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Art for the Environment Residency Programme (AER)

In 2015, internationally acclaimed artist Professor Lucy Orta, UAL Chair of Art for the Environment – Centre for Sustainable Fashion, launched the Art for the Environment Residency Programme(AER), in partnership with residency programmes across Europe.

The ongoing AER programme provides UAL graduates with the exceptional opportunity to apply for a 2 to 4-week residency at one of our internationally renowned host institutions, to explore concerns that define the 21st century – biodiversity, environmental sustainability, social economy, and human rights.

A distinguished selection panel assess the applicants for each unique opportunity to partake in the UAL Art for the Environment Residency Programme.


Photo: Matt Parker – Searching for Signal, AER Joya: arte + ecología 2016


AER Art for the Environment was established building on the emerging need to provide early career artists with a space for research and reflection, to explore present-time concerns such as environmental sustainability and social justice, and their interconnection.

Through personal research, studio production time, critiques and mentoring sessions with UAL Chair of Art in the Environment and Member of Centre for Sustainable Fashion, Professor Lucy Orta and Camilla Palestra, Curator and Associate Curator of Centre for Sustainable Fashion, graduates and PhD students across art and design practices are offered the opportunity to engage with the issues connected to the environment while in residence within one of our international networks of established partners. Since the inception of the project in 2015 lunched by acclaimed artist and UAL professor Lucy Orta, partners included Hauser & Wirth, Somerset, UK; Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield, UK; Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, Alberta, CANADA; Joya: arte + ecología, Almeria, SPAIN; Domain de Boisbuchet, Lessac, FRANCE; Labverde, Amazon, BRAZIL; Associazione Culturale dello Scompiglio, Lucca, ITALY; KHOJ, New Delhi, INDIA; Fondazione Zegna, Trivero, ITALY; Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (CFCCA), UK; Fondazione Berengo, Venice, ITALY, RAW Lab – Bow Arts, UK.

Project Team and Partners

The AER Team:

  • Professor Lucy Orta, AER Founder, UAL Chair of Art and the Environment, Centre for Sustainable Fashion
  • Camilla Palestra, AER Associate Curator, Centre for Sustainable Fashion
  • Camilla Brueton, Post-Grad CommunityEvent Manager
  • Abigail Fletcher, Post-Grad Community Co-ordinator


Outputs and Impact

Laser cut samples in the Adolpho Ducke Reserve by Naomi Bailey-Cooper

‘It was one of the best experiences of my life and I would like to thank Lucy Orta, Camilla Palestra, UAL PG Community, Lilian Fraiji, Juliana Rotta and all others involved in selecting me for this residency. This account is a brief re-cap of the main things I experienced and thought about while out there.’

Naomi Bailey-Cooper, PhD Practice-based Research Student at London College of Fashion Labverde, Brazil 2017

‘My experience during the residency has encouraged me to start thinking through a new visual strategy… together we are forming a group that will start to address our social and ecological concerns in a collaborative practice.’

Rachel Bacon, MA Drawing Alumni, Wimbledon College of Arts BANFF, Alberta, Canada, 2017

All AER reports can be found on the Postgraduate Community blog.

As part of AER, in 2018 Camilla Palestra curated the exhibition Art for the Environment at the Nunnery Gallery Bow Arts Londonpresenting for the first time a selection of work created from past residencies, including film, sound and interactive installation

Photo: Annabel Duggleby, Ex Nihilo, AER Hauser & Wirth Somerset Residency 2017