The 50 Shades of Green Conference: Show and Tell Room

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

Over the course of the day, we heard from nine arts organisations: ranging in geography, activity and environmental action. There is so much green arts work already taking place in Scotland, but often there is no forum for its discussion: we wanted to host an informal space where speakers and attendees could talk about the simple (or difficult) steps they had taken, ask questions of each other, and spark inspiration and connections.

Summaries of the presentations of each of our speakers can be found below:

Rishaad Moudden, Ayr Gaiety: Capital Project Planning and Staff Engagement

Bravely volunteering as one of the first speakers of the conference, Rishaad talked us through current and future plans for Ayr Gaiety – a B-listed Theatre and Arts centre based in South Ayrshire that host over 200 touring productions every year. Ayr Gaiety is preparing for the final stages of the proposed capital project, and Rishaad told us about the challenges to date, as well as filling us in on his strategies for engaging staff members in more sustainable behaviour – including rollerblading to work!

Kirsty Sommerville, Cryptic: Environmental Sustainability in a Smaller Arts Office

Cryptic is a music, sonic art, and multimedia arts organisation that hosts a series of regular and one-off events and festivals with a national and international audience, run by a small team and based in the CCA in Glasgow. Kirsty spoke to us about the opportunities and challenges presented by this small scale, the sustainability limitations of operating as a tenant within a larger organisation (and how to adapt), and the development of an office environmental policy with a wide reaching impact.

Fiona Doring, Impact Arts: Wonky Carrots and the Urban Green Project

The Cranhill Urban Green project demonstrates an evolution in the sustainable design ideas that Impact Arts has been investigating for a number of years. Fiona told us about the social impact that the project has, in terms of green space empowerment, as well as the aesthetic, edible and practical elements of the project, which combines artistic considerations with our engagement with our surrounds.

Fraser White, Yooz: Social Sustainability and Creative Re-use

Based in Bellshill, Yooz is a reuse and recycling social enterprise which provides creative opportunities for those it works with, as well as providing a materials resource for the local and artistic community. Their show-and-tell item was a massive giant spider planter, created by a member of their team given the creative brief to ‘make something’. As an expert in maximising material capture and re-use, Fraser told us of the variety of items Yooz has received and redistributed: including pantomime sets and antique safes!

Gabrielle Macbeth, Glasgow Women’s Library: Working with Volunteers

Gabrielle discussed the multiple benefits of their PaperGirls scheme. Initiated as a means of increasing the distribution of their events programme, the GWL invite voluntary paper girls to take up paper rounds across the city, dropping off programmes at cafés, venues and community centres which might not be reached otherwise. As well as promoting greener, more active travel modes around Glasgow, the scheme also has a positive social impact, allowing for cyclists to buddy up and discover new parts of the city.

Charlotte Riley, Paragon Music: and Greening the Programme

Charlotte spoke about Paragon’s adoption of ClaimExpenses as well as programme elements of the company’s work which touch upon environmental themes. As an inclusive music company there are important accessibility priorities for the company when it comes to travel and Charlotte sees their role as an important influencing body for partners and participants. She’s embarked upon this first year of using ClaimExpenses as a data gathering exercise, taking on the majority of the work herself before rolling it out to the rest of the team with some aims and objectives for understanding and promoting sustainable travel. She also mentioned a production, ‘Torque’, which showed in 2013 which will be running again next year which looks at renewable energy and the transformation of raw energy into electricity.

Mike Adkins, An Lanntair: Building Improvements and LED Alterations

The group were particularly impressed after Mike revealed how he has not only met the stringent 20% energy reduction target set by management, but is also on track to exceed it through his investment in high-efficiency technology and experimentation with LED lighting for the An Lanntair theatre and arts building. Mike’s tales of testing the effectivity of LED stage and strip lights against staff perceptions and traditional replacement costs proffered a great example of the potential impact of green technology.

Tie MacBeth, Centre for Contemporary Art: Expanding Environmental Policies and Sustainable Creations

As an artistic organisation co-ordinating their own series of activities, a group of artistic tenants, and a café, the CCA’s decision to rewrite their environmental policy in 2014 required input from a large group of internal stakeholders. Tie also told us about their creative solutions to ongoing sustainability issues around their building, presenting the group with a very curious object, later revealed to be a vertical bike storage hook (and a result of an upcycled exhibition install item)!

Emma Beatt, Federation of Scottish Theatre: Procedures, Cocktails and the Recipe for Embedding Sustainability

As an organisation managing a large network and offering a series of trainings and opportunities for the theatre arts sector, FSTs management systems provide an exemplary model for maintaining procedures through staff changes and other irregularities. Emma used the metaphor of different cocktail recipes to explain the useful functions of FSTs procedural database, and we explored how embedding procedural sustainability can impact a wide-ranging organisation.


50 Shades of Green: Stories of Sustainability in the Arts Sector took place on 6 October 2015 at the Pearce Institute in Glasgow. It was Creative Carbon Scotland’s first conference for green arts organisations working to affect their environmental sustainability. A copy of the programme for the event can be found here.

To become part of the Scottish green arts community, and to hear more about events like 50 Shades of Green (as well as our other free training sessions and resources), sign up to the Green Arts Initiative.


The post The 50 Shades of Green Conference: Show and Tell Room 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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