Yearly Archives: 2020

Job: Curator/Producer roles at Fife Contemporary

Vacancies in Curator/Producer roles in two different project by Fife Contemporary.

Fife Contemporary has declared a Climate Emergency and the challenges facing the environment will be at the heart of their forthcoming exhibitions and events programme.

There are two roles available:

Containers Project Curator/Producer

An evolving project centred around shipping containers has included a pilot exhibition using a container and a touring pop-up banner exhibition about shipping containers. Fife Contemporary are seeking to contract a freelance curator/producer to move the project forward by completing a research & development phase.

  • Duration: April – September 2020
  • Fee: £7500 based on 30 days work over 6 months
  • Full job description
Environmental Exhibition Curator/Producer

Fife Contemporary are seeking to contract a freelance curator/producer to devise, develop and deliver an exhibition with us planned for Kirkcaldy Galleries in March-May 2021. The exhibition should involve high quality contemporary visual art and craft and be presented in a way which engages a general audience.

  • Duration: April 2020 – June 2021
  • Fee: £12,500 based on 50 days work over 15 months
  • Full job description
How to apply
  1. Prepare cover letter outlining why you wish to undertake the project and outline your relevant knowledge and experience which would enables you to carry it out.
  2. Enclose a current CV including a referee who we will contact in the event of our offering you the opportunity.
  3. Send to jobs@fcac.co.uk inserting the title of the role into the subject line of the email.

To discuss the project before applying, please contact Fife Contemporary Director:
diana.sykes@fcac.co.uk / 01334 474610

Fife Contemporary  welcome and encourage applications from all sections of the community, and will not discriminate on grounds of race, colour, ethnic or national origins, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, or religious beliefs. To help us monitor our performance we will ask you to fill in a confidential monitoring form.

Deadline: Monday 9th March 2020 at 5pm

The post Job: Curator/Producer roles at Fife Contemporary 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 Guapamacátaro Center for Art and Ecology: Interdisciplinary Residency in Art and Ecology Program

Our Interdisciplinary Residency in Art and Ecology Program has been around for 14 years, granting space and production support for people who are doing innovative work worldwide, across the arts and sciences. During their stay (3 weeks), participants use the hacienda grounds as a laboratory for the creative process and engaging with the local community. They are free to work whenever desired in the provided studios and anywhere in the property. Experimentation is encouraged as is discourse and collaboration. 

Eligibility

* Open to professionals from all countries, cultural backgrounds and aesthetics.
* Language requirements: BOTH English and Spanish (at least beginner level).
* Up to 10 people per session are selected from a mix of the following disciplines:

  • Performing Arts (Music, Dance, Performance, Theater, Puppetry, etc)
  • Visual Arts (Painting, Drawing, Mixed-Media, Photography, Film/Video, etc)
  • Sculpture and Installation
  • Design and Architecture
  • Humanities and Social Sciences (Anthropology, Philosophy, Writing, etc)
  • Natural Sciences (Ecology, Hydrology, Biology, Geology, etc)
Award
  • LIVE/WORK SPACE: Single or double occupancy bedrooms and studios, plus common areas at the hacienda, at NO COST.
  • PRODUCTION SUPPORT to realize one or more projects while in residency. 
  • PUBLIC EXHIBITION at the Open House event on the last week of the residency.
  • DIGITAL CATALOG showcasing each participant’s work, with a review written by a guest curator or writer.
  • CONNECTIONS with Mexico’s cultural and academic presenters.
Costs
  • LIVING EXPENSES: All utilities, cleaning services, drinking water and three meals per day at NET COST: $1,000 USD for the 3 weeks.
  • TRANSPORTATION: We do not cover transportation expenses, but can assist you in pursuing additional funding with other sources, to cover such expenses.

APPLY

2020 SUMMER SESSION : July 6-26
APPLICATION DUE: March 1st at midnight
NOTIFICATION OF RESULTS: March 15th

FAQ

Open Call: Apply Now for Ferment

Apply by March 9 here

This article was originally published in 2019 to announce the launch of Year 1 of Ferment. Since then over $65K has been distributed to creators through Ferment. Ferment also does not seek public funding and operates as a stand-alone space experimenting with new ways of making culture.

Ferment: Space for Cultures to Grow

Incubators exist to help startups grow. Incubators are being increasingly leveraged globally to catalyze economic and community development. This is an admirable pursuit but raises important questions about the types of activities that are being supported and the forms that positive development takes. The moral foundations of capitalism are dominating more and more aspects of our culture. Unsurprisingly, incubators echo this, with an emphasis on economic growth, competition, and acquisition.

We will need systems and institutions focused on more than competition and growth if we hope to overcome the massive challenges we face as communities and as a species.

Culture is a collective resource upon which we all draw to make sense of the world. A society that lacks diversity in cultural narratives is a society that lacks the imagination to deal with the massive issues of our times. Incubators, even when ostensibly aimed at solving issues like climate change or inequality, are often deeply rooted in capitalist assumptions about wealth and growth.

New incubators embodying new values are necessary to build our collective resilience and to generate new ideas and approaches to move us forward.

IMG_-6sumh1.jpg

Fermentation is a practice known in most cultures. In fact, there is evidence of beer making in a cave near Haifa, Israel from 13,000 years ago. Fermentation refers to the conversion of sugar into alcohol but is also applied to the leavening of bread (carbon dioxide from yeast activity) and in the preservation of foods through the production of lactic acid (like in pickles and cheese). Ultimately, fermentation serves five basic purposes: to provide greater diversity of flavors, aromas, and textures; to preserve food for later use; to increase the health benefits of a food or drink; to get rid of anti-nutrients, and to reduce the need for cooking and the associated need for fuel.

Ferment therefore becomes a useful metaphor for the work we are trying to do. We seek to:

  1. increase the diversity of stories available to us to make sense of the world.
  2. preserve stories and ways of knowing so that they are not lost to future generations.
  3. offset the trend toward algorithmic optimization of culture at the expense of the hard work and education required to develop personal taste.
  4. offer time and support to approaches that the market might not currently support
  5. accelerate projects that disrupt how we deal with massive problems affecting us and subsequent generations

Fermentation takes patience and there are few quick fixes. Also, we won’t know what we’ve got until adequate time has been given. Ours is a slow and immersive process.

Ferment is an effort to help people outside traditional and institutional spheres of cultural production do their work and contribute to our collective well-being. We are doing this through research and experimentation on emerging business models, new platforms for collaboration, and unexpected sources of income.

Ferment is an effort to understand and enact a different format for ‘incubation’. Ferment is a space for new culture to grow. We intend to create alternatives to state and corporate forms of incubation.

We are following the advice of Noam Chomsky, who calls for, “spontaneous and free experimentation with new social forms”. Furthermore, we are pursuing Chomsky’s goal of “possibilities for reconstruction of society in the interests of those who are now, to a greater or lesser extent, dispossessed”.

Ferment is composed of creators that are advancing ways of understanding and describing the world that might not find a home in institutional creativity (or incubation). This includes diasporic practices, hybridized approaches, creative work that spans disciplines and sectors, and art and design that draws on traditions that do not privilege capitalist models.  

FermentPIC.jpg

Ultimately, we hope to offer a new marketplace for solutions. Traditional approaches to incubation should not be dismissed. Our offer is a way of supporting entrepreneurial activity that is centered in different values and approaches. In farming, mono-cultures are fragile. The same argument applies to entrepreneurship and incubation.

Reach out to find out more or check out the 2019 cohort here.

Apply by March 9 here

Željko Kipke exhibition in Trieste: opening on 22 February 2020

Trieste, Studio Tommaseo (Italy)
DISMANTLING STRUCTURES
a solo-show by ŽELJKO KIPKE 
opening on Saturday 22 February, at 18.00 p.m.

Newest paintings by the Croatian artist strike Zagreb icon-buildings which have been strongly characterized by political, economic and cultural history of the city (such as the Parliament, former seat of the Central Committee of the Communist Party).

The opening of Dismantling Structures exhibition will take place on 22 February 2020, at 18 pm, at Studio Tommaseo in Trieste: curator Branko Franceschi will introduce the audience to the artistic world of Croatian artist Željko Kipke and will converse with him.

Kipke uses to paint on canvas typical monochrome backgrounds. This time he distorts on them famous images of Zagreb architecture and depicts buildings like waste papers, crumpled and rolled into a ball, so they are almost unrecognizable. The artist also puts into an experimental animated short film, which contains a Zagreb map pointing those buildings out, his critical questions about the functioning of the institutional system in Croatia, a country that is in transition. 

Dismantling Structures has been realised by Trieste Contemporanea in co-production with the Museum of Fine Arts in Split and Galerija Kranjčar in Zagreb, and under the patronage of the Consulate General of the Republic of Croatia in Trieste. 
Trieste is the first Italian venue for this new Kipke’s art project, that follows the exhibition curated in November 2019 by critic Vanja Babić at the Galerija Kranjčar in Zagreb.

Željko Kipke (Čakovec 1953) is a painter and a video maker. He studied in the 1970s at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb and was at the beginning a leading artist in the analytic line of contemporary art and then also a leading director in experimental film.
In the first half of the 1980s he made short films mainly documenting his art performances. During his intense artistic career, among other things, he represented Croatia at the 1993 Venice Biennale and at the 1995 Cairo Biennale. In 2007, again in Venice, he was commissioner of his country’s pavilion. Also important is his activity as an art critic and curator, a theoretician and a writer.


a Trieste Contemporanea production
a Museum of Fine Arts in Split co-production
a Galerija Kranjčar Zagreb co-production
under the patronage of the Consulate General of the Republic of Croatia in Trieste

Željko Kipke 
Dismantling Structures
from 22 February to 16 April, 2020

curator Branko Franceschi

venue: Trieste, Studio Tommaseo (via del Monte 2/1)
opening on Saturday 22 February, at 18.00 p.m.
opening hours: Tuesday-Saturday 17-20 p.m.
free entry

(Top photo: The artist in his studio while preparing the exhibition)

We Make Tomorrow summit

Wednesday February 26, 2020, 10:00 – 19:00

We are in a #ClimateEmergency

In the last year we have seen an explosion of action on the climate crisis; from sector-wide declarations of climate emergency, to young people leading global strikes, and the UK’s first ever party leader’s election debate on climate and nature. 

Join us for our flagship 2020 summit We Make Tomorrow: Creative climate action in a time of crisis to be at the forefront of an urgent and creative plan for change.

This provocativeintergenerational and action-focused event will bring creative-cultural leaders and institutions together with funders, grassroots activists, policy-makers and the scientific community to explore what creativity, leadership and innovation means in the context of climate and ecological emergency, ahead of the crucial COP26 climate talks.


What to Expect

Taking place on Wednesday 26th February 2020 at the Royal Geographical Society London, we will bring together high-profile expert speakers and facilitators with an audience of over 300 from across the UK and beyond.

Together we will ask: What will the world be like in 2030, and what can the creative and cultural community do now to push us closer to the future we want?  

This day-long event will look at the political, demographic, economic and social forces driving our changing climate and devastating loss of nature, and explore how the arts and cultural sector can be galvanised to move us towards net-zero, whilst laying foundations for a more connected, viable and just future society.

Expect interactive sessionsperformances, high profile keynotes, and cross-disciplinary discussion. As a participant of this event, we would like you to bring your vision, experience and expertise to help shape and contribute towards the day.

Speakers include

BRIAN ENO, world famous musician, producer and trustee of Client Earth;
AFSHEEN KABIR RASHID, MBE co-Founder and co-CEO of Repowering London;
CHRIS STARK, Chief Executive of the Committee on Climate Change;
JAMIE OBORNE, Manager of The 1975 and Entrepreneur Of The Year (2018);
FRANCES MORRIS, Director, Tate Modern;
JASON deCAIRES TAYLOR, sculptor of underwater museums and environmentalist;
KATE RAWORTHrenegade economist tackling social and ecological challenges;
KAREEM DAYES, musician and Founder of the Rural Urban Synthesis Society;
BARONESS LOLA YOUNG of Hornsey OBE, Crossbench peer and arts, culture and climate justice advocate;
NABIL AHMED, visual artist and Founder of INTERPRT;
NOGA LEVY-RAPOPORT, climate justice advocate with UK Student Climate Network;
FARHANA YAMIN, Veteran UN climate negotiator and activist;
DRILL MINISTERdrill artist and political activist;
CHARISE JOHNSON, Science policy researcher and environmental justice advocate;
LUCIA PIETROIUSTI, Curator of General Ecology at Serpentine Galleries;
ANDREA CARTER, Lead Producer, D6: Culture in Transit;
ZAMZAM IBRAHIM, President of the UK National Union of Students
SAM LEE, folk singer and musician and founder of The Nest Collective.

Full speaker biographies can be found here.

We will be announcing more names and further details very soon. But for now, don’t miss out – book your tickets now!

Preliminary structure for the day

9.30 – 10 Registration
10 – 10.30 Welcome and introduction
10.30 – 11.30 Session 1 + Q&A
11.30 – 12.30 Group panel
12.30 – 12.45 Performance
12.45 – 1.45 Lunch, networking break, screening and activities
1.45 – 2.40 Group panel and workshop
2.50 – 3.45 Group panel and presentation
3.45 – 4.15 Refreshment and networking break
4.15 – 4.40 Voices from the creative climate movement
4.40 – 5.15 Presentation and performance
5.30 Daytime event close
5.30pm – 9.30pm Networking drinks and performances (tickets to be booked separately, free to all attending during the day)

FULL DAY TICKETS ARE SOLD OUT however a limited number of additional half-day and digital access tickets have now been created. Click below to find out more and book.

TICKETS


FRIENDS & CAMPAIGNS – 
Believe – sharing news of their fundraising bike ride
Craftivist Collective – hosting an activists retreat space throughout the day
Culture Declares Emergency – sharing campaign tips for declarers
Music Declares Emergency – sharing campaign tips for declarers
The Climate Coalition – inviting you to Show The Love for the climate
UK Student Climate Network (UKSCN) – sharing campaign tips for students

SPONSORS – 
Borough Wines – serving delicious organic wine by the keg
Eventbrite – providing equipment for a digital-first event
Focusrite – supporting audio/visual equipment
Seacourt – supporting zero carbon, Planet Positive Printing services  
Slido– helping collect Q&A’s and ensure the event is interactive
White Light – supporting audio/visual equipment

The Top 10 Most Exciting Art/Sustainability Initiatives in…Chile!

By Yasmine Ostendorf

In recent months, Chile has received global attention, but for different reasons than initially expected. The capital city of Santiago was supposed to host COP25, the United Nations meetings where world leaders discuss how to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. But instead of being the proud backdrop for the political groundwork needed to usher us towards a more sustainable future, Santiago was all over the news because of its social uprising.

On a superficial level, the protests seemed to have been triggered by an increase in subway prices, but the reality was much more complex. The country had been a ticking time-bomb, fueled by built-up anger and frustration over its unfair social systems, extreme neoliberalism and increased privatization – remaining legacies of the Pinochet dictatorship. Even though the media tried to prove otherwise, the protests were mostly peaceful, full of music, art and other forms of creativity. They only became violent when the police started responding with extreme violence

As the protests escalated, COP25 had to be moved to Madrid. Still, the majority of the Chilean protesters had shown their courageous and creative side. Song, graffiti and street-art brightened the streets, and the whole world was introduced to “Un violador en tu camino,” the powerful Chilean anti-rape anthem initiated by Lastesis, that went viral and fueled a movement of feminist protests across Latin America and beyond. Another personal favorite is the work of Chilean artist Cecilia Vicuña, whose statement on the protests can be read here

Cecilia Vicuña, Violeta Parra o Violenta Vid. Oil on canvas, 1973. Collection of the artist. Vicuña: “I decided to paint a portrait of Violeta Parra for the series of Heroes of the Revolution, because not all the heroes have to be leaders, thinkers or guerrillas, we also need heroes of being, painting and invention.”

Creativity proved once again to be central in the fight for a better future, so the time is ripe for another personal list of Top 10 Most Exciting Art/Sustainability Initiatives, this time in Chile (as always, in random order). Because of its long shape and 6,000 km coastline, Chile has some of the most (bio) diverse and astonishing landscapes in the world. The country stretches all the way from the dry Atacama desert in the north to the volcanoes, glaciers, and ancient forests in the south. Its natural environment is of incredible beauty and importance, and the art initiatives listed below admire as well as address that.

Biomaterials at Labva

1. LABVA

This innovative and experimental biomaterials lab is located in Valdívia in the south of Chile. Occupying an old building constructed in 1906, Labva is essentially an independent and self-managed community laboratory and kitchen, where artists cook up biomaterials, grow biomaterials and research local and circular economies. Labva aims to bring science closer to the community, focusing especially on new materials or open biomaterials. 

Mar Adentro

2. FUNDACIÓN MAR ADENTRO

Fundación Mar Adentro is the steward of Bosque Pehuén in Auracanía Andina, Chile, a 882-hectare Natural Reserve sitting between the Villarrica vulcano and the Quetrupillan vulcano – a stunning area known for its abundant biodiversity. Fundación Mar Adentro founded this private conservation initiative in 2006 with the belief that “to preserve, one should understand,” conceiving the place as an outdoor research lab. Ever since, they have been developing multidisciplinary and collaborative initiatives in art, education, and nature that encourage recognizing the value of the Chilean natural and cultural heritage.

UCT students at Valley of the Possible

3. VALLEY OF THE POSSIBLE

Valley of the Possible is an independent cultural non-profit that offers artists, scientists and other thinkers and makers a place to connect with nature, time for research, and space for artistic development. Located in the stunning Cañon del Blanco valley in La Araucanía Andina, the place is surrounded by ancient volcanic landscapes with abundant biodiversity and a strong Indigenous presence. The works and narratives that are created as part of the projects and residencies encourage thinking and acting ecologically. The founders believe it is essential to support the parallel development of ecological and economical shifts that re-addresses the wisdom, tradition, and culture of Indigenous people and the importance of their cosmology. 

Museo Del Hongo

4. MUSEO DEL HONGO

This nomadic museum of art and science has one obsession: mushrooms, and anything to do with mushrooms. Museo del Hongo even operates in mycorrhizal ways, spreading its spores across Chile and beyond through fungi-inspired performances, fashion, magazines, exhibitions, and educational workshops. And, like mycelium, it has a central role in a vast network, connecting people, resources, and knowledge. Museo del Hongo collaborates closely with many partners, including the Chilean Fungi Foundation. It functions with the versatility and resourcefulness of the fungal ways of living and working. 

Lawayaka Current’s Desert 23°S, Atacama, Chile 

5. LAWAYAKA CURRENT

La Wayaka Current is an artist-led initiative whose main focus is to develop ways to engage people with the pressing environmental and philosophical questions of our time through self-reflection, arts, and culture. This is in response to the increased loss of connection between humans and the natural world, and the global socio-political and environmental problems that have arisen due to this distancing. Since 2015, La Wayaka Current has orchestrated alternative residency programs in various remote natural biomes, often in collaboration with indigenous communities. Participants connect to the rich biodiversity, culture and ancestral knowledge of a place, in order to recognize and value these things in light of the present ecological crisis. The aim is to investigate the potential to form new perspectives through creative practice and critical thought. 

Magma Lab

6. MAGMA/LAB

MAGMA/Lab is an artist-run space for creative experimentation, located in Pucón in the Araucanía region. The artists work in various disciplines, including ceramics, engraving, graphics, visual art, design, and furniture, always taking nature as point of departure. Programs include workshops, design services, as well as projects on sustainable solutions for various local challenges. The founders believe that local commerce and respect for nature don’t have to be at odds with each other, and they seek to strengthen the creative industry of the beautiful Araucanía region, without harm to the environment.

Whale research with the community at MHNRS

7. THE NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM OF RÍO SECO (MHNRS)

The Natural History Museum of Río Seco (MHNRS) is a space of convergence between disciplines related to arts and sciences that assimilates and reflects on the natural and cultural heritage of the Magallanes and Chilean Antarctic region. This space was created with the purpose of embracing and disseminating knowledge regarding the southern Pole through the development of collections, which mainly relate to the natural and material history of the extreme south of Chile. Through community experiences, academics, professionals, specialists, students and visitors from diverse backgrounds are invited to think critically, and develop an understanding of the challenge of inhabiting a territory where the natural environment is key to cultural development. 

Smell test, Ensayos Tierra del Fuego

8. ENSAYOS TIERRA DEL FIEGO

The nomadic research collective Ensayos Tierra del Fuego‘s practice is centered on extinction, human geography, and coastal health. The members of the collective honor the Indigenous Selk’nam, Yaghan, Kawéskar and Haush peoples on whose ancestral lands and waters they conduct research and learn – mostly in Tierra del Fuego (the southern tip of Patagonia) and other archipelagos. The land is rich in fungi and plant species and home to unique Patagonian wildlife. Ensayos Tierra de Fuego believes that understanding environmental change requires sound science. Through their work, they underline the fact that making choices about Earth stewardship involves ethics, aesthetics and critical geopolitical perspectives.

Image from the Art and Science Biennale of Concepción, as published in Endémico magazine, media partners of the Biennale. 

9. REVISTA ENDÉMICO

Revista Endémico is a bi-annual magazine and online platform that creates spaces for art and environment. From issues on the mysterious world of oceans and the challenges to preserve marine ecosystems, to interviews with artists who have participated in projects and residencies, Revista Endémico publishes superb images and top-notch writing. The platform is a great resource to learn about both environmental and artistic practices in Chile. Revista Endémico is an initiative of  Hola Eco, a group of bloggers who converge on an essential point: their mutual quest for a more balanced lifestyle with the planet and themselves. 

Ciudad Abierta

10. CIUDAD ABIERTA

Picturesquely tucked away in a national park in Ritoque, north of Valparaíso, one can find Ciudad Abierta – the Open City. Covering 270 hectares, this landscape is home to an extraordinary diversity of flora and fauna, wetlands, cliffs, dunes, and gorges, and dotted with an impressive array of architectural interventions. Founded in 1970 by a group of poets, philosophers, sculptors, painters, architects and designers, it still functions as an experimental architecture school, with several workshops and workspaces for artists, designers, and architects. Several of the founders still live on site and all decision-making processes regarding new architectural and experimental interventions are made collectively and democratically during “Heart Open” table discussions. 

Valley of the Possible and Cookies research trip, 2019. Photo by Federico Martelli.

In addition, I should mentioned the Tompkins Foundation and CAB Patagonia, which are doing incredible work in nature and cultural conservation in Chile; curator Rodolfo Andaur has been taking artists around Chile, researching the different geographies of the country through the critical and reflective lens of contemporary art; and The Pearl Buttonis a beautiful film about the relationship of people with the water in Chile. 

I express my deep gratitude to Valley of the Possible for the incredible research trip in Chile in December 2019, which formed the foundation for this list. 


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 and the initiator of the Van Eyck Food Lab.

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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

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An Interview with Mary Annaïse Heglar & Amy Westervelt

By Amy Brady

I am thrilled to bring you this month an interview with climate justice essayists and podcast hosts Mary Annaïse Heglar and Amy Westervelt. With their podcast, Hot Take, both writers/hosts are approaching climate change in a way that so many artists and novelists do: through emotional, heartfelt storytelling. The podcast examines trends in climate storytelling across mediums, and future episodes will possibly feature novelists, poets, and other creatives. The podcast launched late last year but has already made waves among writers and media types. In this interview, we discuss what inspired the podcast and why allowing emotional responses to the climate crisis into the public arena is just as important as making space for scientific research. 

What inspired you both to start the Hot Take podcast?

Mary: Amy approached me about a podcast a couple of times. First, the idea was to develop a podcast on my own, which felt a bit overwhelming, but I did throw around ideas about climate messaging and intersectionality. A little later, she mentioned that she was going to start a podcast on climate news, and wondered if I would be a co-host. Then, the wheels got to turning about combining that with the ideas we had for the solo show. That turned into ideas for a media criticism show and as the concept developed, we grew more and more excited and were asking ourselves, “omg, how has no one thought of this before?”

Amy: Yes, exactly! The idea sounded sort of narrow at first, but the more we talked about it, the more we realized we had a lot to say on the subject and a lot we wanted to explore, and we felt like a lot of people wanted to talk more about climate storytelling but there was no place to really do that. 

Your first few episodes are dedicated to reviewing the last four years’ worth of climate coverage. What major trends have you seen in journalistic storytelling? Did any of them surprise you?

Mary: [Climate storytelling] got so much more emotional. I think for a really long time, the climate conversation had been wedded to the idea of a very strict set of best practices: you must be hopeful, you have to emphasize individual actions, “we” are responsible for this. All of that got thrown out of the window in the past couple of years. Sure, there are still messages of hope, but there’s also fear and anger and sadness. In other words, there’s more honesty. The conversation had been largely democratized. It used to be that you had to have a certain level of access to know how bad our situation is, but now everyone knows. I don’t know if I’m surprised by [these increases in emotional responses and accessibility] so much as I am simply delighted. 

Amy: We recently finished working on the 2019 episode, the last of the recap episodes, and were bowled over by how, for the 2016-2017 episode, we had to really hunt for stories, but by 2019 we had more than we could feasibly include. So just in terms of quantity there’s been an explosion in climate coverage, which is great to see. It’s also gotten so much more diverse both in terms of who gets to write about climate and what counts as a climate story. I don’t remember reading many, if any, personal essays on climate five years ago, for example – climate storytelling was often confined to either policy stories or science stories. Now the media is starting to deliver on the idea of climate as a lens and not a distinct issue (which coincidentally is how I think we need to approach acting on climate: holistically, systemically, and not just tackling the energy source!) 

This newsletter is dedicated to art and literature, but journalism is also a kind of storytelling – a vital one that largely shapes how we discuss the climate crisis. Any predictions for how the climate narrative will unfold in 2020?

Mary: We also plan to weave in more fiction as we continue, and I’d say that most personal essays are literary, and those have exploded on the climate scene in recent years. I think we’re going to begin to see way more of that. I also think we’re going to see more usage of different mediums. For one thing, there’s a lot of room for more podcasts and a desperate need for more climate storytelling in video format. I think the tone is going to continue to get bolder and stronger. The climate movement is done with being polite. They’re ready to go to the mattresses. 

Amy: I predict we’ll see more and more narrative approaches on climate. Drilled, the other climate podcast I do, is still one of the only narrative podcasts on climate, which seems nuts to me given how many climate stories are unfolding all the time. Given Hollywood’s growing interest in climate and the desire for character-driven narratives there, I think we’re bound to see more of those sorts of stories. I am also thrilled to start seeing the first inklings of humor and satire being used effectively on climate, and I suspect (hope!) we’ll see more of that, too. Sarah Miller’s piece in Popula, about Miami real estate and sea-level rise, is a great example. So is Katy Lederer’s piece on the COP climate negotiations in n+1

A subject that comes up often on your podcast – and in both of your writing – is the validity of intense emotional reactions to climate change. Why is allowing for an emotion response – as opposed to a purely rational and scientific one – important?

Mary: Because the scientific one hasn’t worked! If we had rational leaders in place who wanted to solve the problem, then sure, all we need to do is present them with the evidence and go on our merry way. But, that’s not where we’re at. This isn’t a war on “facts.” This is a war on “power.” And power doesn’t surrender to simple “facts.” It never has. If it did, it would never have existed. To challenge power, you have to make noise, and to make noise you have to feel something. But also because I don’t want to be the one who watches my world slip away with cool detachment. I’ve seen people get furious about missing a green light or a subway train and then laugh off Camp Fire or Hurricane Maria as “well, what are you gonna do?” I don’t want to be that person. 

Amy: Because climate change is a trauma inflicted on humanity by a few humans. And you cannot process a trauma and get to action without experiencing and confronting a whole range of emotions: grief, anger, shame, guilt, sometimes all at once. And because we can’t accept others’ emotions if we don’t accept and process our own. I think that work is really critical to moving past the various blockers to climate action. 

What voices and stories would you like to see more of in the climate conversation?

Mary: I want way more people of color and women. To get real specific, I want to hear from more Indigenous women. Their experience is critical, and when they speak, I want everyone to listen. The same goes for the disabled community. I’ve learned so much from voices from that community over the past year and it’s been really instructive. 

Amy: Dammit, the exact same! Indigenous women, disabled people, and I’d also like to hear more from Latinx writers, particularly from those who are connecting the dots between climate change, eco-fascism, and immigration. 

What do you have planned next for Hot Take?

Mary: Ha, I think that’s hard to say since we just got started! But already in 2020, we’re going to start taking listener’s questions and inviting guests onto the show, with priority given to climate storytellers. We feel like there’s already a lot of spaces for experts like scientists and policy analysts to talk about their craft vis-a-vis climate, but precious few of them for climate storytellers. I’m really excited to get those conversations going. I think they’re going to be cathartic. 

Amy: Yes! There’s an element to the show that I don’t know if we totally planned for, and that is the therapeutic catharsis stuff. Talking through our own emotional responses to the problem, looking at all the different ways the story has been told, it’s kinda the thing that we both say about the need for emotion in this space. Looking at it from a variety of angles actually really helps to process and get to a place where action is possible. We hope to do that for other climate storytellers, and our listeners, too.

Any other projects you’d like my readers to know about?

Mary: Not so much for me. Amy? 

Amy: I do! Drilled season three is launching January 21st, and we’ll also be launching a new climate accountability reporting project that same day, which will include a website for both reporting and essays, two newsletters (we’re sponsoring Climate Liability News and Heated), and a handful of audio projects, too. We’ll be working with various partners to collaborate and amplify as well, including HuffPostNew York Magazine, and some others I can’t talk about yet. When I say “climate accountability,” I mean we’ll be digging into all the various reasons for delayed action on climate. So the role of the fossil-fuel, automotive, and manufacturing industries for sure, but also less obvious things like how the language we use impacts action, how different messaging frameworks have or haven’t worked, why the IPCC kept social scientists out of their process for so long, really trying to examine all the big blockers. 

This article is part of the Climate Art Interviews series. It was originally published in Amy Brady’s “Burning Worlds” newsletter. Subscribe to get Amy’s newsletter delivered straight to your inbox.


Amy Brady is the Deputy Publisher of Guernica magazine and Senior Editor of the Chicago Review of Books. Her writing about art, culture, and climate has appeared in the Village Voice, the Los Angeles TimesPacific Standard, the New Republic, and other places. She is also the editor of the monthly newsletter “Burning Worlds,” which explores how artists and writers are thinking about climate change. She holds a PHD in English and is the recipient of a CLIR/Mellon Library of Congress Fellowship. Read more of her work at AmyBradyWrites.com at and follow her on Twitter at @ingredient_x.

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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.

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