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03 April 2023

Student exhibition is 'a space for hope, agency and new narratives around the climate crisis'

Students, collaborators and the King’s community celebrated the opening of SUPERBLOOM, the student showcase exploring climate action through art

Students engage with the works on display. Credit Dominic Turner Photography.

Thursday evening marked the opening of SUPERBLOOM, the visual art exhibition created by students from across King’s in collaboration with artists Angela YT Chan and Beccy McCray. The works, centred on the themes of ‘resource scarcity and power’ and ‘natural systems and biomimicry’, will be on display in the Arcade, Bush House until Thursday 6 April.

Welcoming the audience to the launch of the exhibition, Executive Director for King’s Culture Beatrice Pembroke spoke about the importance of the work of King’s Culture Climate Collective as ‘a space for hope, agency and new narratives around the climate crisis’. She highlighted the importance of the work of the Collective as a vital counter to what Amitav Ghosh called ‘the broader imaginative and cultural failure that lies at the heart of the climate crisis'.

The Culture Climate Collective programme, delivered by King’s Culture in collaboration with King's Sustainability, is a ‘small contribution to a much larger objective at King’s to accelerate research, education and action across King's to enable environmental sustainability’, explained Beatrice.

The SUPERBLOOM launch featured a panel discussion between artists Angela YT Chan and Beccy McCray alongside Culture Climate Collective students Ann, Ava, Joana and Marina. The panel was chaired by William Warrener, Head of Academic Programmes at 64 Million Artists and one of the facilitators of the Collective programme. Following the panel, audiences experienced a live art performance from artist-student Chenxing Liu entitled 'Withered', which explored themes of anxiety and stress using fresh cut flowers and wire mesh. 

Panel discussion with the artists and some of the students. Credit Dominic Turner Photography.
Panel discussion with the artists and some of the students. Credit Dominic Turner Photography.

Speaking about working with the students and the process of co-creation, Angela said ‘Everyone has the capacity to be creative’. She explained that she has enjoyed exploring the research interests the students brought to the sessions, as ‘having conversations where we can slowly build up overlapping areas of interests as a collective’.

The students came from the faculties of Arts & Humanities, Social Sciences & Public Policy, Natural, Mathematical & Engineering Sciences, Dickson Poon School of Law, King’s Business School, the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, and the Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine.

When Ann was asked their group had chosen the topic of resource scarcity and power, she explained that she had enjoyed ‘using artwork to explore climate issues from an intersectional perspective’. Joana added, ‘I think one of the main ideas of our work is that nature is there, the resources are there… We need to rethink how we live with nature in order to flourish’.

Discussing the process of making the exhibition, the students participated in a series of intensive workshops where they were given just 15 minutes to make rapid art installations. Becky stressed the importance of throwing the students into unstructured, scary creative exercises using different points of inspiration: ‘every object has a climate story, everybody is an artist – that was a big part of this'.

Part of the Collective programme saw the students engage in a zine workshop, covering skills such as collaging and illustration. The session resulted in the group producing a zine entitled 'Resource Scarcity and Power', printed by em-dash press.

Reflecting on the experience, Ava explained that she enjoyed collaborating with professional artists: ‘working at a professional level, being able to express ourselves – and it’s been so much fun!’ Marina celebrated the development the group had gone through throughout the programme, adding ‘like the fast seeds inside our installation, that happened with us – we started growing.’

When asked what about a high point in the process, Joana shared that she enjoyed ‘working together… academia can be so lonely! So it was great to come together and do something that matters'.

Artists Angela YT Chan and Beccy McCray. Credit Dominic Turner Photography.
Artists Angela YT Chan and Beccy McCray. Credit Dominic Turner Photography.


Dates: 30 & 31 March, 3-6 April 2023
Opening times: 10.00 – 18.00
Address: The Arcade, Bush House (South Entrance), King’s College London, The Strand, London, WC2B 4PJ 
Free entry  
Find out more here.

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In this story

Beatrice Pembroke

Executive Director, Culture