Creative industries can play a fundamental role in developing a sustainable future for the planet, both by addressing the direct impact on the environment from their own practice, and through the influential impact their work could have within society.
But for many working in the arts, addressing these complex issues can be a daunting task. A new initiative based in Wales is encouraging creative practitioners to take direct action to develop a sustainable future for the planet, and by bringing together scientists and artists, the project is helping drive the issue of sustainable practice within the arts to the forefront of the political agenda within Wales.
The project, entitled ‘Emergence’, began as a collaboration between Swansea based theatre company Volcano and Cynnal Cymru-Sustain Wales, supported by Arts Council Wales and The British Council. In 2010/11 The arts community in Wales attended three major events to raise issues, discuss alternatives, and suggest practical solutions for a more sustainable future.
The series of conferences focused on creating an impetus for change within the arts, challenging practices and motivating artists and creative companies to discuss and develop practical solutions to reduce their environmental impact. In addition, the project encouraged artists to consider the role of the arts in influencing behaviour, and how they can begin to inspire change within society through their work.
The project has recently published a conference report in an engaging and informative 30 page document. This ‘Emergence’ document is now openly available as a free download, both in English and Welsh, and provides an invaluable resource for all those working in the arts, and anyone interested in the development of sustainable practice within this field.
The document can be downloaded online through the Volcano website here:
The Emergence document collates inspiring and educative transcripts from expert speakers on the subject of climate change, fair resource use, well being and the transition towards a more connected sustainable society.
From scientist Jean Boulton to the artistic director of National Theatre Wales, John McGrath, the pioneering talks documented within ‘Emergence’ provide inspiration, information and practical ideas for artistic practitioners, venues and companies alike.
The value of the project and the report has been widely applauded, Louise Wright from British Council Wales says ‘Emergence has worked from the ground up…it has been a creative catalyst’.
The conferences have already kick started investigations into current practice – a study by Cardiff University measuring the environmental impact of ‘Night Out’, an Arts Council Touring Scheme, was initiated by Arts Council Wales following the conference. During the launch event major key players such as The Wales Millennium Centre and Welsh National Opera agreed on the creation of a focus group to look at sustainable practise within these flagship organisations, actively supported by the Theatres Trust and Julies Bicycle. In addition many individual delegates have changed behaviour and implemented new strategies to reduce their environmental impact, as the project continues to gather focus and momentum within Wales and beyond.