29th April 2020: Over 80 participants gathered for an online discussion about arts and culture’s plans for COP26 and how to collectively reorganise and reorient these in light of COVID-19 and the postponement of COP. The event was co-organised with Stop Climate Chaos Scotland and ecoartscotland.
The event opened with introductions from Kat Jones of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland (SCCS) and writer and artist Wallace Heim who offered two contrasting prompts for the ensuing discussion.
Kat gave us the basics about the postponement of COP26 and predicted it would now take place between May and November 2021 in Glasgow, although no date has yet been confirmed. She then discussed SCCSâ€™s plans for COP26, which involve an emphasis on Glasgowâ€™s distinctive history as the â€˜Dear Green Placeâ€™ and a centre of the early industrial revolution, with Wattâ€™s steam engine for example. SCCS wants to welcome the international community to Glasgow through the cityâ€™s unique artistic traditions, music, dance, and ceilidh culture. She stressed the importance of work before and after COP as well as during the brief 2 weeks of the conference itself and working with local communities to create a lasting legacy. She encouraged people to make use of their new Climate Fringe website as a means of publicising work.
Wallace reflected on her own experiences to offer broader thoughts on the role of the arts in crises, the impact of social distancing, and what we can learn from the COVID-19 pandemic. Her complete introductory talk has been published on our website as a guest blog.
First Breakout Session
We separated into smaller groups to introduce ourselves to each other and share our experiences of how planning around COP26 has been negatively impacted by coronavirus and how we might learn from and adapt to the situation to continue making and doing. Some of the thoughts shared back to the main group were:
- Using this time for networking and skillsharing
- The importance of platforms and resources for finding out what others are doing and planning
- Digital media providing an opportunity to reach different people
- How working with limitations requires finding creative solutions, which is where the arts can excel
- That longer run-up time provides more opportunities to engage with local communities
Second Breakout Session
We returned to our groups to discuss more specific themes in greater detail. These groups and the main outcomes of their discussions were:
1. What makes for effective collaboration between arts and civil society organisations?
- It is important to find examples of successful collaborations in the past to learn from
- The main barriers were not knowing who to work with and how to find funding
- We need to actively work on reaching out and discovering what others are doing
2. Culture and arts as welcome: global civil society is coming to COP26, whatâ€™s our response?
- Connecting up the global and the local, how to draw connections between visitors and whatâ€™s happening here in Glasgow
- Arts and culture as a means of drawing delegates away from the main site and engaging people on a more human level
3. Bringing the voices of those most affected by climate emergency to COP
- Being aware of language barriers and the need for work to be multilingual
- Providing a platform for international and especially indigenous voices in Glasgow, as well as a platform for non-human voices
- Need to work outside of traditional structures to reach people
4. Arts and protest at COP
- Importance of protests having a specific goal in mind, raising awareness of specific issues such as climate justice for the global south
- Using online resources to keep in contact and share information, as well as partnering with others such as Glasgow Life to reach more people
- Interest in â€˜carnivalsâ€™ and â€˜celebrationsâ€™ as an alternative form of protest
5. The role of cultural organisations in increasing awareness that COP is coming to Glasgow and empowering people to get involved
- COP as punctuation mark in a longer continuity, how to create a legacy
- COP as a means of mainstreaming ideas and behaviours faster than would be possible otherwise
6. Adapting artistic engagement practices around COP26 in light of coronavirus
- Being aware of the limitations of digital approaches and inequalities that can result (e.g. slower internet connection in rural areas)
- Using the time to reflect: potential for arts to play a role in COVID-19 re-framing how people see climate change
- World soil conference coming to Glasgow in 2022, providing further opportunities for engagement
7. Using art to frame the COP
- Does art provide the space, and a spectacle in Glasgow? Or is it to open up and question the issues?
- How can arts and science work together?
- Fossil fuels and colonialism as issues that the arts can play a role in highlighting
Resources and next steps
All the notes taken during the discussion remain accessible online here.
People in the same breakout groups shared emails so that they could keep in touch. If you are interested in any of the breakout group themes and would like to get involved, please email email@example.com to be put in touch.
Useful resources for hearing about and organising work around COP26 include:
- The Climate Fringe website has been repurposed as a hub for online events. If you are planning activity online please post it to the site. Or email firstname.lastname@example.org with your event details.
- The Arts4COP26 facebook page provides an informal environment to share ideas and plans
- SCCS are starting a monthly newsletter on events and the climate fringe, hosting, and the Civil Society Hub at COP26
- The Green Tease network provides opportunities to meet others through online meetups and a database as well as an open call that offers support for events
- The COP26 civil society coalition Slack working groups, including a dedicated â€˜Cultureâ€™ channel, are being used for organising
The post Green Tease Reflections: #arts4cop26 online planning discussion 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 publicâ€™s emotions, values and ideas.
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