Reflecting on: Climate Beacons Showcases

7th-8th March 2022: These two events brought together people from the organisations involved in running the seven Climate Beacons situated around Scotland to talk about their experiences, share advice and hear thoughts from attendees. The first event focused on the process of collaboration while the second looked at what makes for effective public engagement. This page provides documentation from the two events and reflects on what we learned from them. 

Showcase 1: Collaboration and how to work together

This first event focused on the collaborative nature of the Climate Beacons project. Each Beacon is made up of a partnership of multiple organisations coming from a mixture of cultural and climate backgrounds, ranging from two in Argyll to eighteen in Tayside. These innovative partnerships allow the organisations involve to learn from each other, reach new audiences, find new methods, and share resources. However, learning to work together can be a complex process and developing a full understanding organisations coming from very different institutional backgrounds is far from straightforward.

This first event started with an introduction from MSP Neil Gray, Scottish Government Minister for Culture, Europe and International Development, who provided an overview and his perspective on why culture needs to play a role in addressing climate change.

This was followed by a panel chaired by Pamela Tulloch, CEO of the Scottish Library and Information Council, and made up of:

  • Francesca Bertolotti-Bailey, CEO of Cove Park, and Sara Maclean, Operations Manager at Argyll and the Isles Coast and Countryside Trust, speaking from the Argyll Beacon.
  • Simon Hart, Director of Business & Development at Taigh Chearsabagh, and Kathleen Milne, Libraries Manager for Western Isles Libraries, speaking from the Outer Hebrides Beacon.
  • Anna Hodgart, Tayside Climate Beacon Producer, and Rebecca Wade, Lecturer at Abertay University, speaking from the Tayside Beacon.

A video recording, including subtitles is available below.

Discussion

The second half of the event provided opportunities for discussion. Some of the main points that emerged during this discussion are summarised below.

  • Do not underestimate the time it takes to start off a new collaboration. It can take a long time to develop a deep understanding between organisations and it is worth taking the time to do this properly.
  • Some benefits of collaboration emerge straight away while others take a long time emerge. Stay open to new ideas throughout the relationship.
  • Online methods provide a fantastic way of making it easier to keep in touch, especially when working in more remote locations where travel is more time-consuming. Nevertheless, there is no substitute for meeting in person!
  • Institutional support for new collaborations is vital. Some attendees suggested that the main barrier for them was the difficulty in finding funding for projects or partnerships that cross over between different fields. However some attendees were more optimistic and felt that interdisciplinary funding schemes are starting to become more common.
Showcase 2: Inclusive public engagement and climate justice

The second event looked at the public engagement work that the Climate Beacons had been doing and to discuss the methods that they had used to try to make their work as inclusive as possible. Public engagement provides an important means for people to participate in climate action in Scotland but we know that many people feel excluded from the climate movement or are not reached by public engagement work. Addressing climate change in a way that is truly just requires ensuring that everyone is able to have their voice heard and can participate equally. The Climate Beacons project thus had a focus on trying to involve more people that face barriers to inclusion. There have been many successes but nevertheless there is more work to be done and this event also provided a chance to discuss new directions and possibilities.

This event began with a panel chaired by Lewis Coenen-Rowe, culture/SHIFT Officer at Creative Carbon Scotland, and made up of:

  • Charlotte Mountford, Co-director of Lyth Arts Centre, and Malaika Cunningham, Artistic Director of The Bare Project, speaking from the Caithness & East Sutherland Climate Beacon
  • Duncan Zuill, teacher at Levenmouth Academy, speaking from the Fife Climate Beacon
  • Victoria Robb, Education Manager at the National Mining Museum Scotland, and Nicole Manley, Artist and Soil Hydrologist with the British Geological Survey, speaking from the Midlothian Climate Beacon.

A video recording, including subtitles is available below.

Discussion

The second half of the event provided opportunities for discussion. Some of the main points that emerged during this discussion are summarised below.

  • Some panellists had chosen to deliberately try to reach specific demographics that they felt needed to be more included in conversations about climate change, such as crofters and fisherpeople in Caithness, or ex-miners in Midlothian. Others wanted to avoid pigeonholing certain audiences and tried to work in a way that was open to whoever comes along.
  • It is important to find the right way of framing the issues so that people feel like they have a way in. Some people feel excluded from debates around climate change or feel that the climate movement is ‘not for them’. These barriers can be overcome by involving the right local groups or institutions or showing how climate change is interrelated with other issues.
  • Although Climate Beacons is focused primarily on the local context, it is important not to lose sight of the fact that climate change is a global issue and many of the greatest injustices associated with it are felt through inequalities between wealthier and poorer nations. For example, we can connect more with people working in other countries to see how we could support them or amplify their stories.
  • Providing a way in is key. A lot of people who care about climate change still feel disempowered or unable to make a difference. Offering clear positive actions to take, especially ones that are enjoyable or have other local benefits, can be highly effective.

About Climate Beacons for COP26

Climate Beacons for COP26 is a project from Creative Carbon Scotland, funded by the Scottish Government’s Climate Change and Culture Divisions, Creative Scotland, and Museums Galleries Scotland. The project is run by Creative Carbon Scotland and supported by partners Architecture & Design Scotland, Creative Scotland, Edinburgh Climate Change Institute, Museums Galleries Scotland, Scottish Library & Information Council and Sustainable Scotland Network. 

About Green Tease

grey oblique lines growing darker, then a green line with an arrow pointing right and overlaid text reading 'culture SHIFT'

The Green Tease events series and network is a project organised by Creative Carbon Scotland, bringing together people from arts and environmental backgrounds to discuss, share expertise, and collaborate. Green Tease forms part of our culture/SHIFT programme. 

The post Reflecting on: Climate Beacons Showcases appeared first on Creative Carbon Scotland.

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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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