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RCA wins funding award to research sustainable practices in the creative industries

The Royal College of Art (RCA) has been awarded funding from the AHRC for a project called Sustainable Materials in the Creative Industries (SMICI). 

Led by Dr Peter Oakley, Reader in Material Culture in the School of Arts and Humanities at the RCA, the project will explore how the creative industry’s diverse outputs, ranging from physical artworks and luxury goods to publications and films, all entail multiple entanglements with material sustainability. 

Sustainable practice 

The research team will scope current and immanent sustainable practice around the sourcing, use, disposal, recycling and reuse of materials, to help understand the creative sector’s ongoing responses. 

They will be researching supply chains for raw materials and the procurement, use, reuse and disposal of the less obvious tools, equipment and secondary materials required by creative producers. 

Dr Peter Oakley
Dr Peter Oakley

Creative industries

Dr Peter Oakley commented:‘With the pervasiveness of the Covid-19 pandemic, the creative industries, along with many others, has seen unparalleled disruption to the way it operates. 

As the creative industry resets, it's an important time to develop scoping studies that will lead to significant new research programmes, themes and investments to rebuild a sector that is mindful of people and the planet, as well as being resilient.'

United Nations sustainable development goal

SMICI will create a comprehensive record of current practice and perceptions around materials sustainability across the spectrum of creative industries active in the UK. 

This will be supplemented by a series of case studies of sustainability initiatives from other countries. In both cases, reference will be made to how these activities relate to the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals.

Pinatex products
Pinatex products
© Pinatex
AHRC funding

The project is one of six funded by the AHRC through the Where Next? Scoping Future Arts and Humanities Led Research call, and will run for nine months, from mid-December 2020 to early September 2021. 

Research team

Dr Peter Oakley will be working with researchers from the University of Brighton, University of Edinburgh and University of Plymouth. The team is being supported by advisors from the School of Advanced Study at the University of London and Birmingham City University. 


Find out more about RCA Research.