CALL FOR PROPOSALS – Culture(s) in Sustainable Futures: Theories, Practices, Policies

Is culture the fourth pillar of sustainability, alongside the ecological, economic and social aspects? How does culture act as a catalyst for ecological sustainability, human well-being and economic viability? What would our futures look like if sustainability was embedded in the multiple dimensions of culture, including different worldviews and values, ways of life, and other forms of cultural expression?

A cultural transition that embeds sustainability in the cultural understandings and daily practices of society has the power to shift humanity’s currently unsustainable trajectory. Culture already plays many roles in (un)sustainability but the scientific, policy-making and societal spheres lack understanding of the essence of culture and how it influences sustainability.

A landmark conference

This conference is both an ending and a beginning. It caps the work of the European research network COST ActionInvestigating Cultural Sustainability. But rather than closing the book on this international network, this inclusive conference aims to set directions for future research and actions. During the conference, scholars, policymakers, artists, planners and others will discuss thedifferent roles and meanings of culture in sustainability. Representatives from different sectors and across disciplines will explore how culture(s) can support sustainable development and vice versa. The new ideas generated here about understanding culture(s) in sustainable futures will pave the way for integrating sustainability with cultural studies and practices.

Large and small group work, including a stage for scholarly and artistic expression, will feed this dialogue:

Plenary sessions: lectures from invited speakers on culture, sustainability and development from the inter- and transdisciplinary perspectives
Parallel research paper sessions: sessions to present and discuss research papers
Parallel panels: sessions providing transdisciplinary dialogue between scientists, policymakers and practitioners (artists, planners, etc.).
An “open stage”: a space for posters, art and performances

The conference explores ontheories and conceptual approaches; policies and governance; and practices and methodologies that explicitly analyse role(s) of culture(s) in sustainable development. Multiple  narratives of culture(s) in sustainable futures are emerging. Some of them have originated in the social and humanistic sciences, philosophy, and environmental sciences, while others have emerged from planning practices, policymaking and the arts. The meaning of culture ranges from worldviews to livelihoods and everyday life practices, from natural and cultural heritage to planning and bottom-up initiatives in different spatial contexts. Various ideas about sustainability will be threaded through these explorations of culture and the participants will reflect on contemporary sustainability challenges such as environmental  change, economic crises, poverty and human rights.

The conference will explore the following dimensions: 

Theories and conceptual approaches: How can we explore and understand the role of culture in a range of sustainable futures? How can inter- and transdisciplinary approaches (including the artistic and policy) contribute to this? What kind of theories can be useful when analysing values and ethics, or the human-nature nexus, and why? How can we address the normativity inherent in the discussion of culture and sustainability? To what extent does culture need to be sustained or transformed, in which ways, and by whom?

Policies and governance: How can the issue of culture be addressed in relation to sustainability policies? How can culture be included in sectoral and cross-sectoral policies and politics? What types of policies facilitate a culturally embedded transition to possible sustainable futures? What kind of new planning and governance cultures are needed to create sustainable futures? What role can cultural policies play in the transition to sustainability across all levels of culture? How can the cultural turn in sustainability be facilitated?

Practices and methodologies: Culture is both tangible/material and intangible/immaterial. What are possible methodologies for communicating the value of culture in sustainability? What kinds of tools exist to evaluate culture? Where do these tools fall short, and how should such tools be further developed? How can cultural knowledge or values be produced, co-produced and represented? How can culturally sensitive and embedded approaches be promoted in planning, cultural or place mapping, and through artistic and/or planning practices?

Examples that illustrate and reveal the role(s) of culture in sustainable futures may be found in livelihoods, everyday life practices from housing to consumption, food systems, tourism, landscapes, heritage, media, education, planning, architecture, design and more. They may take place in urban, peri-urban or rural contexts, and on a scale ranging from global to local.

Attend the conference – share your knowledge, ideas, and creative expression

The Conference is open for all fields of study and practice. Selected full papers and other contributions will be published in conference proceedings and in a book within the recently-launched book series Routledge Studies in Culture and Sustainable DevelopmentThe conference is organised by COST Action “Investigating Cultural Sustainability” and hosted by the University of Jyväskylä, Department of Social Sciences and Philosophy.

The conference is organised by the COST Action Investigating Cultural Sustainability and is hosted by the University of Jyväskylä (Finland), Department of Social Sciences and Philosophy. The conference venue, “Wanha Satama”(Finnish for “Old Harbour”), is a renovated warehouse for coffee and spices located in the heart of Helsinki and close to the seashore.

You can participate in the conference in the following way:

Parallel research paper sessions

are traditional / conventional parallel sessions where conference participants can present their research papers. If you want to propose a theme for such a session, send your session proposal by 1 October 2014 to: landmark2015 [at] Please provide the following information:

  • Name(s), affiliation(s) and contact information of the proposer(s)
  • Title of the proposed session
  • Abstract (250-300 words)  including the aim and  scope of the session and the type of contributions sought

The scientific committee of the conference will review the session proposals and announce the accepted sessions by 15October 2014. The paper abstract submission to the confirmed research paper sessions will be open from 15 October 2014 until 5December 2014. The abstracts should be submitted through an online submission system. The session chairs will review the abstracts.

Parallel panels

are sessions with 3-4 presenters, a chair and a discussant. These sessions provide a moderated dialogue between the contributors. In particular, we encourage transdisciplinary debate on a specific theme between scientists, policymakers, and different practitioners for instance from the fields of art, culture and administration. To organise a panel you should invite 3-4 presenters and a discussant. The proposals for panels including the confirmed contributions and abstracts (the abstract of the panel: 250-300 words, abstracts of the presentations: 150-200 words) should be sent by an online submission system by 5 December, 2014. The panel proposals will be reviewed by the Scientific Committee. (NB. Detailed instructions for submissions coming up soon!)

The open stage

for posters, artistic expressions and performances is a space to explore the relationship between culture and sustainability through different presentational forms, by employing the methods of science and/or arts. These contributions will be organised in a transversal way by a curator according to the themes they display. This space will be open continuously throughout the conference. The call for proposals runs from 15 October 2014 to 5December 2014. The proposals should be submitted through an online submission system. The curator will review the proposals.

Note: The online submission system will open on 15September 2014.

Time Schedule

Call open  Submission Approvals
Proposals for research paper sessions 01/09/2014  – 01/10/2014 landmark2015 (at) 15/10/2014
Abstracts for research paper sessions 15/10/2014 – 05/12/2014 Online submission system 19/12/2014
Proposals for panels 15/09/2014 – 05/12/2014 Online submission system 19/12/2014
Proposals for open stage 15/10/2014 – 05/12/2014 Online submission system 15/01/2015

EARTH (a play about people)

EARTH-53A couple faced with the possibility of having a child embark on separate journeys through time and space.  A multidisciplinary theatrical event exploring the personal, social and environmental questions surrounding contemporary issues of overpopulation. Created collaboratively and remotely by international teams of artists and scientists based on limitations inspired by the Voyager Golden Record.

EARTH is a cross-disciplinary, cross-cultural and international collaboration. Based on prompts and limitations given by Superhero Clubhouse, teams of artists working remotely (that is, in cities outside NYC) created highly personal scenes, images and dances inspired by themes and questions related to population. The material given to us by Satellite Teams was then developed in dialogue with our artists here in NYC. At this stage of development, we are asking three questions: 1. What is the play, and how does it confront the ecological research? 2. How do we collaborate with artists from afar? 3. How canEARTH be a singular event with consistency of vision, aesthetic and narrative, despite so many “cooks in the kitchen”? By asking these questions, we are also exploring what it means to get along in the world, in the face of global limitations, environmental crises and a population not yet at its peak.

A note from dramaturg Megan McClain

Last year, the Voyager 1 spacecraft entered interstellar space, becoming the farthest human-made object from Earth. On board is the Voyager Golden Record, a disk containing images, music, greetings in 55 languages, and sounds meant to capture the diversity of life on our planet. Created in 1977 by Carl Sagan and a team of collaborators, this time capsule was launched in the hopes that it might be found by intelligent life. Though ambitious, the Voyager Golden Record project was plagued by limitations. How could they hope to represent all of Earth on one record? In creating EARTH (a play about people), we faced a similar challenge. How can we tell a story about human life on this planet of 7.2 billion people? Taking the contents and limitations of the Voyager Golden Record as our inspiration, we have created our own imperfect performance time capsule filled with observations, stories, and experiences devised by a team of 20 local artists and scientists and dozens of artists from other countries including Romania, Australia, China, Japan, Greece, and Denmark. Our play begins with a couple waiting to find out if they are pregnant.  In this temporal limbo, they each embark on separate journeys through time and space. In a world fraught with limited resources and an alarmingly booming human population, what are the environmental, social, and personal implications surrounding the decision to have a child? How do we balance the beauty and brilliance of our species with the impact our very presence has on the world we rely on?

Support EARTH!

From now until September 13, we are operating a fundraising campaign to benefit our fall EARTHworkshop, taking place on Governor’s Island in September as part of a Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Process Space grant and culminating in a public performance on September 20. We have just over a month to raise $5,000– this covers paying stipends to our company of twenty artists, plus other production expenses like design materials, transportation and cookie ingredients. Read more about the campaign and consider making a tax-deductible donation by clicking HERE.

September 20, 2pm – Work-in-progress performance

Building 110 on Governor’s Island

Free and open to the public

The culmination of a Process Space residency from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council 

Team NYC

  • Co-directed by Jeremy Pickard, Harry Poster & Hannah Wolf
  • Made and performed by Nanda Abella, Sergio Botero, Jonathan Camuzeaux, William Cook, Janouke Goosen, Eben Hoffer, Yanghee Lee, Andrew Lindqvist, Bella MacDiarmid, Katey Parker, Jeremy Pickard, Sophia Remolde, Leah Shelton & Sonia Villani 
  • Written by Satellite Artists in collaboration with the NYC company 
  • Dramaturgy by Megan McClain & Anne Zager
  • Original music by Jonathan Camuzeaux 
  • MusicalArrangement by Janouke Goosen
  • Featured choreography by KatieRose McLaughlin
  • Lighting design by Bruce Steinberg
  • Sound design by Sarah Hughes
  • Design dramaturgy Solomon Weisbard
  • Production assistance by John Le

Satellite Teams 

  • Per Bech Jensen (Idom Kirkeby, Denmark)
  • Tommy Dickie & collaborators (Los Angeles, USA)
  • Tina Yotopoulou (Athens, Greece)
  • Christina Pickard (Perth, Australia)
  • Brian O’Neal & collaborators (Minneapolis, USA)
  • Nadia Serantes & collaborators (Santiago, Chile)
  • Toma Danila, Ioana Manciu & Horia Suru (Bucharest, Romania)
  • Byron Yee & Lyrica Yin (Guangzhou, China)

“Every one of us is, in the cosmic perspective, precious. If a human disagrees with you, let him live. In a hundred billion galaxies, you will not find another.” ― Carl Sagan

Originally conceived by Sarah Hughes, Jeremy Pickard and Anne Zager

December 2012: early workshops in NYC
June 2, 2014: work-in-progress showing in NYC
September 20, 2014: work-in-progress showing on Governor’s Island, NYC (as part of a Lower Manhattan Cultural Council “Process Space” grant)
2015: first-draft production, NYC


The Handlebards: Macbeth/A Comedy of Errors wins 2014 Fringe Sustainable Practice Award

 The Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts and Creative Carbon Scotland, in partnership with the List, presented the Award at Fringe Central on August 22nd.


The Handlebards

The 2014 Award for Sustainable Practice at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe was awarded today to the Handlebards for their production of The Comedy of Errors performed at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. In a ceremony at Fringe Central on Friday, August 22nd at 4:00 pm, after presentations by Brendan Miles from The List and CSPA Director Ian Garrett, Anthony Alderson, Director of Pleasance Theatre, presented Elinor Gallant, Public Programmes Manager at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, with the 2014 Award for Sustainable Production at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe on behalf of The Handlebards.

The Handlebards were selected due to their exemplary touring efforts, sustainable set design, and high quality performance. The Handlebards are a four-man, cycle powered, touring Shakespeare company cycling over 2000 miles to perform in almost 50 venues across the United Kingdom this summer whose “set and props used in the productions are restricted only to items that could be found either on a bicycle or in a campsite, with the team’s bikes rigged up to power various mechanical contraptions onstage. The use of bicycles as transport for the escapade will also save 45.6 tonnes of CO2 emissions, as compared to the same adventure undertaken by car.”


Ching-man Lo and associate whose production “My Luxurious 50 sq Foot Life” was a finalist for the award.

The Fringe Sustainable Practice Award is an annual celebration of performance that is working for an environmentally sustainable world. Open to all Fringe Festival productions by application, the award assesses all aspects of a production’s sustainability, from design to content. This award ceremony recognizes the best in this year’s sustainable productions, alongside inspiring presentations from Creative Carbon Scotland, the Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts, and The List. The Sustainable Production Award is presented this year in partnership with The List, which is reviewing all shortlist shows and promoting the awards events.

The award is determined by the submission of a questionnaire about how the show was produced, and how environmental and sustainable themes were considered along the way. Assessors selected a short list of 21 productions, which appeared in the July 30th edition of The List. These 21 shows were reviewed based on their questionnaires and the assessment team voted for the production which most aligned with the priorities of the award. Four finalists – India Street, My Luxurious 50 sq. ft. Life, The Worm, and The Handlebards: A Comedy of Errors – were identified as outstanding entries before the winner was selected.

Even more than we want someone to score perfectly on the questionnaire we use to evaluate shows, we want theater artists to look at the questions and think about how it helps to guide their thinking about sustainability in the their art. There may be questions asked in ways they hadn’t thought, and we hope they ask these questions of their next project and the project after that.” adds CSPA Director Ian Garrett.


Gordon McCulloch and John Ennis of Gayfield Creative Spaces whose exhibition “India Street” was a finalist for the award

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

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

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

Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts:  

Creative Carbon Scotland:

CSPA Fringe Initiatives:

2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe Questionnaire:

The List’s Edinburgh Coverage:

The Worm at #edfringe

AwardThis show is part of the Fringe Sustainable Practice Award Shortlist – celebrating the greenest and most sustainable shows at the Fringe.

Underneath your feet in the muddy brown soil squirms the world’s best kept secret…a wonderful, magical creature called the Worm. Join Wilma and William, two nature lovers, on a journey underground as they discover a family of friendly, musical worms and their colourful miniature world. With laugh out loud songs, including one about worm poo, The Worm is a fun filled musical tale guaranteed to make everyone giggle, wiggle and love the squirmy wonders beneath our feet.

After the performance, the audience are invited to see some real worms in a specially designed wormery.

For more information on Eco Drama and to find more tour dates visit their website!

The World Mouse Plague at #edfringe

AwardThis show is part of the Fringe Sustainable Practice Award Shortlist – celebrating the greenest and most sustainable shows at the Fringe.

The show features a man who comes home from the shops to find he’s cohabiting with two friendly and peculiar-looking mice. Avoidance becomes intolerance as the two parties come up with increasingly ingenious methods to steer clear of each other. Hate propaganda, pest control instructions and current political policies are played out in a Tom and Jerry style battle over cream cake and biscuits. A wibbly wobbly world of silence, squelches, slaps and traps.

For more information or to purchase tickets click HERE.

Arrest that Poet!

arrest-that-poet-lst144186This show is part of the Fringe Sustainable Practice Award Shortlist – celebrating the greenest and most sustainable shows at the Fringe.

Danny Chiver’s spoken word show “Arrest that Poet!” has ended its run at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe – but not without making our shortlist.

Synopsis: Have you ever climbed up a power station, D-locked yourself to a construction company’s staircase or been sued for £5 million? Until recently, slam poet Danny Chivers certainly hadn’t. So how did a quiet boy from Bristol end up dodging security guards, battling criminal charges and trying not to thump Richard Madeley, all in the name of a safer planet? Storytelling meets poetry in this darkly funny true tale of rhyming and rebellion.

For more information about activist and artists Danny Chivers, and to find future dates for Danny’s shows visit

be-dom at #edfringe

This show is part of the Fringe Sustainable Practice Award Shortlist – celebrating the greenest and most sustainable shows at the Fringe.

be-dom_2014BEDOM_UKCheeky, clever, fun, charismatic, interactive… Be-Dom provides an infectious experience of epic proportions. Using nothing more than everything you can think of, the group will drag you into their crazy vaudevillian world. Back to Fringe after four years touring around the globe, Be-Dom now dares you to witness the premiere of their new show.


For more information on the show visit their website or to purchase tickets click HERE.



The Bee-Man of Orn at #edfringe

This show is part of the Fringe Sustainable Practice Award Shortlist – celebrating the greenest and most sustainable shows at the Fringe.

This award-winning yoAwardung company returns with an adaptation of Frank Stockton’s magical tale about a man in search of himself. Told in NYT’s trademark style of rambunctious storytelling and suitable for anyone over five, the Bee-Man’s journey takes him to the deepest ocean, the court of a cruel king and the cave of the Very Imp. Over 30 years this group has won over critics and audiences alike, garnering four and five star reviews in the national and festival press.

For more information on the show or to purchase tickets click HERE.


Mates at #edfringe

photo-mainThis show is part of the Fringe Sustainable Practice Award Shortlist – celebrating the greenest and most sustainable shows at the Fringe.

With the human race threatened by a polluted environment, an environment that after prolonged exposure causes infertility, the government has created an incubator in which men and women are sent until they reproduce. While a database judges compatibility to match a man and woman with one another, a process similar to that of modern dating websites, even those unable to conceive have a place within this artificial reality, tracking the progress of assigned couples. Mates follows Sian as she oversees two couples, acting as their dysfunctional guardian angel and trying to counteract the government’s intentions for them.

For more information or to purchase tickets click HERE. 


SOS – Save Our Spaces at #edfringe

This show is part of the Fringe Sustainable Practice Award Shortlist – celebrating the greenest and most sustainable shows at the Fringe.

sos-save-our-spaces_2014SOSSAVF_JGSOS is a new musical comedy about a local community trying to save their town. Based on true events, it tells the mad story of one local area housing committee. Six eccentric characters gather to save their village green from the town planners. Is their community lost? Will politics or the common people win the day? An exciting 45 minute piece of new writing featuring live music, gags, mayhem and all kinds of fun and antics.

For more information or to purchase tickets click HERE.