Blog: Embedding Artists in Sustainability Contexts

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

Creative Carbon Scotland’s work placement Elly White shares what she’s been up to so far on her six-week placement, contributing to our culture/SHIFT project and our plans for a sharing event in early March run with North Edinburgh Arts.

My name is Elly White and since the end of January I have been undertaking a work placement at Creative Carbon Scotland.  I’m currently a fourth year student at the University of Edinburgh, studying History of Art and Photography for a degree in Fine Art.

The main focus of my placement is researching for the culture/SHIFT project, which explores how cultural and creative perspectives can contribute towards greater sustainability. I have spent my first few weeks researching a wide range of examples, such as Jenny Kendler at the Natural Resources Defence Council in the USA. She worked alongside their staff for a significant period of time (2013-2016) and was given access to resources, which embedded her fully within the organisation. Kendler created artistic projects that called for participation as the NRDC wished to engage more with the public to communicate environmental issues and her work helped create a greater dialogue.

My investigations have expanded to different sectors such as science and public health; how these too can function to serve as models in the culture/SHIFT context. The objective is to compile a variety of case studies to contribute to the creation of a Library of Practice. This will aid in the facilitation of new initiatives, highlighting the benefits of re-imaging culture and the possibilities of giving artists the scope to share their knowledge within organisations to address environmental issues.

Finally, I co-hosting an event at the end of my placement with other students on the course who are currently on placement at North Edinburgh Arts. This was be a great platform to reflect on my time at Creative Carbon Scotland and for the discussion to take place within the context of a cultural community organisation embedded in the area of North Edinburgh.

culture/SHIFT – Adapting to and mitigating the impacts of the climate we have created requires collaborative, interdisciplinary thinking as well as creative solutions. Our culture/SHIFT programme supports cultural and sustainability practitioners to explore new ways of working together to address complex problems and bring about transformational change. Find out more about the programm here. 

Please feel free to get in touch if you have examples that may be of relevance towards the development of the Library of Practice, contact me via email at After March please direct emails to culture/SHIFT Creative Carbon Scotland Producer, Gemma Lawrence, at

Image: Advertisement for Glenrothes Town Artist. Newspaper Image © ‘The Birmingham Post’, Monday 6 May 1968. Image reproduced with kind permission of The British Newspaper Archive (

The post Blog: Embedding Artists in Sustainability Contexts 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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