CALL / FRAMEWORK
CALL // CITY AS LIVING LABORATORY'S mission is to raise environmental awareness and promote the sustainable development of urban communities through the arts.
We see artists as innovative coalition-leaders who can chart a course towards greater community understanding and engagement in the journey towards sustainable development.
Rooted in place-based experience, CALL’s artist-facilitated programs foster a deeper understanding of a location’s history, as well as the natural systems, social relations, and infrastructure that sustain life. They connect personal experiences of the local environment to larger issues of sustainability and accelerate action toward concrete solutions. Programs succeed through interdisciplinary collaborations with scientists, urban planning experts, key community actors, and government officials.
Over ten years, CALL has refined a flexible framework for our iterative development process. The walks, workshops, and other exploratory activities integrate informal learning, grass roots activism, artistic vision, and scientific knowledge. This framework provides a deep understanding of complex local structures and continually informs larger initiatives through ongoing research and feedback.
Framework Development and Next Steps
In 2016, CALL began to lay the groundwork for a platform which would enable Mary Miss and CALL’s work to inform future conversations on arts and sustainability. CALL's FRAMEWORK will create a road-map for diverse groups across the country to initiate collaborative, cross-disciplinary, artist-led projects which will lead to substantial gains in sustainability. With the support of the Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, CALL held a panel at Yale University, a workshop in Washington DC, launched a national CALL/WALKS program, and produced a toolkit which will enable organizations across the country to use our methodology to conduct artist/scientist led public walks .
The institutional partnerships being developed through this process are leading to a nation-wide network of artists, scientists, cities, institutions and communities committed to making the complex issues surrounding climate adaptation, sustainability, and regenerative development tangible to urban residents. CALL is continuing to seek support for these endeavors to further develop the framework and create greater opportunities for engagement and network expansion.
No one can deny that the challenges we face are immense, but the success of the national CALL/WALKS program show us that we can envision solutions, find hope, and walk step by step into tomorrow. We hope you’ll be inspired and join us in advancing the sustainable development of our communities.
To build the foundation for CALL's FRAMEWORK, Adrian Cerezo, a social ecologist from Yale University, was commissioned to conduct a Qualitative Exploration of the field and CALL's practice.
The report concluded that socially/environmentally minded contemporary art has significant elements to contribute to the social movement towards sustainable development as described by the UN Agenda 2030. Extending far beyond the role of art as a platform to present and translate key scientific concepts, the artistic endeavor can provide unique platforms to address the complexity inherent in sustainable development and become a means for community actors to explore new ways of perceiving themselves, relating to each other and acting in the world.
Cerezo's research indicates that CALL goes beyond the regular best-practices of community engaged art projects in a way that challenges and enriches both the artistic practice and community development. This is particularly seen in the deliberate movement beyond the physical expressions of art and towards an art practice that is built around and has as outcome thoughtful, respectful, personal, quiet building of human relationships and collaborations.
This research is continuing to be developed, with an updated report soon to come.