colourful paper sea horse

Education for Sustainability

Environmental Learning Activities & Events

At ONCA, we facilitate creative activities that promote education for sustainability within the Brighton & Lewes Downs’ UNESCO World Biosphere region.

Education for Sustainability at ONCA

At ONCA, we’re committed to working with the local community to build awareness of sustainability issues. Through our projects and events that focus on education for sustainability (EfS, also known as education for sustainable development or ESD), we aim to facilitate creative spaces to increase environmental knowledge and collectively develop inclusive solutions to sustainability problems within the Brighton & Lewes Downs Biosphere Reserve (The Living Coast).

So what is education for sustainability? This is a question that ONCA is always exploring. In 2014, UNESCO defined it as: 

“[education that] allows every human being to acquire the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values necessary to shape a sustainable future. Education for Sustainable Development means including key sustainable development issues into teaching and learning; for example, climate change, disaster risk reduction, biodiversity, poverty reduction, and sustainable consumption.”

“It also requires participatory teaching and learning methods that motivate and empower learners to change their behaviour and take action for sustainable development. Education for Sustainable Development consequently promotes competencies like critical thinking, imagining future scenarios and making decisions in a collaborative way. Education for Sustainable Development requires far-reaching changes in the way education is often practised today.”

In 2019 we were granted funding by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation Environment Programme to deliver a diverse and inspiring programme of free educational events that promote sustainability and positive environmental change the ONCA Barge. With this support, we aim to collaborate with schools and community groups from the Marina to Whitehawk and right across Sussex on projects that build confidence and connection with the environment.

To see what EfS events and activities we have coming up, click the link below.

What’s On

The Living Coast

We are one of the only arts charities in the UK to focus specifically on environmental change and related social challenges. Along with our gallery, we manage the Barge at Brighton Marina as an accessible space for creative environmental learning, especially about The Living Coast (TLC), Brighton & Lewes Downs’ UNESCO World Biosphere region. TLC aims to:

  1. Conserve and enhance nature
  2. Support sustainable human development
  3. Promote environmental awareness, knowledge, learning and engagement

ONCA sits on the delivery board for The Living Coast where we co-lead on the Biosphere arts strategy with Fabrica.

We also sit on the steering group of TLC’s Nature2020 project. 2020 will mark the end of the UN Decade on Biodiversity, and Nature2020 aims to celebrate the richness and significance the natural environment of The Living Coast, and actively engage more people in the care and conservation of local nature.

To find out more about Nature2020 visit click the link below

See More

Schools Outreach Projects & Activities

We’ve worked with many local schools and artists with to develop and deliver a variety of workshops and activities. We also deliver outreach projects in formal and informal educational settings with learners of all abilities. We model and enable artistic practice that helps people of all ages imagine and move towards a thriving future. Some of our most recent projects include:

If you would know more about our current and past schools outreach projects click the link below.

See More


We’ve documented some of our environmental learning events and activities through a range of videos, podcasts and publications.

See Resources

Get In Touch

If you have any ideas or questions relating our Education for Sustainability programme please email us at: