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Many commentators consider sustainability hard to define because of the sheer number of definitions that abound. Some practices are referred to as being "more sustainable" or "less sustainable." The popularity of the term, and the many isolated attempts on the part of governments and other agents to begin sustainability programs, have led to these competing definitions, and much confusion.

In an educational context it generally refers to the development of skills, knowledge and values that promote behaviour in support of a sustainable environment.

What follows is a list of subject-specific and generic links to projects and other resources aimed at those involved in learning and teaching in the art, design and media sector. We are keen to add to this list, making it as comprehensive as possible, so if you have any suggestions for additions, please contact us.

Art / design / media related


The Centre for Creative Communities
The Centre for Creative Communities believes that the arts and creativity are central to human development and essential elements in building sustainable communities. The arts and cultural expression serve multiple functions in educational, social and political settings by giving perspective to the nature of human experience. They help people to form and challenge values and to develop an awareness of their environment.

Centre for Design Sustainability Research Solutions

The Centre is based in Australia and promotes sustainability through research, consulting, and capacity building through active dissemination and professional development. The Centre is internationally recognized for its innovative design methods and tools to support sustainable design of products and services – everything from packaging and consumer products to buildings, suburbs and cities.


The Centre for Sustainable Design
Facilitates discussion and research on eco-design and broader sustainability considerations in product and service development. This is achieved through training, workshops, conferences, research, consultancy, publications, and the Internet.
It is an initiative of the University College for the Creative Arts at Canterbury, Epsom, Farnham, Maidstone and Rochester
Demi looks at the introduction of sustainable development concepts within UK HE (design) curricula. This is the website of the UK based JISCmail electronic mailing list for Demi and it exists to augment the development of demi and raise the profile of eco-design and sustainability across a range of design disciplines. It is hosted by JISCmail, the UK national academic mailing list service. Visitors to the website can join or leave the list and view the list archives dating back to December 1999.

Developing a Network for the Development of Sustainability Education in the Humanities

The purpose of this Higher Education Academy funded project was to build capacity – a network - within the humanities in understanding the relevance of sustainability education to issues facing the fragility of our common material resource, and on the basis of this network to develop strategies/proposals for the development of teaching materials that would have salience for discipline-specific teaching, which could then seek funding on their own merits. The project planned to achieve this by bringing together discipline-specific specialists (both academic and professional) with a record of interest in sustainability as a network, both real and virtual, for discussion and development of sustainability issues within a range of humanities disciplines in higher education.

Ecoloqo - working towards a visual language of sustainability
This project, funded by the Higher Education Academy, involved a review of the design of sustainability-themed websites and the development of a 'sustainable development' portal for graphic design students.  The project report and other resources can be accessed from the Higher Education Academy Sustainability pages: 


Ecoloqo is a social bookmarking site that works visually and collects views of the best looking and most useful sustainability websites. The aim is to explore how sustainability is represented on the web and provide the opportunity to examine and discuss both webdesign and sustainability.

Fashioning an Ethical Industry
This is a ‘Labour Behind the Label’ project that works with students and tutors on fashion-related courses to give a global overview of the garment industry, raises awareness of current company practices and of initiatives to improve conditions and inspires students - as the next generation of industry players - to raise standards for workers in the fashion industry of the future. We run student workshops, organise tutor training events, provide teaching resources and work with tutors to integrate ethical issues related to garment manufacture into their teaching.


Green Arts Web
Provides links to organizations, agencies, services, and educational institutions that, in part or in whole, have set a precedent or provide support for linking the arts and creativity to the environment. It includes a section on books, journals, and links to aid research in contemporary environmental art and theory (20th century to the present). The resources within include influential or core readings as deemed important by Green Arts Web authors, collaborators and/or other viable or scholarly resources.


Green Collar Graduates for the Future of the Fashion Industry
Focusing on the links between employability and sustainability, this Higher Education Academy funded project will undertake research into the needs and expectations of fashion industry employers in relation to sustainable education within fashion-related courses at HEIs. This is the first attempt to research on a large scale the needs of industry in relation to sustainable fashion education.
The results will equip UK HEIs with courses in fashion design, management and product development, to develop teaching and learning strategies and curriculum development.

Information Inspiration
This is a project and teaching resource from Loughborough University aiming to inform designers about ways of making their design products more environmentally friendly. By providing a combination of design information and inspirational case studies, the resource is a useful tool for students and designers aiming to analyse their designs from a sustainable perspective.

Interior Design Educators Council – Green Design Education Initiative

Focused on issues surrounding architecture and interior design. 

Lovely as a tree
This website aims to help graphic designers become more environmentally aware in terms of their choices of design, paper and print. Created by graphic design graduate Caroline Clark, the website contains informative sections on paper and print issues, including information on recycled and sustainably sourced paper. Other sections focus on choosing a printer, advice on binding and finishes, and a Case studies section, highlighting design firms who have successfully implemented environmentally friendly graphic design choices.


Ethical fashion magazine including fairly traded, organic, recycled and vintage, locally produced and sustainable clothing.

Recycling by Design

Based at Kingston University, this website is hub for dissemination activities, which include academic and applied research, design-related support for business, and events.

This website provides graphic designers with resources to practice more sustainability in their craft. Helping them to understand the importance of sustainability and how practical and invigorating it can be for the creative process. It provides a variety of links to resources that are important for the graphic designers' daily practice: paper companies, ink vendors, printers, companies that provide sustainable products, existing green design firms, bloggers and news articles about sustainability.

Smart textiles for intelligent consumer products
The Smart Textiles Network is a "think tank exploring the future of smart textiles, intelligent clothing, products, and environments in the context of societal futures and future markets.The website provides information about the network and the convergence of textile design and technology in the Information Age. Sections include: smart materials; societal futures; textiles and clothing; molecular electronics; electroactive polymers; nanomaterials and textiles; and sustainability.


Sustainable Design Network (SDN)
Inter-industry, inter-university, multi-disciplinary research network addressing issues of Sustainable Design. The SDN organises a number of one day seminars on a range of subjects around the subject of Sustainable Design.  These seminars attract a diverse delegation of academics, industrialists, and those from the public sectors, and provide the opportunity for lively and interesting debate.

Value + Created Review
Value+Created Review (VCR) is an online magazine dedicated to "value-created furniture manufacturing in Canada and beyond". Created by design educator, Stephen Harrison, the magazine looks at topics relating to innovative, responsible furniture design and SME manufacturing, covering design history, sustainability and eco-design, materials (metals, plastics, hard and soft woods), and production technology.




Higher Education Academy Educational Sustainability (ESD) Project
Aims to help institutions and subject communities develop curricula and pedagogy that will give students the skills and knowledge to live and work sustainably with the following aims:

  • to research and support the development of ESD in the HE sector, particularly within subject communities;
  • to build capacity amongst individuals, subject communities and institutions to embed ESD in curricula and pedagogy; and
  • to assist the coordination and dissemination of policy, research and practice relating to ESD in institutions, the Higher Education Academy and the wider field.

Centre for Sustainable Futures (CSF)
The CSF at Plymouth University aims to put Sustainability at the centre of the thinking and doing of the University and also the wider national and international community. The website itself, is an example of sustainable practice by being created using open-source technology accessible to anyone in the world.

Development Education Association (DEA)

A diverse network of DEA members work within higher education (HE) to support lecturers, researchers, students and their institutions interested in bringing a global perspective to their work. DEA members, partners and key stakeholders in HE are working in partnership to develop a generic curriculum for global citizenship, which can act as a catalyst for future planning and facilitate debate on what a ‘global university’ might look like. They also collaborate to develop learning outcomes associated with global perspectives in the curriculum and to implement policies and practice on institutional ethos, accountability systems and economic choices that are informed by and reflect a commitment to global responsibility.

EcoCampus is a national Environmental Management System (EMS) and award scheme for the higher education sector. The scheme allows universities to be recognised for addressing key issues of environmental sustainability.

The Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges

The EAUC is the sustainability champion for UK universities and colleges. It aims to be a one-stop shop for stimulating and bringing about sustainability in the sector aiming to integrate sustainability and environmental management of universities and colleges in the UK. A key role is information and best practice sharing identifying and delivering sustainability staff development and work with sector funders, governors, suppliers and professional bodies to drive sustainability deeper into all aspects of universities and colleges.

Global Perspectives
Based at Bournemouth University Global Perspectives is responding to the challenge of preparing graduates for life in a global society and work in a global economy.
It aims at embedding global perspectives within the curriculum with an objective of developing learners and graduates as 'global citizens' who:

•    Will be familiar with global issues and processes (particularly the interconnectedness between the local and the global)
•    Will appreciate the need for sustainable development
•    Will be effective at working across cultures and in contexts of diversity.

Second Nature
This organisation works with more than 500 colleges and universities to help make the principles of sustainability the foundation of all learning, practice, and 
collaboration with local communities. It helps higher education move from simple good intentions to 
strategic transformative action focusing its energy on initiating, advising, and supporting select high-leverage national and regional education for sustainability (EFS) activities for which there is a clear need and committed support.

Student Force for Sustainability
A national charity that focuses on young people working and learning to boost their employability, as well as the sustainability of communities and employers.   

Sustainability Integration Group (SIGnet)
They convene the Sustainability Integration Group (SIGnet), a pioneering network of the bodies that fund, plan and regulate the post-school sector. The network’s aim is for members to work together to integrate sustainability literacy into the curricula.


The Sustainability Information Teaching Exchange (the SITE)
The SITE has been produced as a Plymouth College of Art (PCA) Research Project. It is a dynamic, constantly evolvng and interactive resource: The subject areas section provides an online discussion forum for each of the sections so that practitioners can share information and discussions on sustainability within their field.

Policies and Publications

Information Learning for the Future: The DfES Sustainable Development Action Plan 2005/06
This report outlines plans for sustainable development in education and skills as part of the overall UK sustainable development strategy.

This action plan defines what sustainable development means; details how the DfES intends to incorporate sustainable development into policy and operations, and how staff will be supported in doing so.

Securing the Future - UK Government sustainable development strategy
This Command Paper sets out the Government's strategy for sustainable development, taking into account the national and international developments that have occurred since its previous policy statement ('A better quality of life: a strategy for sustainable development in the United Kingdom', Cm 4345; ISBN 0101434529) published in May 1999