Yearly Archives: 2018

10 Best Art and Sustainability Initiatives in Berlin

This post comes from the Artists and Climate Change Blog

Berlin is known as a city par excellence for artists, creatives and grassroots movements and it is exactly these people who are great at imagining and repairing broken systems, making significant contributions to creating a more environmentally safe and just society. To celebrate their work, I selected the ten most innovative art initiatives in Berlin (in alphabetical order) that engage with environmental issues through their artistic programming and practice.

1.  Art Laboratory Berlin

Bio-art, art/science, citizen science , visual art, arts education, art & technology

This small gallery space is a gem known across the globe. (I was tipped by a friend from Indonesia to check them out!)

The main focus of Art Laboratory Berlin is to present contemporary art that exists at the intersection of art, science and technology. Within this field, they have a keen interest in the non-human and their survival on this planet. Their ongoing research is called Nonhuman Subjectivities/Nonhuman Agents. The exhibition Non-Human Subjectivities used data to show how different species will be affected by climate change. The work of Art Laboratory Berlin is often embedded in a theoretical framework, building on the work of scholars such as Rosi Braidotti, John Grey, and Donna Haraway, to better understand the phenomenon of the nonhuman.

Art Laboratory Berlin pursues a sustainable form of interdisciplinarity, going beyond the mere juxtaposition of art and science. They want to create constructive synergies between artists and scientists in order to support transparency and content production.

“I enjoy facilitating collaborations that demystify science and take the scientists out of the institutional straitjacket.” —Christian De Lutz

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Saša Spačal, Mirjan Švagelj und Anil Podgornik, Myconnect © Copyright 2014 Damjan Švarc / Kapelica gallery photo archive (Nonhuman Networks exhibition).

2.  art objective – contemporary art collaborations

Visual art, education

Art Objective – Contemporary Art Collaborations is an artist agency that functions as matchmaker for artists, cultural institutions and exhibition venues. When I Skyped with one of the founders, Katja Vedder, she was on her boat. Katja is a passionate sailor and concerned with the state of our oceans. A key project of Art Objective is OCEAN Contemporary, a great example of her professional engagement with the ocean. This collaborative, non-profit research and exhibition project aims to stimulate contemplation and responsibility for our oceans through contemporary art. International artists present pieces with a focus on the ocean and the many problems for which humanity is responsible. The project follows the objectives of various national and international strategies within the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity (2011-2020) and the previous United Nations Decade on Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014) to prevent the rapidly dwindling biodiversity of our planet and preserve it for the future.

Other projects include Bitter Water (2016), a collaboration with a shipping company on polluted waters, and Tension Test (2015), an exhibition presenting the ocean as endangered landscape, habitat, mythology, the scientific subject of research, a target for political strategies, and an ecosystem on a tension test.

“It’s good as an independent curator to concentrate on a topic. I’m passionate about the ocean so this is my focus. I’m still constantly amazed at all the new perspectives I find; people draw so much inspiration from the ocean.” —Katja Vedder

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Ulf Saupe, Waterscape nr 34 © Copyright 2016 (OCEAN Contemporary).

3.  Entretempo Kitchen Gallery and The Food Art Week

Visual art and performance, food design, food art

The Berlin Food Art Week and its related activities are organized by Entretempo Kitchen Gallery. Entretempo is an interdisciplinary art space researching and exploring food from a cultural and design perspective. Art becomes an extension of the kitchen and food, a common base for expressing and sharing thoughts and ideas. When I visit founder, artist, cook and author Tainá Guedes in her kitchen gallery in Prenzlauer Berg, she quickly rustles something up for lunch. It is delicious. One of the key programs she organizes is the Food Art Week, which shines a spotlight on the political and social impact of food as a manifestation of history, sociology, geography, science, philosophy and communication.

All projects of Entretempo Kitchen Gallery involve food, art, sustainability, alternative economies, and environmental activities. Additionally, Entretempo practices solidarity through community-supported agriculture, using organic and regional vegetables from Speisegut, a Berlin-based community farm project. Going beyond the normal reach of a gallery, it hosts workshops, lectures, events, and offers a range of creative services for food and design-based projects.

“I want to live a meaningful life. I don’t want my grandchildren to say: “But you were in the middle of it, why didn’t you try to do something about it?” —Tainá Guedes

5. Uli Westphal Entretempo

Uli Westphal, Mutatotes © Copyright 2006 – Present, Uli Westphal

4.  Green Music Initiative

Music and creative industries

When I visit Jacob Bilabel in his office in the Torstrasse, the wall is covered with prizes. These are mostly prizes awarded to the Green Music Initiative (GMI) by the music industry for coming up with initiatives such as low carbon touring or sustainable CD packaging. It is not our first time meeting. I first got acquainted with his work on EE Music, a European collaboration project with the aim of creating a dialogue amongst leaders of the music industry on how to establish an efficient and sustainable music culture in Europe.

Active in Europe through multiple EU projects, GMI acts as a platform for coordinating the music and entertainment industry’s efforts to minimize their footprint. CO2-reduction strategies are implemented in cooperation with scientific institutes, stakeholders, and artists, paving the way for others to follow. GMI showcases best practices with the objective of creating industry-wide demands for innovative and sustainable solutions – both from a climate and business point-of-view.

“This is not about saving the world, this is about understanding we ARE the problem. But precisely because we are the problem, we are also the solution.” —Jacob Bilabel

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Green Music Initiative.

5.  Haus der Kulturen der Welt (The House of the Cultures of the World)

Visual art, performance, theatre, dance, music, literature

Beautifully situated on the banks of the river Spree in the Tiergarten, a huge inner-city park, the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW) is a prominent and well-established space for international contemporary arts and a forum for current developments and discourse. The HKW presents artistic productions from around the world with a special focus on non-European cultures and societies. Visual arts, music, literature, performing arts, film, academic discussions and digital media are all linked in an interdisciplinary program.

In cooperation with artists and experts, the HKW offers visitors opportunities to grapple with the conflicts and challenges our time, in which questions about sustainability are often embedded. How do our living conditions impinge upon others? What kind of a future do we want to live in? How do we deal with climate change?

In the two-year interdisciplinary work The Anthropocene Project (2013-2014), the HKW examined the implications of the thesis “humanity forms nature” through sciences and arts. The project Über Lebenskunst (2010-2012) (on the art of living) was set up to develop and test new approaches to the art of survival in the 21st century. This included an educational program, which was jointly developed with the Future Institute of the Free University of Berlin, to bring issues of culture and sustainability to classrooms throughout Germany. The national committee of the United Nations Decade on Education for Sustainable Development added this project to the official measures in the national action plan.

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Armin Linke, Whirlwind © Copyright 2007, Armin Linke, Haus Kulturen der Welt, Anthropocene Project (2012-2014).

6.  id22 – the Institute for Creative Sustainability

Art, architecture, community art, co-housing and development

Tucked away behind the long line of construction materials shaping the Spree bank in Berlin, id22 – the Institute for Creative Sustainability helps keep residents’ community spirit alive. The institute is especially interested in co-housing projects that are sustainable and participatory. In collaboration with members, partners, and volunteers, the Institute studies and supports pioneering local Berlin initiatives, including the Spreeacker Initiative, that recognize the crises emerging in the world around us, with a focus on social and environmental injustice.

id22 emphasizes communication and networking, cooperation and conviviality, and helps strengthen these creative communities. Increasing sustainability through creativity is at the core of this practice. They conduct research and support and publicize initiatives with a focus on creative sustainability, self-organization and inclusion.

“There will be no environmental protection without attention to people, and without social justice.” —Michael Lafond

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Members of the Spreefeld Cooperative. © Copyright 2015 Michael Lafond.

7.  Orchester des Wandels (Orchestra of Change)


Orchester des Wandels (Orchestra of Change) is an initiative by the Berliner Staatsoper (Berlin State Opera). Their primary goal is to inspire audiences and the public, and to raise awareness about climate change. The musicians had the idea of putting climate protection on the program through Klimakonzerte (climate concerts). This was realized under the auspices of Daniel Barenboim. The music is accompanied by visuals and performed at the State Opera as well as other venues. For exaple, the orchestra played at the opening of the recent project EnergyTransitionArt , has performed a range of musical interventions at scientific events, and contributed to the 10th anniversary celebration of the KlimaAllianz (Climate Alliance Germany).

“My drive came from my son, who was born some years ago. I had the feeling that I couldn’t look him in the eye if I didn’t fight for his future.” —Markus Bruggaier

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Orchester des Wandels. © Copyright S. Rosenberg.

8.  Prinzessinnengärten (Princesses Gardens)

Community art, architecture, urban gardening

Although I visited Marco Clausen in the garden during the dormant winter months (February), I can imagine this beautiful space being a hive of social activity in the summer. The big wooden structures of the Neighborhood Academy are just asking to be climbed! Set up by a group of friends, activists and neighbors, Prinzessinnengärten is an urban place of learning. The name derives from the street Prinzesinnenstrasse (Princesses Street), which is in a decidedly modest part of town. The garden is a place where locals and tourists of all ages and backgrounds can come together to experiment and discover more about organic food production, biodiversity, and climate protection – a living space to learn about healthy eating, sustainable living and a future-oriented urban lifestyle.

“What drives me is social, ecological change – we just HAVE to do it, there are no other options.” —Marco Clausen

10. Prinzessinengarten

The bower at the Prinzessinnengärtin, Postgrowth Slam. © 2016 Marco Clausen / Prinzessinnengärten.

9.  ufaFabrik – Internationales Kultur Centrum (International Cultural Centre)

Visual art, performance, community art, comedy, world music, multimedia events

The ufaFabrik brands itself as an “eco-pioneer.” It started doing sustainability work as early as the mid-70s. It has solar panels to generate energy and heat, green roofs and planted façades for insulation, and toilets that use biologically treated rainwater to flush. The ufaFabrik promotes engagement in culture through exchange and education. They bring together local and international cultures, creating a dynamic field for participation for the young and old alike. I first visited the ufaFabrik in 2012 when I attended their conference Creative Strategies for Sustainability. It was an EU-funded program to provide cultural managers with skills to implement sustainability in their organizations. I couldn’t believe my eyes. There was so much space! They even have their own bakery and everyone is friendly. This is definitely a product of the 70s…

In 2004, ufaFabrik received an award from the UN-Habitat for Best Practices to Improve the Living Environment. Groups of visitors from around the world now come to learn how to successfully interweave ecology, economy, social engagement, cultural activities, and cultural education. With its informal atmosphere, this is a place where anyone can feel at home.

“Every change in society and in sustainable development starts on a personal level, it begins with us! As soon as we start to change our personal behavior we will produce some kind of effect on the environment and hopefully won’t create new problems. Change always goes hand in hand with trying out new ways of doing things, of communicating, of learning and creating new forms of interaction. Besides strong fights and intense protesting, the surprise, the unexpected, and humor might help to create a change in perspective. We need creativity to encourage others and ourselves, to enjoy what we do, and as a resource to renew our energy.” —Sigrid Niemer

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10.  ZK/U – Center for Art and Urbanistics

Visual art, performance, geography, anthropology, urban planning, architecture and the humanities

The ZK/U – Center for Art and Urbanistics is a residency program and laboratory for inter- and trans-disciplinary activities centered on the phenomenon of The City. The Center is located in a cool-looking former railway depot surrounded by a landscaped park. Analogous to the 19th century transport of goods by rail, this venue seems to be a hub for the transport of ideas and ideals in the post-industrial era. The large spaces allow for studio work and events, but also symposia and exhibitions.

ZK/U promotes international exchange on global issues in the light of what is happening in one’s own backyard. Social and environmental justice are recurring themes that find their way into most projects and events. Working with local and international partners, ZK/U residencies aim to bring together critical minds for artistic production and urban research in which the local community always plays an important role.

“When you see something is not working right, you want that to change. I’m driven exactly by that desire for change: I don’t want to just be a commentator, but provide constructive criticism.” —Matthias Einhoff

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ZK/U – Zentrum für Kunst und Urbanistik. © Copyright 2016, KUNSTrePUBLIK.

The full publication looking at art/sustainability initiatives in Berlin, called “Creative Environment,” is now out! A free online version can be downloaded here.



Curator Yasmine Ostendorf (MA) has worked extensively on international cultural mobility programs and on the topic of art and environment for expert organizations such as Julie’s Bicycle (UK), Bamboo Curtain Studio (TW) Cape Farewell (UK) and Trans Artists (NL). She founded the Green Art Lab Alliance, a network of 35 cultural organizations in Europe and Asia that addresses our social and environmental responsibility, and is the author of the series of guides “Creative Responses to Sustainability.” She is the Head of Nature Research at the Van Eyck Academy (NL), a lab that enables artists to consider nature in relation to ecological and landscape development issues.

Artists and Climate Change is a blog that tracks artistic responses from all disciplines to the problem of climate change. It is both a study about what is being done, and a resource for anyone interested in the subject. Art has the power to reframe the conversation about our environmental crisis so it is inclusive, constructive, and conducive to action. Art can, and should, shape our values and behavior so we are better equipped to face the formidable challenge in front of us.

Go to the Artists and Climate Change Blog

Featured in Culture and Climate Change Handbook

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

The World Cities Culture Forum has just launched its new ‘Culture and Climate Change Handbook for City Leaders’, citing the Green Arts Initiative as one of the key examples of how the cultural sector is becoming more ‘green’.

Case studies included in the handbook cover issues of reducing the environmental impact of the cultural sector, engaging the public in sustainability, and how the arts are playing a role in sustainable regeneration initiatives the world over! Alongside the Green Arts Initiative (as an example of how Edinburgh and Scotland have approached the challenge of climate change in this sector), the handbook also features:

  • how New York has re-purposed waste materials as artistic supplies.
  • how Amsterdam has developed its Cultural Venue Sustainability Action Plan
  • how Montreal has rehabilitated a formal landfill site into a cultural attraction.

The handbook is designed for civic leaders and cultural organisations, demonstrating the potential of the cultural sector to contribute to city-level sustainability. The Word Cities and Cultural Forum says:

Cities are on the front line of climate change. They generate over 80% of global GDP and more than 70% of greenhouse gas emissions. Urban areas are already home to over half of the world’s population, projected to rise to two thirds by 2050. Rapid population growth, along with extreme weather events and sea level rise are putting increasing strain on city infrastructures.

City policymakers must act now. A recent report by C40 found that cities could deliver 40% of the carbon emission savings required to limit global temperature rise to the Paris Agreement target of 1.5°C. Existing action on climate change needs to be scaled up rapidly. Without immediate and committed action by cities, global temperatures will pass the point of no return.

Those interested in the creation and scaling of sustainability initiatives in the cultural sector will find the handbook particularly useful, as will those working within local authorities or government around cultural engagement with environmental sustainability!

Download the handbook, and find out more about other sustainability and cultural projects, here.

The post Green Arts Initiative Featured in Culture and Climate Change Handbook appeared first on Creative Carbon Scotland.

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.

The Green Arts Initiative is our year-round community of practice for Scottish cultural organisaitons committed to reducing their environmental impact. Find out more (and join in!) here. 

Go to Creative Carbon Scotland

Apply Now: Nomad/9 Master of Fine Arts

The application period for the 2018 cohort of the Nomad/9 MFA in Interdisciplinary Art is now open. The application deadline for scholarship consideration is January 15, 2018.


Created in 2015, Nomad/9 MFA program is a low-residency program offered by the Hartford Art School of the University of Hartford, with high-impact residencies that include ecology, history, and the craft-to-code technology continuum. The Nomad/9 MFA offers artists a revolutionary new way of engaging with their home community and other communities across the Americas, while preparing to address todays most pressing cultural and social issues through their work. This singular MFA program is dedicated to regenerative culture and built for the 21st century with dynamic, cross-disciplinary, experiential coursework at sites throughout the Americas, including El Salvador, New York City, Oakland, CA, Miami, FL, and Minneapolis/St. Paul.

The Nomad/9 Interdisciplinary MFA curriculum brings together art, ecology, the technology continuum (from craft to code), and the study of history and culture. Featuring a rigorous critical discourse, the program includes artists from diverse creative disciplines on the faculty, and in the student cohort and supports art practices in craft, social practice, eco-art, design, art and healing, and community engagement. The 26-month, accredited program uses a living classroom approach to hands-on learning. During each residency, students engage in a reciprocal relationship with the site, learning from local practitioners and contributing to regional initiatives. Each site fosters awareness of the histories, cultures, and ecosystems present. Between residencies, students continue their practices independently while working closely with faculty.

Faculty and visiting artists include curators, educators, program managers, designers, and active visual, multimedia, performance, and video artists: Christine Baeumler, Cat Balco, John Bielenberg, Amanda Carlson, Mark Dion, Ted Efremoff, Christy Gast, Hope Ginsburg, Gene Gort, Muriel Hasbun, Pablo Helguera, Seitu Jones, Amanda Lovelee, Shanai Matteson, Mary Mattingly, Colin McMullan, Nomad/9 Director Carol Padberg, Ernesto Pujol, Allison Smith, Mona Smith, Sandy Spieler, Linda Weintraub, Nico Wheadon, and Caroline Woolard. In a time of rapid environmental, social, and economic change, the Nomad/9 program is dedicated to providing artists with an education that goes beyond the art world. In 2016, Nomad/9s first-year learning experiences included green woodworking in a forest classroom; a workshop on materiality, death, and regeneration; and and experiencing North American indigenous knowledge systems with Dakota teachers.

More Information:

Information on applying, and Nomad/9 MFAs generous merit scholarships, can be found at Interested students may call (860) 768 4639 for more information.

Exhibition, Gallery Route One in Point Reyes

This post comes to you from EcoArtSpace

Contemplating Other: I know you are, You know I am

at Gallery Route One, Pointe Reyes Station, California

Exhibition runs through January 28, 2018

Includes painting, sculpture and video contemplating the human/animal relationship, while addressing confinement, wildness, and husbandry.

Alicia Escott
Linda Guenste
Brigitta Varadi

Organized and curated by Patricia Watts, founder of ecoartspace, in collaboration with Gallery Route One (GRO) in Point Reyes, California.

Our human relationship with animals has dramatically altered over time. As world populations continue to rise and as wild spaces are reduced due to human encroachments, our heightened interactions with animals expand our awareness of both ourselves and other. As individuals, our consciousness of the boundaries between humans and animals ultimately determines our own fate as a species. Having become dependent on animals for psychological and nutritional needs, human beings don’t often know where the self ends and the other begins.  

In 2015 the New Zealand government formally recognized animals as sentient beings by amending animal welfare legislation, an enlightened perspective. This amendment acknowledges that animals experience both positive and negative emotions, including pain and distress, as humans do. Shockingly, however, the British government recently voted not to transfer parts of EU legislation into UK law, parts that recognize animals as sentient beings, a not so enlightened perspective. 

Historically, it has been posited that animals live “on the surface” and do not engage in self-reflective thought. They likely did not have the ability to process events or have memories like those of humans. Their lives were considered a series of situations, one after the other, instead of an intellectual endeavor. And, we were told, they lacked critical reflection and were not able to differentiate objects from people. These theories have been considered as facts.

The three artists in Contemplating OTHER arrive at their subject from different
perspectives and use diverse media, while they all reflect on the human-animal relationship in their art.

Alicia Escott places herself in the role of animal, physically cloaking herself in sheets of found plastics, upon which she has delicately painted wild animals. She then places herself in nature for documentation. Her work takes the form of photographs, video performances, and installations.

Linda Guenste makes vivid paintings that reflect her experiences of finding the remains of abandoned corrals scattered throughout the Great Plains states of America. There, cattle were historically rounded up in small groups and loaded onto trucks, then hauled off to slaughter. 

Brigitta Varadi works with raw sheep wool to present an aesthetic element of farming practices, in which animals are marked with color-coded paints to identify ownership. Her paintings remind us that animal husbandry links us humans with animals psychologically as well as for our dietary survival.

ecoartapace ecoartspace is a nonprofit platform providing opportunities for artists who address the human/nature relationship in the visual arts. Since 1999 they have collaborated with over 150 organizations to produce more than 40 exhibitions, 100 programs, working with 400 + artists in 15 states nationally and 8 countries internationally. Currently they are developing a media archive of video interviews with artists and collection of exhibitions ephemera for research purposes. Patricia Watts is founder and west coast curator. Amy Lipton is east coast curator and director of the ecoartspace NYC project room.

A project of the Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs since 1999

Go to EcoArtSpace

Youth Shine in Performance for Climate & Energy 

This post comes from the Artists and Climate Change Blog

Shine is a musical performance for youth-led community engagement and resilience planning. It weaves climate science and artistic expression into a funny and powerful story that spans 300 million years of geological time to convey how energy, humanity, and climate are interrelated. Rehearsing each part of the mini-musical immerses youth in the lexicon surrounding climate and energy, and leads participants in embodying different aspects of climate science and human development that led us to this point – where our use of fossil fuels is impacting our climate.

The first half of the show is professionally scripted, composed, and choreographed to convey this story that has already been told by history; the second half – our future story – is authored by local youth to generate solutions for their city’s resilience challenges. Local youth are facilitated in performing the show in each location. This entire performance experience is designed to support and celebrate youth engagement in community resilience planning. Performance for Resilience: Engaging Youth on Energy and Climate through Music, Movement, and Theatre is a book to guide educators and youth organizers in using creative expression based on (or inspired by) Shine.

Paty Romeo Lankao rehearsing with youth in Shine.

In each city where this show has been mounted, local stakeholders have served as hosts and champions of the effort. Paty Romero Lankao is an interdisciplinary sociologist working as a senior research scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) leading the “Urban Futures” initiative. She was co-leading author to Working Group II of the Nobel prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) and convening author of IPCC: AR5, North American chapter. Born in Mexico, she now resides in Boulder, Colorado. Now imagine Lankao pushing tables to the side to make room for an all-day rehearsal in the finest conference room NCAR boasts – where IPCC negations took place and where the dramatic start of the Rocky Mountains fills the view of the floor-to-ceiling windows. Snacks of grapes, crackers, and cheese sticks are placed on the tables, and costumes are strewn around the carpet in preparation for thirteen young performers to arrive.

Through Lankao’s position at NCAR, she has claimed this place of positive social power for the expression of youth voices for authoring ‘urban futures.’ Throughout the day, she rehearsed the dances and movements alongside the youth, sometimes elucidating a scientific principle or idea brought up by the script. With a group of four other young people, she created and performed in a scene for Act Two that focused on the importance of maintaining our forests to avoid global warming. In the late afternoon, she performed in our public showing of Shine for NCAR scientists, invited guests, and the general-public. No one present could miss the crystal-clear messages she sent through her example: (1) the contributions of young people matter, (2) performance is a valid method for community engagement in authoring our city’s future.

Shine has been performed by local youth in eight different communities, five of which are cities that are a part of the Rockefeller Foundation 100 Resilient Cities Initiative: Boulder (June 2015), New York City (October 2015), London (January 2016), New Orleans (April 2016), Chicago (September 2017), and three that were not: Tuba City, Arizona within the Navajo Nation (March 2015), Malope, South Africa (June 2016), and Brookfield, Connecticut (July 2016).

Performing Shine at NCAR in Boulder, Colorado.

As an Associate Professor of Theatre and Environmental Studies at the University of Colorado (CU), I wrote and created this performance experience in collaboration with nationally recognized performing artists and climate scientists. Three-time Grammy winner Tom Wasinger composed the music, and master teacher with the New York City National Dance Institute and former Broadway performer Arthur Fredric developed the choreography. Primary scientific collaborators include Lankao, energy engineer Joshua Sperling with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), and James White, Professor of Geological Sciences and former Director of the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (currently Dean of Arts & Sciences) at CU. I travelled to each location of the tour to facilitate each of these performances with local collaborating host institutions. The intention of the tour was to learn best practices from each city’s process to contribute to a deeper understanding of how performance can effectively engage youth in authoring their city’s plan for resilience.

Youth are often identified as being disruptive. If there was ever a time to disrupt the narrative of the energy and climate, it’s now. Shine invites and celebrates youth’s disruption of the status quo. Tom Wasinger, the composer of Shine, lovingly describes the rehearsal process as “controlled chaos”. The freedom of thought, preposterous ideas, radical concern, and outright silliness that youth have brought to city planning through the tour of Shine has been exceptional. This theatrical approach offers a viable alternative mode for exploring, thinking, and creating modes for living in this world. What we do in these coming decades will determine if we can thrive or even survive on this planet as a species. How we plan for our future and who we include in the planning may determine what that future looks like. Participatory performance by youth is one way to shine a light on a brighter future.

Included in the supporting  Open Source Materials for using this performance are the script, links to the music, videos of the choreography for each song, materials for building curricula, interviews with collaborators, and a professionally shot video of the entire production. These materials, along with a two-minute trailer of the international tour, can be found on the Inside the Greenhouse website. Check out Performance for Resilience for deeper analysis of the lessons learned along Shine’s year-long international tour and conclusions on how to best utilize performance for resilience planning.

(Top image: Weaving the fabric of community in the performance of Shine.)


Beth Osnes, PhD is an Associate Professor of Theatre and Environmental Studies at the University of Colorado. She is co-director of Inside the Greenhouse, an initiative for creative communication on climate.  She is passionate about using performance as a tool for youth and women to participate in authoring their own climate and clean energy futures. Recent books include Performance for Resilience: Engaging Youth on Energy and Climate through Music, Movement, and Theatre (Palgrave 2017) and Theatre for Women’s Participation in Sustainable Development (Routledge 2014). She is featured in the award-winning documentary Mother: Caring for 7 Billion.

About Artists and Climate Change:

Artists and Climate Change is a blog that tracks artistic responses from all disciplines to the problem of climate change. It is both a study about what is being done, and a resource for anyone interested in the subject. Art has the power to reframe the conversation about our environmental crisis so it is inclusive, constructive, and conducive to action. Art can, and should, shape our values and behavior so we are better equipped to face the formidable challenge in front of us.

Go to the Artists and Climate Change Blog