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2024 | Book

Art and Sustainability Transitions in Business and Society

Theoretical Insights and Engagement


About this book

An increased understanding of art and art-based-methods is needed to address the behavioral and cultural change in the sustainability transition. This edited collection explores ways to engage people in their citizen, consumer, employer, employee and entrepreneurial roles, as they grapple with the sustainability transition. It introduces art and arts-based methods to advance sustainability thinking. As a unique contribution to sustainability research, this book presents insights from artists, art organizations and specialists using arts-based-methods in education, organizational innovation and citizen engagement. The book will provide inspiring insights to scholars and students of sustainability, innovation, corporate strategy, and creativity in business.

Table of Contents

1. Art in Sustainability Transitions
We have all heard about the environmental problems caused by human activity. Environmental problems that contemporary societies are now facing include the loss of biodiversity, climate warming, resource depletion, and excessive pollution. They are caused by unsustainable production and consumption patterns. Furthermore, our electricity, construction, and food have been found to cause harm to the environment. The socio-economic activities of humans do not fit the planetary boundaries and have negative consequences for the well-being of other species and the future generations of life on Earth. These worsening problems cannot be addressed only by incremental improvements and simple technological fixes. Instead, radical shifts to new kinds of socio-cultural and socio-technical systems are needed. These radical changes in society and business are called ‘sustainability transitions’ (Köhler et al., 2019).
Hanna Lehtimäki, Mariana Galvão Lyra, Steven S. Taylor
2. Artistic Data: Rise of Data-Driven Call to Action in Climate Change and Sustainable Futures
Anthropogenic climate change is irreversible and its effects here to stay. As humans, we are a community of information seekers, with inherent agency to mitigate and adapt to the adverse effects of climate change, yet there is no alignment between the information produced within scientific and academic agency groups and the public. The raw form of numbers and words as data is not going to appeal to a wider group of stakeholders, and this creates a gap for data visualisation and specifically data-driven art. Such art can close the gap between data needed for forecasting and mitigating adverse changes, and the call to action, dialogue and involvement of the public needed to bring about actual change in our climate change adaptation behaviours. This chapter explores, first, human agency and the reactions art can evoke, as a call to action. Some examples of data-driven art are also presented and the three spaces these exert influence in everyday life. This is followed by an introduction to a matrix for evaluating the impact and phenomenology of data-driven climate change art, derived from extant literature. The main contribution of this chapter is the conceptualisation of this matrix and creating space for further discussion and insights into the body of knowledge towards intrinsic, intangible and artistic curation of otherwise scientific and raw data forms.
Indira Venkatraman, Ralph Adler
3. Art in Fostering Our Capacity to Re-Imagine the Sustainable Future
In this chapter, we discuss how imagination plays an important role in pursuing more sustainable futures, both as individuals and as societies. We take as a starting point that all forms of art can greatly inspire and nurture our imaginative capabilities needed for change. The idea of this chapter finds inspiration from photographs taken by Mark Isaac. We present a dialogue between the artist, Mark, and business studies scholars, Hanna and Siiri. We will, first, discuss imagination and introduce the four techniques of photography presented in this study. With respect to each technique, we explore the ways by which artistic ways of seeing and knowing provide for relating to material reality in novel, innovative, and imaginative ways. We invite the reader to examine the connection between imagination and individual capacity to achieve sustainable futures.
Hanna Lehtimäki, Siiri Piironen, Mark Isaac
4. The Arts Mobilizing Communities: From Socially Engaged Arts to Social Artrepreneurship
This chapter retraces the evolution of socially engaged arts as part of a social practice in the arts that emerged in, and has evolved since, the middle of the twentieth century, as well as how this practice affects the initiation, establishment, and sustainability of social entrepreneurship. Artists are assuming new roles, not only as agents that unite the community to confront social issues that affect them, but also as inspirers, instigators, initiators, and participants of social entrepreneurship projects. Typically, these entrepreneurial endeavors are led by the communities participating in the arts projects. We show how socially engaged artists, when developing their activity, become agents that actively interact with the communities where they carry out their projects, and how such projects inspire communities to take charge of their own future. We furthermore demonstrate how the empowerment of communities from the socially engaged arts strengthens human connections and repairs societal fractures, thus fostering sustainability and behavioral change in business and society.
Victor Renza, Kirsti Reitan Andersen, Christian Fieseler, Fiona McDermott, Róisin McGannon
5. Games, Business, and Gamers: How to Facilitate a Game Accessibility Transition across the Gaming Ecosystem?
In recent years, the digital game industry has grown from a niche market to a multi-billion-euro business with influences that extend beyond entertainment to education, socialization, marketing, and even management practices. During that growth, the industry’s sustainability has faltered, especially in terms of accessible games that can foster the inclusion of gamers who do not possess presumed ‘ideal’ gaming bodies or abilities, for instance, due to disabilities or more common or contextual limitations to their hearing, sight, or other abilities. Most games currently on the market are inaccessible and exclusionary. This situation is not just a threat to human rights and equality but is a threat to the long-term sustainability of the gaming ecosystem as the gaming population continues to age and diversify in terms of needs and abilities. This chapter examines game accessibility and inclusion of people with atypical abilities and disabilities in various aspects of the digital game industry and digital gaming ecosystem. It employs sustainability transitions theory to chart multi-actor interventions, from government to developers, gamers, and players, to transition the industry and ecosystem towards greater inclusivity.
Lobna Hassan, Pekka Buttler, Mikko Vesa
6. Art as Orchestrated Serendipity. Leaving Behind Outcome Prediction in Arts-Based Methods to Foster Sustainability in Organizations
Arts-based methods have significantly developed over the last twenty years. This advancement has led to researchers attempting to justify the relevance of these methods when used in organizational contexts. Most of the time, it is assumed that they are supposed to bring tangible results in terms of performance or value(s).
Our aim is to show that the fundamental characteristic of arts-based methods is precisely the impossibility of predicting any tangible outcomes because art brings specific contributions for each participant. More than a mere organizational training, it fosters serendipity in an orchestrated way. In fact, with arts-based methods, managers learn to propose new and creative inputs by questioning taken-for-granted paradigms, taking the first step to rethink their work in a sustainable way. Therefore, looking for tangible results in arts-based methods prevents us from considering the real issue at stake: fostering sustainability by overtaking management-as-usual.
Thomas Blonski
7. Towards Developing Responsible Managers: Using Art for Social Change
Art is the lens through which we appreciate the world, and it can change how we experience it. Art has a vital role to play in building perspectives and relationships with various entities, groups, and individuals around us. Introducing art-based learning as a pedagogy in business school is a novel way of collaborating and discovering solutions for students. The current chapter presents different art-based pedagogical practices adopted to gradually sensitize students in their thoughts, behaviors, and relationships on various complex social issues, which would otherwise have been difficult using conventional lecture methods. This chapter is based on the application of art-based pedagogical experiences shared by faculty members at the Goa Institute of Management (GIM), India.
Padhmanabhan Vijayaraghavan, Divya Singhal
8. RawTag: Art and Education for Sustainability
This chapter provides an in-depth exploration of the role of art and creativity in education for sustainability. Through an examination of key theories and research in the field of transformational learning, we explore how art and creativity can be applied to foster meaningful, sustainable change. Drawing on our experiences in the project RawTag and working with university students, we describe how we integrated creative assignments and workshops into a module on sustainability and share qualitative findings that highlight the positive impact of these approaches on students’ learning and future intentions for sustainable behavior. We also discuss the challenges and opportunities associated with implementing art and creativity in educational contexts and offer recommendations for educators and researchers looking to incorporate these approaches into their own teaching and learning practices.
Hassiba Fadli, Beatriz Acevedo, Romas Malevicius, Carmen Lamberti
9. The Entrepreneurial Fashion Designer as an Agent of Sustainable Innovation: A Namibian Case Study
This chapter considers the alarming social and environmental impacts of fast fashion and suggests that the positive impact of entrepreneurial fashion designers is essential to limiting the damage the apparel industry is responsible for, via innovative practices and sustainable fashion principles. Indeed, fashion entrepreneurs are the driving force behind most of the innovation in sustainable textiles, supply chain transparency, and business models (such as rental, repairs, and take-back schemes), and not the mainstream sector. The chapter discusses the environmental cost of the fashion industry and provides a critical overview and examples of sustainable fashion. It sets out to discuss the influential role of entrepreneurial and sustainable fashion. The contributions of fashion entrepreneurs are not acknowledged sufficiently, and yet they initiate and push for the sustainable changes that are so much needed in the industry. To fill this gap, this chapter presents the exemplary work of a Namibian fashion designer and entrepreneur who uses local and recycled resources and innovative processes (oxidation and rust methods) to produce beautifully crafted fashion garments.
Chakirra Claasen, Cyrlene Claasen, Melanie Sarantou
10. The Journey of a “Freak”: The Role of Frivolous Archetypes in Sustainable Leadership Practices
Play and art are similar in the sense that they are both difficult to define since distinct activities, ideas, or events can fall into these categories. Furthermore, art has an inherently playful dimension. Sometimes, play can be seen as art as well. Art is the sincerest imprint of society; it gives an accurate picture of its current state and future possibilities. In psychology, play is seen as an essential condition of psychologically safe experimenting. Due to their reflective nature, these two areas could have an important role in sustainability transitions by evoking change in business.
The sustainability transition has many layers, yet leaders’ commitment, attitude, and behavior are unquestionable in all of them. A leader has a significant impact on the practice of conducting business, and therefore, plays a key role in the transition process. So, what happens if art, play, and business come together in one leader? How would that influence leadership practice? How can an art-loving and playful leader get business and sustainability goals closer to one another?
In this chapter, we are approaching these questions from a leader’s perspective, who is by his own self-definition “a freak”, and focus on the playful behavioral patterns and assumptions of the frivolous leadership archetype, the Fool. We provide empirical data from a Hungarian art-related non-profit organization where we conducted qualitative interviews, observation, and an art-based, role-analytical interview to find out how such a play-infused archetype of our collective unconscious could inform contemporary leaders and help to create a more sustainable future. Our aim is to show through a real-life example how the interrelated archetypes of the Fool, the Clown, the Trickster, and the Jester may emerge in leadership practices and what role they may have in sustainability transition.
Rita Tóth, Sándor Takács
11. Can the Arts Be Used to Change the Fundamentally Unsustainable, Socio-Economic Structures that Dominate the Modern World?
It would be typical for social scientists to conclude a book like this with a framework that brings together all of the insights of the various chapters. But, as we think the book makes clear, regular social science—even with clear conceptual models based on empirical data—is not enough. As Renza, Andersen, and Fielser (Chap. 4) suggest, the social sciences are “constrained by a neoliberal paternalism that does not allow for creative expression” (p. XX). Instead, we will try to take our own advice and offer a more arts-based form—a story, if you will. Here is the story we want to tell.
Steven S. Taylor, Mariana Galvão Lyra, Hanna Lehtimäki
Art and Sustainability Transitions in Business and Society
Hanna Lehtimäki
Steven S. Taylor
Mariana Galvão Lyra
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