Artist in Residence

black banner image of future studios model
springtijd speakers on stage

What would a climate model look like if it was developed by artists?

This was the key question that two artists-in-residence engaged with in an 8-month art residency initiated by the Urban Futures Studio and supported by the Jan van Eyck Academie. During this residency, artists Ekaterina Volkova and Julien Thomas collaborated with PhD candidate Lisette van Beek to study the IMAGE modelling group. This modelling group works with an Integrated Assessment Model (IAM). IAMs simulates climate-society interactions and are the primary tool to explore scenarios towards the Paris goals in the IPCC.

The artists investigated how IAM modellers currently work by various interviews and group discussions. Based on this research, they developed a Future Manual for Future Models. This speculative manual for modellers explores what an IAM might look like if it was developed by artists. The manual has taken the form of an interactive website which takes modellers on a journey through different steps. It is not intended to be critique, but as a starting point for reflection and inspiration to open-up the possibility space. It is also intended to be a meeting point between modellers and model users such as policymakers, who often have different ideas of what models are and how they should be used.

Prior to developing the manual, Ekaterina, Julien and Lisette engaged in exchanges with modellers on the role of art and science in imagining low-carbon futures at several public and academic events, including Springtij Festival , Urgency Intensive and a post-truth seminar at PBL. The manual has been officially launched at the annual IAM Conference. The manual will be used in various discussions with modellers and non-modellers at the UU and beyond.

In November 2022, Ekaterina and Julien joined the 11-month residency programme of the Jan van Eyck Academie where they will continue exploring exchanges between arts and science around the topic of climate change, including the Pathways to Sustainability Conference in April 2023.

This project was made possible through Pathways to Sustainability Seed funding.