To mark Earth Day 2021, the School of Arts, Media & Creative Technology organised a series of workshops, talks and information sessions for students to help highlight environmental issues and raise awareness of the climate crisis.

The School worked with the Environment and Sustainability team to provide insight into eco-friendly initiatives across the University to help reduce single-use plastic and create a Hedgehog Friendly Campus. We also worked with external organisations including Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth to provide workshops around sustainability, tree planting and forest gardening.

Alongside the workshops, we asked students to respond to an open call out for creative content around environmental topics, both the issues and effects: including (but not limited to) sustainability; climate change; waste; environmental health, and pollution. The creative responses can be seen in this mixed-media exhibition showcasing creative work and responses from students across the School.

Daniel Bellis – BA (Hons) Photography

My work highlights the issues of air pollution in Manchester, shown through this golden shield lichen growing on a stick I collected from the city. Lichens are a composite organism constructed of fungus and algae and they tell us a lot about the cleanliness of an area. This golden shield lichen is one of the hardier organisms and thrives in areas with high levels of nitrogen. This informs us of the nitrogen dioxide levels in the area which is produced by vehicular and industrial pollution.

Daniel Bellis

IG: @danbellis.jpeg

David Hiney – BA (Hons) Photography

River Irk – Old Bike Wheel
River Medlock – Submerged Tyre
A Discarded Takeaway Tray
Ground into the Dirt
Can of Fosters

“My work looks at our relationship with our environment, how we use and abuse the world around us. The first image of the River Irk, one of the lesser known rivers of Manchester, illustrates how we abuse our waterways. The second image is another example of waste discarded in our waterways – a submerged tyre in the River Medlock. The third image is a discarded takeaway tray. The fourth image is ground into the dirt. The fifth image is of a can that can last for years.”

David Hiney

IG: @david.hiney_pix

Emily Cowell – BA (Hons) Photography

Fish Dinner

“This is one of the photographs that I took for a final year project. I made the fish myself to contain visible plastic to highlight the problem of plastic pollution in the ocean and how it can make its way onto our plates. I also wanted to comment on fishing causing a considerable amount of plastic pollution and that we all have the ability and responsibility to help reduce pollution in the ocean.”

Emily Cowell

Emily’s Portfolio

Isabella Manning – BA (Hons) Drama and Creative Writing

“I wrote this for a poetry module I did last semester. I wrote it in the form of a Shakespearean sonnet which is typically used for a love poem. I did this to emphasise the love we should all have for our planet and protecting it. I love nature and raising awareness about climate change is something I am very passionate about.”

Isabella Manning

IG: @composedbybella

Jennifer Moorhouse – BA (Hons) Costume Design

“The Earth- bleached cotton emblem on a white contrasting bodice. The textural pulse line stitches behind the earth and the 12 pearls literally hanging on by a thread conveys energy and time, time is racing us towards humanity’s certain demise.”

Jennifer Moorhouse

IG: @jencostumier

Kayleigh Jones – BA (Hons) Photography

“For my project, I mixed my personal passion for product photography with the environmental issue of littering. As the weather gets hotter people are taking to our green spaces to enjoy themselves, however, there has been a massive increase in littering from this. I decided to collect three pieces of rubbish I found in a small radius and photograph them as a products only in a much harsher and scrutinising light. This is my favourite image of the shoot showing a take-away container. I feel it is raw and a bit gross and showcases my point.”

Kayleigh Jones

IG: @Kayleigh.Jones.Photography

Kotryna Vilkinyte – MA Production Management for TV, Film and Digital Media

“I have created this short video aiming to identify the climate change causes, denying the myths, highlighting the importance of changes and proving that even individual changes make a difference this way encouraging all to take action.”

Kotryna Vilkinyte

Check out Kotryna’s work here.

IG: @letskotre

Laura Howard-Smith – BA (Hons) Fine Art

Price Tag

“Perspective – I created this work as I wanted to use my practice to raise awareness about the use of single use plastics and plastic pollution. The message behind my work intends to make viewers consider their lifestyles and contribution to pollution, through their use of everyday items. In my work I included specific items which are regularly found in the ocean. I wanted to focus on plastics in particular within the ocean, as up to 8 million tons of plastic waste enters the ocean each year.

Price Tag – The message behind this work intends to highlight the issue of how society views plastic pollution as a consumer problem instead of an organizational issue. I included wrappers from companies, focusing on Coca Cola as they are a leading plastic polluter. This piece is targeted at companies who produce the largest amount of plastic waste. The work intends to question whether their plastic dependence goes beyond the limits of our world. Further suggesting how these damaging products may not just be limited to our planet but could also eventually impact the whole universe if intervention of plastic use does not occur.”

Laura Howard


Millie Devine – BA (Hons) Film Production

“This is a water colour and acrylic piece. The background is a forest using the earth’s colours of blue and green.”

Millie Devine

Olivia Alexander – BA (Hons) Fine Art

“My practice is based in fibre textiles sculpture, predominantly working with the fibre hessian. I am interested in working with this material due to its limited use in the art world and labour driven history, striving to display hessian as a focus rather than the support it is commonly viewed as. My practice is a sustainable one as I aim to work with only eco- friendly materials, as well as using old pieces to deconstruct and reproduce into new works!”

Olivia Alexander

Current students can catch up on the environmental workshops that took place during Earth Week.

Watch the Tree Planting and Forest Gardening session here.

Jane L. Morris and Katie Percival from Manchester Friends of the Earth spoke to students about their wonderful projects and the benefits of tree planting and forest gardening. Jane shares her experience in designing and maintaining a forest garden in an inner-city park, the National Forest Garden Scheme and anything from shaping green spaces in regeneration, to current crises and need for nature-based solutions and preparations for COP26. Katie will talk about the environmental benefits of tree planting, how this tackles climate change and how to start your own tree planting project. Check out Katie’s blog.

Watch the Greenpeace and Sustainability session here.

For 50 years Greenpeace has been at the forefront of campaigns to protect the environment and promote a more sustainable world. Greenpeace speaker, Mark Crutchley, spoke about their campaigns and what you can do to live more sustainably.

Watch the Hedgehog Friendly Campus session here.

Marta Strzelecka from the University of Salford’s Environmental Sustainability Team told us about the Hedgehog Friendly Campus campaign, what it entails, why it is important and what you can do to help support the University through student led projects.

Thank you to our students and our guest speakers for their work in celebration of World Earth Day.