Santa Cruz:

Critical Sustainabilities originated in 2012–2013 as a series of workshops attended by students and faculty at UC Santa Cruz, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, and the University of San Francisco, and supported by the University of California Humanities Research Institute (UCHRI). It continues today, in expanded form, through this website. Our participants come from multiple fields—including sociology, anthropology, art, architecture and design, history, environmental studies, urban planning, and geography. We are engaged in a variety of extra-curricular activities—including urban gardening, documentary film and photography, community organizing, and policy consulting. Across these domains, we have encountered divergent uses of “sustainability,” and wish to take a critical approach to its study, in hopes this might inform future sustainability practice, planning, and policy.

Radical System Change Santa Cruz, a working group associated with the Santa Cruz Climate Action Network, and founded in 2015, is for people who believe the following: The political and economic system we live under (for simplicity, “capitalism”) is the cause of the ecological crisis, and the only way to solve the crisis it to change this system into something radically different; another world is possible, and just as capitalism was created from the vestiges of feudalism through revolution, people can create another political and economic system out of capitalism through revolution; there is much to learn from the experience and writings of socialists and anarchists in history about how to challenge the system, but today’s world is different, and we will have to come up with new strategies and tactics to supplement or replace the old ones; it is movements of people organized around challenging power that will make revolution, rather than changes in individual behavior or consciousness (consciousness changes through action); the crisis is urgent: we don’t have the luxury of endless debates about fine points of theory; we need to focus on what radicals agree on (which is a lot); and the struggles for environmental justice and social justice are inter-related because the oppression and marginalization caused by the system affect the same people, and those marginalized and oppressed people must be among the leaders of the movement to change the system.


16Beaver (16 Beaver is the address of a space in New York initiated/run by artists since 1999. Since that time, it has served as place where those involved in art, politics, education, as well as a multiplicity of other contexts and fields of activity could discover and develop a common place to share research, questions, understandings, concerns, and struggles. Thus, it has been an open place to share, present, produce, and discuss a variety of artistic/cultural/economic/political projects. It has also been a site where discussions can lead to actions and action can be discussed and rethought.)

Calpulli Tecalco (Calpulli Tecalco, basedin Milpa Alta outside Mexico City, has from the start given art a central role, both as a forum for promotion, and diffusion of the NGO’s work, and as platform for the research of a different artistic aesthetic. An aesthetic able to embrace current dilemmas of land use and conservation, together with ancient views of land, man and nature inscribed in the Nahuatl language and the old character of the community.)

Canary Project (The Canary Project, directed by Edward Morris and Susannah Sayler and based in New York, produces art and media that deepen public understanding of the Anthropocene. Originally founded in 2006 as a project to photograph landscapes throughout the world where scientists are studying the impacts of climate change, we have since supported diverse projects involving more than 100 artists, designers, writers, educators and scientists. Our focus is on cultivating research-intensive projects that contribute to knowledge building and are able to communicate that knowledge in a way that both respects complexity and inspires respect for life.)

Center for Spatial Research (The Center for Spatial Research was established in 2015 as a hub for urban research that links design, architecture, urbanism, the humanities and data science. It sponsors research and curricular activities built around new technologies of mapping, data visualization, data collection, and data analysis. CSR focuses on data literacy as well as interrogating the world of 'big data,' working to open up new areas of research and inquiry with advanced design tools to help scholars, students as well as our collaborators and audiences, to understand cities worldwide – past present and future.)

Climate Prints aims to be a site to leverage the power of the arts towards popular resistance to the climate crisis. We see the Climate Justice and the Environmental movement, in the US and elsewhere, as carrying a heavy legacy of the impact of white supremacy and consumerist cooptation. We know we can’t shop and recycle away this problem. We know that direct action and organizing diverse coalitions is what is needed. But we know unequal power dynamics – white supremacy and patriarchy – have created divisions and distrust in many movements including environmental movements. We recognize that much work is needed to undo decades/centuries of wrong. With Climate Prints we aim to critique systemic oppression, the shortcomings of the movement, and welcome graphics that do so. presents stories on Arctic, Desert, Forest, and Ocean ecologies that shine a spotlight on species other than our own that are vanishing fast, and human communities whose survival depend on ecological resources of their homelands, including water, food, energy, consumption, conservation, arctic, desert, forests, rivers, oceans, and mountains. The list will grow with only one catch, all these stories will be about “global warming.”

Compass is a loose and shifting group of about 14 artists and activists, who have been exploring our ties to different neighborhoods, cities, and rural parts around the midwest. It is a collective project of knowing where we are – of inhabiting, traversing and narrating what we call the Midwest Radical Culture Corridor. The Compass is an open and evolving formation, a group, a process and an inspiration that asks: how are we inhabiting, discovering and creating the MRCC?

Decolonizing Architecture, or DAAR (Decolonizing Architecture Art Residency), is an architectural studio and art residency programme based in Beit Sahour, Palestine. DAAR’s work combines conceptual speculations and pragmatic spatial interventions, discourse and collective learning. DAAR explores possibilities for the reuse, subversion and profanation of actual structure of domination: from evacuated military bases to the transformation of refugee camps, from uncompleted governmental structures to the remains of destroyed villages.

Forensic Architecture is a research project based at Goldsmiths, University of London. The project has assembled a team of architects, artists, filmmakers, activists, and theorists to undertake research that gathers and presents spatial analysis in legal and political forums. Our investigations provide evidence for international prosecution teams, political organizations, NGOs, and the United Nations. Additionally, the project undertakes critical examinations of the history and present status of forensic practices in articulating notions of public truth.

KHOJ. (to) search, hunt, explore, discover, discern, seek, inquire, trace, track, quest, research, investigate. Khoj began as a proposition: a space for artists, run by artists. From its modest beginnings in 1997 as an annual workshop, Khoj has established itself as a not- for-profit, contemporary arts organisation based in Delhi which provides a financial, physical and intellectual space for artists through its various programs. It has built an international reputation as outstanding alternative arts incubation space. It plays a central role in the development of experimental, interdisciplinary, and critical contemporary art practice in India– constantly challenging the established thinking about art.

The Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination
Infamous for fermenting mass disobedience on bicycles during the Copenhagen climate Summit, touring the UK recruiting a rebel clown army, running courses in postcapitalist culture and falling in love with utopias, The Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination (Lab of ii) exists somewhere between art and activism, poetry and politics. We are not an institution or a group, not a network nor an NGO, but an affinity of friends who recognise the beauty of collective creative disobedience. We treat insurrection as an art and art as a means of preparing for the coming insurrection. See their current project: Climate Games: “In December 2015, corporate power will play a high-risk gamble with the UN climate talks. Fossil fuel lobbyists and the peddlers of false solutions are already conspiring to overwhelm the COP21 summit in Paris. But it won’t be business-as-usual this time: the global Blockadia movements will converge to obstruct their corrosive activities, intercept their influence, and chase them out of politics.” (Formed in 2004, is a not for profit artist run organization based in London's Tower Hamlets that combines film production alongside critical dialogue about contemporary image making. As an artist run platform supports the production of artist works, runs multiple workshops and critical discussions, and actively curates performances, screenings, residencies, publications, events and exhibitions.)

Open School East
Located in a former library and community centre in De Beauvoir Town, East London, Open School East is a unique space that brings together: A free study programme for emerging artists; A multifaceted programme of events and activities open to all. Open School East was founded in 2013 in response to spiralling tuition fees and student debt. It was instituted as a space for artistic learning and production that is experimental, versatile and highly collaborative. Central to Open School East’s approach is a commitment to foster cultural, intellectual and social exchanges between artists and the broader public. We do this by opening our study programme outwards, responding to our locality and providing an informal environment for the sharing of knowledge and skills across various communities – artistic, local and otherwise.

The Otolith Group
The Otolith Group was founded in 2002 and consists of Anjalika Sagar and Kodwo Eshun who live and work in London. During their longstanding collaboration The Group have drawn from a wide range of resources and materials. They explore the moving image, the archive, the sonic and the aural within the gallery context. The work is research based and in particular has focused on the essay film as a form that seeks to look at conditions, events and histories in their most expanded form.

Over the last ten years, The Sarai programme at CSDS has arguably been South Asia’s most prominent and productive platform for research and reflection on the transformation of urban space and contemporary realities, especially with regard to the interface between cities, information, society, technology, and culture.

Science and Justice Research Center
The Science & Justice Research Center at the University of California, Santa Cruz, is a globally unique endeavor that innovates experimental civic spaces and collaborative research practices for exploring today’s most pressing challenges. Biomedical innovation, species extinction, big data and other contemporary matters of concern pose questions that cross multiple intellectual and institutional lines. Science & Justice generates collaborative modes of inquiry and empirically rigorous research that can address these enormous challenges and support a diversity of livable technoscientific worlds.

Translocal Institute for Contemporary Art
The Translocal Institute for Contemporary Art is a centre for transnational research into East European art and ecology based in Budapest that operates across the disciplinary boundaries of art history, contemporary art and ecological thought.

A Wall: Socially Engaged Art from Greater China
A Wall is a curated selection of artworks from some of China’s leading contemporary artists, curated by artist Zheng Bo. Text, photos, videos and other archival material combine to form a digital wall that tells the story of socially engaged art in China over the past 20 years. In concept and style, A Wall is a reimagining of China's Democracy Wall for the digital age. The Democracy Wall was a brick wall established in Beijing in 1978, which became a key platform for creative and cultural expression. Artists and activists recorded ideas, news and commentary on the Democracy Wall following the collapse of the Cultural Revolution.

World of Matter
World of Matter is a multimedia project Providing an open access archive on the global ecologies of resource exploitation and circulation. World of Matter comprises visual practitioners and theorists conducting long-term research on material geographies, who engage ideas and practices from art, spatial culture, urbanism, anthropology, art history, cultural theory, photojournalism, activism, publishing, curating and education. The core group includes Mabe Bethonico, Ursula Biemann, Uwe H. Martin & Frauke Huber, Helge Mooshammer & Peter Mörtenböck, Emily E. Scott, Paulo Tavares, Lonnie van Brummelen & Siebren de Haan. World of Matter furthermore forges collaborations with other thinkers and makers, whose work resonates with our own in terms of both content and aesthetic strategy.

Fossil Funds Free
We are a growing number of arts and cultural professionals and organisations who refuse to promote fossil fuel companies’ climate-wrecking business models with our work. The logo on our work signifies our commitment to fossil-free culture.