Exponential Growth is a commission for the Radar Arts Program at Loughborough Unversity. The project has created an exchange network to share locally found yeast cultures, in an experiment to see whether Loughborough’s ‘Culture’ can colonise the world, and what the limits are to growth.

There are many varieties of wild yeast present in our environment that have been used for centuries to leaven bread and ferment beer. In this form they are referred to as ‘starter cultures’.  Working with scientists, bakers and home-brew enthusiasts, artist Rebecca Beinart will experiment with capturing and growing these cultures, and developing them into Starter Kits, which will be distributed to local residents and visitors to take care of, use for food production, grow, divide and pass on. The project will attempt to create a network through which these Loughborough-born cultures can be spread regionally, nationally and globally. The systems of transport and exchange that help the culture to spread will be tracked through the project.

Exponential Growth brings into question our value judgements about locality, global economics, growth and sustainability. It is a phrase often used with abhorrence by environmentalists, and with glee by economists. Is continuous growth possible and desirable, or do all systems find their own limits?


Saturday 23 October, 2.30pm

Loughborough Town Hall, Market Place, Loughborough, LE11 3TT. FREE

In June, Loughborough’s ‘Culture’ was unleashed on the world in the form of wild yeast used for baking sourdough bread.  This Autumn, the home-bakers who have been keeping the culture alive will return to Loughborough bringing their prize loaves.  Come to the bread fair to hear about the extraordinary expansion of the yeast empire and to taste bread from Loughborough and beyond.

If you want to bring a loaf of your own you can still order a Starter Kit from info@exponentialgrowth.org

Exponential Growth:

Discussion with Dr Christian Taylor and Dr Paul Turner

Monday 25th October, 6pm

Martin Hall Studio Theatre, Loughborough University, LE11 3TU

In this discussion an economist and a mycologist are brought together to contrast financial systems with living systems, and further investigate issues of locality, global economics, growth and sustainability.

Dr Christian Taylor is an ecologist, farmer and educator who specialises in fungal ecology. He will describe patterns of growth in living systems, using mycelial growth as an example. Dr Paul M Turner is Deputy Dean of Economics and Reader in Economics at Loughborough University. He will describe growth in terms of monetary systems and global economies.

After these presentations the discussion will be opened out to the audience to consider what growth means in these different realms, and how we design our economies. Is continual growth possible? What are the limits to growth? What could economic systems learn from ecosystems?

Rebecca Beinart is a Nottingham based artist who makes live events and mobile objects that inspire curiosity and initiate conversations.  Her projects frequently take the form of an experiment in which you are invited to take part: exploring the territory between art, ecology and politics.

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