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Guest Blog: Changing Climate, Changing Culture

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

 Exploring the Role of the Arts and Cultural Sector in Supporting the Low Carbon Transition in Edinburgh

In March 2018, 29 postgraduate students from the University of Edinburgh enrolled on the Participation in Policy and Planning course presented the findings of a semester-long research project to a group of stakeholders at the Scottish Parliament. Sophie McCallum and Laura Berry summarise the findings of the project.

Supported by our four clients, Creative Scotland, Carbon Creative Scotland, Transition Edinburgh and the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation, our project aimed to identify the opportunities and challenges for the arts and cultural sector to support and accelerate the low carbon transition in Edinburgh.

Climate change is a cultural issue. In order to reduce the impact we are having on the climate a change needs to be facilitated in wider society. As the capital city of Scotland, Edinburgh is a city with both rich cultural heritage, and a commitment to the low carbon transition. Edinburgh is internationally recognised for its UNESCO World Heritage sites, museums, galleries, theatres and – of course – festivals. Alongside this, the City of Edinburgh has pledged to reduce carbon emissions by 42% by 2020.

Given that arts and cultural sector have a large potential for shaping perceptions of society and can play a central role in developing culture for future generations, our challenge was to investigate whether and how arts and culture in Edinburgh could play a positive role in helping the city meet its climate targets and transition to a low-carbon future.

Our Research

The first step in identifying such opportunities and challenges was to identify and categorise key stakeholders related to the city’s arts and cultural sector as well as current work towards a low-carbon transition. We identified three key groups:

  • Individuals and organisations in the arts and cultural sector
  • Organisations supporting sustainability and advocacy and education
  • Government and decision making organisations

We contacted representatives from each of these areas and conducted 60 stakeholder interviews which included semi-structured questions, and also questions for a Social Network Analysis that allowed us to establish connectivity between stakeholders across Edinburgh.

Results

Four main themes regarding opportunities and challenges emerged from stakeholder interviews:

  • Perceptions of role of the arts in the low carbon transition
  • Public outreach
  • Networking and collaboration
  • Funding and resources

Perceptions

Most interviewees felt that there was value in engaging the arts and cultural sector in addressing the low carbon transition. Arts and cultural interviewees nearly unanimously believed they had a responsibility to help address climate change and they believed in their power to facilitate societal change. Within this, however, there was some disagreement on what the role of arts organisations should be – for example, if their responsibility was to reduce their own carbon footprint, or if such efforts should be focused on raising awareness and educating the public on climate change issues through art. From the perspective of interviewees from environmental organisations, while belief in the importance of arts and cultural sector was high (77%) it was not as strong as within the arts and cultural sector itself, suggesting it is perhaps undervalued. Nearly a quarter of the environmental interviewees viewed the role of arts and culture mainly as a communication tool, in contrast to the varied responses for potential contributions by arts and cultural representatives. This suggests that while there exists interest and potential for collaboration, there is also some room to expand understandings of the potential for arts and cultural sector to shift culture around climate issues.

Public Outreach

In this project we have defined public outreach as activities undertaken by organisations that support the communication of their work. This was raised by many interviewees as a forum for the arts and cultural and environmental sectors to collaborate as it is something that nearly all organisations participated in. Both the frequency and variety of events suggest a potential to support the distribution of knowledge of the low carbon transition. One of the key problems, particularly highlighted by those working in sustainability, is that most public outreach happens with groups who are already interested, therefore it does not necessarily increase wider engagement with the issue.

Networks and Collaboration

If the arts and cultural sector is to play a role in the low carbon transition there needs to be sufficient engagement with environmental groups and stakeholders. The interviews showed such engagement is limited for several general reasons, including:

  • Lack of awareness of sector-based issues and priorities across sectors
  • Lack of connection and communication within sectors and organisations
  • Varying levels of interest for collaboration across key stakeholders
  • Existing cross-sector connections between stakeholders are informally formed

This is exemplified through the social network analysis (SNA) below. Comprised of roughly 470 connections between 260 stakeholders the map you see here highlights broad trends in existing collaborations between arts and cultural and environmental organisations located in Edinburgh. Creative Carbon Scotland (CCS) appears to be the most influential of our clients in terms of facilitating collaboration. It is located in the centre of the graph and has the biggest node with the most lines flowing from and to it.

Funding and Resources

Across all organisations a limitation on funding and resources was highlighted as a major barrier to cross-sector collaboration. In terms of financial resources, a lack of long term funding was negatively impacting an organisation’s ability to plan long term, and funding application processes were described as sometimes complicated and difficult. Furthermore a lack of perceived profitability in cross-sector collaborations was identified as it is more challenging to tangibly measure.

Limited time is another major reason for not taking part in or initiating collaborative projects. Organisations have no time to take on projects and shortages in paid staff aggravate this. Especially, environmental organizations who often rely on volunteers for this kind of work.

Finally, interviewees noted a lack of appropriate skills within organisations to reach out beyond their existing networks. There is a lack of marketing skills and there are few to no pre-existing relationships between many arts and environmental organisations, which make it challenging to contact or initiate projects with different sectors despite a desire to do so!

Recommendations

Networking and Collaboration

  • Provide additional platforms and opportunities for environmental organisations and arts and cultural organisations to work together
  • Formalise current cross-sector organisational partnerships beyond personal relationships
  • Work with educational organisations such as schools and universities

Education and Outreach

  • Expand current climate education programmes for the arts and cultural sector beyond reducing operating carbon emissions to provide more broad information on sustainability and climate change.
  • Increase education and awareness of the possibilities of the arts to help facilitate a low carbon transition, and disseminate evidence on the role of the arts through case studies, showing that arts can help accelerate the low carbon transition.
  • Develop comprehensive educational materials for arts and cultural organisations to incorporate sustainability

Funding and Resources

  • Expand project funding requirements beyond “greening” the arts and cultural sector to include those which focus on the role of art in changing public perceptions of climate change
  • Explore opportunities of creative arts funding sources and partnerships for projects such as the creation of a specific fund for arts and climate change, public and private commissions for art and sustainability projects, etc.
  • Streamline, simplify, and expand existing centralised arts funding sources

Conclusions

Given its international recognition and UNESCO World Heritage Site status, our research found that the city of Edinburgh is uniquely placed to facilitate collaborations that could allow the arts and cultural sector to support and accelerate the city’s low carbon transition not only through the reduction of carbon emissions, but through a greater cultural shift, making the global, personal. With this in mind, it’s important that we recognise such potential synergies as an opportunity to empower artists to work on environmental issues, rather than to utilise arts simply as a communications tool for desired outcomes and interests.

To quote one of our interviewees, “momentum in communities will usually sustain ideas,” so, let’s take these ideas and build momentum from here!


Join the Green Tease network, an ongoing informal events programme connecting cultural practices and environmental sustainability across Scotland.

 


The post Guest Blog: Changing Climate, Changing Culture – Exploring the Role of the Arts and Cultural Sector in Supporting the Low Carbon Transition in Edinburgh 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: Grow Wild Creative Funding for 14-25!

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

Do you have a creative idea inspired by wildflowers or fungi? Get funding to make it a reality!

Wildflowers and fungi are amazing! That’s why we’re inviting young people aged 14-25 to take part in a summer of activities and flex their creative skills. This year Grow Wild are offering not one, but two opportunities for young people to receive £500 by making a short video application telling Grow Wild their idea and how they will spend the money. Deadline for submission is the 2nd of July!

Creative projects in your community (14-25)


Young people can use their interest in photography, music, drama, dance, film, visual arts or more to celebrate UK native wild flowers and fungi in fun and inventive ways.

Co-created projects for emerging artists (18-25 only)

Apply to join with others across the UK to plan an autumn exhibition at renowned arts venue, Yorkshire Sculpture Park. This will include an artist masterclass at the venue in July.

Want to know more? Visit – https://www.growwilduk.com/creative

 


The post Opportunity: Grow Wild Creative Funding for 14-25! 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: But There is No Land Near the End

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

A critical reflection by Maria Rose Sledmere on A+E’s debut publication and launch event, But There is No Land Near the End.

Describing a time period in which the actions of humankind enter geologic history, the Anthropocene is not just a scientific framework, but rather, as Heather Davis and Etienne Turpin argue, ‘a social imaginary’, whose speculative parameters encompass many discourses, including those of ethics, aesthetics and affects. What is missing in much climate change discourse is a discussion of the emotional consequences of its effects and threats, played out at levels both individual and interspecies, everyday and planetary. Coming to terms with eco-anxiety, chronic stress, grief and environmental despair necessitates the fostering of cross-disciplinary knowledge exchange, certainly, but also a creative re-visioning of our world as it is, was and might be in future. As the term ‘nature’ shifts from something ‘outside’ to a deep sense of ourselves as thoroughly enmeshed in ecological feedback loops, it becomes increasingly important to register the metaphysical wilderness of humankind itself: to negotiate individual vulnerability and responsibility within the destructive consequences of our actions as a species. To realise, furthermore, the mutually productive capacities of art and science at thinking through the complexities of environmental phenomena whose scales vastly transcend our daily lives.

Founded by students and graduates of the Glasgow School of Art, A+E Collective was formed in 2017 as a response to a shared sense of unease in the face of impending ecological disaster. Thoughts of a fraught tomorrow, a polluted world or a world underwater, can be isolating, and the purpose of A+E is to offer a forum in which people can tease out the entanglements of climate crisis, as they see, feel or fear it. Working from a shared commitment to art as a tool for communication and force for change, A+E’s aim is to question neoliberal, anthropocentric rationale and to produce alternative forms of action within the spheres of art, academia and public discourse–to look beyond existing representations of climate change in the media and forge a more productive, playful and probing account of everyday life and cultural experience within the Anthropocene. With designers Finn Arschavir and Ane Lopez and curator Jessica Piette at the helm, A+E members now also include GSA graduates Lucy Watkins (BA Communication Design), students Inès Gradot, Marie Leguedoise (MDes Communication Design) and University of Glasgow graduate Maria Sledmere (MLitt Modernities). Inspired by the collaborative, plural practices of artists and philosophers like Olafur Eliasson, Agnes Denes, Donna Haraway, Michael Marder and dark ecologist Timothy Morton, A+E is strongly committed to developing cross-disciplinary and institutional support networks for work towards ecological art practice. This builds upon our team’s previous experience with sustainable art practice, environmental writing and arranging funded events around, for example, landmark ecological films and texts.

The Collective’s first publication, But There is No Land Near the End, comprises a selection of visual art, photography, literature and commentary assembled from responses to an open call for submissions in 2017. With support from Creative Scotland, A+E launched the publication at The Art School in March 2018. The event’s aim was not simply to present a selection of works from the publication, but rather to foster a durational experience in which audience members could ‘re-tune’ their perspectives on landscape, recycling, materiality, consumerism, the weather, the lives of different species and other themes pertaining to climate change. The evening was thus presented as a continuous rolling through different aesthetic forms, intending to allow ecological themes to reflect and refract naturally, as it were, between the pieces–in turn revealing how different forms of creative practice can collaboratively help recalibrate our sense of Anthropocene reality. Steering away from didactic or fear-mongering presentation, the event was designed as a positive trigger for encouraging discussion between creative practitioners around the topics raised by each piece. A+E aims to provide a social, discursive and collaborative nexus for environmentally-inclined minds, as well as showcasing works which translate the abstractions of much ecological theory into accessible and stimulating visual, sonic and literary forms.

Since its very title begins with a contrasting conjunction, But There is No Land Near the End invites a sense of rupture within established thought. Its overriding theme is ‘disconnection’, and the publication’s layout depicts the gradual swallowing of land by water, as white space is consumed by sprawling spreads of text and photography. Printed on recycled tabloid newspaper, the production and circulation aspires to locality and sustainability, while resonating with the globalised prospect of newsprint as mass media object. Equally, we sought contributors based in Glasgow but mostly also overseas. By using a traditional discourse of information dissemination, we hope to broadcast alternative, experimental and collective perspectives on a narrative that surpasses everyday comprehension. Straying from the hyper-gloss or saturated colour of other printing methods, newsprint embeds its subjects with a sense of lost presence; if news is the medium of immediacy, then A+E’s use of it channels the ecological unease of the present-tense: striving for speculative, sustainable aesthetics in a way that also seems always-already archival, a record of environmental experience for posterity to-come. This echoes the practice of several artists within the publication: from Bärbel Praun’s Impermanent Sculptures (of Indestructible Objects) to Bastian Birk Thuessen’s Physical evidence of abstract events , there’s a continual emphasis on rendering the ephemeral promise of objects within more substantial climatic dramas.

The title of the event and publication is sampled from Richard Carter’s groundbreaking series of drone poems, Waveform (2017), which investigate the intra-active potentialities of digital sensing, inscription and material semiotics within the Anthropocene. A similar aspiration towards multimedial platforms was evident at the publication’s launch, where cinematic pieces transitioned into poetic performance, and the fractal unfoldings of live cello playing gave way to ambient audio-visual scenery.

Opening the event, screened on a loop, was Marc Johanson’s animated film, Life More Abundant ‘98 (2017). One recurrent theme of the evening was solastalgia : Glenn Albrecht’s term which evokes the homesick feeling of losing one’s home without leaving it; the sense of the land you knew as a child altering irrevocably around you. With collaged landscapes and glitchy shifts between scenes of memory, Johanson captures the plural ontologies of this feeling, played across sublime worlds that blur the real and virtual. Johanson’s piece transitioned into Sarah McWhinney’s performance: a kind of intersemiotic translation of scales, which combined slowly pulsating microbial imagery with ambient scratches and cello glissando. Following McWhinney’s performance was a screening of German-based Sissel Thastum’s film No you without Mountains, without Sun, without Sky (2017) . Just as McWhinney’s sound-art necessitated a slowing down of consciousness, Thastum’s piece provoked an immersive experience of the pared landscapes, foliage and waters it depicts. With the screen darkening and the room’s space enclosing, the next work was a spoken performance by myself, accompanied by a soundscape composed by Greece-born producer, Vasilis Al. Titled Litanies for Eco-Dissonance , the piece unravelled literary responses to an Anthropocenic bewildering of scales, species and feedback loops of cause and effect, disaster and longing.

Following Litanies , we screened an eclectic film by Finnish artists MSL & Jaakko Pallasvuo, titled  Bridge Over Troubled Water (2016) . Its narrative riffs on the idea of Simon & Garfunkel travelling through time to navigate emotional responses to climate change. Blending a pastiche of moods and styles, it evoked a familiar twenty-first century ontological condition: that of existential disconnection, of being split across multiple times, affects and strands of causality.

At once playfully ironic and movingly sincere, the film elicited the liveliest reaction from the audience and showed how humour might assist aesthetics in artistic negotiations of Anthropocene themes. Its sublime conclusion in the most northwestern point of Finland, with the protagonists struggling onwards through a snowy tundra, indicates a distinctly metamodern approach to grappling with life in the Anthropocene: a structure of feeling that strives towards utopian thought in spite of an awareness of hypocrisy and failure; a swinging between apathy and enthusiasm. The film’s ending was an apt way to draw close to an evening of works whose own affective structures represent nothing if not the entanglement of various emotions, epistemologies, desires, perspectives and ethical impulses–resulting, ultimately, in an atmosphere of both caution, hope and creative potential.

Interpersonal and cross-institutional support is built into A+E’s framework. In addition to the bulk of funds coming generously from Creative Scotland, we raised over £1000 from donations via Kickstarter; such a bottom-up approach to financial backing enables creative freedom but also initiates personal relationships with individual backers. Supported by a playful but arresting promotional video, A+E operated the Kickstarter as a kind of ‘clinic’ for eco-anxiety, in which backers receive varying levels of ‘treatment’ according to their donation amount. This ranges from a personalised A+E prescription to Skype therapy and unique responses to individual symptoms of anxiety.

Taking the metaphor of an eco-clinic to its more literal limits, such a method acknowledges that when we are harming the planet, we are also harming ourselves. Dealing with climate change, we believe, is most productive when the approach is positive, healing and mutually constructive; continual self-flagellation can only instate further denial and pain as a species. To move on, to prompt change and solution, to sort practical remedy amidst existential upheaval, we have to work through our emotions too. Maybe art is one of the best ways to do this. Maybe art, as Morton puts it, riffing on object-oriented ideas of aesthetic causality, is a ‘kind of magic’, that can tell us ‘something very deep about the structure of how things are’ and indeed might be in future. As Mari Keski-Korsu writes in her piece within the publication, ‘holding space with peat’, empathy for nonhuman entities–that ontological reach out of consciousness–‘requires a lot of imagination’. It’s A+E’s intention to tap into that aesthetic alchemy, to explore art’s ecological potential in a mode that is thoroughly affective, self-aware and speculative, ethically questioning and pleasure pursuing; seeking the potentials of many disciplines to weave threads of light through the murky complexities of the past, future and Anthropocene present. With But There is  No Land Near the End, we hope to capture the anxieties and material complications of now, but feel that a print publication resists the easy slide into extinction characteristic of much contemporary discourse. As both archive-to-come and presentation (in the sense of displaying information in its present moment), the publication is designed to stand the test of time: to invite a sense of dynamic longevity, in dialogue with the ongoing work of its contributors, as much as the changing cultural and physical landscapes around us. But There is No Land Near the End is available online and at selected bookstores, including Good Press, Aye Aye Books, Anti Liburudenda, Librería La Canibal.

Link to our Bigcartel: https://aecollective.bigcartel.com

Connect with A+E on Instagram: a.e.collective


References

Davis, Heather and Etienne Turpin, 2015. Art in the Anthropocene: Encounters Among Aesthetics,
Politics,. Environments and Epistemologies (London: Open Humanities Press).

Morton, Timothy, 2015. ‘Charisma and Causality’, ArtReview. Available at:
https://artreview.com/features/november_2015_feature_timothy_morton_charisma_causality/

Vermeulen, Timotheus and Robin van den Akker, 2010. ‘What is Metamodernism?’, Notes on
Metamodernism . Available at:
http://www.metamodernism.com/2010/07/15/what-is-metamodernism/

 


The post Guest Blog: But There is No Land Near the End 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

Green Picks: Glasgow International Visual Arts Festival 2018

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

As Green Arts Initiative Member, Glasgow International Visual Arts Festival, kicks off this week we’ve picked out some of the exhibitions which connect with environmental sustainability and climate change – ranging from shows situated in subway stations and charity shops, to exhibitions addressing Glasgow’s historic role in colonialism and global trade, and work exploring speculative futures and processes of social change.

Low carbon travel

Alys Owen and Beth Shapeero, LOOP

SPT Subway System, Around the city

For ‘LOOP’ artworks by Alys Owen and Beth Shapeero are situated across Glasgow’s network of subway stations (SPT). Prints, drawings, large scale installations and live pieces examine the nature of travel and daily routines, exploring the overlooked absurdities of everyday life.

Festival cycle tours

These guided cycle tours around selected exhibitions will follow themes present in the festival programme and the city itself; environment, changing urban landscapes, and continuous regeneration. As well as being a green way to see Glasgow, getting to know its cycle routes and some of the festival’s more hidden venues, the tour will explore the past, present and possible futures of the spaces we live in. Tours take place on Saturday 4thand Sunday 5th May.

Colonialism, trade and transportation

Lauren Gault and Sarah Rose, Sequins

 Forth and Clyde Canal, Various Locations

Lauren Gault and Sarah Rose present new works in, around and surfacing the Forth and Clyde Canal water at the edge of Glasgow’s city centre.

Historically a trade and transport route connecting the city to its wider environs, the canal is now a leisure area. This hierarchical shift in function from the industrial to recreational results in a latent energy – a quiet stasis of managed movement. The artists’ works emerge through the indeterminacy of the outdoor habitat and the canal’s rhythm – its movement and circulation.

Nadia Myre, Code-Switching and Other Work

The Briggait, 141 Bridgegate, G1 5HZ

This solo presentation of new work from Montreal-based artist Nadia Myre responds to the history of clay tobacco pipe production in Glasgow, and its entanglement with the city’s colonial past.

A by-product of the tobacco trade with the so-called New World, the pipes were one of the first ‘disposable’ items to enter the market, purchased pre-stuffed with tobacco. Curated by Mother Tongue, Myre’s new work explores processes of imprinting, documenting, weaving and excavating to ask enduring questions around colonial legacies.

Built environment, urban greenspace and ecology

Group show, Bone Meal

The Hidden Gardens, Tramway, 25A Albert Drive, G41 2PE

Bone Meal brings together six Glasgow-based artists to show new work at The Hidden Gardens. Using performance and writing to develop sculpture, sound, and video installations, their work engages with the living and life-supporting elements of the garden.

Group show, Glasshouse

Glasgow Botanic Gardens, 730 Great Western Rd, G12 0UE

This group show addresses Glasgow’s Botanic Gardens as a heterotopic space containing its own oppositions; interior and exterior, nature and culture, global and local. It explores how these paradoxes relate to the interplay of local and global forces upon the communities and places of Glasgow. The artists bring their own experiences as international artists based in the city, to engage with the unique setting of The Botanic Gardens as a site for constructing and maintaining unexpected encounters close to home.

Jonny Lyons and Matt Barnes, We Disappear

Govan Project Space, 249 Govan Rd, G51 1HJ

We Disappear is an immersive photographic odyssey, allowing the viewer to question the still image and its relationship to our physical presence in the landscape of Glasgow. The show confronts the idea that people are disappearing from the landscape in favour of cars, public transport and home entertainment. We still, however, have a place – in public space, in both rural and built environments. An atmospheric, visual and physical feast inspired by the vistas of the city.

Governance, power and economy

Deniz Uster, Citadel

The Briggait, 141 Bridgegate, G1 5HZ

Citadel proposes ecological, alternate mechanised cities in transit, which evade the authority of traditional infrastructure and class. The exhibition includes a scaled model of a moving city, an audio piece authored by Gurcim Yilmaz, drawings and public engagement events.

Janie Nicoll and Ailie Rutherford, In Kind

Various locations

In Kind is a research project by visual artists Janie Nicoll and Ailie Rutherford, which maps the hidden economies of Glasgow International and the “below the water-line” economy of the arts. Using visual mapping techniques developed by Rutherford through her work on The People’s Bank of Govanhill, as well as Nicoll’s experience of participatory and large-scale curatorial projects, their information booth will gather and display data that exposes this outpouring of creative energy that normally goes unseen.

Kirsty Hendry and Ilona Sagar, Self-Service

Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA), 350 Sauchiehall Street, G2 3JD

Self-Service takes the form of a publication and event series produced in response to the archive of The Peckham Experiment – a radical vision for encouraging health, local empowerment, and self-organisation in the first half of the 20th century.

Science fiction and social change

Group show, Cellular World: Cyborg-Human-Avatar-Horror

Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA), Royal Exchange Square, G1 3AH

We live in a world where technology plays a large and changing role in everyday life. In an age of social media, most of us will have avatars – versions of ourselves – online, prompting us to question how we are represented and how we represent ourselves. At the same time, we are at a historical moment where the future frequently appears as a precipice between utopia and dystopia.

Kapwani Kiwanga, Soft Measures

Tramway, 25 Albert Drive, G41 2PE

The continent of Europe is moving towards Africa at the rate of approximately 2cm per year – eventually it will slide underneath entirely. Paris-based Canadian artist Kapwani Kiwanga takes this fact as a starting point for a new multi-faceted installation at Tramway. Through new sculptural works Kiwanga suggests speculative fictions that stretch through a perspective of deep geological time.

Materials and consumerism

Simon Buckley and Othmar Farré Present FOUNDATION PAINTING SHOW

British Heart Foundation, 22 Stockwell Street, G1 4RT

Instead of being hung on a gallery wall, the paintings in this accessible and playful exhibition are placed on sofas in the window of the British Heart Foundation shop on Stockwell Street. Each day, Simon Buckley and Othmar Farré will arrange a new configuration of three or four pieces by a host of international artists.

Sculpture Placement Group, Sculpture Showroom

Glasgow Sculpture Studios, The Whisky Bond, 2 Dawson Rd, G4 9SS

Sculpture Showroom is an adoption service for sculptural objects, seeking to match works of art with new guardians. Sculpture Placement Group works with artists to identify sculptural works in long-term storage with no current future. Sculpture Showroom will bring sculptural joy into people’s daily lives, meanwhile testing a new model for circulating artworks, increasing access to art ownership and alleviating artists of the pressures of storage and space. Let’s give work hidden in storage a new life!

____________________________________________________________________________

Glasgow International is a member of the Green Arts Initiative – Scotland’s community of cultural organisations committed to reducing their environmental impact, and increasing their environmental sustainability. Find out more about the 200+ members and join the initiative! 

Image credits, from top to bottom: 1) Deniz Uster, Citadel, photo credit Tom Harrup; 2) Alys Owen and Beth Shapeero; 3) Nadia Myer, ‘Code Switching’; 4) Courtesy of Aideen Doran; 5) Janie Nicoll, ‘Tsunami’, photo credit Alan Dimmick; 6) Kapwani Kiwanga, Afrogalactica, Courtesy of the artist and Gallery Jérôme Poggi; 7) Reclaimed: The Second Life of Sculpture,  Courtesy of Dapple Photography.



The post Green Picks: Glasgow International Visual Arts Festival 2018 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

Ethical Making Resource Launched

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

Fairtrade, Fairmined and Sustainable

The Incorporation of Goldsmiths have just launched their Ethical Making Resource: a website dedicated to the social, economic and environmental sustainability dimensions of jewelry design and making.

www.ethicalmaking.org

The Incorporation of Goldsmiths has created the Ethical Making Resource in the interest of helping jewellery and silversmithing community of makers to access information which supports their ambitions towards ethical making.

Previous research had found the pre-existing information unclear, difficult to locate, and sometimes dubious in origin and accuracy, and this new resource has been produced in collaboration with the sector to make it as clear, useful, truthful, concise and accessible as possible. The resource takes the form of a website covering everything from the sourcing of materials (a particular concern in the metal and gem industries, where unethical practices are rife) to sustainable studio practices which minimise chemical use and maximise resource efficiency.

At Creative Carbon Scotland, we’re thrilled that this resource is being made available to makers, especially as we know through our work with Craft Scotland and the Green Crafts Initiative that there is a big demand for this information and support from jewellers. We have supported the development of the resource in advising around the environmental sustainability dimensions of the resource.

Ethical Making Symposium

The resource was launched at the Incorporation’s second Ethical Making Symposium – one year on from the inaugural event which spurred the research and action presented at the 2018 symposium.

Over the course of the day (held at the Out of the Blue Drill Hall – a venue member of our Green Arts Initiative, and itself committed to sustainability in its own operations) delegates heard from a range of practising makers, academics, and support organisations, including:

  • Dr Greg Valerio, MBE on how he has tried to change the ethics of the sector – from a ‘we do not do ethics’ approach, to the introduction of the Fairtrade and Fairmined standards. Greg challenged all makers to be honest and be engaged in the ethics of their practice: doing what they can in small steps to transform their part of the sector.
  • Ute Decker, Jen Cunningham and Alison MacLeod on how the issues of unethical and unsustainable production are essentially ‘man-made’ problems which can equally be solved by humans, and how makers must ensure that jewellery that is externally beautiful has not had a destructive and ugly origin. Each of the three makers spoke of the origins of their practice, with an emphasis on how small changes (like putting pressures on their suppliers, investing in tools which enabled them to recycle small amounts of metal, and launching small ranges of Fairtrade products) have transformed their approach.
  • Ian Nicholson on how his work as director of the Precious Metals Workshop and his visits to international mines have influenced his commitment to Fairtrade and Fairmined metals and spurred his ‘Going for Gold’ project, which aims to raise awareness of the issues around artisanal gold mining.
  • Dr Peter Oakley on the complex issue of recycled silver (a material that has traditionally been a by-product of other metal-mining industries, and which has a majority industrial rather than jewellery use) and the role of education and academic research in this field.
  • Jane Barnett and Theodora Panayides on how consultancy organisation Levin Sources is working on responsible sources and mining practices, how such material sourcing is often a long journey, and how ultimately ethics are subjective so each maker should define their own approach.

“Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection”
Mark Twain, via the Ethical Making Symposium

To complete the symposium, the Incorporation of Goldsmiths hosted a ‘Circular Economy Design Challenge’ and competition, where delegates had a short amount of time to design an item of jewellery that was inspired by the
principles of the circular economy: an economy in which we keep resources in use for as long as possible, maximising their value, recover materials at the end of that particular use, and reject the ‘take, use, dispose’ model of our current system. ‘Designing for disassembly’ and being inspired by the ‘waste-free’ model of natural systems was a theme throughout the ideas generated.

Commitments from the Sector

Also at the Ethical Making Symposium were several announcements from those in the jewellery-making sector about their new commitments to ethical and sustainable making. In particular, a commitment from all the jewellery and silversmithing courses, HND level and above, in Scotland to include ethics and sustainability within their courses curriculum, and to make responsibly-mined materials the norm in their workshops – making it the expectation for all new jewellers, and developing a generation of informed makers.

 


The Incorporation of Goldsmiths is a not-for-profit organisation, based in Edinburgh, which runs the Edinburgh Assay Office and supports the jewellery and silversmithing trade in Scotland and beyond.

The Green Crafts Initiative is a joint project between Craft Scotland and Creative Carbon Scotland aiming to enable the craft sector to contribute green actions within Scotland’s cultural industries. Becoming a member of the Green Crafts Initiative is easy, quick, and free! Complete this form and we’ll be in touch.

All photos by James Robertson.

 


The post Ethical Making Resource Launched: Fairtrade, Fairmined and Sustainable 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: Images From a Warming Planet

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

Photographer Ashley Cooper writes about documenting climate change and the rise of renewable energy on every continent on the planet.

I have spent the last thirteen years travelling to every continent on the planet to document the impacts of climate change and the rise of renewable energy, the only living photographer to have done so. This epic journey involved visiting over thirty countries and took me from nearly 300 feet below sea level in Death Valley to 18,000 feet above, in the Bolivian Andes, from 500 miles from the North Pole, to the Antarctic Peninsular, from remote Pacific Islands to the Chinese/Russian border.

Along the way I documented extreme weather, flooding, drought, permafrost melt, glacial retreat, sea level rise, sea ice retreat, impacted communities, impacted plants and animals, food security, forced migration, all types of renewable energy, and much much more.

A month in Alaska

It all started off in the early part of this century when I started reading about climate change in scientific journals. I decided to do a specific climate change photo shoot, which was to spend a month in Alaska. I planned to cover glacial retreat, permafrost melt, forest fires and had a week on Shishmaref, a tiny remote island between Alaska and Siberia. Shishmaref is home to around 800 Inuits. Their mainly hunter gatherer lifestyle meant that they had a tiny carbon footprint. I was to learn something on Shishmaref, that I have seen many times since in my travels, and that is those that are least responsible for climate change are most impacted by it. The problem on Shishmaref was that the sea ice that used to form around the island in late September, was not forming till maybe Christmas time. Any early storms hitting the island before the sea ice had formed, were knocking great chunks out of the land and tumbling the Inuits houses into the sea.

Four feet under water

Even in 2004 it was obvious the Arctic was warming very rapidly, and the many impacts of climate change were blindingly obvious and in your face. I returned from Alaska determined to do more. My second photo shoot was to the remote island Nation of Tuvalu, in the Pacific Ocean. More people climb Everest every year, than visit Funafuti, one of Tuvalu’s main islands. These low lying coral atoll islands are extremely vulnerable to sea level rise. I had planned my trip for the highest Spring tides of the year. At high tide the middle of the islands were in places four feet under water. Tuvalu will probably be the first country to completely disappear as a result of climate change.

Documenting climate change

It wasn’t long before I decided I should try and document the impacts of climate change on every continent. Something, that thirteen years on I have achieved.

Following a successful crowd funding program, I have just published “Images From a Warming Planet”, a 416 page hardback, art photography book containing 500 of the best images from my epic journey around the planet. The book has come out to amazing reviews and is on sale now. You can read the reviews and see around 100 of the pages online, as well as purchase the book at www.imagesfromawarmingplanet.net. The Images from a Warming Planet exhibition is currently on display in Brantwood in the Lake District. Get in touch to discuss hosting the exhibition.


Ashley Cooper is an award-winning environmental photographer. In 1986 Ashley became the first person to climb every 3,000 foot mountain in GB and Eire in one continuous expedition. A feat that involved over 1400 miles walking and 500,000 feet of ascent. the event raised £14,000 for the British Leprosy Relief association. For the last 25 years Ashley has been a member of the Langdale/Ambleside Mountain Rescue Teams, one of the busiest teams in the UK, and has personally attended over 700 rescues. Following the publication of Images from a Warming Planet Ashley now plans to raise an additional £55,000 to set up iCommit, a new, global climate change initiative.

All images copyright Ashley Cooper

 



The post Guest Blog: Images From a Warming Planet 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

Creative Carbon Scotland…in Italian! La Terra Non è Mai Sporca published

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

We’re excited to announce that the work of Creative Carbon Scotland has been featured in an international book!

Authored by Luciana Ciliento and Carola Benedetto, the book is a collection of essays written by land artists, mountaineers, environmental activists, politicians, farmers, and our very own Green Arts Project Manager – Catriona Patterson!

The earth is never dirty

The book is entitled ‘La terra non è mai sporca’, which translates as ‘The Earth is never dirty’. Each chapter is written by a different contributor, and reflects on their differing perspectives and relationship with our physical environment. A number of wide-ranging topics are covered, including: new humanism, the intersection with politics, fast fashion, borders and identity.

We’re thrilled to be included in this publication, and to have had the opportunity to share our approach with a wider audience. Creative Carbon Scotland’s contribution focuses on Scotland’s national efforts to become more sustainable (through things like our ambitious climate change targets) and how culture should be a fundamental driver in our society, particularly when it comes to re-evaluating our actions and approaches in the time of climate change.

Edinburgh Fringe Sustainable Practice Award nominee

We’ve previously worked with Luciana before, in her role at Italian performing arts company Gruppo Del Cerchio. Their production, Song of the Earth was shortlisted for the Edinburgh Fringe Sustainable Practice Award (which we run with the Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts) back in 2014. It’s fantastic to see an arts company so committed to environmental sustainability – working across performance and literature to achieve a more sustainable global society.

Creative Carbon Scotland...in Italian! La Terra Non è Mai Sporca published 2We’re not Italian speakers here in the Creative Carbon Scotland team, so there are no dramatic readings planned (yet!) but we are happy to lend out our copy to those who can read it first-hand!

The book is also available in e-book format and physical copy format through a variety of online websites, including Mondadoristore.it.

Find out more about the book and other contributors on this website.

Presenting Creative Carbon Scotland’s work internationally

In June, Catriona will be speaking at Leggendo Metropolitano, an International Festival of Cultures and Innovative Techniques in Sardinia, created and promoted by the Associazione Prohairesis from Cagliari. Find out more about the festival www.leggendometropolitano.it

The post Creative Carbon Scotland…in Italian! La Terra Non è Mai Sporca published 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

Carbon Reduction in the Creative Industries

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

Creative Carbon Scotland has published a scoping study into the carbon reduction potential in the Creative Industries.

In order to understand how the Creative Industries could reduce their carbon emissions, and benefit socially and economically from these efforts, the research concentrated on two particular sub-sectors: the craft sector, and the digital content sector.

The report describes the the work undertaken during the study, the responses of the interviewed businesses, and the main findings. It outlines the main sources of carbon emissions for these sub-sectors, as well as existing low-carbon activities already in place and the main opportunities for reduction. Finally, it provides recommendations to actions that could be taken, and the barriers that may be experienced.

The report will be of most interest to those working in, or supporting, the craft and digital content sectors of the Scottish creative industries.

Take a look at the resource now!

Carbon Reduction in the Creative Industries 

 



The post Carbon Reduction in the Creative Industries: Scoping Report Published 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: Take One Action launch a brand new Global Change Film Directory!

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

Take One Action Film Festivals present a brand new global change film directory!

Do you love international cinema? Do you want to see more world-class films on the issues you care about, and connect with organisations taking action here in Scotland? Then head over to Take One Action’s brand new Global Change Film Directory!

This new unique digital resource provides instant access to over 400 short and feature films exploring global change from a wide range of key social and environmental justice perspectives, from climate change to food sustainability, from land rights to energy creation.

The directory reflects ten years of Take One Action’s focused curatorial work which celebrates the films and the people that are changing the world – and the list will keep growing: over the coming weeks, the directory will swell with an ever wider selection of titles, thanks to additional input from a range of new and long-term partners (such as the Friends of the Earth Scotland, Christian Aid, Oxfam, the Scottish Documentary Institute), friends and supporters (including fellow Scotland-based film festivals Africa in Motion, SQIFF and Cinema Attic).

Many of the titles within the directory are available to watch for free online, or through paid streaming services, and you are also able to search the catalogue by geographical focus, topic, genre, age suitability, or concentrate on films that are subtitled or captioned, to ensure that you can find the films that resonate with the topics you care about.

Keen to go beyond the screen? To help you identify your next steps, each film entry connects you to organisations and campaigns actively working towards a better world – starting from Scotland.

So what are you waiting for? Dive in and see the change you want to be: bit.ly/TOA_e-news

———————-

Take One Action Film Festivals nurture communal exploration of the stories, ideas and questions at the heart of positive social change. Through film screenings, conversation and enquiry, we bring people together to inspire a fairer, more sustainable and more fulfilling world, in Scotland and beyond our borders.

“Want to change the world and not sure where to start? These guys will rouse you into action” The Guardian

“An exemplar in true audience engagement” Creative Scotland

“Truly empowering” The Scotsman

Founded in 2008, Take One Action run the UK’s leading global change film festival, holding annual festival events in four key Scottish cities in September and November (Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Inverness), alongside additional events throughout the year

Join us at our festival events this year in Edinburgh & Glasgow (12-23 September), Aberdeen (16-18 November) and Inverness (23-25 November).

Sign up to the TOA newsletter: bit.ly/TOA_e-news
Like TOA on Facebook: @takeoneaction
Follow us on Twitter: @takeoneaction



The post News: Take One Action launch a brand new Global Change Film Directory! 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

Ben’s Strategy Blog: Fossil fuel companies’ sponsorship of the arts

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

If you scroll to the bottom of the About page of the Creative Carbon Scotland website you’ll find the Fossil Funds Free logo, which shows that we’ve pledged not to accept any funding from fossil fuel companies.

The full statement that we’ve signed reads, ‘We do not take any oil, coal, or gas corporate sponsorship for our cultural work. We call on our peers and institutional partners to refuse fossil fuel funding too.’ A no-brainer, you’d think, for an organisation working on the intersection between climate change and the arts. Well, yes. But nothing is ever that simple in the world of climate change.

Let’s be clear first that it is of course that simple. If we are to limit the global temperature rise to 2°C, let alone the 1.5°C ambition, as the world’s nations agreed in Paris in December 2015, then, in the absence of some magical technology to take greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere (and they haven’t developed it yet to work on any significant scale), there is a limited amount of pollution we can put into the air.

So it is simple. As the Governor of the Bank of England said, most of the fossil fuel reserves can’t be burned. But the fossil fuel companies, and the governments of the UK and Scotland, were thrilled last year when a new oil field was discovered 60 miles West of Shetland. And you can see why: the transition has human costs. In Aberdeen I sometimes stay in a nice B&B which used to be full of contract staff every week: now it’s like a ghost ship.

Our self-destructive addiction

Humans are addicted to energy: we can’t live without it (literally: evolutionary scientists think that it was the discovery that cooking food made it more digestible, and so enabled our brains to grow larger, that enabled homo sapiens to develop into the extraordinary success that we are today). The future, of Aberdeen and the world, is not a fossil fuel one. But the industry’s skills, knowledge, technology and facilities are closely related to those needed for the large-scale, difficult environment renewables that will feed humans’ insatiable appetite for energy.

On the financial side, a UN report estimates that the cumulative global investment required in renewable energy to stabilise atmospheric CO2 concentrations at 450ppm (which wouldn’t keep us below 1.5°) ranges from US$149 billion to $718 billion per year for the decade 2021-2030. It may be depressing, but the energy companies are some of the only organisations able to invest that sort of money.

The oil and gas companies are going to be with us for some time, since we haven’t yet got to the stage where we can do without fossil fuels. But as discussed above, this ‘some time’ needs to be a limited one. And their persistence must not be based on how well they sell themselves and how they persuade people of their importance. Often, they seek to do this through our culture: our arts events and experiences.

So what’s a poor arts manager to do?

I’m conflicted about sponsorship anyway. The arts have always been supported by patronage, religion and, more recently, governments, so I’m not vehemently opposed. But I’ve worked in the arts for over 30 years and because I’ve never led a mainstream organisation doing predictable work (I’ve done a lot of newer work, my happy days freelancing at Pitlochry being the main exception, but there I had nothing to do with the money), any sponsorship that has been available has been pretty minor: it’s the mostly big organisations presenting work that they can confidently describe as unthreatening to the sponsors that get the big cash, especially from larger companies such as energy giants. Let’s not kid ourselves: sponsorship isn’t a replacement for public funding for much of the arts, which is there precisely to address market failure.

Unlike charitable donations, sponsorship is a business transaction. The arts get the money, the company gets a benefit: credibility, tickets for guests, their name on the bus stops on the high street and positive associations in their customers’ (or the Government’s, or their peers’) minds. So it isn’t just a warm glow that’s being offered.

And this is where I get puzzled. If you’re the Tate or the British Museum there’s surely no shortage of big companies out there who might be interested in benefitting from your brand. In this age of divestment, increasing public concern about pollution and environmental change and quite impressive campaigns by Liberate Tate,  PlatformArt Not Oil etc, why would you decide to take the money from a company involved in the most damaging of industries? If they’re offering so much more than anyone else, wouldn’t that suggest that their motivations might be worth examining? (Note that the Edinburgh International Festival and the Tate are no longer supported by BP, so maybe they agree!)

Know the risks

The risks to a cultural organisation of taking dirty cash are many. Public awareness of both climate change and the dodgy nature of some money is growing fast – look at the impact of David Attenborough’s Blue Planet on companies’ use of plastic and the ‘Presidents Club’ furore. So there’s a definite reputational risk, with the added danger that Liberate Tate’s own work might outshine your own! It might make your organisation more risk-averse: you’re now beholden to that sponsor, and if you’re on reduced funding from other sources (perhaps because you’re so good at getting sponsors!) then loss of them might mean redundancies, a thinner programme… Other funders could pull out, either because you don’t now meet their own ethical standards, or because they fear being tainted by association with your sponsor. And how does it look to your main funder, who insists on your having a strong environmental policy and actions?

I can’t say we face this problem at Creative Carbon Scotland – big fossil fuel sponsors aren’t exactly breaking our doors down. But perhaps we do need to engage with the fossil fuel people. We can organise events where artists discuss the future, but the engineers, geologists, finance people etc are also part of that future and many of them share those same concerns about making it a sustainable one. We may not take money from the energy giants, but I don’t think we can ignore them.

Questions of ethics and choice when it comes to how the arts are funded by sponsors (whether that be historic private patrons or more modern corporates) are not new. But in our physically, socially, legally changing world, they are ever-more prominent.

There is much evidence to show that the transition to a fossil fuel free future is underway. The oil and gas companies are going to be with us for some time, since we haven’t yet got to the stage where we can do without fossil fuels. But as discussed above, this ‘some time’ needs to be a limited one. And their persistence must not be based on how well they sell themselves and how they persuade people of their importance. Often, they seek to do this through our culture: our arts events and experiences.

___________________________________

 

Mel Evans’ book ARTWASH – Big Oil and the Arts (Pluto Press, 2015) is a longer and more informed read about this topic. Available not through Amazon here: http://platformlondon.org/p-publications/artwash-big-oil-arts/

 



The post Ben’s Strategy Blog: Fossil fuel companies’ sponsorship of the arts 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