Air is invisible, unknowable and undeniable but how do we visualise this medium that connects us all? This connection is something we have become even more aware of since the impact of Covid-19. Air quality is often expressed through the air quality index (AQI) but what does this actually mean? How do we experience air quality? And what does our experience mean in terms of our perception now and in the future? Sarah is interested in how children’s experience of their environment influences their perception throughout their lives and a phenomenon referred to as ‘shifting baseline syndrome’.
This social art project reflects on personal experience of air quality and intergenerational environmental justice, touching upon the idea that our childhood experiences of the environment are hard wired into our ecological thinking and establishes awareness for the rest of our life. Sarah has been collaborating with families around the world since 2018, sharing thoughts and responses on the air we breathe. Initially she posted messages and acrylic boxes to the children to fill with found objects reflecting on what influences the air quality in their area - with the intention of building a collaborative sculpture together (see photos). This social art project has evolved to include exhibitions, awards, talks and workshops with schools. More recently she's been working with curators and scientists to explore how to develop the project further. The ideas they have in development include exploring the co-benefits of tackling air pollution and climate change, engagement with people experiencing respiratory illness and working with an interdisciplinary research network tackling air pollution in schools.
The boxes came from the following locations:
A recent Fine Art graduate based in Cambridge, Sarah is interested in how our perception of being in, knowing and belonging to the world affects our ecological awareness and thinking. In her multi-disciplinary practice her work seeks to question, or disrupt, habitual perspectives through the liminality of objects, materials and spaces.