Session Chairs: Hrissi K. Karapanagioti, Department of Chemistry;  University of Patras; Kathryn Peck, Chapman University

This session is for educators, artists, and scientists to present or observe best practices in performing arts such as dance-theater, dance, music, cinema, and drama, as well as the role of environmental education in the topic of marine debris.

The aim of this session is to promote dialogue and research on the contemporary art practice related to performing arts in environmental education with emphasis on marine debris. The objectives of the session is to promote dialogue on each of the topics related to performing arts including dance, theater, dance theater, performance, music, opera, and music theater. The topics refer to creativity, experimentation, communication, collective action and solidarity, good practices, interdisciplinary, and in general the recent trends in pedagogy and teaching of aesthetic education related to environmental education. Art programs at schools demonstrated that students who participated showed an improvement in communication, interest, and solidarity. Also, performing arts appear to lead to teamwork that leads to character building. Environmental education requires the above skills to reach out to students and inform them and change their behavior in terms of marine debris prevention.




From Trash to Treasure: Creative Interventions in Relationships with Plastic as a Method for Addressing Marine Debris

presenting: Jennifer MacLatchy (Dalhousie University, Canada); authors: Jennifer MacLatchy (MacLatchy, Canada)

Because of the abundance and variety of marine debris, many artists are using it as the materials and focus for a variety of forms of art. In addition to directly contributing to removing plastics from the ocean and remediating shorelines, these works create visual and cultural objects that serve to engage and educate the public by considering the ways in which we interact with the many plastic objects that pass through our hands every day. Using artist Aurora Robson’s sculpture Kamilo as a starting off point, this paper will examine the ways in which we might shift our relationship with plastic from one that treats it as worthless and disposable, towards one that treats it as something of value that is worthy of care and respect. By paying attention to and highlighting all kinds of different pieces of marine debris objects as their materials, Robson’s work asks us to consider the stories in each tiny piece of plastic ocean pollution, in order to trace their journeys back to our own mundane daily actions for which we may not have given enough thought.

This ascribing value to the items that comprise plastic pollution comes not from a denial of their devastating impacts; rather, it comes from an immediate and deep understanding of this, and of the ways in which we are all complicit in this pollution. By more deeply understanding this, this paper will argue that we might move towards decreasing the volume of marine debris through a shift in human relationships with the plastic objects in our everyday lives. This shift is being explored and enacted through art that makes use of marine debris in ways that treat it as something other than trash, and thus reinscribe the material with beauty and wonder, and perhaps also possibilities for thinking about how we might act differently towards the plastic items that we consume.


A summer school on Environmental Education and Performing Arts: Stop Microplastics

presenting: Hrissi K. Karapanagioti (Department of Chemistry, University of Patras, Greece); authors: Hrissi Karapanagioti (Karapanagioti, Greece), Mare Galani (Education Department of Primary Education, University of Patras), Stavroula Kordella (Department of Geology, University of Patras)

The Department of Chemistry, in cooperation with the Department of Primary Education and the Department of Geology of the University of Patras, Greece organized a Summer School on “ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION AND PERFORMING ARTS: STOP MICROPLASTICS” at the University Campus. The event was aiming to educate and inform local active teachers of primary and secondary education system and university students of the University of Patras. The school included both theoretical powerpoint presentations and practical training on the topics. The first day, the instructors presented the theory of microplastics and performing arts. Then, graduate students worked with teams and work on laboratory exercises aiming in identifying microplastics in sand samples as well as determining the plastic density and behavior. Then, the participants gathered in a cycle and worked on rhythms using different earth materials and plastic as well as body movements resembling all these materials. The second day, there were presentations and experiment demonstrations related to marine debris museum exhibitions and water pollution. There were also exercises related to creative writing. Finally, there was a presentation and some video demonstrations related to actions on plastic bag usage reduction. The third day, a 3-hour seminar took place that was presented by an actor and theater and cinema director related to the microplastics that cloud the ocean of our mind. The evaluation results of this summer school will be presented.


Grate Art and the Recycling Rooster

presenting: Doug Woodring (Ocean Recovery Alliance, Hong Kong); authors: Doug Woodring (Woodring, Hong Kong)

Art for awareness, and characters that can inspire, can cut across communities, nationalities and ideologies, and can be used very effectively in inspiring change. Grate Art is a progam initiated in Hong Kong, working with six local artists, and two from China, to create ceramic plaques that are put on the streets near storm drains to remind people not to dump in drains. The engagement of artists, or other non-government “art/messaging” individuals, is what has the power to spread this message further than a simple government reminder. Art for Awareness has reached thousands, and could be replicated in most places in the world in some way, shape or form.

Plays, puppet shows and music also have the ability to inspire change in creative and fun ways. “Uncle Roo – the Recycling Rooster” was written with village children in mind, but can be used anywhere in the world to teach youth (and adults) about the benefits of recycling, proper waste management, water quality improvements, and environmental protection. Most villages in the world have roosters, and this is where the power of this play/puppet show comes in as an incredible tool for education on this topic. The performance is now in five languages, and has been performed in the Philippines, Guatemala and soon in Japan and Malaysia as a shadow puppet show. Come learn the incredible power of nature, and the rooster, and how this can help to drive improved prevention of plastic in our waters and communities.


The Marine Debris Awareness and Solutions Student Art Projects

presenting: Suzanne Frazer (Beach Environmental Awareness Campaign Hawai`i (B.E.A.C.H.), United States); authors: Suzanne Frazer (Beach Environmental Awareness Campaign Hawai`i (B.E.A.C.H.), United States), Dean Otsuki (Beach Environmental Awareness Campaign Hawai`i (B.E.A.C.H.))

The Marine Debris Awareness Student Art Project was developed and implemented by an all volunteer, non-profit organization to help increase awareness in schools and the community of the impacts of marine debris on marine life and the environment. This integrated marine science/art project involved students and teachers from many different schools and subject areas in learning about marine debris impacts such as ingestion, entanglement and habitat destruction, through powerpoint presentations, films, photographs, discussions and hands on learning with marine debris. Students then chose an issue that they are most concerned about and created a painting or drawing to help educate the community and inspire support for actions that will help reduce and prevent marine debris. The project was conducted in thirty schools from 2008 to 2010 and resulted in more than twenty-five public displays of artwork by more than 1400 students in grades K-12. Following the month long exhibitions of artwork, books of selected pieces were created to provide on-going learning and access to the work (such as in library collections) long after the projects had finished. Following the success of this project, an additional project was developed: The Marine Debris Solutions Student Art Project in which students learn about impacts as well as solutions to plastic marine debris in a similar way to the previous project. The students created paintings about specific solutions to reducing the plastic load on the environment including what to recycle, reuse and reduce. The artwork was displayed in public for the community to be inspired. This project took place from 2011 to 2012.


Weaving the Tides: An artist Process of Creating Marine Debris Sculptures

presenting: Katie Peck (Chapman University, ); authors: Katie Peck (Chapman University, United States)

Entering my postgraduate artistic practice, I continue to ask myself how to address the major issues affecting our country through my artwork. Within my creative process, found objects and crowd sourcing materials have played a major role in my artwork which has lead me to focus on the marine debris impact on Southern California beaches. As an answer, I created a sculpture initiated through my participation in beach cleanups along the California Coast. By experimenting with my new medium and utilizing plastic debris, beer bottles, as well as other objects, I found the importance of the aesthetic nature of my artwork. Through the sculpture’s playful presents, it engages the community to reflect on the objects found within the life sized, blue crashing wave. It is now my mission to highlight artwork addressing marine debris within the art world and to promote green artists’ practices.