Agenda 21, adopted at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, established that to achieve a concerted global effort in promoting sustainable development all levels of government need to incorporate environmental concerns within their decision-making processes (United Nations 1992). This thesis explores ways that social planners in government and environmental organisations can integrate environmental art, defined here as any art that aims to stimulate discussion and/or action around the environment, into their environmental education, social planning, and infrastructure processes to encourage environmentally sustainable behaviour at a grassroots level. Environmental art’s ability to affect pro-environmental behaviour change and an individual’s sense of place is investigated by delving into its appeal to people’s emotions, its attracting attention to nature and the environment, and its reinforcement of an environmental sense of place. The research uses three case studies of an environmental art festival, two public art sculpture installations, and an ecovisualisation on the Sunshine Coast of Australia to analyse environmental art in three situations. It uses a mixed method approach to collect and generate a rich assemblage of data (e.g. questionnaire responses, interview transcripts, and media coverage) to analyse the impetus for, and diversity of responses to, these representations of environmental art. As such, research participants included festival audiences, workshop participants, residents, artists and council employees.
Submitted in the fulfilment of the requirements of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, University of the Sunshine Coast, 2015