Regulated Exhibition

Friday, October 1, 2021 12:00 PM
Sunday, December 5, 2021 5:00 PM
Alfred House, Ashley Street, Nottingham, NG3 1JG NG3 1JG United Kingdom (map)

BACKLIT is delighted to be working with artist Joshua Sofaer and the Environment Agency (EA) on this exciting multidisciplinary exhibition, uniting art and environment to trigger some critical discussions. Joshua’s work focuses on how audiences engage with the world and a few of his previous projects include working with; Tate Modern (Scavengers), University College London (Object Retrieval) and the Science Museum in London (The Rubbish Collection). This unique collaboration between the artist, EA and the community will enable social engagement, allowing participants to feel some ownership of the final design – a plastic sculpture of a body.

In the UK we produce 98.66kg of plastic waste per capita in the country annually. This means we are throwing away significantly more plastic than our own body weight as an entire population, every single year.

Joshua Sofaer says of the project’s conception and his involvement in the show:

“In 2019 I had the opportunity to shadow members of the Environment Agency Regulated Industry team as they conducted their checks on industrial sites, including one of the largest plastic recyclers in the UK and a giant pork pie factory. I also visited small ‘end of life’ workshops that depollute cars, materials recycling facilities, and illegal waste sites. It was an eye-opening experience. Then the pandemic struck, and the world changed. But one thing that hasn’t changed, and in fact is getting worse, is the amount of waste that we produce. Single use PPE, which is saving lives, has only made this problem greater. This exhibition wants to raise some questions about the work of the Regulated Industry team and the scale of the plastic waste problem in the UK, including the waste produced by the creation and exhibition of art. I’m delighted to be working with BACKLIT and the Environment Agency on this project and looking forward to engaging with people across Nottingham.”

‘Regulated Exhibition’ will see BACKLIT Gallery transformed into a ‘factory’ where we will have ‘Science Communicators’ (the recycling drop off zone team) accepting donations in our Depot and sorting through the plastic. Throughout the exhibition, the Environment Agency will periodically regulate the processes undertaken and provide an insight into their work. There will be a film following the day in the life of a Regulated Industry officer at the Environment Agency and how they regulate and manage waste. There will also be a film about Joshua’s work and lots of educational information around the gallery.

Plastics collected from the public will be used to create a mould and human sculpture of a person representing the annual waste, 98.66kg, which will then become part of the final show.

Plastic Donations and Depot opening times:

If you want to drop your plastics off for one of our ‘Science Communicators’ to sort through in our ‘Depot’, please visit BACKLIT Saturday or Sunday 2-4pm. However, you can drop plastics off with a Gallery Invigilator at BACKLIT anytime during exhibition opening times, Friday – Sunday 12-5pm and a Science Communicator will sort through when they’re on duty. Please make sure plastic is clean as it might not be accepted otherwise.


We need a member of the public who is 98.66kg (15.4 stone/ 217.5 lb) to volunteer to have their body cast for the mould for the plastic body sculpture.

If you are the right weight, give or take a few pounds, you will need to be available Saturday 30 October for a live ‘body cast’ for the mould to be created. Public will be invited to watch the process so you will be on display. Please contact BACKLIT Marketing Coordinator Helen Trout if you’re interested and available:

Moulding the cast of the plastic person will take place Saturday 20 November which will then be displayed as part of the exhibition.

This is such a great opportunity to collaborate with organisations outside of the arts sector, highlighting environmental issues and promoting responsibility.

Other events will run throughout the exhibition including panel discussions with scientists, artists, and regulators about the hidden environmental impact of art making.

Don’t forget to follow us on our Social Media channels and when you visit tag your posts and use #BACKLITRegulated


‘Regulated Exhibition’ will be open Friday, Saturday & Sunday 12pm – 5pm. It is FREE to attend and no booking is required.

Group bookings: The gallery can be open Wednesday & Thursday by appointment only. Please contact us to book a slot.


There will be some exciting community and family workshops so please come along and get involved – click on the event links below for further information:

Community Coffee Mornings – FREE

Friday 8 October, 11am -1pm – Click here for further details

Friday 12 November, 11am -1pm – Click here for further details

Family activity: Wild Worlds – FREE

Sunday 24 October, 2 pm – 4 pm – Click here for further details

Live ‘body casting’ of person weighing 98.66kg for human sculpture – FREE

30 October, 1pm-3pm – Click here for further details

Community Workshop – A Sculpted Story: Our Old Sustainable World – FREE

Saturday 6 November, 2pm – 4pm – Click here for further details

Film Event – ‘The Smog of the Sea (2017)’ – £5 per ticket (proceeds to charity)

Saturday 13 November, 6 pm – 8 pm – Click here for further details

Walk and Talk: Saturday 27 November, 1-4pm – FREE

We’re holding a ‘Walk and Talk’ experience where you can join one or the other, or both (book separately).

Walk: 1-3pm: Behind the scenes with artist Joshua Sofaer and Matthew Chesney (BACKLIT Director) – Click here for further details

Talk 3-4pm: Panel discussion with; Environment Agency, BACKLIT, Academics and local groups – Click here for further details

Moulding of plastic human sculpture – FREE

Saturday 20 November, 1pm-3pm – Click here for further details

Community Workshop – Nurture Nature: Rewild your Habitat – FREE

Saturday 4 December, 2 pm – 4 pm – Click here for further details

With special thanks to the Sustainable Business Team’s ‘Sustainability & Innovation Fund’ for financially contributing towards the ‘Regulated Exhibition.’ Supported using public funding by Arts Council England, The Environment Agency, and Arnold Clark.