March 3, 2015

“The Plastic GYRE: Artists, Scientists and Activists Respond”

Ernest G. Welch School of Art and Design at Georgia State University
Courtesy of Pam Longobardi.

In an effort to raise awareness and discourse on the global crisis of plastic pollution, the Welch Foundation at Georgia State University (GSU), David J. Sencer Museum of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Plastic Pollution Coalition (PPC) jointly host the 2015 Welch Symposium, “The Plastic GYRE: Artists, Scientists and Activists Respond” on March 26–27.

The two-day symposium is part of the Atlanta Science Festival and will feature a wide array of experts discussing the most current research, creative response, activism mobilization and industry best practices in a quest to address runaway global plastic pollution. In conjunction with the conference, several events are planned including a partnership with a major international art exhibition, Gyre: The Plastic Ocean at The David J. Sencer CDC Museum, film screenings, pop-up exhibition, press junket and a cocktail reception at the CDC Museum.

“The Plastic GYRE: Artists, Scientists and Activists Respond” symposium is conceived by Pam Longobardi, GSU Distinguished University Professor, Professor of Art and founder of the Drifters Project. “The gyre is the scientific term for the ocean currents that propel plastic pollution around the world,” states Ms. Longobardi. “This is a unique conference that brings together top scientists, artists, activists and industry leaders as partners in exposing the environmental and public health issues and collaboratively working to offer solutions.”

A signature symposium component is the current art exhibit Gyre: The Plastic Ocean at The David J. Sencer CDC Museum. The exhibit explores the relationship between modern-day consumption culture, the environment and their joint impact upon communities around the world. Featured artists include Mark Dion (NY), Alexis Rockman (NY), Susan Middleton (CA), Dianna Cohen (CA), Pam Longobardi (GA), Stephen McPherson (UK), Sue Ryan (AU), Andy Hughes (UK), Max Liboiron (NF), and many more.

Symposium schedule

Thursday, March 26

GSU Salon Ballrooms
Student Center
44 Courtland St. SE
Atlanta, GA 30303

Coffee mingle

Welcoming remarks and scope of problem

“Communicating the Issue: Science and Art”

Beyond Greenwashing: Extended Producer Responsibility”

Mobilization from the Ground Up: Activism

“State of the GYRE – Good News Blitz”

Film screening: National Geographic’s “Gyre: Creating Art from the Plastic Ocean”


Friday, March 27

David J. Sencer CDC Museum and CDC Auditorium
1600 Clifton Road NE
Atlanta, GA 30329

Press junket and announcement

Exhibition viewing with curators and artists present

Welcome remarks / “CDC + Sustainability”

Social Justice”

Keynote address

Cocktail reception and exhibition viewing

To date, more than 30 notable experts will participate in the symposium including keynote speaker, Captain Charles Moore (Algalita Marine Research/Education and Discover of Great Pacific Garbage Patch), Laura Turner Seydel (Chair, Captain Planet Foundation; co-founder Chattahoochee RiverKeeper; board, Environmental Working Group), Susan Middleton (Guggenheim Fellow, artist/scholar/author, National Geographic photographer), Chelsea Rochman (ecotoxicologist, UC Davis, “plastic as hazardous waste”) and Rashid Nuri, (Director, Truly Living Well; urban gardener; former Clinton advisor on agriculture), among many more.


“The Plastic GYRE: Artists, Scientists and Activists Respond” symposium events are free and open to the public, but seating is limited and attendees “must” register for each day. For symposium registration, updates, complete list of speakers and supporting sponsors, please visit our website.

Important: Non-US citizens who wish to attend the keynote address and other presentations at the David J. Sencer CDC Museum must submit passport information no later than Thursday, March 12, 2015. Please contact [email protected] for further information.

“The Plastic GYRE: Artists, Scientists and Activists Respond” Welch Symposium is sponsored by the Welch Foundation at Georgia State University, Centers for Disease Control David J. Sencer Museum, Plastic Pollution Coalition, Drifters Project and through the generosity of supporting sponsors.


Pam Longobardi: [email protected] / T 404 413 5246
Paulita Bennett-Martin: [email protected] / M 404 825 5176

Thank you!

An email with a confirmation link has been sent to the email address you entered. To complete your subscription, click this link.