Hamish is a PhD researcher investigating sustainable and ecological theatre at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL. His background is in civil and environmental engineering and art history. He is also an independent artist, playwright and consultant. In 2017, Hamish established the production studio Arctic Lion, which creates sustainable experimental performance (https://www.arcticlionart.co.uk)
Abstract title: A GREEN DESIGN PARLIAMENT: THINKING, TALKING, LEARNING, AND DESIGNING SUSTAINABLY WITH THE SOCIETY OF BRITISH THEATRE DESIGNERS
At the beginning of 2020, The Society of British Theatre Designers (SBTD) established a sustainable design working group that seeks to help the theatre industry and design community adopt green practices in response to the climate crisis. This initiative was born out of the field of sustainable theatre practice. It is particularly in line with Tanja Beer’s term Ecoscenography (Beer, 2016) in addition to the work of consultants such as Julie’s Bicycle, and the research of Una Chaudhuri, Wendy Arons and Theresa J. May. In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the working group moved to an online platform and prospered as a consequence. An international community developed, sharing collective thinking, a passion for change, and a richly experienced knowledge of design methods. The group grew organically evolving into several design projects, including researching sustainable materials, green costume practices, carbon literacy training for designers, and the skill sets required for the next generation of designers. Additionally, a monthly session takes place called Sustainable Scenes Studios, where a scenographer presents a past, present, or future sustainable project and the team work together to resolve design problems related to sustainable theatre, and learn from each other. The working group has also been collaborating with Ecostage – an international team of designers who are looking to embed ecological thinking into theatre and scenographic practice. In all of these projects within the group, there has been an emphasis on collective learning to change mindsets to encompass the new, exciting, creative challenges that sustainable design demands, and expand the skills, tools and roles of the designer. Conversation has become the primary design methodology of the group, moving away from purely singular visions and visual explanations. This process is employed to forge new ways of learning, and challenges the role of the designer to work more strategically, dialogically and speculatively, shifting the purposes of design to suit the time we live in. Despite the distancing that the pandemic has enforced, we are in a critical moment where design work is about coming together.