A livelihood is sustainable when it can cope with and recover from stresses and shocks and maintain or enhance its capabilities and assets both now and in the future, while not undermining the natural resource base.
The concept has been around in International Development circles since the 1990’s and was brought into the world of arts and culture in 2008 by the Canadian artist Judi Pigott.
A livelihood system approach is asset-based, identifying and building on existing strengths rather than focusing on needs. The approach is founded on the belief that people require a range of assets to achieve positive livelihood outcomes. These assets are the building blocks of livelihood. No single category of assets on its own is sufficient to yield all the many and varied livelihood outcomes that people seek and they are all interrelated.
You can read more about Judi’s work on this here.