Raising Awareness of Food Sustainability: the Scottish Sculpture Workshop

22nd October 2014

Raising Awareness of Food Sustainability: the Scottish Sculpture Workshop 6

Artists Jonathan Baxter and Sarah Gittins have designed Maintenance and Care signage inspired by Samuel Beckett and Mierle Ukeles, to be displayed at the Scottish Sculpture Workshop and downloaded via the Creative Carbon Scotland website.

Between October 2012 and April 2013, artists Baxter and Gittins undertook a part-time residency at Scottish Sculpture Workshop (SSW), in Lumsden, Aberdeenshire. Their project, When the Future Was Now, investigated food sustainability within SSW as an organisation and Lumsden as a village. During this residency the artists observed and interacted with the SSW community, identifying practical ways through which to increase the sustainability of the organisation.

Baxter and Gittins drew upon the characters of Beckett and Ukeles in order to provoke greater engagement  and personal consciousness with their Maintenance and Care signage, highlighting small, everyday actions that might positively affect our lives in ‘the future now’. When developing their signage the artists had in mind Mierle Ukeles’ Manifesto! Maintenance Art (1969) – a manifesto which forced society to confront the concept of ‘maintenance’ in conjunction with the role of the artist.  Whilst images of Ukeles were used to perform the values of environmental awareness, drawings of Beckett highlighted the anti-values of avant-garde failure.

The images are also made more relatable to those at SSW due to the use of familiar scenery: the interaction of the well-known characters with ubiquitous recycling bins and an unused compost container drawing attention to the forgotten ordinary objects.

You can read more about the conceptual design of the project here.

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The artists also provided their SSW hosts with a suggested list of small pro-environmental actions they could undertake that related to the produced images, and we’ve heard from the Scottish Sculpture Workshop about their interaction with the new signage. Click here to read our learning case study.


To download any of the images for use within your organisation or home, just right-click on your favourites! Although free to use, if you wish to publish the images elsewhere, please credit Baxter and Gittins as we have done here.

Images: Jonathan Baxter and Sarah Gittens. Maintanance and Care. Produced during the When the Future Was Now residency at the Scottish Sculpture Workshop. 

When the Future Was Now Residency Blog / Jonathan Baxter / Sarah Gittins

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