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Presented By: University of Michigan Museum of Art (UMMA)

Talking Trash: an Interactive Discussion Inspired by The Plastic Bag Store

University of Michigan Museum of Art

Click here to register:

Turn inspiration into impact with insights from researchers, scientists, artists, and activists tackling the question: What can we do about single-use plastics? The U-M Museum of Art, U-M Arts Initiative, the Graham Sustainability Institute, and the University Musical Society join forces to offer this illuminating event designed to share diverse perspectives and empower individual action.

Moderated by Jena Brooker, Detroit-based freelance journalist, an environmental reporter for BridgeDetroit, Data Fellow at the USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism, and Science-Health-Environment Reporting Fellow through the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing (CASW), Association of Health Care Journalists (AHCJ), and the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ). 

Panelists include: 

Lashaun Jackson, Graham Sustainability Scholar

Samuel McMullen, Co-Founder, Live Zero Waste

Shelie Miller, Professor, Director, Program in the Environment; Jonathan W. Bulkley Collegiate Professor of Sustainable Systems; U-M Distinguished Faculty Fellow in Sustainability, SEAS

Meredith Miller, Associate Professor of Architecture, Taubman College

Thomas Moran, Associate Professor of Architecture, Taubman College; collaborator, Thing Thing

Genevieve Rattray, Director of Environmental Initiatives and Affairs for the Belle Isle Conservancy and Founder & Chair of the Detroit River Coalition

Hannah Tizedes, Artist and Environmentalist

Single-use plastics, such as plastic bags, straws, and cutlery, have become a major environmental concern due to their widespread use and presence as a global polluter. These plastics can take hundreds of years to break down, and, in the process, release harmful chemicals into the environment.

During the event, the diverse panel of experts will explore various ways to reduce our reliance on single-use plastics, such as using reusable alternatives, implementing policies to reduce plastic production and consumption, and promoting recycling and proper waste management. The speakers will also discuss the role that individuals, businesses, and governments can play in addressing this issue.

 by Robin Frohardt is a custom-built public art installation and immersive film experience that uses humor, craft, and a critical lens to question our culture of consumption and convenience — specifically, the enduring effects of our single-use plastics. 

Shelves are stocked with thousands of original items meticulously sculpted by hand — produce and meat, dry goods and toiletries, cakes and sushi rolls — all made from discarded single-use plastics collected from streets and garbage dumps. Several times a day, the store transforms into an immersive, dynamic stage for a film in which inventive puppetry, shadow play, and intricate handmade sets tell the darkly comedic and sometimes tender story of how the overabundance of plastic waste we leave behind might be misinterpreted by future generations — and how what we value least may become our most lasting cultural legacy.   

The Plastic Bag Store is co-presented by the University Musical Society, the University of Michigan Museum of Art, and the U-M Graham Sustainability Institute, with support from the U-M Arts Initiative.

Title Sponsors: Rachel Bendit and Mark Bernstein
Principal Sponsors: Max Wicha and Sheila Crowley and an anonymous gift supporting programming focused on climate change and a sustainable environment
Supporting Sponsors: Destination Ann Arbor and Ilene H. Forsyth Theater Endowment FundMedia Partner: WEMU 89.1 FM

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