Creative Lab: Creating Environmentally Sustainable Outdoor Work


Exploring a greener, more sustainable outdoor arts sector

Between 21-24 September 2020, Without Walls worked with Wild Rumpus (producers of Just So and Timber festivals) to host the Sustainability Creative Lab.

The Creative Lab featured a one-day online symposium open to all followed by a three-day artist residential taking place on-site at Wild Rumpus’ woodland space The Forge, Cheshire, giving participants access to the unique range of facilities including creation, fabrication and living facilities.

12 artists and their collaborators were selected through an open call to participate in the residential.

Online Symposium

This one-day online event brought together a range of UK and international speakers from both in and out of the sector to share radical and reflective advice, case studies and approaches to embedding sustainability across three panel discussions. The content was aimed at artists, makers, producers, and festivals working in and interested in outdoor arts practise in its widest forms, that wish to explore a multi-faceted view of sustainability in relation to producing or touring work.

Full programme and delegate information can be viewed HERE

All 6 of the symposium sessions were recorded and can be played back on YouTube HERE

‘Thank you to Wild Rumpus and Without Walls for a brilliant morning… I feel informed, encouraged and invigorated’

‘Such an excellent collection of speakers, so much there to unpack and consider’

Artist Residential

Picking up on themes from the symposium and looking in more detail at how artists can reduce their carbon impacts and encourage behavioural change through their creative outputs, this intensive residential event was held over three days immediately following the symposium. The residential comprised of artist surgeries and facilitated discussion alongside practical making time using the appropriate workshop/creation facilities for artists to be able to test and develop specific concepts and projects.

The residential hosted 12 artist companies on a fully residential and catered basis. Artists were selected through an open call process with a broad remit to attract a diverse range of experience and practice.


Gareth Price-Baghurst, Artist Testing using recycled and upcycled materials to scale up structures for large-scale touring
Jason Singh & Quays Culture Exploring a new illuminated outdoor processional work with ecological themes
Autin Dance Theatre Dance and puppetry exploring climate themes through storytelling
Diana Ford, Artist and maker Puppetry and set building, exploring community co-creation
Safety Catch Theatre Scaling up touring productions whilst maintaining sustainability commitments
A Bird in the Hand Theatre Monitoring carbon impacts and storytelling through puppetry
Anna Horton, Artist Interactive artworks to encourage people to playfully engage with their environment
Emma Faye, Body Artist Visual artist & body painter exploring digital interventions in the outdoors through augmented reality
Elena Blanco, Artist Multi-disciplinary design exploring ecological lighting
Red Herring Productions Modelling new ways to achieve cultural exchange whilst reducing carbon impacts and focusing on hyper-local connections
Eric MacLennan, Artist A visual artist exploring a new collective project
David Bennie, Midehya Street dancer, breakdancing, acrobatics

‘It is easy to feel we are not doing enough to address the effects of Climate change and to feel overwhelmed or lost as to where to begin. Whether we are coming to sustainable creative practice for the first time or been doing it a long time, anchoring and developing practice is key.’ – Andrea Carr

‘Thank you for the enriching time in the woods. Jude and I felt re-energised after our time there – and definitely more committed to the cause. It was really well put together and it was great to meet all the other artists there – and in such a beautiful environment’ – Gemma Saunders, Quays Culture