Engaging transformative technologies

HotHouse is the dynamic creative engagement program of the Total Environment Centre. With events, exhibitions and educational programs we inspire and empower with new ideas and actions. We believe building sustainability provides a unique opportunity to build a brighter, smarter, better world for everyone. HotHouse makes positive change accessible and fun.

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Mission

Build a brighter, smarter, better future for all Australians.  

  • Flourishing and resilient cities and human communities
  • Flourishing and resilient ecological communities
  • Prosperity without eroding the resources of future generations
  • Australia emerges as a globally recognised producer of innovative thought and design

Method

We switch people on to environmental issues using creative engagements that are different and unique. This builds an engaged audience. We then work with collaborators on follow-through, to create meaningful action and insight.

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Past projects

HotHouse launched in 2014 with grant support from the City of Sydney and partnerships with Sydney water and the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences. The program was established not just as an event series, but as a dynamic new brand focused on sustainability innovation and solutions-based approaches.

  • Throughout 2014 four major high-production events (SPACE, STUFF, ENERGY and WATER) were run at the Powerhouse’s Turbine Hall venue, to sell-out crowds. Our 30+ speakers included some of the top thinkers and actors in the country. These sell-out inaugural shows generated rave reviews in mainstream media such as Timeout Sydney and Fifth Estate.

  • We curated Waterways, a five week pop-up exhibition fusing art with scientific data about water and pollution which attracted several thousand visitors in early 2015. Our sponsors - Frasers Property, Sekisui House and Central Park Services. 
  • HotHouse LABs were held in August 2015 on BUILDINGS and NEIGHBOURHOOD. They were practical workshops designed for business, providing inspiration and resources to help organisations make immediate change towards sustainability. The LABs were supported by the City of Sydney.

  • Following the success of Waterways we were invited to participate in the Chippendale BEAMS Festival in September 2015. The work, entitled ‘Our Water, Our Place’ was an exploration of community connection to water in Sydney. It occupied the most prominent location at the festival and featured as the lead image for festival coverage in the Sydney Morning Herald. This generated considerable exposure for the TEC. We secured $1000 sponsorship from Frasers Property to cover staffing costs and incidentals.

Current projects

The Ocean Action Pod

The Ocean Action Pod is a pop-up multimedia educational experience that has been created by the Total Environment Centre to engage both adults and children with the growing problem of plastic pollution. It’s a 5 metre long walk-in trailer fitted out with interactive displays, a science discovery station and flatscreen TV that plays educational films. The Pod was developed with support from the NSW Environmental Trust in early 2016. In its first six months of operation it has travelled to beaches and parks around Wollongong, Sydney and Newcastle and continues to tour in collaboration with various local Councils. One of the Pod's primary tasks is to promote the campaigns of the Boomerang Alliance - world class container deposit systems across Australia; state-wide bans on single-use plastic bags; a national ban on microbeads; and increased efforts to clean up industrial plastic pollution.

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The Greenhouse

HotHouse is back at the PowerHouse Museum in 2016 for an exciting monthly event series in collaboration with Sydney's long-running GreenUps program. We’re all about working with others and coming together with GreenUps really expands our ability to put on regular events. The Greenhouse is the same HotHouse mix of cutting edge ideas and debate that was so successful in our 2014 events, with short talks and audience participation keeping things lively and engaging. So far in 2016 we have explored: the role of women in sustainability; coastlines, ocean pollution and sea-level rise; the politics of climate change; and the future of sustainable cities.


The Greenhouse is held on the first Tuesday of every month. Tickets are $10 in advance ($5 students/unwaged), or $15 on the door. Check the Greenhouse website for details of upcoming event topics and speakers and to sign up for regular emails.

Upcoming projects

Ocean Action Network (A youth engagement program, currently under development)

HotHouse is currently developing a youth engagement program to compliment the Ocean Action Pod, with further support from the NSW Environment Trust. Aimed primarily at teenagers the program will be focused on a curriculum-integrated cross-disciplinary high schools program. Activities will include a scalable citizen science program designed to map the presence of micro plastics on beaches as well as a video competition where young people are challenged to creatively engage their peers on plastic pollution issues. The program will be piloted in 2017 with broader roll-out in 2018.

Energy Action Pod

Building off the strong early success of our Ocean Action Pod, with its marine plastics pollution theme, we are planning a second mobile pod with a community and consumer-facing energy transformation theme – clean, distributed, and empowering for consumers and local communities. Part education resource, part functional mobile infrastructure, the Energy Action Pod is envisaged as a state-of-the-art, professionally designed and highly innovative showcase of clean energy, energy efficiency and ‘smart’ technology, with a truly impressive capacity in terms of KW output and functional systems. HotHouse is currently developing the idea and exploring funding opportunities to build the Energy Action Pod in 2017.

Grid Shifter Network

The Grid Shifter Network will be a state-wide forum for the clean technology revolution. A core component will be a weekly podcast on clean technology issues featuring guests from across the industry with voices from government, business, NGOs and communities. The aim of the podcast is to demystify the world of clean technology and make it exciting and engaging for a more general audience. The network will also feature an online forum for professionals and a series of regional events with live streaming to the podcast. The Energy Pod is intended to compliment the network as it tours. HotHouse is currently pursuing encouraging funding opportunities with a view to launch the Grid Shifter Network inn 2017.

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