Your final project is a research-creation project that intervenes in everyday understandings of
environmental justice and teaches your audience about a topic of your choice related to
environmental politics, justice and the arts.
The whole project should comprise:
• A proposal which outlines what you plan to do and how you will carry it out. (Step one) •
A media-based or visual art, literary, performance or other arts component which educates
your audience to understand the politics behind your topic and urges them to act on the
problem in particular ways.
• A short essay in which you summarize your research and outline the principles behind
your artistic choices, the strategies you have undertaken to realize your intentions and
reflect on the steps and challenges you negotiated as you realized your project.
Creating the Proposal for your final project
To arrive at the topic you want to study, take the following steps:
1. Go over the lectures. Look at the examples given of various projects in the arts. Look at
the readings for this term (You can also develop an idea you began last term by relating
it to this term’s arts-based approaches). List ideas that come up as possible projects as
you review your notes. Brainstorm other ideas which the course has not addressed
explicitly but which we have encountered as we move through the course e.g. Public Art,
Forum theatre). List these. Your list might include: (feel free to add to this list of
• a graffiti or tagging or public campaign of intervention that opposes injustice
perpetuated by the state. (see Lecture 1)
• the development of a series of art objects that repurposes and recycles waste.
• Public art as environmental urban design (gardens, re-purposed buildings and
houses, repurposed forms of transport), (Lecture 1)
• a piece of dystopic or utopic fiction. (Lecture 3)
• a fictional cellphilm series comprised of the adventures of a pair of detectives
who uncover environmental crimes and bring perpetrators to justice
• cellphilm documentaries comprising personal testimonies of involvement in
environmental politics and justice, displacement. (see Earth to Table Legacies,
Lecture 3 )
• a written story or narrative which counters a dominant narrative in circulation
by offering an alternative. (Lecture 3)
• polemical and personal essay on how an example of environmental injustice has
affected your community or someone you care about. (Upcoming Lectures )
2. Think about these questions and journal about them:
What are the passions, anxieties and burning questions that brought you into the
Environmental Studies field? What inspires you to make a difference and how might
you make that into a part of this project on environmental justice and the arts? What
are you best poised to intervene in? Who do you most want to impact? How? – What
artistic STRATEGIES and GENRE might work best with the group you most hope to
address? What are your special knowledges and skills (assets) ?
Think of and browse for these: What organizations and individual artists are or have
been active on issues of environmental justice and the arts? What artwork and
activities in the city engage social struggles or stories addressing these questions?
When you have completed your notes and doodles choose one of the themes from the list that
you think is important. Chose something that might be realized and which might produce results
in the time that is left in our course, given the context and resources you have available.
Carry out a preliminary search on this issue on-line. Brainstorm with another class member for
Write your 1- 1.5 page proposal which should comprise no more than 3 paragraphs (about
500 words) describing what you would like to do and how you will go about it. Attach a
bibliography of 5-7 readings/ 3 should be academic and may draw on sources from
coursework. You can also draw on electronic /media /popular sources that you plan to use.
Here is an example: (without bibliography)
Finding Home, Belonging and Community
There is a major crisis around homelessness in Toronto. This crisis affects people of all ages but
I am especially interested in homeless youth. I would like my project to design alternatives for
homeless youth in the city and pitch them to the city government as options that could really be
pursued. Subject to consent, I would like to interview 3 homeless youth or staff who work with
homeless youth. I would like to do this through an organization that works with homeless youth
through the arts. I will ask them the following on zoom:
• What are the biggest challenges facing you?
• What does home mean to you?
• What would your dream home and community be? ( I will give some examples based on
other projects (such as the homeless vehicle project and then ask them to make a piece of
spoken word and/or a basic map/ illustration of their ideas and then record them talking
Based on these answers I will create a paper zine, and a short documentary drama which:
• outlines the politics and economics behind the homelessness in Toronto from the
perspective of a homeless narrator.
• assemble the interviews alongside a poetic animation of the dreams of home and loving
community. With the help of the organization we will have a zoom event and present the
video to the city council meeting in spring.
To begin with I will research youth homelessness and then look at some of the urban design
materials which we have looked at in class (Dorchester Project, Theaster Gates; Heidelberg
Project, Project Row House, Homeless Vehicle Project) while I seek out an organization which I
can work with the realize my project. I will work with staff to explore how I might approach the
project in a way that is useful to them and then with their help I will identify and obtain
permission for three people to be interviewed. I will then create a storyboard from my photos.
Then I will write brief text which will accompany each image in the essay. I will accompany my
essay with a discussion of the research I have done and a statement as to why I have chosen the
images that I use.
Gardiner, Susannah “How an exquisitely designed cart for homeless people inspired a wave of
artistic activism” Smithsonian Magazine 2018
The Heidelberg Project. http://www.heidelberg.org/ & lots more online,
Freire, P. “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” New York: Continuum, 2000.
Mouffe, Chantal. 2007. “Artistic Activism and Agonistic Spaces.” Art & Research:
A Journal of Ideas, Contexts and Methods 1 (2).