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Ben’s Strategy Blog: Complexity theory, cultural practices and carbon reduction policy  

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

Creative Carbon Scotland’s Director Ben Twist has completed his PhD! In this blog he shares a summary of how complexity theory, cultural practice and sustainability work together.

At about the same time that Creative Carbon Scotland was formed I started work on a part-time PhD at the University of Edinburgh’s department of Sociology. Seven years later (it was very part-time!) I’ll be graduating in November. The subject of the PhD has both shaped and been shaped by the work of Creative Carbon Scotland, and I provide here a summary of Taking the Complexity Turn to Steer Carbon Reduction Policy: Applying practice theory, complexity theory and cultural practices to policies addressing climate change. (I can provide a version with references to anyone who wants one.) My practical research focused on increasing the sustainability of audience travel to His Majesty’s Theatre in Aberdeen and relates to the useful skills and attributes that cultural practitioners can bring to work on climate change, even in non-arts settings. 

The Scottish Government has a problem.  

The Scottish Government has committed to an 80% cut in CO2-e emissions from the 1990 baseline by 2050 (to be increased to at least 90% in the Climate Change Bill scheduled for 2019). A 37.6% cut had been achieved by 2015, but largely through decarbonisation of the electricity supply, which has involved dealing with relatively few large companies in a field where regulation is seen as acceptable. Most of this low hanging fruit has now been plucked and the next stage will be much harder as it will require changes in the way in which millions of individuals and small organisations travel and transport goods, heat and power their homes, buildings and appliances, and changes to individuals’ diets. The Government broadly follows a commonly held view that individual behaviour is none of its business, and so thinks it has very limited control over these smaller ‘agents’. What is it to do? 

Behaviour change 

Since 2009 the Government’s policy has focused on behaviour change to achieve this reduction in the carbon emissions of individuals, and it set up a useful research programme to explore how to go about it. This revealed that such behaviour change is in fact difficult to bring about and seldom achieves the degree of change that is required for this enormous social, cultural and economic transition. The research points to interventions being required at individual, societal and infrastructural levels as well as working in a coordinated way across sectors to avoid conflicting changes, and it raises the issue of ‘rebound’, where financial savings made by improving energy efficiency are ‘recycled’ by consumers into increased consumption, reducing or removing the desired carbon reductions. Behaviour change is more complex than it might seem. 

‘Behaviour change’ is in fact a term that was seldom used in sociological writing before the 1970s: until then, government in the UK was openly involved in organising social change. In the early 70s the post-war consensus between government, unions, companies and society broke down and a post-Keynesian economics focused on individuals and their choices – rational choice theory – leading to the concentration on the ‘rational actor’ approach to individual behaviour change. A feature of this approach that continues today, although it has been partly undermined by the financial crisis, is the view that government should get out of the way and intervene in individuals’ decision making as little as possible. 

Relying on the Rational Actor 

Rational choice theory sees the human being as a ‘rational actor’, capable of making a choice to act so as to maximise their personal benefit, and fundamentally self-interested, so making that maximisation of personal benefit the reason for all choices and behaviours (and the influence of economics on policy is so strong that this doesn’t apply just to the economic sphere but has spread to thinking about social fields). Thus people constantly weigh up the various options they have in any particular circumstances and choose the course of action expected to result in the highest net benefit or the lowest net cost. This model relies on the individual having good and complete information about the courses of action, and it makes no comment on the ‘preferences’ that the individual uses to evaluate the various benefits on offer. In an assumption with implications relating to concepts of sustainability it also assumes that the individual has endless, insatiable desire for benefit, for otherwise the whole model would fail to work when there was no longer any further maximisation of benefit that would lead to any behavioural choices.  

This focus on the rational choice theory of behaviour led to a host of theories about how to achieve behaviour change when governments wanted (most research was government led: government is of course quite a lot about influencing the activities of citizens). These include: 

  • Improving the individual’s knowledge so they would make ‘better’ choices; 
  • Widening the understanding of the personal benefit to include social, psychological and moral benefits, not just material ones; 
  • Considering longer term rather than just immediate benefits to be gained from a choice. 

The problems with rational choice theory are however both legion and well documented (search for Motivating Sustainable Consumption by Professor Tim Jackson, for example) and to address these the theories of behaviour became ever more complicated to the point where they seemed impossible to apply in practice. The behaviour change theories suffered similarly and a core problem is that individuals lack ‘agency’ – the ability to make changes when their actions are influenced by a complex web of other factors and agents. Other people, material things, habit, commercial, financial and social pressures, the weather etc all combine to intervene between what someone might want to do (or think they want to do) and what they actually end up doing.  

Nudge 

In an attempt to overcome these problems whilst avoiding seeming to interfere in individuals’ choices, both the US and UK governments leapt upon ‘Nudge’, a rag-bag of techniques owing a great deal to the marketing world’s success in changing behaviours. Nudge accepts that individuals don’t make very good rational choosers: we are influenced by all sorts of things (including of course marketing). Nudge therefore applies various techniques to help us choose ‘better’, and to some extent it works practically. There are however ethical questions about this ‘choice architecture’, as people are being manipulated without their knowing, whilst laws and regulations do it openly, but moreover the focus on the individual and his/her behaviour is not enough, and this forms part of the problem of what I call ‘the sheer muddle of everyday life’.  

A personal example of this might help show why consistent behaviour change is so difficult to achieve. My decision to cycle, take the bus or drive to a performance at the theatre is influenced by many different factors. Who I am going with (my wife doesn’t cycle), who I am going to meet there (cycling gear won’t impress some people); the state of the roads/cycle lanes/traffic conditions (cycling feels dangerous in Edinburgh but is often faster than driving in heavy traffic); the cost, timing and convenience of the bus (does it go there, does it come back after the show, how long will I have to wait?); the cost of parking and fuel, the likelihood of having a drink after the show; the weather; the time the show starts (am I going to be rushed to get home from a meeting, eat and get there by bus?).  

All these factors vary from occasion to occasion and they are not all in my control: indeed, they are in the control of numerous different people and agencies. Whilst the various theories of behaviour can explain or predict my behaviour in certain circumstances and Nudging might influence my behaviour to some degree, it can’t actually address the issues that stop me cycling to the theatre. What is required rather than a focus on the individual is system-level analysis of the factors that lead me to behave in a particular way and, if we agree that intervention is necessary and acceptable, system-level intervention so that my individual desire to travel to the theatre in a sustainable way is not thwarted by any combination of frightening cycling conditions, discouraging social norms, expensive, inconvenient buses and cheap, convenient car parking. 

Practice Theory 

From early this century another approach to behaviours was taking shape. Practice Theory moves up a level from the individual to the social, considering that rather than individuals choosing to ‘behave’ in a particular way, ‘practices’ exist in society outwith the individual and individuals ‘perform’ or ‘enact’ them, constantly re-interpreting the practices in their performance of them and so strengthening and reinforcing them in a dynamic way.  

This is exemplified well by the practice of daily showering. When I grew up, daily showering was unheard of and indeed impossible: it is a function of everything from showers existing in people’s homes, a good source of hot water and warm bathrooms to a social expectation of frequent showering, even the existence of shower gel – a whole complex of technological, social, commercial and practical factors, some of which didn’t apply in the 1970s. Today no-one chooses to be a daily showerer, but the combination of all those factors makes it a very common practice in UK life. Daily showering therefore exists outside of the individual but many individuals perform it, changing and influencing the practice as they do so. A useful diagram from Elizabeth Shove’s influential paper helps here: 

Shove's 'Pinning Power Showering in Place' (taken from Shove ‘Converging Conventions of Comfort, Cleanliness and Convenience’

Figure 1: Shove’s ‘Pinning Power Showering in Place’ (taken from Shove ‘Converging Conventions of Comfort, Cleanliness and Convenience’. Journal of Consumer Policy, 2003 (26), pp395-418

Practice Theory has influenced the Scottish Government’s approach to behaviour change, whilst not quite removing from it the focus on the individual: the Government promotes the Individual, Social and Material (or ISM) Model, which asks users to think about all the different factors in the different areas that might lead to individuals’ ‘behaviours’ to consider how to change them. And Practice Theory has a great deal to offer – I find it a compelling description of how people come to do the things they do in the way they do. While it is good, however, at describing how practices come about, the ways in which they change and how they die out, it is almost totally silent on how to deliberately change existing practices or create new ones. Indeed some of the main proponents of Practice Theory in the UK argue that seeking to bring about a transition is fundamentally problematic as it perhaps wrongly assumes that there is an agreed state to transition toI understand their concerns but argue that since the democratically elected Scottish Parliament unanimously passed the Climate Change Act including its targets in 2009, we do have an agreed endpoint we want to reach, and the discussion is more about how we achieve those carbon reductions. 

Complexity Theory 

Complexity theory, which derives from the natural sciences and mathematics, is often expressed in language similar to that used to describe practice theory, and it may offer a solution to this problem of how to apply practice theory practically, as it were. In very brief terms, complexity theory holds that complex systems – as distinct from merely complicated ones – are open systems consisting of many elements or agents which interact dynamically between themselves and indeed with influences outside the system. These interactions are rich, in that one agent may influence and be influenced by many others. They are non-linear, in that small changes can have large effects or vice versa. This non-linearity is an essential condition of complexity and means that the system cannot be collapsed into a smaller equivalent system. For the most part, interactions are likely to be at fairly short range, although the ramifications of an interaction can be felt at greater distances as subsequent interactions are triggered in other agents. However, this means that the influence of one agent may be altered, increased or diminished by further interactions along the chain. There are therefore feedback loops, both positive and negative, as interactions lead to changes that bring about further interactions to multiply or cancel out the effect of the first. 

As a result of the feedbacks, the interactions and their non-linearity, complex systems are not in equilibrium – a particularly important change from a view of science, economics and other disciplines that have traditionally assumed a tendency towards stability and equilibrium. Complex systems have a history: not only do they develop and change over time, but their present and future are determined by their past. Crucially for this discussion, complex systems have ‘emergent properties’: properties of the whole system, not individual elements therein, which cannot be foreseen just by looking at the individual parts.  

Complexity theory is usually applied to the natural world and physics, but there is a growing view that it can be used to describe complex social systems, in that phenomena seen in society can be understood as emergent properties of the complex social system that is society. Thus traffic congestion can be seen as an emergent property of a system in which car driving seems cheap and convenient, public transport is unfashionable, expensive or inconvenient, road systems are designed for outmoded traffic patterns and utility companies have a disconnected approach to planning roadworks.   

I argued that practices – the result of a complex combination of technological, social, historical and other factors – could usefully be seen as emergent properties of complex social systems. To change the practice it would therefore be necessary to focus not on the individual, nor on the practice itself, but on the complex system from which it emerged. But this raised the question, is it possible to deliberately act upon a complex social system in order to bring about such a change? 

TheatreBus 

In order to test this I decided to employ a case study to influence how audiences travel to attend His Majesty’s Theatre, a large theatre in Aberdeen, audience travel being a significant but largely unmeasured source of carbon emissions for the cultural sector. Through audience surveys and focus groups I discovered that although a high 70% of people travelled to the theatre by car, for many driving was the least inconvenient mode of transport rather than something they wished to do, emergent properties of the system such as lack of safety on the Aberdeen streets and mistiming of transport services and theatre performances putting them off taking the bus or train.  

Pinning car travel in place -Bus services and timetables difficult to understand, street parking expensive, poor evening bus service, unpleasant atmosphere on union street, high bus fares, bus station not very nice, drunks on buses, dark seedy streets on walk to bus station, oil city: strong car focus, discount car park deal with theatre tickets - with apologies to Elizabeth Shove

Figure 2: Twist’s ‘Pinning car travel in place’, 2018

A ‘behaviour change’ approach to this problem would have focused on the individuals, seeking to change the motivation to drive through increased information, financial or other incentives to use public transport etc. A complexity approach led me to bring together three organisations that had agency to influence elements of the complex social system within which this practice of audience travel took place: the theatre management; Stagecoach, which runs the buses from Aberdeen to destinations in Aberdeenshire; and Aberdeenshire Council. Using His Majesty’s knowledge from their box office data of when and to where people would be travelling, the bus company’s knowledge about bus travel and their resource of buses, drivers etc, and Aberdeenshire’s strategic role to promote sustainable travel and its ability to secure funding for the project, we ran TheatreBus, providing services to popular destinations from right outside the theatre, guaranteed to leave at a time matched with the performance end.

Working on the project revealed time and time again characteristics of complex systems, some of which helped and others hindered the project’s implementation, confirming the importance of complexity in considering such projects. This has implications for how future interventions are planned and evaluated. It also highlighted that skills that I had developed as a theatre director and producer were essential to managing an intervention in a complex social system: we in the arts are comfortable with complexity – we even seek it out! 

Ben’s Strategy Blog: Complexity theory, cultural practices and carbon reduction policy  

Figure 3: A simplified map of the complex system within which audience members travel to His Majesty’s

This last point was informed by our interest at Creative Carbon Scotland in the work of the ‘civic artist’ Frances Whitehead and her Embedded Artist Project and has encouraged our own work on Embedded Artist Projects (we’re now involved in at least three relevant projects), development of the Library of Creative Sustainability, and our Creative Europe project Cultural Adaptations, so the research has already led to practical outputs and ‘impact’, as the academic funders like to see! 

Although TheatreBus was a great success with those who used it we didn’t manage to change that many people’s travel practices: all involved thought that this would have happened but needed a much longer experiment. We did however manage to change the system in which travel took place. His Majesty’s, which hadn’t previously considered itself to be part of the transport planning system, recognised that, as the trigger for around 1m journeys per year and holding unique information about those travelling, it had a vital role to play. Stagecoach and Aberdeenshire similarly reconsidered their omission of travel-triggerers from their lists of partners to work with. Moreover, I learned a great deal about how to go about changing a complex social system, including the need for collaborative and partnership working to achieve this, and some lessons this has for policymakers seeking ‘behaviour change’. Perverse incentives within policy around climate change encourage Public Bodies (such as local authorities, health trusts, higher and further education institutions etc) to focus on their own direct carbon emissions rather than emissions that they may not control but over which they have influence. Collaborative working is essential to address these emergent properties of the systems in which Public Bodies play a major role. 

Conclusions 

My evaluation of the TheatreBus project pointed to the need to consider complexity in the design, implementation and assessment of interventions in complex social systems. Collaborative working is hindered by some aspects of current policy and requires particular skills, including the willingness and ability to manage complexity. As I noted above, many cultural practitioners are trained and experienced in handling complexity and might well be useful project managers for this sort of collaboration, but wouldn’t normally be considered for these roles. Perhaps they should be added to the list. 

My thesis concludes with the following main recommendations for policymakers: 

  1. Since all interventions seeking to achieve changes in individual ‘behaviours’ will take place within the complex social system that is society, policy and policy making should fully acknowledge the implications of complexity theory. 
  1. Policymakers and those implementing it could therefore benefit from learning about complexity theory in higher education and continuing professional development. 
  1. Results of interventions in complex social systems have long lead-times and cannot be exactly replicated in other circumstances, no matter how similar. The assessment of success may therefore need to be different and the range of acceptable evidence widened. 
  1. Accordingly, methods of evaluating complex interventions in complex system need to be more widely developed. 
  1. Public Bodies are important agents in complex social systems. Refocusing the Public Bodies Duties in the Climate Change Act, shifting Public Bodies’ attention away from reducing their own direct emissions to addressing society’s overall ones, would help achieve the overall carbon emissions reductions. 
  1. A strong Duty to Collaborate, able to encourage Public Bodies to divert resources to relevant projects and to over-ride other less important duties, should be considered to help the Public Bodies in this change. 
  1. Collaborative projects to intervene in complex social systems require particular skills, qualities and backgrounds from project managers and these may be found in people from a wider range of unexpected areas, including for example the arts. 

This is a very brief summary of my research and I’d be happy to discuss it further with anyone who is interested. And if you want to read the full 82,000 words, just let me know! 

Thanks

Finally, I couldn’t have completed this project without the help of my collaborators at Stagecoach and Aberdeenshire Council and especially my supervisors Dr Claire Haggettand Professor Nick Prior,  and Andy Kite and Jane Spiers‎ from Aberdeen Performing Arts. Enormous thanks to them all.

The post Ben’s Strategy Blog: Complexity theory, cultural practices and carbon reduction policy   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.

Go to Creative Carbon Scotland

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Visiting Leeuwarden-Friesland: a Sustainable European Capital of Culture

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

In July, Creative Carbon Scotland’s Green Arts Manager, Catriona Patterson, attended a research trip hosted by EUROCITIES, and located in Leeuwarden, Friesland in the Netherlands*. There to represent the sustainability work of Edinburgh’s Festivals, and learn most about city-level sustainability-and-culture initiatives, here is her summary of what she learnt.

An Ecologically Sustainable Capital of Culture

Leeuwarden-Friesland began its European Capital of Culture programme in January 2018 and is the host city-region until December this year, having applied and won the opportunity to host the title in 2013 through a competitive bid process. A Capital of Culture year is a European Union-designated initiative, running since 1985, that seeks to celebrate the diversity of the European cultural offering, and which often strengthens the strategic development of cultural in the chosen region. Glasgow was the European Capital of Culture in 1990: a moment which many Scottish arts organisations cite as being transformative to the city and to the cultural scene.

Visiting Leeuwaden-Friesland: a sustainable European Capital of Culture 1Capital of Culture programmes are not typically associated with having environmental sustainability as core focus of their work: with socio-cultural and economic generation (or regeneration) being a major motivator for most applying and successful cities. However, the ‘bid’ submitted by Leeuwarden-Friesland back in 2013 also included a significant environmental sustainability component, and it was exploring this which was the focus of my trip.

Recognising the link between physical environmental surrounds, and the ways of life that exist within them, ‘Nature and Culture’ is one of three key themes for the year’s programme (alongside ‘City and Countryside’ and ‘Community and Diversity’):

“Nature and Culture in Europe: biodiversity and geo-diversity are under threat. This affects cultural diversity, too. Culture and nature are living organisms that depend on the same ecosystem…we explore and celebrate the links between nature and culture, using culture as a way to draw attention to nature. Awareness of the landscape, of the environment, of the importance of water and water technology, for example, are preconditions for a sustainable future and learning how to live with nature after centuries of battling it. Throughout this theme we focus on Europe-wide locations where the future of natural heritage hangs in the balance”

Leeuwarden-Ljouwert’s application for European Capital of Culture 2018 (‘Bid Book’).

Leeuwarden, and the wider Friesland region, is already experiencing changes to its culture as a result of wider environmental change. There are eleven cities in the region (of differing scales – Leeuwarden is the biggest with a population of 100,000), and in the past they have been annually united in a 120 mile-long ice-skating race, held on the canals which connect the settlements. However, a competition has not taken place since 1997, with the ice repeatedly failing to form sufficiently due to warmer average temperatures. With climate change predictions pointing towards ever-increasing temperatures and milder winters, this warming trend is likely here to stay. However, Frisians are overcoming these challenges and their changing relationship to water in a variety of ways – from conducting the race by bike (or by boat!), to the 11Fountains project in their European Capital of Culture year (11 international visual art commissions with water conservation a key part of their designs).

Programming Biodiversity

Biodiversity, and the unique landscape, flora and fauna of the Friesland region was prominent in several of the events and exhibitions featured as part of the research itinerary.

Visiting Leeuwaden-Friesland: a sustainable European Capital of Culture 2

When browsing the main programme of Leeuwarden-Friesland’s City of Culture programme, it’s not unusual to see other projects focused on farm life and creativity,  However, a particular highlight is the Silence of the Bees project, which combines arts-science collaboration, school engagement, insect data, construction, composition and performance in Europe’s largest herb garden.

The Great Black-Tailed Godwit Theatre, based in the glass courtyard of the Frisian Nature Museum, goes a step further. The immersive and sensory exhibition (narrated quite flippantly by the eponymous bird) encourages audiences to see, hear, touch and experience the Frisian landscape from its perspective. It’s a powerful realisation of the concept of ‘putting yourself in another’s shoes’ and an interactive lesson in how a landscape drained and changed for human needs has implications for other species.

Fostering and Demonstrating Innovation

“Innovation in context” and ‘Mienskip’ (the Frisian word which encapsulates ‘[open] community’ and conveys open-minded, grass-roots, action-led spirit) characterise the approach taken to much of the European Capital of Culture programme. In talking to organisers, curators and participants, it seemed that many considered the City of Culture year as an opportunity to try new things, and to create new and exciting opportunities for the region!

Visiting Leeuwaden-Friesland: a sustainable European Capital of Culture 3

InnoFest is a project that exists to capitalise on the microcosmic-city examples created by pop-up festivals and events, providing start-ups and entrepreneurs the opportunity to test new ideas: both those practical and behind-the-scenes (like smart-grid power) and those more public facing (like sustainable cardboard tents). At the ‘Welcome to the Village’ Festival, such innovations were in abundance – and the insect micro-protein fries were delicious!

Organisers are also more explicitly addressing sustainability in the ‘Fossil Free Friesland’initiative, through which they are hosting large-scale public events, such as a two-week period where every Frisian citizen was encouraged to travel by no-carbon means, and a showcase of low-carbon vehicles . By their own admission, such a proposal was much more radical at the time of the bid submission (five years is a long time in the sustainability movement), but it is a still a powerful act: even directly linking cultural pursuits and sustainability ambitions is still relatively unusual.

Future Sustainable, Cultural Cities

However, I’m hopeful that this may not be the case for much longer. There are increasing pressures – locally, nationally, at a European and at an international level – for cities and cultural organisations to adopt more sustainable practices, and to demonstrate how their strategic plans can create social, economic, environmental and cultural prosperity to their region. Future European Capitals of Culture will surely seek emulate and exceed what Leeuwarden-Friesland has achieved.

In taking inspiration from their tangible and intangible heritage, combining current trend and new innovations, and making it relevant and specific to their unique local context, I think Leeuwarden-Friesland is an exciting example of a European Capital of Culture taking on the challenge of sustainability. Perhaps there could be a European Green Capital bid in the offing?!


*Keen to stay true to principles of low-carbon travel, Catriona travelled entirely by train from Edinburgh! She took the Caledonian Sleeper to London, Eurostar to Rotterdam and Intercity train to Leeuwarden, leaving at midnight and arriving around 3.30pm. You can plan your own sustainable travel to Europe (and further afield!) using websites like www.seat61.com/www.loco2.com/ and www.rome2rio.com/.

The post Visiting Leeuwarden-Friesland: a Sustainable European Capital of Culture 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.

Go to Creative Carbon Scotland

Powered by WPeMatico

Opportunity: Grow Wild Creative Youth Project Funding – Apply Now!

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

Have a creative idea inspired by UK native wildflowers, plants or fungi? Aged between 14-25? Get £500!

Get ready for an experience like no other and join Grow Wilds mission to empower young people aged 14-25 to develop a creative idea into a project that helps raise awareness about UK native wildflowers and fungi! This could include transforming a space, holding an event or giving a performance. We’re looking for project ideas that will excite other people to get involved and make an impact in the community.

Successful projects will receive £500 to turn their idea into a reality. You can use photography, music, drama, dance, film, visual arts or more to celebrate UK native wild flowers and fungi in fun and inventive ways.

Visit growwilduk.com/creative for information on how to apply and for project inspiration.

Next Deadline

Our Youth Project funding is part of a rolling programme, which means you can apply at any time. However, there are set points during the year when applications are reviewed.

A panel of young people from across the UK will meet at each point to decide which projects to fund.

To have your application assessed at the next panel meeting (Winter 2018), please apply by:

Midday on Friday 30 November

 


The post Opportunity: Grow Wild Creative Youth Project Funding – Apply Now! 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.

Go to Creative Carbon Scotland

‘Cultural Adaptations’ Project Seeks Two Evaluators

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

Creative Carbon Scotland is seeking two individuals to undertake formative and summative evaluation of the Creative Europe ‘Cultural Adaptations’ project (2018-2021).

Cultural Adaptations

Cultural Adaptations (EUCAN) is a ‘small co-operation project’ supported by the Creative Europe programme of the EU. It is led by CCS and involves three partner cultural organisations: TILLT in Gothenburg, Sweden; Greentrack Gent in Ghent, Belgium; and Axis Ballymun (Dublin) in Ireland.

Each partner will work with a local organisation focused on climate change adaptation to develop adaptation strategies for cultural SMEs and to run a joint project in which an artist will be placed within a non-cultural adaptation project in order to explore how their different ways of thinking and working can help contribute to addressing knotty adaptation-related problems. All this activity is effectively a piece of action research leading to the development of a resource to encourage future similar activity by more cultural and adaptation organisations. A detailed project description is included in the tender document.

Seeking Two Evaluators

Evaluation Objectives

The aim of the evaluation is to draw out learning from the different pilot projects in the four countries in order to:

  1. Learn from the first projects to improve the later ones
  2. Compare the different pilots in the different settings, led by different organisations addressing different issues, to understand the common factors, the differences between and the strengths and weaknesses of the different approaches
  3. Help steer the overall project to ensure that the work done is relevant and useful to both cultural and adaptation actors
  4. Build a body of knowledge to inform the Toolkit and Resource
  5. Provide the basis for a methodology to evaluate future projects

For full details of the tender, and more information, please download the tender document. 

Budget

The budget available for the research described above is £8,200 for each researcher. Creative Carbon Scotland is not VAT registered so this total should include VAT. Travel to meetings and travel to, accommodation at, and subsistence costs for Transnational Meetings will be paid in addition to this sum.

How to Apply

Proposals are invited from suitably qualified and experienced researchers to undertake one or both of the areas of research. Linked proposals would be welcomed.

Deadline

Proposals should be sent to Ben Twist, Director of Creative Carbon Scotland, at ben.twist@creativecarbonscotland.com and copied to Catriona Patterson at EUCAN@creativecarbonscotland.comby 5pm on Friday 2 November and should include the following information:

  • An indication of which area you wish to evaluate (culture or sustainability – or both if appropriate)
  • A CV demonstrating appropriate experience
  • An outline of your proposed methodology
  • A price for the work

Questions

If you have any questions about the project or the role(s), please get in touch with Ben.Twist@creativecarbonscotland.com 


Cultural Adaptations

Cultural Adaptations (EUCAN) is co-funded with the support of the Creative Europe programme of the European Union. Find out more about the project.

 


The post ‘Cultural Adaptations’ Project Seeks Two Evaluators 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.

Go to Creative Carbon Scotland

Guest Blog: Thoughts on a nation in flux (part 2)

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

Contemporary artist and researcher Sonia Mehra Chawla writes about the research she undertook in Aberdeen in June 2018 to inform an upcoming residency with Edinburgh Printmakers.


India’s struggle with climate change and the battle to balance economy, energy and environment


 

On the frontline of climate change

India’s climate is warming up at a very fast rate.  Already one of the most disaster-prone nations in the world, India is at the frontline of nations expected to be worst affected by the adverse effects of climate change.

India will soon become the most overpopulated country in the world. Lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty remains the priority of India’s policy. In addition, the country is embarking on one of the fastest rural-to-urban transitions in human history, and as infrastructure develops, energy demands will escalate intensely in the years to come. At the same time, there are still critical gaps in the provision of water and energy infrastructure, housing, sanitation, safety and jobs.

Detail from Sonia Mehra Chawla’s work, ‘(Under) Currents & Crosswinds’. Image credit: Sonia Mehra Chawla.

The impacts of climate change and environmental degradation are already deeply and acutely felt in the country. Unchecked global warming will hit India hard, intensifying extreme weather conditions, extreme heat waves, and the floods that claim thousands of lives every year, and brutally affecting the monsoon upon which Indian farmers depend. The vulnerable and poor communities of India are worst affected.

The rising Agrarian crisis in India is a broad and complex phenomenon linked to inefficient government policies and management. Suicides of nearly 60,000 Indian farmers can be linked to climate change as crops fail. According to experts, future climate change will negatively affect crop production, increasing the risk of food insecurity for vulnerable communities and the poor.

There are still severe issues in the country related to water and air pollution, management of plastic and solid waste, felling of trees and rampant deforestation at alarming rates, along with unabated and unrestricted ground water extraction and over-exploitation. India’s rivers are dying, and the National Green Tribunal is flooded with cases related to the cleansing and rejuvenation of important rivers Yamuna and Ganges.

The challenge India faces is to come up with dynamic measures to cut the nation’s high carbon footprint, while not endangering its economic growth prospects. India’s energy sector is a substantial contributing factor. India relies on coal for over 60 percent of its total electricity generation, and fossil fuel remains an important element in the country’s energy strategy. India is the third largest carbon polluter in the world, and emissions are likely to double as its economy grows and develops. The country therefore, needs to ensure that it generates as much of that energy as possible from renewable sources. This would be crucial to limiting catastrophic global temperature rise.

The crucial question- How can India bridge the challenges of development and climate change mitigation?

To diversify its energy mix and reduce its reliance on coal, the Indian government has been actively promoting renewable power sources and advancing strategies, and ambitious targets have been set. India is emerging as a key player in the global renewables market. There are signs of hope driven by astounding drops in the prices of renewable energy in the past few years. In fact, last year, renewable energy became more cost competitive than conventional power.

The last two years will be remembered as a watershed period in the history of energy sector reforms in India. India is running one of the largest and most ambitious renewable capacity expansion programs in the world. The goal for India is to ultimately source forty percent of its electricity from renewables and other low-carbon sources by 2030.

The Indian solar sector has massive potential. One of the world’s largest solar power park is located in the Kamuthi, in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Spread over 10 sq. km, it consists of 2.5m solar panels, and is estimated to make enough power for 750,000 people.

The Solar Energy sector has got more than half of the funds allocated for centrally sponsored renewable energy schemes and projects in the 2018-19 Budget. However, it is clear that there is a temporary loss of momentum in this area, and future targets will not be met if efforts are not accelerated. According to Mercom India, ‘the new budget for the coming financial year has, in most parts, turned out to be disappointing for the renewable energy sector. To the industry’s dismay, no specific incentives, subsidies or grants were announced for the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).’

In spite of these hurdles, what is clear, is that renewable energy in India has a bright future ahead of it. Short term obstacles and challenges still remain for the growing green energy sector, which needs improved and enhanced frameworks, and the government’s continued and unfailing commitment. On a positive note, the Indian state of Karnataka recently became the leading Indian state in green power, overtaking leading nations like Denmark and Netherlands. What made this possible was record low bids for renewables’ tenders and policy support from the State Government.

Grave economic issues make measures to reduce emissions extremely complex, and the path India takes is likely to be paved with harsh challenges, and, in spite of several compelling reasons for India to follow a green path into the future, severe hurdles remain.

Details from Sonia Mehra Chawla’s work ‘(Under) Currents & Crosswinds’. (2018) Project collaboration & support: Khoj International Artists’ Association + Wellcome Trust UK/ DBT India Alliance. (Department of Biotechnology, Government of India). Image credit: Sonia Mehra Chawla.

The artistic project at Edinburgh Printmakers (2018-2020)

I was invited to undertake the research arm of an artistic project with Edinburgh Printmakers in Aberdeen in June 2018. This research will inform an intensive print residency at Edinburgh Printmakers in spring 2019, and the outputs from this residency will be presented as part of a solo exhibition at Edinburgh Printmakers beautiful new home at Castle Mill in 2020.

Edinburgh Printmakers will transform the former North British Rubber Company HQ- Castle Mills, into a vibrant new creative hub opening to the public in 2019.

Choosing focus areas

I hope this artistic project will serve as a platform and starting point for dialogue and conversations around some of the significant and pressing issues of our time such as the future of energy, the future of our oceans and marine life, society’s dependence on fossil fuels, just transitions, the global challenges of energy transitions, carbon reduction goals, as well as the human dimension of crisis.

National Green Tribunal Act, 2010, is an Act of the Parliament of India which enables creation of a special tribunal to handle the expeditious disposal of the cases pertaining to environmental issues. It draws inspiration from the India’s constitutional provision of Article 21, which assures the citizens of India the right to a healthy environment.

Ministry of New and Renewable Energy or MNRE is a ministry of the Government of India. The Ministry is mainly responsible for research and developmentintellectual property protection, and international cooperation, promotion, and coordination in renewable energy sources such as wind powersmall hydrobiogas, and solar power. The broad aim of the ministry is to develop and deploy new and renewable energy for supplementing the energy requirements of India.


End of Part II


 

Sonia Mehra Chawla is a contemporary Indian artist and researcher. She completed a Master’s Degree in Fine Arts from College of Art, New Delhi in 2004-05. Her artistic practice explores notions of selfhood, nature, ecology, sustainability and conservation. Sonia works in a variety of media including photography, printmaking, drawing, painting and video.

Sonia is a British Council India & Charles Wallace India Trust (CWIT) scholar, and was invited to the United Kingdom in 2014 for a research based project in printmaking. She is currently the recipient of an International ‘Art+Science’ Grant Award, instituted by Khoj International Artists’ Association India & the Wellcome Trust UK/DBT Alliance for 2017-18. She has recently been awarded a Fellowship from the Akademie Schloss Solitude in Germany for the Art, Science and Business Program for 2019-20. Sonia’s works have been exhibited at the Institut Fur Auslansbeziehungen, Germany (Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations, IFA), Tate Modern, London, Essl Museum of Contemporary Art, Austria, Museum of Contemporary Art, Yinchuan, China, Goethe Institut, Mumbai, India, CSMVS Museum, Mumbai, India, ET4U Contemporary Visual Art Projects, Denmark, and Today Art Museum, Beijing, China.

The artist lives and works in New Delhi, India.

____________________________

Acknowledgements

I am grateful for conversations and interactions with Dr. Prof. M S Swaminathan, Prof. Colin Moffat, Dr. Leslie Mabon Sass, Alison Stuart, Erik Dalhuijsen, Nicola Gordon, Dr. James Howie, Gemma Laurence and Dr V.Selvam.

I am grateful to Edinburgh Printmakers. I extend my warmest thanks to Sarah Manning Shaw, Alastair Clark, Judith Liddle, and the brilliant team of Edinburgh Printmakers for their unfailing support, and look forward to a significant and meaningful collaboration over the next two years.

Further reading and information:

The artists’ official website: http://soniamehrachawla.in/

Edinburgh Printmakers: https://www.edinburghprintmakers.co.uk/

On Turning Toward: ‘Critical Membrane’ by Sonia Mehra Chawla, Heather Davis looks at the work of Sonia Mehra Chawla, as part of her look into Four Figures of Climate Change, July 2017

http://theo-westenberger.tumblr.com/post/162458052219/on-turning-toward-critical-membrane-by-sonia

Down To Earth, https://www.downtoearth.org.in/

‘The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable’, Amitav Ghosh. Published by Penquin India.

‘Everybody Loves a Good Drought’, P.Sainath. Published by Penquin India.

‘Ecology without nature: rethinking environmental aesthetics’, Timothy Morton. Published by Harvard University Press.

‘Soil, Not Oil: Environmental Justice in an age of Climate Crisis’, Vandana Shiva. Published by Penguin Random House.

‘From Green to Evergreen Revolution: Indian Agriculture, Performance & Challenges’, Prof. M S Swaminathan. Published by Academic Foundation.

‘In Search of Biohappiness: Biodiversity and food, Health and Livelihood security’, Prof. M S Swaminathan. Published by World Scientific.

‘Oil Strike North Sea’, Mike Shepherd. Published by Luath Press.

‘The Klondykers’, Bill Mackie. Published by Birlinn, Edinburgh (2006)

‘Old Torry and Aberdeen Harbour’, Rosie Nicol & Particia Newman. Published by Stenlake Publishing Ltd, UK.

Contact:

soniamehrachawla.in

soniamehrachawla@gmail.com

admin@edinburghprintmakers.co.uk

 


The post Guest Blog: Thoughts on a nation in flux (part 2) 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.

Go to Creative Carbon Scotland

Opportunity: ArtRoots Fund

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

A community fund for artistic and aesthetic improvements to the National Cycle Network in Scotland.

The ArtRoots fund is a community fund for artistic and aesthetic improvements to the National Cycle Network in Scotland.

The fund enables and empowers communities to make improvements to the National Cycle Network (NCN) for the benefit of place quality, enjoyment and active travel.

2018 is the Year of Young People and this year the ArtRoots fund will target schemes that encourage opportunities for young artists. The fund supports local enterprise and culture, whilst also showcasing talent, intergenerational co-operation, expression, and creating a platform for youngsters to be heard through their arts. It also encourages young people to participate in shaping their local environment and increase their levels of physical activity.

Who can apply for a grant?

This fund is for constituted community groups based in Scotland. We will also consider applications from non-constituted groups.

How much can be applied for?

Grants of up to £5,000 are available.

How do you apply?

Completed expression of interest forms should be submitted by Monday 5 November 2018 at 17:00. The closing date for full applications for the current funding round will be Monday 19 November 2018.

Find out more on the ArtRoots fund web page.

____________________________________

Main Image: An ArtRoots awarded project in the Highlands saw the creation of this fantastic artwork which is both beautiful, intriguing and practical. This artwork made of wood was commissioned to mark the 300th anniversary of the bridge in Carrbridge, the oldest stone bridge in the Highlands

 


The post Opportunity: ArtRoots Fund 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.

Go to Creative Carbon Scotland

News: Launch of the Library of Creative Sustainability

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

We’re excited to announce the launch of the Library of Creative Sustainability during Climate Week 2018: a new digital resource showcasing best practice examples of collaborations between sustainability partners and artists seeking to make the world a better place!

New library on the block

The Library of Creative Sustainability is a new digital resource for people working to address the challenging issues of environmental sustainability and climate change, demonstrating the benefits of collaborating with artists and cultural approaches to help achieve their aims.

Taking its inspiration from the work of American civic artist Frances Whitehead and the Embedded Artist Project, and many other contemporary and historic examples, the library presents case studies highlighting the range of skills, expertise and practices which artists have contributed to bringing about positive change in society – addressing social, environmental, economic and cultural sustainability.

In developing the Library of Creative Sustainability we aim to:

  • Provide a very practical resource for non-arts organisations and arts practitioners to support working with ‘embedded artists’ over extended periods to develop new policy and practice
  • Showcase a selection of inspiring and innovative examples that engage organisational leaders in the potential of working with artists to help achieve their aims

In developing the Library we have spoken with users working in diverse fields including energy, local government, natural heritage and forestry to help us develop content relevant and applicable to the interests and needs of non-arts sectors, and have researched case studies with the aid of many of the featured artists and organisations.

Explore the library!

What is an Embedded Artist?

“Frances Whitehead is a civic practice artist bringing the methods, mindsets, and strategies of contemporary art practice to the process of shaping the future city” – A Blade of Grass

Credit: SLOW Clean-UP, Frances Whitehead

It is widely recognised that artists across all artforms can bring new insight and alternative perspectives to non-arts contexts. This is shown in exhibitions and performances, and also in artists’ processes working with organisations and communities. Artists can bring the perspective of the ‘stranger’, being able to see with fresh eyes and question things often taken for granted.

Some of the key principles of the Embedded Artist role highlighted by case studies include:

  • Working within non-arts institutions over extended periods – this requires organisations to be comfortable with ambiguity and not starting with fixed outcomes. It was important to allow time for the ideas to develop.
  • Bringing different ways of thinking and working to bear on challenging projects such as large-scale regeneration of post-industrial sites. Creating artworks is not the focus of projects, although may be an aspect of the outcomes.
  • Highlighting an integrated approach, ensuring that environmental and social sustainability are considered alongside economics.
  • Facilitating wider public participation and breaking down professional, departmental and disciplinary boundaries.

Launching the Library

“We wanted to put the power of creative thinking in the hands of community organisations and give people a chance to think positively in the face of climate change.” – Eve Mosher

Credit: Eve Mosher, HighWaterLine

We’re excited to launch the first five library case studies celebrating national and international examples of creative sustainability during Scotland’s 2018 Climate Week:

  • SLOW Clean-UP civic Experiments: tackling abandoned petrol stations through phytoremediation and community involvement (Chicago, USA)
  • WATERSHED+: a strategic long term programme embedding artists in the work of the Calgary City Utilities and Environmental Protection Department (Calgary, Alberta, Canada)
  • HighWaterLine: drawing a line on the cityscape to open up community dialogue on climate change and the impact of flooding (New York, USA; Miami, USA; Bristol, UK)
  • The Stove Network: a membership based arts-led project contributing to the regeneration of Dumfries (Dumfries, Scotland, UK)
  • Sutton Tidal Attenuation Barrier and Falkenham Saltmarsh Tidal Management Scheme: Estuarine protection works that involve artist Simon Read working with communities of inhabitants, landowners and public agencies (Suffolk, England, UK)

Keep an eye out on TwitterFacebook or Instagram for the latest updates and help to share case studies with your networks!

A Growing Resource 

This is just the beginning! We will continue to research and regularly publish new case studies with another round of examples on its way very soon.

We are actively seeking suggestions for new case studies from sustainability and arts practitioners about projects you are involved in or are aware of that could become part of this growing resource. We would also love to hear about your experience of using the library so that we can continue to make improvements to its functionality.

Please get in touch with Gemma Lawrence, culture/SHIFT Producer, Creative Carbon Scotland.

Project partners

The Library of Creative Sustainability has been developed in collaboration with Senior Researcher Chris Fremantle (Gray’s School of Art, Robert Gordon University) with the support of Allison Palenske, Elly White, and Niamh Coutts.

We are grateful to all of the artists and organisations who have kindly contributed their time to the development of library case studies.



The post News: Launch of the Library of Creative Sustainability 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.

Go to Creative Carbon Scotland

Guest Blog: The joy of the present and the great unknown of the future

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

Here’s the second in a series of blogs from playwright Lewis Hetherington about his work with Glasgow cycling charity Bike for Good and Creative Carbon Scotland. Lewis is working embedded with Bike for Good for two years to document their VeloCommunities project and contribute to their activities widening access to cycling and helping Glasgow to become a more sustainable city.

In my first blog I leant into the idea of cycling as a path to joy, freedom and empowerment. Nothing could have captured these ideas better than the recent trip I was lucky enough to go on with the Bike for Good team and some of the brilliant young people who come along to the after-school clubs. We went to Bute, we cycled, we ate chips, we laughed. We had one day out of life.

Joining me for the ride was the fantastic, inimitable and mega filmmaker Geraldine Heaney so we could start to introduce the filmmaking component of the project to the group.

From the moment we all gathered at Queen’s Park station, with some of our number about to ride on a train for the first time, we could tell that this would be a day to remember. We all piled in, the excitement at fever pitch even though we were still only minutes away from our own front doors.

We swapped trains at Central station and headed out to Wemyss Bay and from there onto the ferry. There was sweets, hot chocolate and more excitement. We saw dolphins playing in the water, a fitting salute to our arrival. Bute was enshrouded in mist, but even that couldn’t mute us as we pushed the bikes out from the car deck and got ready for our cycle.

All the while I’m thinking, “This is so easy. Why are we all not leaping on the ferry to Bute whenever we get the chance?”. But then here I am now, two weeks later, and I’ve not been back. That said I am in the park with the dogs four times a day, and the trip reminded me what a privilege and a pleasure it is to get out into green space. What I am trying to say is that as we all took in the sea air and the rolling hills I thought “If this is planting seeds in these young folks of a sense of connection to the outdoors, then something is going right”.

We cycled across the island and just as in all the best life-affirming buddy movies the sun suddenly burst through the clouds and we were drenched in light. We arrived at our destination, a beach with white sands stretching out and turquoise waters rippling. So of course we all went for a swim.

Playing in the sea on Bute – Credit: Geraldine Heaney

Gently rolling waves, the dramatic silhouette of Arran in the distance, golden light flooding us, the only sounds the squeals of delight from adults and children alike as we leapt into the ice-cold water…

…followed by lunch, football, gymnastics and more. It was a pretty special day.

As I said, Geraldine had brought her camera along, as well as having bought a brand new GoPro for the occasion. Geraldine and C assembled the new camera on the train out, so C got to attach it to his helmet and collect footage from the moment we arrived on Bute.

A young filmmaker – Credit: Geraldine Heaney

T was so enthusiastic about taking photos we were worried that he’d use up all the memory space and battery life just taking pictures of the inside of the train carriage. Thankfully however there were plenty of photos taken on the island which you’re seeing through this blog taken by either Geraldine or the young people. They really embraced the idea that they should choose where to shoot, what to focus on, where to direct our lens and our interrogation.

___________________________________________

This artist in residence is part of Bike for Good’s VeloCommunities Project, which is funded by the Scottish Government’s Climate Challenge Fund. We’ll keep you posted of updates and developments on this bi-monthly blog, and please get in touch with any questions or ideas!

 


The post Guest Blog: The joy of the present and the great unknown of the future 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.

Go to Creative Carbon Scotland

Opportunity: Evolving the Forest (call for participation)

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

We are seeking the most engaging people and ideas to take part in Evolving the Forest

art.earth, our partners The Royal Forestry Society and Timber Strategies and our academic partner Science Walden @ Ulsan National Institute of Science & Technology (UNIST) invite proposals to an international forum: Evolving the Forest.

This is a three-day international forum bringing together creative thinkers and doers to explore physically and figuratively our relationship with wood, trees and forest over the past hundred years, and imagining that evolving relationship over the next 100.

The event takes place June 19-21, 2019 at Dartington Hall, Devon UK.

We particularly welcome submissions that challenge conventions of the academic conference: in what senses may we approach in our behaviours, our speech, our work, our ideas and ethos, the notion of voicing the forest? We invite you to explore participatory workshops, discursive formats (interviews, on-stage conversations, etc.), artist presentations, and performative disturbance and/or interventions.

The deadline for submissions is November 19 2018 (22.00 GMT). All proposals must be submitted online at https://evolvingtheforest.uk/proposal-form

For full details visit https://evolvingtheforest.uk

Evolving the Forest Lead Convenor is Prof. Richard Povall. Please address any questions to research@artdotearth.org



The post Opportunity: Evolving the Forest (call for participation) 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.

Go to Creative Carbon Scotland

Sustainability rising at the Edinburgh summer festivals

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

Our Digital Communications Officer, Mike Elm, looks back at how sustainability was right across the festivals in Edinburgh this August.

What was your highlight of the Edinburgh festivals this August?

For me it was the signs that sustainability – which the festivals have been doing to a greater or lesser extent even before they helped found the Green Arts Initiative – is growing in the minds of the organisers and participants at the festivals! (Ok there was also some really good and interesting theatre, comedy, visual art, magic (did you see how it was a common theme this year? What’s up with that?), spoken word, dance and even some clowning)

Participants

One of the breakout ‘acts’ of this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe was the Sustainable Fringe campaign, which Creative Carbon Scotland has been promoting as a concept for a number of years but was this year led by members of the Poltergeist Theatre group who were up running a show of their own. It offered a great example of how the sector is taking on looking at its impact and using its reach to inspire others to take action on theirs.

“Over the month, the Sustainable Fringe campaign rallied over 100 production companies and individuals on twitter around three challenges – to reduce plastic, paper and material waste. The support from performers, press and Green Arts groups shows that not only are many people ready for a greener festival, but they are prepared to make changes that are vital for the transition.” 

             -Alice Boyd, #SustainableFringe

The campaign got coverage from the local: The Student Newspaper, to the national: Sky News! It also attracted praise from prominent voices in the sustainability world – Keep Scotland Beautiful, Terry A’hearn the CEO of SEPA – and the arts world – renowned theatre critic Lyn Gardner.

Critics

Now everyone knows, a review can make or break your time at the Edinburgh Festivals and they don’t come much impact-ier than Lyn Gardner. She wrote in her new column for The Stage about the environmental issues facing the festivals, but also warmly about the solutions such as the Sustainable Fringe campaign and the Fringe Swap Shop, run by Fringe Central

It’s all good

News: Fringe Swap Shop praised by Zero Waste Scotland

Zero Waste Scotland Edinburgh Festival Fringe Swap Shop Visit

The Fringe Swap Shop also caught the eye of the national body for waste reduction, Zero Waste Scotland. Iain Gulland, the Zero Waste Scotland Chief Executive, came down himself to check out the weird and wonderful items that had been brought to be used again. He praised the initiative saying:

“Edinburgh Festivals are leading the way in making better use of our resources – with exciting projects like the re-use swap shop.” 
– 
Iain Gulland, Chief Executive, Zero Waste Scotland

And we’re reliably told that the story even popped up in the Metro! To continue building on this work the festivals will be taking part in a Circular Economy workshop later this year with Circular Edinburgh to identify opportunities and develop a business case for developing a circular economy approach within the festivals – maximising re-use and recycling opportunities across the events.

They’re International festivals

Though only one is called ‘The Edinburgh International Festival’, they’re all international in reach and appeal. This year at the Fringe World Congress, our Director Ben Twist and Catriona Patterson (in her Festivals Edinburgh role) spoke at a session on environmental sustainability and festivals that was being held at the Congress. Delegates from Fringes from Amsterdam, Orlando and Adelaide were among those who participated in the session, demonstrating there’s a leadership role for what we’re doing in Scotland.

The international interest in the intersection of arts & sustainability was further demonstrated by our Director meeting with delegates on the British Council’s “Momentum” programme including representatives from Canada’s cultural sector and Washington D.C.’s Chief Resilience Officer.

Sharing is caring

The Edinburgh International Festival took the opportunity of allowing our Catriona (in her Green Arts Manager role) to write an excellent blog linking one of their flagship shows – Waiting for Godot – with the role of the arts in tackling climate change, and why it’s no time for waiting! The blog highlighted some of the International Festival’s sustainability work including embedding sustainability in all their staff training.

The Edinburgh International Book Festival are certainly well read when it comes to sustainability and this year, alongside having drinking water taps everywhere, creating an excellent bike lane to maintain active travel access along George Street, they also allowed their Green Team to tell their story on Instagram.

Others were more modest. Low-key sustainability leaders Assembly, were also keeping the support for active travel with their bike lane around the George Street , recycling like it mattered to their lives (though somewhat discretely) and using not one but two (at least) “lifesaver” electric cargo bikes from the Sustrans Bike Library to ferry all sorts of equipment and supplies around town.

And this year also saw the return, or the continuation, of the Bobby Niven’s Palm House in the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Johnston Terrace wildlife garden as part of the Edinburgh Art Festival. This year alongside bringing people into this beautiful green space in its own right and to sample pizzas from the oven, it also played host to magic. Marxist magic. Ruth Ewan’s “Sympathetic Magick” commission for the Art Festival saw magicians work-shopping and performing on how magic tricks can integrate social issues close to the magician’s heart.

A time for magic.

The summer festivals in Edinburgh are magic. They’re a unique (and sometimes wild!) point of mixing and experimentation in the world’s cultural calendar and so it’s only right that there should be some fantastic work going on across them to support environmental sustainability. There’s clearly an appetite for this and room to do more.

This year the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the biggest arts festival in the world, have put out the call in “The Fringe Blueprint”  for collaborators to help them innovate and lead on sustainability and also released a new Sustainability Toolkits for Venues and a Sustainability toolkit for performing companies.

It was an undoubtedly excellent summer of festivals (is there any other kind) and we’re looking forward to seeing how this world-leading collection of cultural events can continue to develop as pioneers in environmental sustainability.

__________________________________

Main image: Drinking water tap at Edinburgh International Book Festival by Michael Thomas, Festivals Edinburgh.

 


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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