Yearly Archives: 2015

LUNGS Announced as Winner for 2015 Fringe Sustainable Practice Award!

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

The 2015 Fringe Sustainable Practice Award for sustainable design, content and production at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe,  was awarded today to Paines Plough for their production of Lungs, written by Duncan Macmillan, and performed at the Roundabout at Summerhall.

In a ceremony at Fringe Central on Friday, August 28nd at 4:00 pm, after presentations by Brendan Miles from The List and CSPA Director Ian Garrett, Jessica Fosteskew, stand up comedian and writer for Channel 4, BBC and Radio 4, presented Paines Plough with the 2015 Award for Sustainable Production at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Lungs was selected due to its stunning artistic portrayal of love, decisions and the effect of time on human relationships. As the company describes:

“Lungs is ultimately about two people in  love, navigating their way through the practicalities of modern life. However as they struggle over how their relationship should progress, they voice concerns over issues of overpopulation and climate change – asking themselves “Is this the kind of world I want to bring a child into?””

ThFringe 2e show was performed in the round in the company’s custom-made ‘Roundabout’ theatre; itself exemplary of sustainable theatre design, with all the LED lighting capable of being powered by 13-amp sockets. It is also a long-term production, having premièred over 4 years ago, and with an upcoming tour planned, and their theatre’s portability enhancing access to the arts in lesser-served areas of the UK. The assessment panel were particularly impressed by the way in which the production sensitively integrated and normalised sustainability concerns alongside other common decision factors relating to employment, children and lifestyle – and made them both laugh and cry!

Run by the CSPA and CCS, with media partnership from The List, the Fringe Sustainable Practice Award is an annual celebration of performance that is working for an environmentally sustainable world, now in its 6th year. Open to all  productions participating in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the award assesses all aspects of a production’s sustainability, from design to content.

The award is determined by the submission of a questionnaire about the sustainability considerations of the practical production elements of the show, and how environmental and sustainable themes were considered along the way. From the initial applications, the assessors selected a shortlist of 21 productions, published online by The List.

These 21 shows were reviewed during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (you can read our CCS FSPA diary here), and based on their questionnaires and the reviews, the assessment team voted for the production which most aligned with the priorities of the award. Five finalists – Garden, Lungs, Scarfed for Life, Sing for Your Life, and The Handlebards: Secret Shakespeare – were identified as outstanding entries before the winner was selected.

Click here to read more about the other 2015 FSPA Finalists. 


The award for Sustainable Practice on the Fringe was first launched in 2010 at the Hollywood Fringe and Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Previous recipients include:  The Pantry Shelf (Edinburgh 2010), produced by Team M&M at Sweet Grassmarket; Presque Pret a Porter (Hollywood 2010), produced by Dreams by Machine; Allotment (Edinburgh 2011), produced by nutshell productions at the Inverleith Allotments in co-production with Assembly; The Man Who Planted Trees (Edinburgh 2012), produced by the Edinburgh’s Puppet State Theatre; How to Occupy an Oil Rig (Edinburgh 2013), by Daniel Bye and Company, produced by Northern Stage; The Handlebards: A Comedy of Errors (Edinburgh 2014), produced by Peculius at the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh.

Ian Garrett and Miranda Wright founded the CSPA in early 2008. The organization provides a network of resources to arts organizations, which enables them to be ecologically and economically sustainable while maintaining artistic excellence. Past and Present partnerships have included the University of Oregon, Ashden Directory, Arcola Theatre, Diverseworks Artspace, Indy Convergence, York University, LA Stage Alliance and others.

Creative Carbon Scotland is a partnership of arts organisations working to put culture at the heart of a sustainable Scotland. CCS believes cultural and creative organisations have a significant influencing power to help shape a sustainable Scotland for the 21st century.

The post Winner Announced for Fringe Sustainable Practice Award! appeared first on Creative Carbon Scotland.

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Creative Carbon Scotland is a partnership of arts organisations working to put culture at the heart of a sustainable Scotland. We believe cultural and creative organisations have a significant influencing power to help shape a sustainable Scotland for the 21st century.

In 2011 we worked with partners Festivals Edinburgh, the Federation of Scottish Threatre and Scottish Contemporary Art Network to support over thirty arts organisations to operate more sustainably.

We are now building on these achievements and working with over 70 cultural organisations across Scotland in various key areas including carbon management, behavioural change and advocacy for sustainable practice in the arts.

Our work with cultural organisations is the first step towards a wider change. Cultural organisations can influence public behaviour and attitudes about climate change through:

Changing their own behaviour;
Communicating with their audiences;
Engaging the public’s emotions, values and ideas.

Go to Creative Carbon Scotland

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Our 2015 Fringe Sustainable Practice Award Finalists

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

Although we initially planned to have fewer finalists for the 2015 Fringe Sustainable Practice Award, this year’s shortlist provided a great wealth of interesting and deserving productions, and the assessment process proved particularly difficult. As a result, there were five productions selected as finalists from our shortlist of 21 Edinburgh Festival Fringe shows, from which an overall winner was selected.

Here, we give a summary of our four excellent finalists, and the range of approaches they took when showcasing sustainability on the Fringe.

Garden by Lucy Grace

This one-woman show addresses the confines of our urban-office environment and the desire to reconnect with more natural surrounds. Themes of health and wellbeing were brought to the fore with the examination of the loneliness of many current modern day lifestyles, and the inherent desire of humans to reconnect with nature. The assessors found the show extremely observant, and were particularly impressed by the development of the set throughout the production, which appeared to grow in greenery and ‘bloom’ towards the climax of the show. In this way, Garden demonstrated the role of the on-stage environment in reflecting our own physical surrounds, and the impact of thoughtful stage design.

Scarfed for Life by the Citizen’s Theatre

Scarfed for Life did not self-identify as a show containing sustainability themes, and the Citizen’s Theatre production was shortlisted on the strength of its efforts to reduce the environmental impact of the stage design. 4 sound cues, 7 chairs (sourced from the venue) and a baseball cap were the only set and props required for the production centred around the comedy and repercussions of the first old-firm match of the season. However, upon review assessment, the team found the show to be a fantastic example of a production examining social sustainability issues of embedded sectarianism and domestic violence in an honest, approachable and accurate manner, whilst maintaining a high quality and entertaining show!

Sing for Your Life by The Vaults

Although unusual in its ‘musical taxidermy’ format, Sing for Your Life used comedy and gore to confront their audience with thoughtful prompts on a wide range of animal-related sustainability issues, whilst also considering similar elements in their own design. Badger culling and a loss of countryside biodiversity, farmed animal antibiotic use, invasive species, pedigree dog breeding and the fur debate were all considered in song by puppets crafted from the animals they addressed (themselves sourced as road-kill or previous taxidermied specimens). The assessors were impressed at the skill of the production, and the quality of the communication of complex, multifaceted ideas related to sustainability, with an individual approach to sustainable props.

The Handlebards: Secret Shakespeare by Peculius

Last year’s winner of the Fringe Sustainable Practice Award returned to the festival this year with fresh ideas. The assessment team again thought that the Handlebards displayed a high quality and unique demonstration of a first class touring production, with a twist take on Shakespeare. Travelling over 2000 miles by bike, performing across the UK on the approach to the Fringe, The Handlebards went a step further this year by actively engaging their audience in their own sustainable behaviour: getting them to cycle 5 miles across the city to a secret location for the performance. With support from Sustrans, and Edinburgh-based Spokes cycling organisation, the production ensured all left the show having already participated in more-environmentally friendly behaviour, and experienced more of Edinburgh’s natural surrounds and sustainable transport network. Peculius again demonstrated that it is possible to put on an incredibly sustainable show with Elizabethan content.


The award for Sustainable Practice on the Fringe was first launched in 2010 at the Hollywood Fringe and Edinburgh Festival Fringe and is run by Creative Carbon Scotland and the Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts, with media partnership from The List. The sustainable award ceremony was held on 28 August 2015 in Fringe Central. Find out more about the award here. 

 

The post Our 2015 Fringe Sustainable Practice Award Finalists appeared first on Creative Carbon Scotland.

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Creative Carbon Scotland is a partnership of arts organisations working to put culture at the heart of a sustainable Scotland. We believe cultural and creative organisations have a significant influencing power to help shape a sustainable Scotland for the 21st century.

In 2011 we worked with partners Festivals Edinburgh, the Federation of Scottish Threatre and Scottish Contemporary Art Network to support over thirty arts organisations to operate more sustainably.

We are now building on these achievements and working with over 70 cultural organisations across Scotland in various key areas including carbon management, behavioural change and advocacy for sustainable practice in the arts.

Our work with cultural organisations is the first step towards a wider change. Cultural organisations can influence public behaviour and attitudes about climate change through:

Changing their own behaviour;
Communicating with their audiences;
Engaging the public’s emotions, values and ideas.

Go to Creative Carbon Scotland

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The Climate Museum

Creating a hub for climate science, art and dialogue:a beacon for solutions.

From: http://www.climatemuseum.org/

Approach

A center for shared immersion in the breakthroughs of the present and future.

The Climate Museum will use interactive design and storytelling to inspire a climate–educated and engaged public. Its mission of kindling solutions-focused civic engagement will build on traditional museum strengths—signaling legitimacy, memorably conveying complex information, and providing a forum for community experience.

The Climate Museum will catalyze public discourse and spark the optimism, ambition, and teamwork needed to ensure, in the decades to come, leadership in a climate-safe, vibrant world.

The power of museums

Audience

A compelling opportunity to create a sustainable institution with impact.

The audience for the Museum is robust. The market for museum visitation is large, and museums focused on science and technology in particular generate great and growing public interest.

The American public wants to learn more about climate change, an interest that will grow. And we see museums as trustworthy sources of information on this vital subject. Nevertheless, climate change is insufficiently represented in existing museums. The Climate Museum will fill that market gap.
Read with Citations

Leaders from numerous fields have responded to the Museum initiative with enthusiasm and generosity.

Pathway

Continual growth of programming will build the Museum’s audience and lead the way to a beautiful permanent institution.

Endorsements

Eddie Bautista

“The Climate Museum will be a tremendous resource for Environmental Justice communities in New York City and beyond—the communities that have contributed least to climate disruption and stand to suffer most. I’m proud to have been part of this initiative from the beginning.”

Executive Director, New York City Environmental Justice Alliance; Climate Museum Advisory Board Member

Serene Jones

“Creating a climate-safe world is a moral imperative. Faith communities—and all communities—need institutions like The Climate Museum to learn and move forward together.”

President, Union Theological Seminary; Climate Museum Advisory Board Member

Cecilia Lam

“A wise man once said: ‘We don’t inherit the earth from our ancestors: we borrow it from our children.’  It’s up to all of us to protect our world, and the more we can do to educate society about the reality of climate change, the better.  Best wishes from all of us at the Chinese University of Hong Kong!”

Programme Director, Jockey Club Museum of Climate Change, Office of CUHK Jockey Club Initiative Gaia, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

James Stewart Polshek

“The Climate Museum presents the exciting challenge of creating responsive public design to serve an imperative cause: fostering community and responsibility on a grave global challenge.”

Founder, Polshek Partnership; former Dean, Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture; Founding Trustee of the Climate Museum

Cynthia Rosenzweig

“Climate scientists will continue to play our critical role, but we need the public at large to participate, too. That’s the well-strategized aim of The Climate Museum—and why I’m proud to be a founding Trustee.”

Senior Research Scientist, Columbia University Earth Institute; Co-Chair, NYC Panel on Climate Change; and Founding Trustee of the Climate Museum

Gus Speth

“By serving as a center for public engagement, The Climate Museum will play an important role in the massive suite of efforts we must undertake as a society to address climate risks.”

Founder, World Resources Institute; former Dean, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies; Climate Museum Advisory Board Member.

Black Cube Collective and S.permaroutsi Arcadia Call for Artists: Artists in the Arcadian Lands

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Artist Call

We are delighted to embark on S.permaroutsi-­‐Arcadia project that deals with sustainability and self-­‐sufficient agriculture and is part of a wider reconstructive project in a rural area of Greece.

We are now looking for artists and architects committed to issues of environmentalism and sustainability to develop ideas around ‘alternatives to austerity’ projects to contribute to rebuilding communities and promote relationships with Europe more positively. Additionally the project will demonstrate how artists and the creative industries can have a constructive and proactive role in environmentally aware reconstructive and sustainability projects.

We are open to projects and proposals in any medium but artists should have a genuine interest and proven track record in working with environmental issues and how to develop sustainability.

Artists should also have a sincere interest in working with local communities and how they can be engaged with art in a mutually beneficial way.

Artists from any countries are invited to send a proposal for site-­‐specific outdoor works that should deal with issues such as how art can raise awareness about sustainable living within a rural environment and in particular how it might connect with the Routsi community.

Background

Co-­‐founder Dimitris Foundos provides some history and background to the project,

“Two consecutive fires on 2007 and 2012 burned the beautiful forest that surrounded and gave life to our ancestral village. These fires, combined with the economic crisis that had already spiralled out of control on 2009, seemed to take out our last breath and end our hopes for survival.

Through the generations, our village with its natural surroundings has always been a point of reference and love, one from which we all drew energy, fighting our everyday struggle for survival. The loss of the forest brought us in mourning and caused a stalemate.

The economic crisis brought upon us the beast of unemployment. We had to react in order to survive. That is when the reactive movement. was created, named after our village. It was an incentive of Dimitris Foundos, with the support of Panagiota Dimitropoulou.

We then met up with the professor agriculturist, Mr. Manikis, who, leading by example, inspired us with community actions in farms and introduced the idea of a “Natural Agriculture” and clean food. This brought upon new enthusiasm and, together with our friend Nikos Bouzinis, we started dreaming and planning again.

And so it began. We started with soil retention and planned what and where. More friends came on board. After the fire, the land is fertile and ready to be fertilized again with quality seeds.

However, we lacked the necessary funds. We wrote to people, motivating them, making suggestions. On Dimitris’ nameday in October 2012, each one of his friends adopted one or two trees. We started to prepare and sow the land. Lampros, Popi, Aggeliki, Kostas, George, Nikos, all our friends came. The village enjoyed newfound life, seeing new people. Everyone was willing to come to us with help and advice, passing on their experience. We enjoyed conversations with Thodoris Mpotsalas, a young man of 90 years, Kostas Androutsos, Katerina and others. Some of the people in the village looked upon us with disbelief. They could not believe that young people could be working on the soil.

Our actions inspired other friends and artists that wanted to participate and help. At the same time, they were inspired to create! Thanos is taking pictures and makes videos, sharing them with his friends. Lampros is carving on wood. Dimitris and Alexander play guitar.

It is time now to make our activities public. We inform our fellow citizens about natural agriculture, which encourages participation, artist expression, and new works of arts, suggestions and the way to realize them. We motivate, inform and coach students and young people of all ages. At the same time, new technologies (social media, digital marketing) give us new opportunities to produce and share information with similar groups in Europe and all over the world.”

In May this year, BCC’s Svetlana Kondakova participated in the S.permaroutsi: Art & Nature event as an initial step in the involvement of international artists. She found the experience incredibly productive and inspiring creating a collaborative installation inspired by the concept of community with Cypriot artist Andreas Kalli. This result was a sculptural installation using the most relevant found materials -­‐ the burned trees from the landscape. The trees were shaped using a chainsaw to give the impression of figures and then balanced against each other in a gravity-­‐ defying structure. This balance emphasises the core concept of community, how individual parts can do nothing and only by coming together achieve an impactful result. The tree ‘corpses’ were also thus given a new life through art. The sculpture stands in the 2-­‐year old S.permaroutsi forest garden and acts as a gateway to the village, reminding locals and visitors of the importance of working together and the extraordinary potential of collaboration.

There were more than 20 participants in the event the biggest group yet, involving people from all walks of life. The workshops included a talk about local mythology, an introduction to permaculture and a seed-­‐bomb making class. We also helped to build a damn and install a pressure pump to supply one of the gardens with water.

The biggest achievement was perhaps the relationship built with the local villagers. Previously, the majority of the locals were apprehensive about Dimitris’ project and gave him little support. Having seen the dedication and effort contributed by so many volunteers (including one who came all the way from Scotland) they now beginning to understand the important impact that it is making on the whole area.

The Artist Brief

The artists selected for this art project will create their artworks during a 5-­‐day artist in residency in Routsi, Arcadia, from 28th October -­‐ 1st November 2015. We expect to select up to four artists based on the proposals received. The selected artists should aim to work with community residents where possible to create work that will raise awareness about environmental and sustainability issues, develop community pride and attract more visitors to the area. Artists will work alongside the other international artists.

Artworks selected for this project will be site-­‐specific and located in public spaces such as land around existing village or other sites selected with the project organisers. The artworks must be interactive and encourage learning by doing; for example the artwork could function as a play area or communal outdoor seating space or have interactive educational components. Any sculptural installation could be made with local natural materials or recycled materials that are sustainable and not harmful to the environment. The artworks should be made to last for one year or more, but be biodegradable so that they can decompose over time and be recycled into the environment.

Proposal Requirements

Your proposal should include:

  • An artist statement demonstrating your commitment to working with issues of environmentalism, sustainability and community (max. 400 words)
  • Any images of similar or relevant previous works
  • A description of the work you propose to do in Routsi with any relevant diagrams or sketches as appropriate
  • Please also indicate your ability to self-­‐fund, see section on ‘Funding’

Schedule

1st September 2015 Funding Campaign Launched on Indiegogo
21st September 2015 (10am) Artist Proposal submission deadline
24th September 2015 Artists selected
29th September 2015 Flights to Athens bought and reservations made
29th October -­‐ 1st November Event takes place

Funding

Black Cube Collective and S.permaroutsi are now a collaborative partnership, building a joint future of opportunities and sustainability.

BCC will initiate an Indiegogo campaign to raise the funds for the project in order to be able to pay for all of your travel, accommodation and subsistence (2-­‐3 meals a day while in Routsi) in Greece worth approximately £470 per artist.

We cannot guarantee to raise the necessary amount so when you apply please indicate how much of your travel costs you would be able to afford on your own. For example, if we only raise 50% of our target budget, would you be able and willing to spend approximately £235 yourself?

If you are successful in your application but we do not raise enough funds to take you, we will unfortunately have to cancel your trip. That is why it is important for you to get involved and spread the word about our campaign as it could make the difference between you being able to go or not!

Applicants should actively publicise and engage with the Indiegogo campaign to reach our target amount! We are confident that with your help and support we will reach or even exceed our target budget!

The campaign will be Launched on the 1st of September and end on the 15th of October. By the 30th of September you will be able to find out how much of your expenses we will be able to cover.

Read more about the partnership and the fundraising campaign on our website and get in touch if you are interested to be part of the project in any capacity.

Deadline for proposals is September 18th 2015 at 5.00pm send to blackcubecollective@gmail.com If you have any questions at all, please contact us at the same address.

For details of the fundraising campaign please go to our website www.blackcubecollective.org

 

Environmental Art Festival Scotland 2015: what is art and ecology?

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

Photo: EAFS. Photo Colin Tennant

The creative team at EAFS needed help this year and ecoartscotland provided some editorial support for the newspaper and an essay on art and ecology as voluntary contributions.  EAFS is an incredibly important development in Scotland (as was the UNFIX festival this year, also delivered by voluntary effort).  The essay below attempts to highlight some of the different ways of working that characterise ‘art and ecology’ practices.

Art and Ecology or “the context is half the work”

By Chris Fremantle with input from Ann T Rosenthal.

Landscape painting represents or idealizes ‘nature,’ usually by depicting wide vistas, such as seascapes, forests, and countrysides. Sometimes it also brings attention to the human impact on the land, such as wilderness vs. settlement. Given the environmental challenges we face today, however, environmental art goes beyond representation or even witnessing changes in the land to effect social change through raising awareness and/or actually restoring damaged landscapes. Some of the ways environmental art differs from more traditional art forms, like landscape painting, are discussed below.

Considering art made or in progress by artists who work with environments or ecosystems, there are a few key things to consider, such as whether the project is reflective, awareness-raising or interventionist. You’ll find various things called ecoartxxx but, unlike Young British Artists, such as Damien Hirst, this isn’t about individualism or celebrities.

So, what are some of the things that might characterise artists working with ecologies?

Context – this might be ‘place’ or ‘issue’, though in the interesting projects these are deeply bound together. The issue might be the deep experience of a place and its effect on a person. Personally I find Hamish Fulton’s piece NO TALKING: seven days walking in the Cairngorms (1988) to be a very personal provocation – could I not talk for seven days? The issue might be storm surges and their impact on coastlines. Eve Mosher was featured in The New Yorker because she had marked a high water line on parts of New York (2007). When Hurricane Sandy hit New York in 2012 the debris marked the same line. Everyone was amazed that an artist had predicted the impact of an extreme weather event. The context might be a remnant of the ancient Caledonian Forest. The Collins and Goto Studio have been working in the Blackwood of Rannoch (2012-ongoing) to imagine a future of eco-cultural well-being where the forest’s beauty and biodiversity become an icon for a different Scottish landscape.

Interdisciplinarity is often another central characteristic. Artists are using methods and processes that are selected based on the idea/issue/context rather than the skill they were taught at art school. Don’t get me wrong, if you ask the right questions you’ll find that what the artists learnt at art school is still fundamental to their practice. But whether in deep durational collaborations or in short interactions, artists working with environments and ecologies learn and use the knowledge and practices of natural and social sciences, read and seek to influence policy, work in teams and maintain relationships. The quality of interdisciplinarity is perhaps in the seemlessness of what results, such as with Cinema Sark in EAFS 2013 where Pete Smith, Professor of Soil and Plant Science, and John Wallace, film-maker, explored the ecosystem of the river Sark in a work that was at once excellent science and compelling film.

Education and volunteering is a common characteristic of those projects focused on awareness-raising and intervention. It is important to understand that this aspect of practice is not separate from the process of making the art, not ‘outreach’ once the art has been made – rather it must be understood to be intrinsic.

Novelty is less important than sharing. Iterating and the commons are recurrent themes. All of the characteristics noted above (context/issue, interdisciplinarity and education and volunteering) militate against that particular art world requirement for constant newness. In the art world too often the focus is on new things, whereas ecoart is more often about new understandings and revealing experiences of the world around us (and our place or impact within it). More specifically documentation of environmental and ecological projects often takes the form of action guides, sets of instructions, or toolkits. We can recognise the aesthetic of artists, but when groups in Miami (2013) and Bristol (2014) did versions of Eve Mosher’s High Water Line, it wasn’t a breach of copyright – in fact she celebrates it. They used the Action Guide produced by Mosher working with ecoartspace.

Leaving the world a better place than you found it might be an overarching concern. This is more radical that it might sound when you consider that the archetype of the ‘reckless, hedonistic and art for arts sake artist’ has been pervasive for the last century anyway. John Thackara suggested that we live between on the one hand the despair at the scale of the crisis and the complexity of the challenges, and on the other hand the hope in the multitude of examples of grassroots activism, but he also commented that ‘don’t be evil’ is not enough. We have to act in ways to leave things better than we find them as we move through the world.

ecoartscotland is a resource focused on art and ecology for artists, curators, critics, commissioners as well as scientists and policy makers. It includes ecoartscotland papers, a mix of discussions of works by artists and critical theoretical texts, and serves as a curatorial platform.

It has been established by Chris Fremantle, producer and research associate with On The Edge ResearchGray’s School of Art, The Robert Gordon University. Fremantle is a member of a number of international networks of artists, curators and others focused on art and ecology.

Go to EcoArtScotland

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#GreenFests: Changing the World, Festival by Festival

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

The Edinburgh International Festival was founded shortly after the end of the Second World War with the intention of rejuvenating the cultural sectors of Scotland, Britain and Europe. As people came to terms with the tragedies of recent years, the festival set about facilitating the social change that was needed. This intention is one that is still shared by many festivals today, but can it be achieved? What do we need from our festivals to accomplish social change?

During the Fringe, Creative Carbon Scotland (in conjunction with Festivals Edinburgh and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe) hosted an event to discuss just these questions. ‘Changing the World, Festival by Festival’ was presented by Ben Twist, experienced theatre director turned founder and director of Creative Carbon Scotland, and Stella Hall, fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts and freelance festival director.

In fact, Stella Hall is nothing short of a festival guru. Current Festival Director of Darlington’s award-winning Festival of Thrift, she was also:

  • one of four inaugural ‘Canny Creatives’ advising the British Council on Arts programme development in Turkey and Kazakhstan
  • Co-founder of the Greenroom, Manchester’s first arts centre.
  • Director of Warwick Arts Centre
  • Festival Director of the Belfast Festival at Queens and
  • The first Festival Director of the Preston Guild, an event that has occurred in the city every twenty years since 1179.

Not to mention the fact that she is a board member of the Wildworks Theatre in Cornwall, ISIS Arts in Newcastle, ArtsAdmin in London and was a member of the Music, Drama, Dance and Performing Arts panel of the Research Excellence Framework. Long story short, Stella Hall knows her festivals.

Although this event had the format of a formal talk, it was more of a conversation between Ben, Stella and all who attended, many of whom were themselves prominent members of the arts world. With Stella’s expertise as a festival director, Ben’s in-depth knowledge of sustainability in the arts, and the knowledge and experience of all there (including performers, festival organisers, and marketing executives to name a few) a very interesting discussion ensued. Impossible to summarise, here I simply present what I took to be the main points of debate.

The first of these was the importance of the discomfort zone. Herein lies the possibility of change. For Stella, the discomfort zone is the place she must enter when trying to put on a festival that satisfies the needs of people with different motivations and ideas from her own. The key to finding a solution that suits all is not only to enter this discomfort zone where your own perspective and convictions are challenged, but to stay there. The longer you stay in the discomfort zone with someone, the more likely it is that you will find a connect, a point of agreement around which a compromise can be constructed and progress made.

The discomfort zone also works as a direct driver for change. Festivals wishing to create social change arguably need to include events which challenge attitudes towards the status quo. The audience are forced to genuinely consider their own position. What’s good about it? What’s not? What change in attitude or action is required? The active engagement required from audiences in response to such events are likely to have stronger consequences than passive attendance at one that merely dictates an alternative approach.

FoTThe second focal point for discussion was the importance of communities. These are not just the communities in which the festivals take place (e.g. Edinburgh as a city) but also the communities that are created by the festivals, both intentionally and by chance. This is especially the case if the festivals are based around a particular theme, as in the Festival of Thrift (see left). If festivals are to inspire lasting change then they must engage with all of these communities.

One such way of engaging is to create a sense of community ownership over the festival. It has to come from them, they have to see it as theirs. Stella found this was particularly important when she directed the Preston Guild. It is a Prestonian institution and belongs far more to the city and its people than to a festival director. Stella found that acknowledging this and allowing the people to put on the festival that they wanted was crucial to its success.

It was noted, however, that there is a certain tension between giving the people both what they want and what they need. Many people,aon myself included, don’t often actively seek challenges to their existing viewpoints, which means we can miss out on new ideas. The example given in the talk was that of Sir Anthony Gormley’s Angel of the North (see right), which, because it was something entirely different and new, would likely never have been created had we designed the statue to be built.

There is also the challenge of creating this sense of community ownership in the face of a huge influx of new people coming specifically for the festivals. Major summer festivals like Glastonbury, Reading, T in the Park and, of course, the many Edinburgh festivals are particularly vulnerable to this. Whilst locals are often glad that the festivals occur (78% of Edinburgh citizens believe the festivals to be positive and 60% participate) they often feel separate from them. The festivals happen to them rather than with them as it were.

As well as better engaging with existing communities in the festival locations, one way to garner the sense of ownership that is required for social change is to engage with the communities that are created by the festivals. This can be an intentional community, as in Darlington’s Festival of Thrift which attracted people with a particular interest thereby facilitating discussion. They can also be unintentional, for example similarly themed shows in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe who find themselves performing alongside and socialising with performers with similar ideas and interests.

The challenge of creating lasting social change in these circumstances, as opposed to with pre-existent communities, is that the existence of these communities is so strongly tied to the festivals. Despite being connected by a shared idea, once the festival ends these communities are forcibly disbanded. Modern technology can go some way towards helping people keep connected (and indeed including those interested parties that were unable to physically attend) but it is difficult to maintain the momentum and drive that can be inspired during the festival.

The key to changing the world, festival by festival then seems to be twofold. First, the festivals must be events that encourage audiences to engage with the area in which change is desired, that question the status quo and provide an alternative perspective to be considered. Second, they must create lasting communities of the converted (for lack of a better term). This can be by including the local community and helping them develop a sense of ownership of the festival. It can also be by facilitating the creation of a new community, intentional or otherwise, that forms in response to the ideas being promulgated. If enough people are inspired then there is real hope that lasting change can be achieved.

The post #GreenFests: Changing the World, Festival by Festival appeared first on Creative Carbon Scotland.

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Creative Carbon Scotland is a partnership of arts organisations working to put culture at the heart of a sustainable Scotland. We believe cultural and creative organisations have a significant influencing power to help shape a sustainable Scotland for the 21st century.

In 2011 we worked with partners Festivals Edinburgh, the Federation of Scottish Threatre and Scottish Contemporary Art Network to support over thirty arts organisations to operate more sustainably.

We are now building on these achievements and working with over 70 cultural organisations across Scotland in various key areas including carbon management, behavioural change and advocacy for sustainable practice in the arts.

Our work with cultural organisations is the first step towards a wider change. Cultural organisations can influence public behaviour and attitudes about climate change through:

Changing their own behaviour;
Communicating with their audiences;
Engaging the public’s emotions, values and ideas.

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Opportunity: Open Call for Lead Artist of Schools Environmental Art Project

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

The Lifecycle of Stuff: Edinburgh Schools Art Project

Call for Lead Artist

Creative Carbon Scotland is offering the chance for a visual artist to lead a new three month Edinburgh schools environmental art project The Lifecycle of Stuff from late September to mid-December 2015.

This is an exciting, paid opportunity for an artist interested in exploring the themes of the circular economy and environmental sustainability in their work, offering the chance to develop new ideas and artistic work with young people of a range of ages and backgrounds.

The project aims not only to engage young people in themes related to circular economy through art but also to support the development of artistic practice, by creating a rich opportunity for the lead artist to further their work and thinking in this field, and supporting schools’ capacities to engage with the links between creative learning, art, sustainability and climate change.

The Lifecycle of Stuff is part of a wider initiative run by Creative Carbon Scotland called ArtCOP Scotland which engages with the important UN climate change negotiations taking place in Paris from 30th November – 13th December (COP21). During the time of COP21, we’ll be supporting a Scotland-wide artistic response to the negotiations and exploring what roles art and creativity can play in addressing climate change and building more sustainable societies.

This project is a partnership between Creative Carbon Scotland, Arts and Creative Learning, Children and Families Department, Edinburgh City Council and Department for Culture and Sport, Edinburgh City Council.

Project Brief

We are looking for a visual artist with an understanding of and imaginative approach to the links between the circular economy, environmental sustainability and creative practices, or an enthusiasm to develop work in this area. In addition, the lead artist should have some experience of working with young people, in school or community settings.

The selected artist will attend preliminary meetings with key project partners, lead a series of practical artistic workshops with participating schools and support the installation of the final exhibition of commended artworks resulting from workshops in Edinburgh city centre cultural venues (Assembly Rooms, Church Hill Theatre, other venues TBC).

Artist Fee

The artist will be paid a fee of £4,876 for 23 days work, based on the Scottish Artist Union daily rate for an artist with 3 years’ post art-school experience. In addition, local travel expenses to schools will be paid. For more information on the SAU: www.sau.org.uk/rights/pay/

Artist Specification

The selected artist should have all of the following experience and abilities:

  • Strong understanding of and imaginative approach to the links between the circular economy, environmental sustainability and creative practices.
  • Evidence of how these links have already been explored to a high standard of work within their own practice.
  • The ability to communicate and creatively explore these links with young people and teachers.
  • High quality of artistic practice.
  • Experience of working with young people and/or groups of different ages and abilities.
  • Ability to install artworks in public spaces.

How to apply

To apply please download the following documents and follow the application instructions:

Artist Brief – The Lifecycle of Stuff

Artist Application Form – The Lifecycle of Stuff

Deadline

Please send the stated required files in a zip or compressed folder to Gemma Lawrence at gemma.lawrence@creativecarbonscotland.com by 10am on Wednesday 16th September.

Please review the artist specification in the Artist Brief to ensure you meet the required experience and abilities. Please note that you must be available for all specified dates in the project timetable (see Artist Brief).

References

Ellen MacArthur Foundation: Circular Economy Principles: http://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/circular-economy/circular-economy

The Story of Stuff: http://storyofstuff.org/

CCS’s beginner’s introduction to COP21: http://www.creativecarbonscotland.com/cop21-the-most-important-meeting-this-century/

ArtCOP Scotland Project page: http://www.creativecarbonscotland.com/project/artcop-scotland/

Zero Waste Scotland: http://www.zerowastescotland.org.uk/

Image credit: Wonderlane, Creative Commons

The post Opportunity: Open Call for Lead Artist of Schools Environmental Art Project appeared first on Creative Carbon Scotland.

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Creative Carbon Scotland is a partnership of arts organisations working to put culture at the heart of a sustainable Scotland. We believe cultural and creative organisations have a significant influencing power to help shape a sustainable Scotland for the 21st century.

In 2011 we worked with partners Festivals Edinburgh, the Federation of Scottish Threatre and Scottish Contemporary Art Network to support over thirty arts organisations to operate more sustainably.

We are now building on these achievements and working with over 70 cultural organisations across Scotland in various key areas including carbon management, behavioural change and advocacy for sustainable practice in the arts.

Our work with cultural organisations is the first step towards a wider change. Cultural organisations can influence public behaviour and attitudes about climate change through:

Changing their own behaviour;
Communicating with their audiences;
Engaging the public’s emotions, values and ideas.

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