encounters, the work brings the human body back in touch with the nettle’s, in an attempt to repair and restore bonds of care and to promote mutual well-being and healing.

These particular works utilised old cotton bed sheets which were bundled with nettle leaves then buried in the compost, using the natural heat and steam generated by the bacteria to produce the eco-prints.

More information about my work is available at or you can follow me on Instagram @sueparrart.

Collaborative Online Gallery

As a peer critique group (Painting and Drawing pathways), we have developed a virtual gallery to show our work. This means that our geographically disparate group has been able to make a show without the use of physical transport; wrapping or other protective materials; physical literature such as flyers and labels; visitor travel footprints; refreshments, including transportation of raw materials and energy required to heat or cool them; maintenance of an ambient temperature in the gallery; further travel to take down the exhibition; and cleaning services.

While there are clearly issues regarding the energy used to keep servers operational, this is less quantifiable than the environmental costs attaching to all of the above had this been a physical exhibition.

BA Hons Illustration student Tabitha White

"I try to keep as ECO as I can when creating my art, either by drawing digitally using my iPad to save on paper or for my traditional art, I use fully recycled paper sketchbooks from Pink Pig, these are handmade in Great Britain. They use quality acid-free paper and use FSC-certified mills so they can guarantee that it is sourced sustainably or recycled. I use their 'ECO-sketchbooks' and always select their Recycled White 150gsm cartridge for my paper type, it's great for sketching and fine-liner work, with no bleed! Of course, because it is recycled the pages have an off-white yellow tinge to them, but personally, this doesn't bother me, you can see from my photos below the difference between recycled and new bleached paper."

My University Art Instagram: @iamtabithawhite

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