Early Warning Signs

UH Arts

UH Arts

Art & Design Gallery
University of Hertfordshire
Hatfield
AL10 9AB



The green on black sign was adopted by Annabel Lucas, Collection Manager & Exhibitions Curator at UH Arts to form part of their exhibition Slow Violence at the Art & Design Gallery. After the exhibition ended on 20 January 2018, the sign toured around various buildings on the University of Hertfordshire campus for the rest of the year. In January 2019, the sign headed back to London for the first time since its year at the Arcola Theatre in 2016, to take up residence outside Central Saint Martins college of art and design.




End of Year Report

By Elizabeth Murton & Inna Allen, Visual Arts Programme Managers, UH Arts

Early Warning Signs came to the University of Hertfordshire as part of the Slow Violence exhibition in November 2017 at the Art and Design Gallery. The Gallery is positioned at the entrance to the School of Creative Arts and as such has a large footfall. It has since been on campus, this is a busy space with staff and students, as well as guests. The School of Creative Arts has over 2000 students and there are 25,000 across the university.

It’s the final week of #slowviolence the gallery is open from 9-5, Monday-Saturday. Make sure you come and check it out.

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Slow Violence
29 November 2017 – 20 January 2018
Symposium: Wednesday 29 November, 10.30am – 4pm

Ackroyd & Harvey, Adam Chodzko, Emma Critchley, Ellie Harrison, Tom James, Katie Paterson, Michael Pinsky and Thomson & Craighead

Slow Violence introduces work by eight UK-based artists to reconsider the prevalent and far-reaching threat of climate change. Working across film, photography, print and installation, the contributing artists challenge us to rethink the prevailing climate change iconography. Rejecting melting ice caps and desertification, their visual interpretations draw attention to what is happening closer to home, within our own local environments.

Presented in collaboration with the Contemporary Arts Practice and School of Creative Arts across an exhibition, symposium and other events, Slow Violence takes its name and impetus from Rob Nixon’s seminal book ‘Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor’ (2013). Nixon suggests we reject the idea of violence as explosive or sensational, and instead “engage a different kind of violence that is neither spectacular nor instantaneous, but rather incremental and accretive.” Slow Violence acknowledges that the violence of climate change can often be localized, extended, durational, unrecognized, even invisible.

Feedback from Slow Violence Exhibition & Symposium

End of Year Survey Results

Of those surveyed at the symposium, 96% agreed or strongly agreed that the exhibition was relevant and interesting. 92% agreed or strongly agreed that the artworks have been a useful way to engage with issues of climate change. 88% agree or strongly agree that the exhibition and symposium introduced them to new ideas, research and/or artists who are work in the area of climate change.

What was the best thing about the day for you?
• Open dialogue
• Discussion
• It was full of people and I met some of the artists

What will you take away?
• That everyone does matter/we can make an impact on climate change
• Connections
• Different perspectives
• Wonder how to engage more people with this
• Methods for explaining 'slow violence' as a concept

What was the best thing about the day for you?
• Thoroughly enjoyable! Thank you for organising
• Fantastic programme and exhibition

UH Arts

Further comments whilst on campus

• What a clever piece of sculpture… love the upcycling of an ordinary, ubiquitous commercial communication tool for art and for this message… the fact that the wind itself turns the sign and animates the sculpture is brilliant, the strong winds and unusual climate at times are so unnerving.

• Does the sign make it trivial like a shop advertisement? Is this only way to get our attention?

• What is the ultimate outcome from encountering the sign?

• I can see that it would catch the attention of people driving past, but it doesn’t actually say anything about climate change really.

UH Arts

• Subtle – maybe too subtle? Not necessarily changing your opinion as a result.

• Bit I liked the most in Slow Violence – felt strangely ridiculous as the subject is – in touch with the enormity of it and you can’t sum it up in an artwork.

• Quite good idea, clever, snappy to the point – is it good or bad?

UH Arts

• Is colour significant?

• Very high street.

• Thought provoking, clever, playful, politically engaged - very aptly placed in a University.

• Makes you think about climate change but is too open? Maybe if it deteriorated quicker would show elements.

• A great conversation point – brings together everyday consumerism with a global phenomenon that will impact our everyday, a cycle represented in the movement of the sign.

UH Arts

Photos: Inna Allen, Sammy Maitland