The Social Ecology Studio is an experimental arts research lab housed within the School of Art, dedicated to advancing sustainability and resilience through the arts. Capitalizing on art’s ability to interest, inform and activate its audience, the studio is piloting methodologies to engage and connect community members and policy makers with issues entrenched in social ecology. Serving as a resource hub for artists, the studio’s mission is to initiate and facilitate collaborative projects with scientific and social researchers across campus. Its aim is to develop and research methods for the arts to impact and enhance the local ecosystem, and to connect with and enrich the community.

Studio Director: Michael Marshall

Social Ecology Studio

Studio Research Projects

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The North Oconee River Project

Led by Carla Cao, MA candidate in Music, the North Oconee River Project is a collaboration between music, art, law, ecology and the greater Athens community. Its mission is to recognize legal personhood rights of the North Oconee River, establishing the city’s first-ever Rights of Nature laws. Leveraging the methodology of Creative Placemaking the project is piloting a research model that utilizes the arts to not only foster community engagement but also facilitate the development and transformation of environmental policy.

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Imagination Squared

Led by Christina Foard, MFA candidate in Studio Art, Imagination Squared utilizes a participatory design model to engage communities in conversations about individual and collective notions of resilience. The project explores art’s capacity to engage and extend a conversation across fields and across spectrums of the community through collective co-authorship of an arts installation.

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The Hive

Led by Cristina Echezarreta, MFA candidate in Studio Art, The Hive is a project designed to leverage the power of the arts as a tool to enhance individual and community transformation for offenders housed within the confinements of Georgia’s state prisons. Investigating parallel hierarchies within bee hives and prison systems, the project engages individuals through creative practice, vocational skill building, ecology education, revitalization and empowerment.