To change the mindset from us-and-them to team-strengths

The last thing I did before leaving academia were to develop an interdisciplinary research and teaching approach to learning and teaching in sustainability. Having been very fortunate that my old institution during my doctoral research promoted an interdisciplinary approach to research I have in the last decade worked across fields such as art, design, engineering and science. With a college degree in art, bachelor’s degree in product design, PhD in recycled glass and a post doc in engineering my interdisciplinary experience has made me appreciate the complexity of sustainable development.

The global crisis is not a single problem that only experts can solve, nor a solution with government legislation. The consequences of the global crisis are as much a mindset that needs to be changed and this mindset can be seen at all level of the society, on a micro level as well as on macro level. To change the mindset from us-and-them, short-term-success and individual-career-goals, to team-strengths, collaborative-attitudes and social-economy is not done overnight. The paper Using interdisciplinary research project collaborations as a pedagogic tool to enhance learning and teaching published in the open source journal Wales Journal of Learning and Teaching in Higher Education in 2019 are describing the results from a interdisciplinary project that fostered the five-ways-of-working from the Wellbeing of Future Generation Act (collaboration, integration, prevention, involvement and long-term thinking).

Below is a picture of some of the authors in the published paper.

Fron Left: J. Ferriz-Papi, G.Owen, A.Nantel, L. Hopkinson, I. Standen and T. Oseng-Rees

Fron Left: J. Ferriz-Papi, G.Owen, A.Nantel, L. Hopkinson, I. Standen and T. Oseng-Rees

World Environmental Day

I enjoyed the event ‘Building a Sustainable Future’ on the World Environment Day today organised by Swansea University and their REIS team at National Waterfront Museum today. I also had the pleasure to display my work and talk about how my love and passion for sustainability, art and science and how I combine my passion in my business to give you a bespoke recycled glass product with a story attached to it.


Crafting a sustainable Modernity-Breaking boundaries for something you believe in!

Breaking boundaries for something you believe in!

How do you move forward in your academic career when you always fall between chairs? When the labels available for you is either “art” , “engineering” or “sustainability”. When research funding is is only for those who have many years experience and funding only is released in priority areas. How can you innovate then? How can you create new ways of thinking? And what do you do when you only meet closed doors? You find new ways, you dare taking risks, and you need to believe strongly that what you are doing is the right thing! And I did it! Against all odds I carved out a small pilot project, presented it to the senior managements, project management, lecturers and students. And one by one got on board with me ,and this research paper recently published you can read how it happened.

I want to thank everyone who were involved, especially lecturers Ian Standen and Juan-Ferriz Papi, Lisa Burkl, Lara Hopkinson and Greg Owen.

Making Futures Journal 2017 Crafting a sustainable Modernity - towards a maker aesthetics of production and consumption.

Oseng-Rees, T., Standen, I., & Ferriz-Papi, J., 2018, An interdisciplinary project using recycled glass as an aesthetically pleasing architectural material, Making Futures: Crafting a sustainable Modernity - towards a maker aesthetics of production and consumption. Vol 5. ISSN 2042-1664 Click here for full paper

Incredible proud to be featured in Advances Wales, The Journal for Science, Engineering and Technology.

Read Page 16 Making art from recycled glass

Oseng-Rees Reflection has developed an innovative way of recycling glass bottles to make sustainable, decorative panels for architectural applications. Once the contents of glass bottles have been consumed, they tend to be put in a mixed colour glass skip and collected for recycling. These bottles typically end up being down cycled to make low value products such as filter beds and aggregates. Oseng-Rees Reflection, based in Swansea, is now up cycling recycled glass bottles into a sustainable material that is aesthetically pleasing and suitable for interior and architectural installations, wall panels and tiles.

Advances88_pp16 only-2.jpg

Modern World, Recycled glass- a guest lecture to architect students

So where do you start when you are being asked to deliver a guest lecture inModern World’ with the topic ‘Recycled glass’ to architect students?

Guest lecturing at School of Architecture, University of W ales Trinity Saint David

Guest lecturing at School of Architecture, University of W ales Trinity Saint David

The most natural place is to talk about why recycling is important. Why sustainability and circular economy is something that they need to consider and how the four pillars of sustainability (environment, economic, social and cultural) need to be at their heart of decision making when they work towards their degree in architecture. But most importantly, why they cannot sit back and wait for new legislations to force them into decisions that consider future generations.  It must be infused in their lives, be a part of their thinking, and they must break out of business-as-usual way of thinking.

My passion for the environment, sustainability, arts and science has always been a part of my life. But how did it become a part of my life in the first place? I had influencers around me, people with passion, people who cared about environment, and people whose actions made changes towards a better society. And me…? I was encouraged to speak up too.

And with these pictures from 1992 my, lecture started!

The environmental pages: Text/illustration Tyra 1992

What is the word environment?

The word environment is used a lot today. It is classroom environment, indoor environment, outdoor environment [and stuff like that]. In marketing of products there is many environmentally friendly products available. So, this shows that many people are concerned about the environment. And this is what I would like to talk more about, about environment and pollution.

Locally, Saltdal (my town) has very little impact in the big world. We have no industry to speak of, but locally there is always something that we can improve. For example, the sewage under the local pier and by the camping place that releases raw unfiltered sewage out. We have a landfill site next to the river, and we can see rubbish drifting downstream in the river, and unfiltered sewage are released here too. But in regards of the raw sewage, I have interviewed Arne Hals.

Interview with Technical Manager from the local council, Arne Hals.

Me: Is it allowed to release unfiltered sewage in the fjord?

AH: Yes and no. We can release sewage, but not the way we do it. We do have a sieve that reduces it by 20-30%. This is a problem and something and we will try to move the pipe into deeper water, but it is unknown when this will be done. 

Me: What about the fjord? Can it cope with this?

AH: Yes, it copes better than the river. It takes what it can take.

Me: Regarding the river, is it rubbish or sewage that is drifting downstream?

AH: It is sewage. But it is a water pipe further downstream and it can look quite foul. And it has been talked about taking some water samples, but this cost money.

High voltage power masts: Text/Illustration, Tyra 1992

High voltage power masts: Text/Illustration, Tyra 1992

Imaging, a beautiful summers day

Imaging, a beautiful summers day some ten, eleven and twelve-year-old children goes to the forest to build a den to play in. And they discover that trees have been cut down, even the great climbing tree is gone. Later they find out that it has been deforested due to a high-voltage power masts which is due to be installed there. No one knew that these high-voltage power masts were to be put up right there

Well, it has been a year since this case was discussed and the electricity company agreed that the high voltage masts could be moved further south. But when the masts were installed it was only moved about ten meters south. We don’t know much about its high voltage power masts, but what we do know is that it is high risk to be close to them. And despite this, they still insist of putting one up near the housing estates by Nygård.

I mean it, STOP with pollution!. ; Text/Illustration Tyra, 1992

I mean it, STOP with pollution!. ; Text/Illustration Tyra, 1992

But the big world has great concerns,

as for example the ozone layer has as many holes as a Sweitzer-cheese. And children in Africa is born blind due to the harmful sun-rays coming through the broken ozone layer. The sun-rays are so dangerous that we soon cannot go outside without protection from the sun. We can get skin cancer and various other scary things like that.

So, this is what I say, and not just me, we are young and old who says this. STOP!!! We don’t want more of the acid rain, sun burns, skin cancer, foul smell and difficulties to breath. STOP!!! Stop with pollution, try to reduce waste. Recycle your wastes, start a compost in the garden, put plastic in one bag and paper and cardboard in another. And the waste that can’t be recycled you can landfill. Smoking is bad for your health too, both for smokers and non-smokers. You can demand a smoke free environment both for eating and working in.

So, to those of you who have read this, I mean it, don’t just sit there and stare at the wall, do something. We have only one earth to live on.

And at last, some tip for you all.

*    Ask people to turn off their car engine when standing still

*    Ask people to pick up the litter they throw after them self

*    Ask mum and dad to cycle to work/shop

*    If you must use the car share it, not just sit one and one in it

*    Respect non-smokers

What is sustainability?

The lecture continues with debates, discussions and philosophical views about the future, the responsibilities of the next generation and how past generations has consumed resources without the thoughts of tomorrow. We discussed how circular economy will be a part of the future and how ‘Potential employment opportunities to Wales of operation of transformational circular economy’.

Slide from: Dr Andy Rees, OBE, Head of Waste Strategy Waste & Resource Efficiency Division, Welsh Government

Slide from: Dr Andy Rees, OBE, Head of Waste Strategy Waste & Resource Efficiency Division, Welsh Government

The students were then introduced to some facts and figures of glass recycling today and shown a video from groundbreaking research by Telesilla Bristogianni and Faidra Oikonomopoulou at Delft University using glass as structural elements, which you can see here.

The research proposal that gave grounds for the amendments in 2015, in the Sustainability Principles for SA1

And finally, the students were presented by the case study of how waste glass can be up-cycled to sustainable architectural material. They learnt how one person’s passion can be groundbreaking for new thinking in an interdisciplinary study, and presented with the research proposal was gave grounds for the amendments that occurred in June 2015, in the Sustainability Principles for SA1 at University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD). These amendments developed opportunities to use the creative, design and environmental skills of staff and learners within UWTSD for the SA1 development.  

Research proposal by Dr Oseng-Rees June 2015,. This proposal gave grounds for the amendments that occurred in June 2015, in the Sustainability Principles for SA1.

The interdisciplinary case study demonstrated that by using the five-ways-of-working from the Well-being of Future Generations Act 2015 as a design-tool, new and in innovative thinking can break through barriers which previously have been unachievable through an inflexible system of thinking.

The making of the IQ Receptions desk

They were finally shown the full video of ‘The making of the IQ Receptions desk which is situated in the very same building they are studying in. The lecture finished (with a round of applause) hopefully with students who now have a new spark of glowing passion for the environment, sustainability, arts and science, all wedded together with a long-term view of prevention of problems, integrating challenges, collaborations between disciplines and involving all stakeholders in their future commissions.

Circularity in Industry. How can waste volarisation add value...

‘Circularity in Industry. How can waste volarisation add value to organizations and supply chain?’

This was the theme participants was encountering at the 3rd iLEGO (Innovation Lean Effective Green Operation) workshop, hosted by Cardiff Business School at Cardiff University yesterday 15th January 2019 and organized by Prof. Maneesh Kumar & Dr. Vasco Sanchez Rodrigues. Key note speaker such as Sophie Howe, the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales and Dr Andy Rees, OBE were there to inform us of the challenges we face for our future. Andy Rees is championing the need to reduce the production of waste and Circular Economy for the built environment whilst Sophie Howe referenced the Well-being of Future Generation Act and urged us to look holistically on our sustainable development challenges (environmental, economic, social and culturally) and answer the problems through the five ways of working.

‘Make simple changes’, ‘Being adventurous’, ‘Stretch yourself’ and ‘Lead the way’ says Sophie and this will be the key words for 2019 at Oseng-Rees Reflection, along with the five ways of working: involvement, collaborations, long-term thinking, prevention and integration.  

3rd iLego Workshop hosted by Cardiff Business School

3rd iLego Workshop hosted by Cardiff Business School

Presentation by Dr Andy Rees, OBE

Presentation by Dr Andy Rees, OBE

Key note speaker by Sophie Howe, the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales

Key note speaker by Sophie Howe, the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales

Dr Oseng-Rees visiting Edinburgh College of Art

In the beginning of December this year I put my academic hat on and did an examination of a research thesis for Edinburgh College of Art at Edinburgh University with topics of #RecycledGlass, #ArtGlass, #TransferableSkills, #EmpoweringWomen, #MicroEnterprise, #Innovation, #BusinessStart-Up, #AlturisticDesign and #Sustainability in Africa. An important topic not only for the local community but also something we need to focus on here in UK.

After the examination the conversation with other colleagues in the field of #Architecture, #Sustainability, #Glass and #Making shows that we need to find new ways of crossing boundaries collaborating and learning from each other.

Edinburgh College of Art

Edinburgh College of Art

Edinburgh College of Art newest addition of a glass casting kiln

Edinburgh College of Art newest addition of a glass casting kiln

Students studio

Students studio

Leading artist collaborates with staff and students to recycle glass into beautiful architectural panels

An exciting collaboration between a leading artist, staff and students across two faculties at UWTSD has culminated in an innovative project to produce a reception desk for the new IQ building in SA1 Swansea Waterfront made from recycled glass.

From left: Ian Standen, Dr Tyra Oseng-Rees, Jana Kleprlikova

From left: Ian Standen, Dr Tyra Oseng-Rees, Jana Kleprlikova

The brain-child of Dr Tyra Oseng-Rees, Founder and director of Oseng-Rees Reflection, the project involved 3,000 glass bottles being collected from a restaurant in Llanelli, processed, designed and manufactured into bespoke panels.

“My ambition was to make beautiful architectural panels from recycled glass and to show that up-cycled glass bottles can be made into an artisan product that meets the needs of the architectural industry. With this collaboration I wanted to prove that innovation happens through a change of mind-set and the project was designed around the five-ways-of-working of the Wellbeing of Future Generation Act. Only by breaking out of a rigid way of thinking, new ways of working towards a sustainable world can come through. ”

Dr Oseng-Rees, Founder and Director, Oseng-Rees Reflection

A wide range of research staff including Ian Standen who has set up the new Architecture programme at the Faculty of Architecture, Computing and Engineering, Lara Hopkinson from environmental conservation, Allan Nantel from construction and Dr Juan Ferriz-Papi from construction management were involved in the project. The enhanced student learning aspect was overseen by Dr Gregory Owen and Lisa Burkl oversaw the contemporary processes in glass arts. The project was based on a highly innovative field of research which investigated the feasibility of low temperature fused recycled glass as an architectural material. It is an area of study that has been developed by Dr Tyra Oseng-Rees, working with recycled glass in design and construction.

“This project is an example of up-cycling a waste material (in this case bottle glass) into a high value architectural design application with a strong artistic merit. Both staff and students have been very excited to be involved in this interdisciplinary project linking creative talent to its strong environment, sustainable and recycling credentials.”

Dr Oseng-Rees

The project brief was set by Kier Construction and the University SA1 Project Team at the SA1 Swansea Waterfront development. As well as the input of research and teaching staff from the university, the project was divided into smaller sub-projects and run as separate undergraduate student projects from the different Schools and Faculties. Students studying Architecture, Glass (Architectural Arts), Project and Construction Management, Environmental Conservation and Engineering combined their talents to complete the project.

“UWTSD, Kier Construction and Stride Treglown were all very supportive and enthusiastic about the project, appreciating how the use of recycled architectural glass can enhance the wellbeing of people who visit the new buildings and how the university’s reputation on environmental and sustainability issues can go hand-in-hand, with the creative industries and mutually reinforce each other,”

Dr Oseng-Rees.

“Tyra came to us with the idea of trialling a new recycled glass material and we thought this was too an exciting opportunity to miss. It presented an opportunity for our students and academics to work together and it is a sustainable product that reuses a material that’s been in the local area.”

Mike Bessell, Senior Estates Manager at SA1 Swansea Waterfront

“I came to UWTSD to set up the architecture course, so I was aware of the requirements for a reception desk at the very start. However, the opportunity to try something new and collaborate with other colleagues in the University, and to work with Tyra and the potential of using recycled glass, was too enticing.”

Ian Standen, Architecture

From left: Dr Juan Ferriz-Papi, Dr Greg Owen, Allan Nantel, Lara Hopkinson, Ian Standen, and Dr Tyra Oseng-Rees

From left: Dr Juan Ferriz-Papi, Dr Greg Owen, Allan Nantel, Lara Hopkinson, Ian Standen, and Dr Tyra Oseng-Rees

“I got involved when I was a student at UWTSD. I was in my third year and Tyra came in and introduced her work with recycled glass material. I liked the idea of the sustainability of this material and potentially working on the live project.”

Jana Klerprlikova, Graduate project Glass

“I decided to run with Tyra’s option with fused recycled glass. I am excited about innovation and new ideas in the construction industry and after further research into and discussions with Tyra, I could see benefits of having and using this material and I think it’s something that should be considered and considered further as a building product”

Dave Halley, Graduate Project, Construction Managements

“What I love about this project is that Tyra picked this up and absolutely ran with it. Tyra’s and her team’s design systems thinking meant that they wanted engineers, environmental conservationists, artists and others to work on a project that actually covers 4 schools of the University and two faculties.”

Dr Jane Davidson, Pro Vice-Chancellor, UWTSD

“We found the process of working with Tyra to be a collaboration in the true sense of the word. She and her team became an integrated part of the design team and brought an inspiring, fresh approach to the work.”

Pierre Wassenaar Director, Head of Technology and Innovation, Stride Treglown Architects

Phase 1 of University’s the £350 million development is complete and has created a new home for Yr Athrofa, The Institute of Education, the Faculty of Architecture, Computing and Engineering, the Construction Wales Innovation Centre (CWIC) as well as a new library.

The University’s vision for SA1 Swansea Waterfront is to create a neighborhood with academic activity at its core to attract companies to collocate with the University to exploit knowledge, develop skills, support existing companies and attract new investment into the region.

Press release from University of Wales Trinity Saint David