In partnership with the Romanian Cultural Institute, the British Council in Romania is launching Circular Catalysts, a programme aimed at generating new collaborations between Romanian and UK designers, artists and craftspeople and facilitating fertile conversations around sustainable production practices and processes.
Building on the idea that the pragmatic relationship between people and natural resources in rural Romania can be a fruitful foundation for local resilience and sustainability, five UK designers and artists have been invited to collaborate with organisations working in rural Romania to explore the intersections between rural and urban, and the role and migration of local materials and crafts in social, economic and environmental sustainability.
Circular Catalysts aims to provide both local and UK models of good practice and to develop a European network of people and initiatives that share a set of values aligned to the principles of the circular economy. The programme started with a series of creative residencies in March–April and will continue throughout 2023 with complementary activities for both professionals and the wider public.
The Circular Catalysts documentary exhibition will be presented at HEI – House of European Institutes , as part of the cultural programme Timisoara 2023 . The exhibition features objects, texts, sound and captivating photographs captured by Ioana Cîrlig during the five creative residencies where contemporary UK artisans were hosted by local organisations working with traditional craftspeople in rural Romania. Through interdisciplinary design and collaboration, the programme, initiated by the British Council Romania and supported by the Romanian Cultural Institute, explores the intersections of rural and urban life and the potential of craft practices in individual and community well-being.
During the exhibition, Circular Catalysts will also feature a series of community engagement activities such as workshops, podcasts and meetings, sparking conversations around traditional knowledge systems and community practices with a role in creation and sustainability. The programme promotes the exchange of skills and knowledge between the UK, Romania and Europe as part of the British Council’s response to global issues, specifically addressing the climate emergency.
As part of our commitment to sustainability, our exhibition design and touring prioritise environmentally conscious practices, with smaller volumes, lighter materials and reduced air travel. We also prioritise inclusivity, aiming to increase accessibility for people with disabilities through tactile elements and a dedication to welcoming those with diverse bodies and abilities. Together with Supereroi printre noi (Superheroes among us) we will also organise a Quiet Day on 29 June in Timisoara, within HEI, dedicated to people with special access needs.
Join us at Circular Catalysts to experience the power of creative residencies, photography and dialogue around craft, sustainability and the relationship between people and nature in rural Romania. Be inspired by the change-making artisans and their exploration of cultural contexts, traditional knowledge systems and responses to the global climate emergency. Don’t miss this thought-provoking exhibition taking place as part of the Timisoara 2023 Capital of Culture programme from 21 June.