Sustainable aspects of creative practice in Higher Education

Gwenillian Beynon

University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Swansea, Dynevor Campus, Swansea, SA1 3EU;

23rd March 2016


‘There is no rule book written for what we need to be doing, there is no box that will fit, there is no map for this road we need to walk. We need to be trusted and supported in being able to help create solutions’. Sian Cornelius (Allenc et al 2014)

How does the Creative tutor embrace the challenges and constraints of a pedagogical approach to embedding sustainability within Art and Design where Students are encouraged to consider sustainable issues in a wide context to include the materials used, the thematic content, the environmental impact and the eventual disposal of the work. This has been embraced by the development of a creative sustainability module where the investigation of processes, techniques and ideas undertaken in a broad range of workshops, seminars and tutorial underpinned by creative problem solving. Active citizenship is also explored through the relationship of social, political and environmental issues ‘enhancing the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of people and communities,’ (One Wales: One Planet 2009)

As a foundation to producing creative work the exploration and critical evaluation of the work of creative practitioners developed from the student’s personal areas of interest is encourages, as well as the exploration of strategic developments in Wales notably in the University (Inspire), in the Arts (Culture Shift) and within Welsh Government (Well-being of Futures Generation (Wales) Act (2015)).

According to Gareth Ioan (2004) cited in Culture Shift (Allenc et al 2014) ‘… it could be argued that Welsh speakers and their arts groups are also to a large degree invisible...”

Demonstrated in the work, below, undertaken by a second year Welsh speaking student in 2013-14 we see the principles and impact of economic, social and environmental issues explored in the module.

 Image 1
Beynon, G. (2016a) Eirian Davies Year 2 Project 2013-14

The aim of the work was not to use anything new, to incorporate aspect of sustainability in any format and to make a creative work that could be displayed on the wall. The challenges for the students was to consider materials, the joining of material and display.

Image 2
Beynon, G. (2016b) Detail Of Welsh Blanket (*Welsh Tapestry)

Image 3
Beynon, G. (2016c) Eirian Davies Year 2 Project (Detail) 2013-14

The design of the work was considered throughout, to limit waste in the production. Worn out jeans were sourced as a basis for this work, the patches and the other found fabric used in the patterns adapted from the Welsh Blanket (Welsh Tapestry or Carthen) were joined using thread and needles already available, the belt tabs were used for the hanging with an old broken broomstick threaded through the loops with Old wire coat hangers folded and looped around the broomstick providing a means for hanging.

In this creative wall hanging we see the representation of traditional (Welsh blakent pattern) and Contemporary (Jeans) cultural notions of identity depicted in a contemporary representation that embraces the principles of creative sustainability. The appropriateness of materials and methods of production were strongly considered as is the significance and relevance of the theoretical, philosophical and cultural contexts a creative way.


Allenc, P., Hinshelwood, E., Smit,h F., Thomos, R. & Woods, S.  (2014) Culture Shift How Artists are responding to Sustainability in Wales. Welsh Arts Council: Cardiff

One Wales: One Planet (2009) The Sustainable Development Scheme of the Welsh Assembly Government. Welsh Government: Cardiff.

Well-being of Futures Generation (Wales) Act (2015) Welsh Government: Cardiff.


Beynon, G. (2016b) Detail Of Welsh Blanket (Welsh Tapestry). Gwenllian Beynon Collection. [Photograph]

Beynon, G. (2016a) Eirian Davies (2013-14) Year 2 Project. UWTSD Carmarthen. [Photograph]

Beynon, G. (2016c) Eirian Davies (2013-14) Year 2 Project (Detail) UWTSD Carmarthen. [Photograph]


*Welsh Tapestry is the term applied to a double woven cloth, producing a pattern on both sides (i.e. reversible). It was first used to make blankets.

The Museum Collection, Coloseum Museum Aberystwyth. Available at: Accessed on February 20 2016.


Another related work to be considered.

Image 4

Beynon, G.(2016d) Nerys Edwards Year 2 project 2014-15

Image 5

Beynon, G.(2016e) Nerys Edwards Year 2 project 2014-15 detail


Beynon, G. (2016d) Nerys Edwards Year 2 project 2014-15. [Photograph]

Beynon, G. (2016e) Nerys Edwards Year 2 project Detail 2014-15. [Photograph]