Almedalen and Marine plastics: How can researchers, artists and governments work together to develop solutions?
The Almedalen Week (Almedalsveckan, also known as Politician's Week in Almedalen, Politikerveckan i Almedalen) is an annual event that takes place in the city of Visby on the Swedish island of Gotland. Now in its fiftieth year, it is considered the most important occasion for Swedish politics, with an abundance of talks, workshops and other events that are free to attend. The atmosphere is relaxed and the social aspects of the festival considered as significant as the political speeches.
What are we doing?
This year, British Council, the British Embassy in Stockholm, Arts Council England and the University of Portsmouth are joining forces to aim awareness about marine pollution. A panel discussion, moderated by Martin Gilbert of the British Council, will focus on the problem of marine plastics. It asks: How can researchers, artists and governments work together to develop solutions?
Marine plastic is now a threat to both human and ocean health. This panel will try to find some solutions to this problem. It will address how various sectors could work together to develop solutions and ask whether scientific and technological innovations impact the role and relationship between researchers, artists and governments in addressing marine plastics. From plastic-eating enzymes through research generated by the University of Portsmouth, to hauntingly beautiful art by photographers like Mandy Barker, the abundance of marine plastics is sparking innovation across different sectors. As science improves our ability to clean up the ocean, how do we make the most of the opportunities offered by citizen science? Can we use them to promote marine literacy and behavioural changes among citizens?
Sir Nicholas Serota is Chair of Arts Council England. He was previously Director of Tate and has been a member of the Visual Arts Advisory Committee of the British Council. He was also a member of the Olympic Delivery Authority which was responsible for building the Olympic Park for the London 2012 Summer Olympics.
Mandy Barker is an award-winning photographer whose work documents marine plastic pollution. She works with scientists she aims to raise awareness about plastic pollution in the world's oceans whilst highlighting the harmful effect on marine life and ultimately ourselves.
Prof John McGeehan is a structural biologist from University of Portsmouth working on plastic-eating enzymes. His area of research is in the structure and function of proteins, nucleic acids and their complexes, combining X-ray crystallography with other biophysical methods.
Eva Blidberg is a marine ecotoxicologist who works for the Keep Sweden Tidy Foundation. She has worked with different marine and chemical matters over the last 15 years and has a strong relationship with the sea.