Synthetic Histories: Plastics, Climate and Colonialism

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation


ringing together thinking from V&A Dundee's latest exhibition, 'Plastic: Remaking our World' and the Paul Mellon Centre's multi-year project, Climate & Colonialism, this symposium explores the complex past, problematic present and possible futures of plastic.
Following a private viewing of the exhibition, participants will join international researchers, designers, artists and activists in a series of discussions, presentations and more to consider plastics, climate and colonialism as sets of interconnected material and extractive relations.
The symposium will ask:
Where did plastic come from?
How do we understand its colonial histories?
How are art, craft and design practices implicated in these extractive processes, and how do they challenge them?
What is the ongoing impact of climate injustice and the unequal impact of global waste streams on people and the planet?
Is there a future post-plastic?
What role do artists, designers and environmental humanities researchers play in creating such futures?
Synthetic Histories: Plastics, Climate and Colonialism is convened by Sria Chatterjee, (Paul Mellon Centre); Nichol Keene, Charlotte Hale and Laurie Bassam (V&A Dundee).
Period27 Jan 2023
Event titleSynthetic Histories: Plastics, Climate and Colonialism
Event typeConference
LocationDundee, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • waste
  • plastics
  • circular economy
  • culture
  • urbanism
  • urban studies
  • participatory arts
  • participatory methods
  • Art
  • design
  • Dharavi
  • India
  • informal economy