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MDX students’ digital air quality campaign goes on display in Edgware town centre

21/03/2024
Series of images complement new mural commissioned as part of cultural programme to mark area’s centenary

Students from Middlesex University contributed to the creation of a series of digital images that have gone on display on a large advertising screen in Station Road, Edgware, alongside a vibrant new mural from the London-based artist Holly Graham entitled ‘Stop and Smell The Flowers’.

The integrated artwork celebrates the centenary of Station Road as well as aiming to raise awareness of air quality in North London and inspire passers-by to act to address the problem.  

The nine students, who are studying MSc Sustainability and Environmental Management and BSc Biology, produced a series of slides in brainstorming workshops at the University with Graham and public art organisation UP Projects, which curated the artwork.

Their ideas came from discussions in a University students' group called FreshAirCampus which was set up by Dr Christophe Viavattene, Associate Professor of Environmental Sustainability, a few years’ ago.  

Some of the slides ask passers-by to consider the words ‘what are we breathing’ imprinted on photos of nature, while others show an air pollution map of Barnet or encourage residents that ‘together we can improve air quality’.

Dr Viavattene said: “We are delighted to be have been involved in this important project. Our students worked as a team to investigate outdoor air quality data and produce a creative campaign with images and slogans that raise awareness of the issue and create a call to action.”

“The project complemented the content of their courses, as well as provided an opportunity to collaborate with Holly Graham and get involved with our local community in Barnet and Edgware.”

FreshAirCampus aims to increase students’ knowledge of issues around air quality and works closely with Clean Air Barnet, a partnership between members of Friends of the Earth Barnet, Middlesex University, and Mothers Climate Action Network, set up to raise awareness about air quality and encourage action to improve air quality and protect our health.

"We are delighted to be have been involved in this important project. Our students worked as a team to investigate outdoor air quality data and produce a creative campaign with images and slogans that raise awareness of the issue and create a call to action."  Dr Viavattene, Middlesex University

The students also contributed to the first Clean Air Barnet Insight Report, now available online. The report is intended to inform decisions and actions to improve air quality based on an analysis of Breathe London air quality data.

Dorcia Frempong, an MSc Sustainability and Environmental Management student who was involved in the project, said: “This was a fantastic opportunity for students to work together to expand our knowledge of air quality. We researched data about the sources of pollutants and what contributes to their emissions in the Barnet area, and brainstormed solutions. We obtained data using portable monitors and from sources such as environmental research groups, and shared our creative ideas.

“The collaboration with Holly Graham and UP Projects gave an artistic touch to our collective ideas and created an avenue to express them alongside the mural display. Seeing our final work brought a lot of satisfaction after our hard work and collaborative effort as the FreshAirCampus team.”

Amira Maldonado, who is studying an MSc in Sustainability and Environmental Management, said: “Translating air quality data into illustrations to show people the situation in Barnet was a very good and enriching exercise since it allowed us to connect both science and art in one project and for a worthwhile purpose in increasing community environmental awareness. 

“Overall, it was a very good experience and it was exciting to see the impact of our hard work.”

Other students involved in the project include: Solomon Ibrahim, Joyce Adewale, Deborah Asije, Nachiketa Kulkarni, and Havva Salih. Solomon, who is also studying for an MSc in Sustainability and Environmental Management, said: “I am excited to be a part of the conscious efforts to improve air quality in Barnet.”

The artwork was commissioned by Barnet Council as part of a cultural programme marking 100 Years of Station Road aimed at bringing communities together and revitalising the area.

The mural was co-designed during workshops with Graham involving the local community, 75 young people from the FUSE Youth Group and Edgware Primary School and Northgate School.

Find out about studying Sustainability at Middlesex University.


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