Waste… of Our Time

Current stage: Awarded


● Precious Plastic Plymouth & Tavistock

● Plymouth Scrapstore

● Environment Plymouth


Describe your aims and ideas

Judy Harington and Kate Crawfurd have a project: ‘WASTE…OF OUR TIME’ to create a giant Plastic Waste Spiral Sculpture for Plymouth, in collaboration with communities across Plymouth. The aim is to help tackle plastic pollution through raising awareness, starting conversations about plastic in the environment and giving people a sense of agency – that anyone and everyone can be part of the solution, and show that they care. Participation will generate an increased sense of belonging and pride in the city. The final sculpture will stand as a symbol of the destructive impact the human race has on our precious planet, and a reminder that time is running out to put things right.

The spiral is a symbol of hope: of renewal, of consciousness and life itself. It is a fitting form to contemplate the way forwards.

Judy and Kate are calling out for groups, schools, businesses and households to collect selected clean plastic waste that might reflect a particular problem or be an essential part of the business, or simply be of interest. They will be running workshops to contemplate the issues and create art work, filling the steel-mesh gabion baskets that form the building blocks for a giant spiral maze. Each gabion basket will have a tag stating who has contributed the contents, what it is and if it is locally recycled. The gabion baskets will be stacked to form the high walls of the giant spiral maze, which visitors will be able to walk into, where they will be surrounded by plastic waste. The idea is that this will be a somewhat unsettling experience, connecting with people emotionally. The central area will be a space of contemplation where visitors might bring an offering to reflect upon. There will be lighting, a sound-scape and interactive elements to give feedback regarding people’s thoughts about plastic.

A large vacant city centre property has been found through the ‘Meanwhile Use’ scheme coordinated by Plymouth Culture, and doors should be open from mid-Feb 2022. Workshops and other activities will take place in February and March, with the venue becoming a space for exchange of ideas, collaboration, education and creative workshops, as well as providing the space for the build. We will be inviting other local

environmental groups to join us and showcase their work during British Science Week 11-20 March, and plan to hold a special event 25-27th March to include invited speakers, art work and performance.

Judy and Kate are fortunate to have secured the services of Morgan Sindall Contractors to project manage the build, to help with the construction and advise regarding Health and Safety aspects.

The public Facebook page WASTE…OF OUR TIME will be used to keep all those interested abreast of developments. Regular press statements and interviews will be given wherever possible.

Fotonow are creating a film document with French subtitles, and short clips for social media feeds to promote the project. The Hundred Hands group may feature us in the ‘We Tell Your Story’ project.

The University of Plymouth are helping with evaluation of the project through feedback from workshops and questionnaires.

At the end of March 2022 there will be an Open Event with speakers and performers, welcoming all involved to experience the finished sculpture, to generate publicity and question further our relationship with plastic.

After 31st March it is hoped to move the sculpture to another venue, ideally outside in a public space, for others to contemplate and experience.

The project currently has limited funding from PCC through the Preventing Plastic Pollution Coalition and Interreg EU, but further funding is urgently required to staff the Meanwhile Use premises for optimal engagement with the public and groups, and run more workshops in a Covid-safe way. Such activities are crucial to changing entrenched attitudes and habits concerning consumerism at the expense of the environment and our future.


Describe how you will work together to achieve this

Kate Crawfurd has worked as a practicing artist for over 20 years. She is currently Director of Precious Plastic Plymouth and Tavistock, a creative engagement CIC aiming to reduce plastic waste and inspire respect for the environment. This project runs public demonstrations, workshops and school outreach activities.

Other notable recent public artworks include:

The Ocean Organ 2021, an interactive installation visualizing Ocean Acidification, produced as a Creative Associates of the University of Plymouth

Eco-Days Exhibition 2021 at Ocean Studios, Royal William Yard

Forget-me-Nots of Remembrance 2021-An environmental mural sponsored by Plymouth Octopus Project at Plymouth Play Scrapstore

She has strong connections with schools across the city and is currently engaged in a Take a Part schools project.

Judy Harington took early retirement from the NHS to follow her passion for art, studying at Exeter College and subsequently Plymouth College of Art where she graduated with distinction in 2019. Her work revolves around environmental issues, recently focussing on plastic pollution. She produced a performance ‘Drowning in Plastic’ (2018) and subsequently a short film ‘Unnatural Tides’ (2019). She organised a Mini Symposium at Plymouth College of Art entitled ‘Plastics and You’ (Mar 2019) with invited speakers from UoP, Environment Plymouth and the recycling industry. Her dissertation “Connecting through the Senses: Communicating the Anthropocene Through Performance Art” informs her practice going forwards as her main aim is to engage people in the issues we face and discuss how we can address them. Art is a powerful tool in this respect.

Judy has considerable teaching experience and has run numerous workshops at Plymouth College of Art, at Tate Modern for Tate Exchange.

She worked with Rhizome Artists’ Collective to produce an evolving art installation and performance painting All At Sea at Tinside Lido for Plymouth Art Weekender, 25-27 Sept 2020.

Recent exhibitions include Devon Open Studios with Rhizome Artists’ Collective featuring ‘Wrapped’, a plastic installation (11-26 Sept 2021), and extensive work including giant jellyfish from plastic packaging in Saltash Library, Sept-Nov 2021. She

exhibited beach finds: ‘Washed Up’ and other work for the Triad Exhibition at Leadworks, Plymouth, 19-21 Nov 2021.

Judy and Kate have strong links with Plymouth College of Art (PCA), the University of Plymouth (UoP) and numerous small environmental organisations across the region. They come together in this project to share their passions and connections with a common goal. They have already trialled a jointly-run workshop and have many ideas for the way forwards.

Plymouth Scrapstore is collaborating with Precious Plastics to help source materials for the project and provide space for outreach workshops if required. Their expertise is much welcomed by Judy and Kate, who will promote this amazing resource through the project.

Environment Plymouth and Plastic Free Plymouth have long been advocating community and business engagement to reduce our reliance on plastic, particularly single-use plastics, and have offered to support and promote the project through their contacts and on social media. In return the project will encourage businesses and individuals to sign up to the Plastic Free Plymouth pledge to reduce single-use plastic.

Plymouth City Council are funding the project primarily through the Plastic Pollution Coalition and Interreg EU, and their support is greatly appreciated.

Judy and Kate are grateful to Hannah Harris of Culture Plymouth who is coordinating the Meanwhile Use project, providing us with a temporary venue for our work, which they hope will be a shop-front venue in the shopping precinct, enabling engagement with passers-by.

A major collaboration is with Morgan Sindall Construction who have kindly offered to oversee the build of the giant spiral maze. There have already been meetings of the relevant parties.


During the first round, POP members were asked to advise you. Tell us what happened. What are your reflections? Have you gained new insight? New partners?

The project has already built relationships with several schools, City College, Brownie groups, Art and Energy, CleanOur Patch, Rame Peninsular Beach Care, Seadream Education CIC, Pollenize, Barbican Rebels, Plymouth Children in Poverty, Green Shoots Eco, The Sustainability Institute, University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust, Devon Contract Waste, MVV Waste to Energy Facility, CTiP, RIO and Nudge, as well as receiving offers of help from numerous individuals. Students from UoP and PCA are likely to be assisting with the project.