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RE/SISTERS: Sustainability

Laura Aguilar, Nature Self-Portrait #5, 1996 © Laura Aguilar Trust of 2016

As proud members of the Gallery Climate Coalition every effort has been made to produce RE/SISTERS sustainably, although we recognise that we have more work to do.

To minimise the environmental impact of the exhibition, we have:

  • Worked with suppliers to reduce the energy consumption required to maintain the temperature and humidity levels in the gallery, whilst still protecting the artworks on display.
  • Invested in a local environmental project rather than paying to off-set our carbon use. This process won’t make our emissions disappear, but we believe it is a fairer way to support effective environmental projects and accelerate systemic change. This approach, which is in line with the City of London’s Climate Action Strategy and guidelines from the Gallery Climate Coalition, was taken in response to a request to off-set carbon associated with one loan. We have calculated the cost based on air freight for all loans within the exhibition.
  • Reduced air travel for RE/SISTERS by minimising air freight as less than a quarter of artworks travelled to London by air and nearly three quarters of artwork frames were made locally. Furthermore, staff travel for research was limited to just 5 flights within Europe. Courier travel has also been reduced with only 1 international courier attending the installation, travelling via train.

We are tracking the carbon use across the project so that we can review ways to reduce this for future exhibitions and installations. We have also incorporated into our working practice the relevant principles outlined in the Barbican International Enterprises (BIE) manifesto on sustainable exhibition making.

Exhibition build

As far as possible we have reused materials from previous Barbican exhibitions, including carpets, walls, ceilings and benches from Carrie Mae Weems: Reflections for Now. Similarly, at the end of the exhibition we will look to reuse as much of the build material as we can for future exhibitions. 

We have used low VOC paint in the gallery in order to reduce negative effects on air quality and use of harmful chemicals. 

The exhibition team has tracked procurement of materials and are actively measuring and quantifying our environmental footprint so that we can work to reduce this for future projects. Our tender process for build suppliers also included consideration of their sustainability credentials.

Exhibition print

To reduce our environmental impact, there is no exhibition guide for this show. 

The exhibition is accompanied by a generously illustrated catalogue co-published with Prestel. Prestel is one of the world's leading illustrated book publishers and their emphasis on quality means this catalogue has been designed as a lasting companion to the exhibition. The book was produced in Europe and the shipping has not involved any air travel.

Sustainability Strategy

Our Sustainability Strategy and associated action plan launched in 2022. This five-year plan sets out the steps we are taking to deliver our ambitious carbon reduction targets and improve our overall environmental performance into the future.

Read the Sustainability Strategy