Politika // Sustainability in the City


Politika – Art & the Affairs of the City has been an examination of the effects of capitalism on the world we live in.  Within that, we thought it was important to examine environmental damage and strategies towards a sustainable future or alternative ways of living. We hosted a number of community workshops to teach people the skills they need to live more sustainably and took a closer look at organisations working in this field.

Daylight Shrubbery – 25/09/14

Daylight Shrubbery joined Politika: Art & the Affairs of the City to lead an urban foraging excursion around Ancoats.  We were joined by a mix of people from both the local area and wider community in Manchester to learn about edible and medicinal plants and how to distinguish them from poisons.

Participants were given the opportunity to collect these items from along the canal, nature trail and city streets and were told how best to prepare them.  There was even some discussion around edible insects. It was nice to show the potential of the area and teach residents of Ancoats another affordable way they can support themselves.


We’d like to thank David Winnard for leading the excursion and everyone who came along to get involved.

Guerilla Gardening and Seed Bomb Workshop – 27/09/14

On Saturday 27th we decided to take some people out into the local area and do a bit of guerilla gardening. We had a variety of people come along to lend a hand at our community plot throughout the course of the day. We’re really proud of the space created and glad we could help residents claim back a piece of their area and learn new skills along the way.

While this was happening we set up a station at the gallery at which visitors could make their own seed bombs.  Seed bombs can be thrown in any disused area and hopefully the seeds will take hold and grow into urban green spaces.

Biospheric Foundation – 27/09/14

We were very fortunate to have Vincent Walsh present on Sustainabilty in the City Day to talk about the work he started when he set up the Biospheric Foundation. The Foundation examines urban farming and sustainable systems for communities with low access to organic food. The Biospheric Project is located in Salford and is an excellent starting point for urban agricultural research.

Many of our visitors were excited by the research and are planning to visit the project soon. Vincent was able to give excellent advice to those looking to set up their own urban farms and Upper Space would definitely like to work with him in future on ways to increase sustainability and self-sufficiency in Ancoats.

Make Do and Mend with Craptronix – 27/09/14

One way to be both economical and ecological is to learn electronic repair instead of simply throwing damaged devices away – both filling up landfills unnecessarily and adding to climate change by fuelling the consumerist system.

Visitors were able to bring along broken electronics and learn the skills needed to fix them. Thanks to Ed from Craptronix for leading the workshop.

 A River Changes Course – 27/09/14

On the evening of Sustainability in the City Day we screened ‘A River Changes Course’ which looks more closely at the effects of globalisation.  The film follows the lives of three young Cambodians whose economical instability is consuming. We were all moved by the film and motivated to look into pursuing alternatives.

The Future is Rising – 28/09/14

We continued to look at the effects of globalisation on 28th September with The Future is Rising. The Future are a climate change initiative looking at ways to engage young millennials. Their campaign works a lot with social media platforms and the fashion industry in an attempt to change the image of environmentalists and reach out to an audience who may not have previously engaged.


There was some debate around the methods used by the initiative and if they could contribute to the problem by playing into the capitalist system. We agree that youth engagement should be a priority in the battle against climate change and it will be interesting to see how the Future address some of the problematic areas of their campaign.