Air pods during construction at St John's College


Experience the air quality of five major cities this autumn with St John’s College and the Oxford Cultural Programme

Published: 23 October 2023


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St John’s College, Oxford is inviting Oxford residents to travel the world and experience the air quality of five different global locations.

Michael Pinsky’s Pollution Pods will contrast the College’s historic architecture with five geodesic domes which aim to raise public awareness of the impact of air pollution on human health. Connected in a circle, each dome recreates the air quality of a different global city through a carefully curated recipe emulating the relative presence of ozone, particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide and carbon monoxide. Starting with the clean air of Tautra in Norway, audiences continue through the high levels of pollution found in London, New Delhi, Beijing and São Paulo.

Located in the Front Quad of St John’s College, Pollution Pods will be open to the public from 21 October to 5 November. This is the first time that the installation has been brought to Oxford or showcased in a higher education setting.

The Pods will run alongside two bespoke exhibitions in Canterbury Quad. The first has been established to demonstrate the College’s own sustainability programme and how it is making listed buildings work for future generations. The other, called Balance, is a travelling photography exhibition featuring images from the Sustainable Photographer of the Year Awards and the Wildlife Photography and Film-making Society. The exhibition has been established to emphasise the value of the environment. It will also showcase a sample of quotes from University community members to showcase the collaboration involved in the ongoing sustainability journey.  

Supported by St John’s College and Oxford University’s Environmental Sustainability Team, the art installation is produced by the Cultural Programme at University of Oxford as part of Everything is Connected. The ‘Everything is Connected’ series will run throughout October and November and will see a series of pop-up events, both live and online, hosted across the city.

The Pollution Pods were developed as part of Climart, an interdisciplinary and international research project, which has brought together environmental psychologists, natural scientists and artists in order to investigate how environmental art functions as a tool for climate change communication.

Commenting on the Pollution Pods, Professor Dame Sue Black, Baroness Black of Strome DBE OBE FRS, President of St John’s College, said: 'St John’s College is committed to supporting our local community. We are proud to work in partnership with many local organisations, including the Oxford Playhouse, Oxford Preservation Trust, and local primary schools. St John’s is delighted to be supporting the Pollution Pods as part of the ‘Everything is Connected’ programme this autumn. We look forward to welcoming visitors to experience Michael Pinsky’s Pollution Pods in our front quad and to raising awareness of the impact of air pollution on health.'

John Fulljames, Director of the Cultural Programme at Oxford University, added: 'Through a rich and varied series of conversations and creative events taking place across Oxford, Everything is Connected takes inspiration from the idea that everything is connected in the human and natural world. The Pollution Pods raise important questions about our climate, exploring the ways in which art can change people’s perception of climate. We are delighted to be working with St John’s and the Environmental Sustainability team to bring Michael Pinsky's innovative installation to Oxford.'


Listing image is computer-generated.  The lead image for the feature was taken during the construction of the exhibition ahead of its opening on Saturday 21 October 2023. Credit: St John's College.

The Pollution Pods and sustainability exhibition are open to the public seven days a week, from 1-5pm on Monday to Friday and from 10am–5pm on Saturday and Sunday in Front Quad and Canterbury Quad at St John’s College. This is a free event (there may be queues at busy times).
The Pollution Pods are open to all ages, although it is recommended for children ages 5+, and are wheelchair accessible. The Pods were created to allow visitors to safely experience pollution levels from cities around the world and therefore do not carry any health risks. 

To find out more about St John’s College’s sustainability programme and initiatives, please

To find out more about Oxford University’s ‘Everything is Connected’ series, please visit