Monthly Archives: November 2022

Opportunity: Smarter Choices, Smarter Places – Open Fund

The SCSP Open Fund is available to encourage people to change their everyday travel behaviours.

The Smarter Choices, Smarter Places (SCSP) Open Fund is a grant programme funded by Transport Scotland. The fund aims to encourage people to change their everyday travel behaviours; to drive less and to walk or cycle as part of their everyday short journeys or to use public transport for longer journeys.

A total of £13.5 million has been awarded to 542 projects across Scotland since the Open Fund first launched in 2018. Grants are available to encourage people to use public transport or other sustainable options such as buses and community car clubs for longer journeys; walking and cycling for short journeys, and home-working to replace daily commutes.

The Open Fund is available to support public, third and community sector organisations. The fund aims to help cut Scotland’s carbon emissions and improve our air quality. It will also help reverse the trend towards sedentary lifestyles and will tackle health inequalities.

Grants available are between £5,000 and £100,000 and need to be match funded.

For more information on how to apply for a Smarter Choices, Smarter Places Open Fund grant of between £5,000 and £100,000 please visit: https://www.pathsforall.org.uk/active-travel/smarter-choices-smarter-places-1/open-fund [opens in a new window]

To read inspiring examples of how our funding has been used to further active travel visit: https://www.pathsforall.org.uk/active-travel/at-success-stories [opens in a new window]

Learn more about our Ian Findlay Path Fund, which exists to improve path networks to increase walking, wheeling and cycling: https://www.pathsforall.org.uk/community-paths/cmp-grants/ian-findlay-path-fund [opens in a new window]

The post Opportunity: Smarter Choices, Smarter Places – Open Fund appeared first on Creative Carbon Scotland.

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Art and Climate Justice: Reimagining the Future

Art meets activism: latest Critical Conversation will explore how art catalyses global climate action  

Online panel event 

Tuesday 29 November 5pm GMT, online – Renowned artists and activists are coming together to discuss how art can move the needle on climate change. 

The event—the last installment in a special miniseries on climate change hosted by the Commonwealth Foundation—will explore art’s unique ability to address hard truths and reveal the human impact of global heating.  

Guest speakers from Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific will discuss a range of artistic mediums and their power to influence and inspire during times of crisis.  

The event will feature a series of innovative performances by artists. It will be moderated by Diane McCauley, Jamaican environmental activist and author of five novels.  

Guest speakers: 

  • Ini-Maria Shikongo is a Namibian environmental activist, designer, and artist. She is the founder of several grassroots climate change initiatives in Namibia 
  • Audrey Brown-Pereira is a poet of Cook Islands Māori and Samoan descent. Her innovative performance poetry has explored climate change and the small island experience 
  • Kendel Hippolyte is a Saint Lucian poet, playwright, and director who has worked and been published regionally and internationally. His present focus is to use his skills as a writer and dramatist to raise public awareness and contribute to solutions to critical social issues 
  • Okalani Mariner is a Samoan artist, poet, environmental activist, and social entrepreneur and the youngest elected National Human Rights Advisor for Children and Young People in Samoa. Okalani uses spoken word poetry to share Pacific Peoples’ stories and advocate for climate justice. 

More information about the event and listed speakers can be viewed on the event registration page below. Register on the page for exclusive updates and reminders or use the ‘add to calendar’ feature to save the Zoom webinar link to your calendar.    

This event is open to all. Register here:  

Interview: Michael Hedges on digital sustainability

Michael Hedges is a PhD student at the University of Leeds. His research looks at sound technology in US novels since 2000. Michael has been working with Creative Carbon Scotland for a few months on a research project around digital carbon emissions. The project’s aim is to raise awareness and promote best practice in low-carbon digital communication and web design.

We interviewed him to find out what he’s discovered through his interactions with the organisations we work with and to learn more about digital sustainability.

What were your key findings from arts organisations around their digital emissions?

As my starting point I used the carbon management planning (CMP) survey data to get a sense of which organisations Creative Carbon Scotland (CCS) works with had flagged some kind of digital carbon emissions as changes they wanted to implement, and I was quite pleased to see that quite a few of the organisations had already flagged things to do with that.

Just as an example, lots of people were interested in the differences between going to paperless environments and reflecting on whether that’s actually more harmful depending on whether that meant you were more reliant on cloud-based storage and therefore meant you produced more resources as a consequence of moving digital. Organisations had also flagged online conferencing best practice as something to reflect on, in terms of how to conduct meetings in a way that minimises the carbon impact. I was impressed by the awareness and openness of an issue that I didn’t quite expect because it still is in early stages of people becoming aware of it as a problem.

The other thing to note is that there is a sense in all organisations that as a consequence of needing to stay relevant need to continue to broaden or improve technological engagement. So even if there is a willingness to make changes along these lines that sometimes is in opposition with the practical realities of running a cultural organisation that requires finding new participants or new people to reach out too. For example, arts organisations that produce high resolution video content. There needs to be an awareness of the practical realities of emissions that they’re implicated in if they are using lots of high-resolution videos but also the understanding that that’s the creative medium in which they operate. So, it’s about trying to find a middle ground whereby they can continue to do that work in a way that is maximumly efficient but minimally impactful.

What barriers did you find existed for arts organisations to engage with low carbon ict?

In terms of barriers the main three are time, resources, and know-how because lots of the steps that I think may become more and more of a necessity may require people to remove themselves from the structures that we already operate within.

The almost universal dependence on cloud-based storage that most organisations, educational facilities or small businesses now rely on make it inconvenient to take the conscious step to try and remove yourself from those kinds of structures. The reality is it will probably affect the efficiency or the reliability of your day to day running as organisations. Organisations need to be confident that what they are doing is being done for the right reasons or that they have the resources available to them to make that something that they can do without adversely affecting the running of the organisation. So that’s an immediate barrier right there, and because lots of these discussions are still in quite early stages, and because of the clandestine nature of measuring ICT carbon emissions, there is a reluctance that some people aren’t yet convinced that it’s enough of a change to make. To that, I would say just know that the current data suggests that 3% of all carbon emissions are implicated in ICT, but that’s expected to rise to 15% by 2040. 3% is already large for a sector that people don’t even associate with carbon. When you factor in that the trajectory we are on suggests such a large leap in not too many years, it’s evidence that even if people aren’t convinced about the argument now, they will be in the future.

Another barrier is denial. We’ve been conditioned to believe that the digital or technology is something that is our ally in the fight against climate change. That’s largely down to the quite convincing rhetoric of lots of these organisations, such as how they describe their products and services like clouds and streams. This is the watery language of big tech, that belies the fossil fuel dependent realities of some of the solar farms and infrastructures that these things are held up by. It’s such a shock because we aren’t made to face the realities of these things because of how removed from them we are. For lots of people who aren’t especially tech literate, the internet might as well be magic, it just sort of happens. We haven’t really been encouraged to interrogate how content arrives at our screens. It’s just become such a part of our day-to-day life, it’s almost like breathing, it’s such a given. It feels like such a difficult step to extricate yourself from existing structures. There’s a sense that lots of these things are happening at a level beyond the individual organisation or beyond the individual practitioner, and so much of the changes that would make a huge difference are structural and systematic.

In some sense, quite understandably, organisations think that they are just one organisation operating within these huge structures, why should they be the ones who has to change? They feel like their change isn’t going to make a difference, which is the classic kind of response people have towards their own individual consumption be it meat, dairy or air travel. This is an is ultimately flawed response to these things because if there is enough of a groundswell that people do start to do things differently, that’s when change really does make a difference.

What do arts organisations understand as digital emissions, as you’ve explained there might be some confusion around what it even is, they might have a warped idea of digital consumption?

No more than anyone else though! My interactions with organisations have been entirely consistent with everyone else I spoke to, by which I mean a niggling sense that this is an issue but I’m not really knowing where or how to be directed towards the data or the facts or the steps to make a difference.

There was about a dozen or so of the organisations from that survey data that specifically flagged issues that I read as being related to tech and digital, but that’s quite a small number considering the number of organisations that CCS work within total. It’s also a quite correct assumption that as things currently stand, these emissions associated with digital are smaller than say, travel or building infrastructure. I’m not surprised that other organisations where most of what they do is based in in a physical space or involves moving people from one place to another as a as a part of putting on the events that they do, that digital emissions would be less of a priority.

However, there are organisations that work almost exclusively in digital and that’s the bulk of what they do. I think that because these organisations are involved with Creative Carbon Scotland, any of the digital promotional materials or marketing resources that they produce is a good opportunity to direct the traffic or the audience’s that arrive at their website to these kinds of discussions, to prompt them to reflect on their own digital consumption or their own awareness or lack thereof of digital consumption. That’s something that became really clear to me in terms of what’s the organisations I worked with understand, they have a powerful role to play in flagging, perhaps for the first time, these kinds of debates. Generally, there is a great willingness to be that kind of mediator between the people who they work with, and then getting access to some kind of awakening of consciousness around digital and the carbon emission.

What changes do you suggest for organisations, for their website but also beyond the website?

The main thing to stress here is that any of the changes made, should never really be viewed as punitive or judgmental or enact guilt amongst the people who are making the websites, it’s more about creating opportunities that might arise from rejecting the aesthetics of contemporary web design as they currently stand.

For example, how many times do you arrive on a website landing page these days and a high-res video plays immediately on the landing page without you even clicking anything? It’s about being more conscious in these designs, and in some sense a return to deliberately and consciously low res or low-tech aesthetic, as a point of principle, as well as something that will dramatically reduce the emissions associated with each website.

This idea of using vivid images, so making the size of an image file considerably smaller by introducing visual noise so that the image is still. It’s still visible, but it’s taking up a lot less space on the website. Another idea is making a website where images or videos don’t load automatically, but only the only load if you scroll over them some sense that you can navigate the website without these things appearing. So, if you are literally just logging on to a website that you know well, each time you load that you’re not confronted with the same sort of 1080p promotion videos that you’ve seen 100 times.

Some aspects of websites are less about changing them. For example, making them available offline. Once you’ve accessed them, you can subsequently access them again, without having to rely on that connection. That’s only appropriate for aspects of websites where the information is very constant.

Another huge consideration, which may or may not apply to the organisations associated with CCS is third party tracking advertising and cookies. To what extent are those things necessary? Because again, that this creates another channel to be maintained. Of course, sometimes these things are a commercial reality for the running of organisations or businesses, but there should be an interrogation of the necessity of that data traffic and energy use.

Image dithering can make images 10 times less resource intensive, so you can still use an image in a way that’s useful and appealing, but its 10 times the size, and if you started thinking about the number of images on each website, that can really start to mount up.

Those are some good and manageable practical considerations; do you have anything further to say about embracing opportunities to do things differently?

I think embrace the opportunities, see the opportunities to do things differently as an exciting and playful and as a means to set yourself in opposition to the general consensus of what constitutes good web aesthetics, and wear that as a badge of honour, like ‘you may think our site looks less glossy, and, and less professional, but what we’re saying is we need to rethink what constitutes a professional looking website’. It doesn’t need to be as data intensive, or as glossy to communicate information efficiently and desirably. There’s something quite nice about the idea of challenging that whole mindset of what constitutes professional websites in accordance with sound climate science. I would also say be realistic, it’s going to be a very gradual change and an immediate overhaul doesn’t really make sense. We’re inexorably tied up with things like Google Drive, or OneDrive.

What kind of capacity do you think it takes; do you think this something green champions could do?

I think it’s something that green champions should be aware of for sure. One really nice way to do things is to just make one or two of these changes on the website and see how people respond. I quite like the idea of some aspects of the website being jarringly different to the other ones, and just gauge people’s response to it. If you have a quite aesthetically jarring and different part of your website, it can be used to direct people who arrive at the website to some of the questions and information that I’ve been raising and that might feedback into them reflecting on their own consumption habits.

Do you have any examples of a less-carbon intensive website?

Low Carbon Methods is a really good website. Its run by a fantastic researcher in Canada, who is very much interested in prompting us to reflect on in the same way that we might look at the weather to determine when we booked a tennis court to play tennis, is there some sense that we can look at some kind of carbon intensity forecasts for controlling our internet habits. So, if it was going to be a moment of particular high intensity, you can choose to read an article instead of watching a high-resolution video on Netflix. Again, this is going to be a huge shift in mindset for people because we’re used to everything now, but there’s a lot to be said for just completely reconfiguring our assumptions around what we can access and when. I think people will be quite supportive of that. In the same in the same way that we’ve been encouraged to take fewer car journeys or fly less frequently, if people think they’re making meaningful efforts towards changing their carbon impacts, they will think more carefully about when they use which internet resources.

But interestingly again the thing that I’ve come across quite consistently is that people seem almost more indignant about being made to change their digital habits than their food or travel habits, because this one felt like a safe space this, the feeling of at least we’ve still got our internet to kind of keep first issue. My friends have been much happier to switch to oat milk, rather than dairy, as opposed to cancel Netflix or Spotify subscriptions – it’s more of an affront to the way we live.

Laura Marks is another researcher dealing with the impact of streaming media, and it’s full of interesting statistics about the impact. For example, the 1.7 bullion streams of Gangnam Style, that’s more than the electrical consumption for the entire population of Burundi, which is quite high for a throwaway viral video. The response people often come back to me with is surely that’s better than DVD’s or CD’s because they have a physical materiality. The studies that have been done on DVD’s were produced in 2014 based on 2011 data, on an assumption that people consume five movies per month, which is laughable because now it’s more like 5 hours a day of some kind of streaming consumption via YouTube or Netflix in the evening. So, the existing data used to undermine the idea of some kind of move back to physical media is now outdated, and also fails to address that it’s not so much the means of distributions of dissemination it’s just the understanding that our consumption will have to drop. It’s about coming to terms with the fact we might not be able to consume as freely as we used to.

Do you have any thoughts about how this issue around digital carbon and consumption intersects with issues around artist ownership?

Ownership is a fascinating thing because that’s what’s been undermined, right? We own very little of the media we consume, we pay rent to our content landlords, and they can evict us from that as whenever they want, essentially. Then you’ll be left with nothing having paid rent for that period which is quite scary. I have a lot of friends who are composers and musicians, and they say, ‘I’m a professional musician and I own no music’. It’s quite a surreal change around how things were even 10 years ago.

The other pivot point in the conversation is how much the producers of these media objects have been paid. Spotify is laughably negligible per stream, .0003 of a penny per each stream, and not only that, but it’s the fact that because we don’t own it, and therefore store it locally, either on a hard drive or a device. Each time that track is accessed, unless there’s quite stringent local cache infrastructure in place, it’s going to maybe going from a server farm in California to Kuwait to goodness knows where before it arrives on your phone. Whereas if you buy something for money that is equitable and fair for the musicians who produced it, that’s yours to access locally, for as long as you as you’re able to or want to. There’s an interconnected nature of artists and the ownership rights of who controls the content they create and then the carbon emissions implications.

Do you have any guidance around online meetings, and the way that has changed for organisations?

I interviewed Laura Marks last summer and did a review of a plenary speech she gave about streaming and online teaching, turning of webcams during meetings is an effective way of reducing digital emissions. If one were to have 15 one-hour meetings a week the monthly carbon footprint would be approx. 9.4kg of CO2 equivalence, turning off the video would reduce that to 377g of co2 equivalent so that’s a colossal drop really. It’s video that is maximally energy intensive. Even lowering the resolution of the video is good. We have an almost addiction to 1080p; that frustration we feel when the YouTube video isn’t available in 1080p, that’s an interesting thing but that’s something we could reconceive of as a luxury. Again, it’s not about never doing these things, it’s just about questioning what we do and reconsidering. Why do we associate 1080p with professionalism? Can we reframe that to say we’re actually doing the more professional thing by turning the camera off or lowering the resolution because the importance we think it has on doing the right things for the environment? There’s a good resource called online OS that visualises touch as an alternative to being able to see each other on visual calls. So, on a touchpad, you and the person you’re talking to can touch it, so in some sense replacing that evidence of presence that we want from a video call, and it gestures towards that meaningful connection that we want.

Thanks so much. Is there anything else you want to add?

I will be developing a guide and resource around best practice for organisations – and this will be shared in the not-too-distant future.


Cover photo by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash

The post Interview: Michael Hedges on digital sustainability appeared first on Creative Carbon Scotland.

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Timothy Morton: Haunting Weirdness | Art Gallery of York University

We are pleased to bring prominent philosopher Dr. Timothy Morton to our audiences. Morton is one of the key proponents of Object-Oriented Ontology (OOO) and an influential thinker on contemporary art and its engagement with ecological issues. Their recent book, All Art is Ecological,postulates that a “haunting weirdness” is necessary for an artwork to be ecological. Backing this insight is their thinking in Dark Ecology, which traces the recursive logic born out of the development of agriculture, leading us to our current environmental tipping point. It is thinking such as this, leading to a radical understanding of the roots of our collective crisis, that may allow us to understand a path away from the precipice.

Dr. Morton’s lecture is part of a parallel program related to our current solo exhibition Rights of Passage by Lou Sheppard. Sheppard’s sonic and video installation embodies Morton’s “haunting” as sound and image reverberates, drags, animates, and characterizes the current ecology of navigable waters in Toronto. We have invited Morton to speak on their research in order to build a critical frame around Sheppard’s work, identifying a radicality that eliminates a construction of nature as other and instead understands an ecology with the rights and needs of culture.

Join us as we, together with Morton, try to envision how the queering of our interdependence with our surroundings can be a form of ecology within and without nature.

Dr. Timothy Morton is Rita Shea Guffey Chair in English at Rice University and Director of the Cool America Foundation. They have collaborated with Laurie Anderson, Björk, Jennifer Walshe, Hrafnhildur Arnadottir, Sabrina Scott, Adam McKay, Jeff Bridges, Olafur Eliasson, Pharrell Williams, and Justin Guariglia. Morton co-wrote and appears in Living in the Future’s Past, a 2018 film about global warming with Jeff Bridges and is author of the libretto for the opera Time Time Time by Jennifer Walshe. Morton has written All Art Is Ecological (Penguin, 2021), Spacecraft (Bloomsbury, 2021), Hyposubjects: On Becoming Human (Open Humanities, 2021), Being Ecological (Penguin, 2018), Humankind: Solidarity with Nonhuman People (Verso, 2017), Dark Ecology: For a Logic of Future Coexistence (Columbia, 2016), Nothing: Three Inquiries in Buddhism (Chicago, 2015), Hyperobjects: Philosophy and Ecology after the End of the World (Minnesota, 2013), Realist Magic: Objects, Ontology, Causality (Open Humanities, 2013), The Ecological Thought (Harvard, 2010), Ecology without Nature (Harvard, 2007), 8 other books and 270 essays on philosophy, ecology, literature, music, art, architecture, design, and food. Morton’s work has been translated into 14 languages. In 2014 they gave the Wellek Lectures in Theory.

To register: https://agyu.as.me/

Kate Mcnamara: Staying with the Trouble

Thursday, November 17, 4:00 p.m.
Lawrence Hall, Room 115, 1190 Franklin Boulevard, Eugene, Oregon 97403
The lecture will also live stream on YouTube.

This lecture will address contemporary strategies for survival, allyship, empathy, and love through the ideas and artists of two recent exhibitions, “Staying with the Trouble” and “OddKin”. In 2016, the eco-feminist Donna Haraway insisted that humans ‘stay with the trouble’ of learning to live well with nonhumans as kin, through practice-based approaches to learning to care for nonhuman others. Echoing the critical ethos found within indigenous knowledge, philosophical practices, and modern science, Haraway advises collaborative approaches to learning to live (and die) together on a damaged Earth. The term “oddkin” rewrites boundaries and stakes the claim that the shape of kinship isn’t a birthright, but a choice. These critical ideas are emphasized in the work of artists like Paula Wilson whose large-scale prints bridge the natural and human worlds culling flora and fauna from her home town of Carrizozo, NM; in MPA’s staging and critique of Mars’ colonization; Cauleen Smith’s “BLK FMNNST Loaner Library, 1989–2019” – painted book covers by Black and queer radical literary theorists; and in Carmen Winant collaborations with Ovulars, a series of workshops held in various feminist and lesbian separatist communes in the early 80s.

Kate McNamara is a curator and educator based in Providence, RI. She currently holds the position of Executive and Creative Director of My HomeCourt, a nonprofit arts organization working with contemporary artists to revitalize city parks. McNamara is also a Curator at Providence College Galleries; administrator at Interlace Grant Fund; and is a Visiting Critic at Rhode Island School of Design and Sotheby’s Institute of Art. McNamara is invested in contemporary art and innovative curatorial practices and recently launched KMM Projects, an alternative art program in Providence. 

This lecture is made possible by the Gordon W. Gilkey Endowed Fund.

Roundtable reflection: Creatives in an era of climate emergency 

On the 13 October local artists and climate change campaigners gathered at CodeBase to discuss how creatives can engage with the climate emergency. To get us started, three leading experts inspired us with their practice and perspectives on which role creative industries should be aiming for.    

We first heard from Lucy Power from Rowanbank Environmental Arts & Education who emphasised the importance of empowering children to tackle the climate crisis: “You can’t compartmentalise climate education from other fields in school”, Lucy Power said and advocated for a more holistic approach to tackling the climate emergency: “climate books should not have a separate corner in the bookshop”.  

Speakers from left: Jessica Gaitán Johannesson, Iryna Zamuruieva and Lucy Power

Rowanbank Environmental Arts & Education run forest schools where they help children connect with the magic of nature. Through her work, she found that the joy of nature is crucial in motivating people to take action: to embed the feeling of what we are fighting for. For COP26, they created a one-minute soundscape of the children’s positive imaginings in the face of climate change. Listen to it here.  

We next heard from Iryna Zamuruieva from Sniffer, who worked on the project CreaTures. (Creative Practices for Transformational Futures). A project that invites humans to have a closer encounter with our environment.  It is a transdisciplinary project that identifies how the arts can address climate change through its often hidden but transformational practices. Read more about CreaTures here.  

Finally, the writer, activist, and migrant Jessica Gaitán Johannesson did a reading from The Nerves and Their Endings, a collection of essays exploring how we can live in a time of the climate emergency and how we might work towards a better future built on community. Jessica emphasised how none of us can step out of a system we did not create, but that writing helps us think and can be a springboard to take action. Read more about Jessica here.  

Speakers from left: Jessica Gaitán Johannesson, Iryna Zamuruieva and Lucy Power

10 key lessons from the workshops 

Informed by these inspirational creative practitioners, we moved into three workshops on engaging with climate, collaboration and individual practice in the climate emergency. Across the groups, there were 10 key takeaways:  

  1. The importance of restorative creative approaches by working with young people on climate anxiety at school venues
  2. Focus your efforts where they make the most difference
  3. Help with climate campaigning, such as training in storytelling for climate justice activists
  4. Make low barriers to participation
  5. Engage with new audiences who wouldn’t engage otherwise
  6. Tell stories that make people feel empowered through community action
  7. Build networks and collaborate to increase impacts and to reduce time and resources on administration
  8. Think about the value for the collaborators when reaching out
  9. Focus on local impacts on communities
  10. It is important to measure the output and value of projects through evaluation

(Top image: Iryna Zamuruieva from Sniffer speaking about the CreaTures project)

The post Roundtable reflection: Creatives in an era of climate emergency  appeared first on Creative Carbon Scotland.

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Climate Beacons evaluation report launched

Today marks the release of the Climate Beacons evaluation report, which documents the successes of the Climate Beacons project and shares learning and recommendations. Read on for a link to the report and our press release.

Climate Beacons Evaluation Report. Click to read.
Summary for policymakers. Click to read.

PRESS RELEASE: Climate Beacons celebrates success of first year  

An innovative national climate change initiative bringing together cultural and environmental organisations is celebrating its first year of success with the release of a report demonstrating its achievements.   

The Climate Beacons initiative was launched in June 2021 by the arts and sustainability charity Creative Carbon Scotland to mobilise Scotland’s people in response to the COP26 United Nations climate talks that took place in Glasgow in November 2021 and for the future. The Beacons are collaborations between local cultural organisations, environmental agencies, research institutions, and community groups based in seven regions across Scotland that create events and activities that respond to the most pressing environmental issues in their locations. These include Scotland’s temperate rainforests, industrial heritage, water, adaptation to climate change, land use, biodiversity, and green jobs. The initiative is also funded by the Scottish Government, Creative Scotland and Museums Galleries Scotland.  

Culture Minister Neil Gray said: ‘Almost a year on from COP26 in Glasgow, Climate Beacons are continuing to produce a rich, creative mix of events and activities for people and communities across Scotland to raise awareness of climate change. These projects reflect the Scottish Government’s ambition to put our heritage and culture at the heart of place-based solutions and climate justice to advance regional equity and diversity.’  

The seven Climate Beacons are in Argyll, Caithness & East Sutherland, Fife, Inverclyde, Midlothian, The Outer Hebrides and Tayside.  

The report by PhD researcher Emma Hall supported the value of the Beacons’ culture- and community-centred approach. Over 160 events took place, involving more than 50 organisations and over 18,000 attendees. The report concludes that activities attracted diverse audiences and successfully engaged new people in the climate conversation, while localised creative approaches brought abstract climate concepts to life and audiences expressed a strong appetite for further work.     

Ben Twist, director of Creative Carbon Scotland, said ‘The point of the Climate Beacons and indeed our mission is to demonstrate that the arts and culture are an essential ally for addressing climate change, so we’re thrilled that Hall’s evaluation confirms the initiative’s success. And that success is due to the hard work and determination of all the people who worked on the Beacons in the initiative’s first year, making a huge difference despite the global pandemic. ‘  

Read the Climate Beacons evaluation report here.

Read the summary for policymakers here.

ENDS   

Contact   

Lewis Coenen-Rowe, Climate Beacons project organiser, lewis.coenen-rowe@creativecarbonscotland.com

Lynn Aylward, public relations manager, Lynn.Aylward@creativecarbonscotland.com, 07376736624  

Notes to editors  

Photos, graphics and the individual press releases from the seven Climate Beacons are available in this Google Drive folder https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1-n0NI0yAajat2HFJYaIdZ0ihp5n0fNdZ?usp=sharing 

The Climate Beacons initiative was founded by Creative Carbon Scotland, an arts and sustainability charity, and is funded by the Scottish Government, Creative Scotland and Museums Galleries Scotland. Creative Carbon Scotland is overseeing the project, connecting the seven Beacons and offering support throughout, alongside six co-ordinating partners Architecture & Design Scotland, Creative Scotland, Edinburgh Climate Change Institute, Museums Galleries Scotland, Scottish Library and Information Council, and Sustainable Scotland Network. 

To learn more about the Climate Beacons, keep up to date on the latest projects and events, and get involved, visit www.climatebeacons.com

The seven Climate Beacons are:

  • Argyll: This partnership between Cove Park and Argyll and the Isles Coast and Countryside Trust (ACT) focused on Scotland’s rainforest. Most of this unique, temperate habitat sits within Argyll and the Beacon aimed to raise awareness of this woodland through environmental and cultural activity, and to encourage local and wider communities to enjoy and participate in the region’s rich natural heritage.  
  •  Caithness and East Sutherland: A collaboration between Lyth Arts Centre, the University of the Highlands and Islands Environmental Research Institute, and Timespan for the first phase of the project, the Caithness and East Sutherland Beacon focussed on climate colonialism, land justice and redistribution under the heading ‘The land for those that work it’.  
  • Fife: The Leven Programme, ONFife and Levenmouth Academy came together with the goal to channel the arts and build on local climate action to engage Levenmouth residents, encourage climate conversations, build stronger communities, and share the work of the Beacon partnership and local community groups to inspire further action.  
  •  Inverclyde: Formed of a partnership between Beacon Arts Centre, Belville Community Garden Trust, RIG Arts and Inverclyde Libraries, among others, the Inverclyde Beacon focussed on the roles of climate change mitigation and adaption as part of Scotland’s most economically deprived area’s recovery from Covid-19. 
  • Midlothian: A collaboration between the National Mining Museum Scotland (NMMS), British Geological Survey (BGS), and environmental artist and soil hydrologist, Nicole Manley, the Midlothian Beacon created a transformative journey following the carbon cycle, from Scotland’s past legacy of fossil fuels towards a future of decarbonisation. It aimed to connect through art and science and to engage with local audiences, particularly those marginalised from climate conversations. 
  • The Outer Hebrides (Làn Thìde): This partnership between An Lanntair arts centre,  Taigh Chearsabhagh museum and arts centre, Ceòlas, Community Energy Scotland, Western Isles Libraries, TSI Western Isles, NatureScot, Adaptation Scotland and the wider Outer Hebrides Community Planning Partnership Climate Change Working Group operated under the name Làn Thìde. The Outer Hebrides Climate Beacon focussed on how the islands can adapt to the worsening impacts of climate change while celebrating their unique natural and cultural heritage. 
  • Tayside: A partnership between Dundee Rep and Scottish Dance Theatre, the James Hutton Institute, V&A Dundee, Abertay University, Creative Dundee and many other partners in Dundee, Perthshire and Angus. The Tayside Beacon aimed to develop an empowered and connect changemakers to collaborate on public engagement activities and to elevate and champion local work on climate action across rural and urban areas. 

About Creative Carbon Scotland: Creative Carbon Scotland believes in the essential role of the arts, screen, cultural and creative industries in contributing to the transformational change to a more environmentally sustainable Scotland. We work directly with individuals, organisations and strategic bodies engaged across cultural and sustainability sectors to harness the role of culture in achieving this change. Through year-round work and one-off projects, we combine strategic expertise and consultancy; bespoke carbon management training and guidance; and a range of programmes supporting the development of artistic practices in Scotland which address sustainability and climate change. www.creativecarbonscotland.com. Stay in touch with us via TwitterFacebookInstagram and LinkedIn.


Read the Climate Beacons evaluation report here.

Read the summary for policymakers here.

You can access links to local press releases for the seven Climate Beacons by following this link.

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Tamas Dezsö: Hypothesis: Everything is Leaf

On view
September 22, 2022 – December 23, 2022
Tuesday–Friday: 2pm–7pm
Saturday–Sunday: 11am–7pm
Closed on Monday and on public holidays.
Capa Center
Curator: István Virágvölgyi

Vernissage: September 21, 2022, 6pm
Opening remarks by Márk Horváth, aesthete, philosopher

“It never occurs to people that the one who finishes something is never the one who started it, even if both have the same name, for the name is the only thing that remains constant.” – José Saramago

In his latest work Tamas Dezsö investigates the personal identity of all living creatures, including humans. What is the mysterious and inexplicable link that connects personalities of all living entities throughout life? We are in constant change physically: similarly to other living beings, almost all molecules of a human body turn into new ones continuously. We are also in constant transformation intellectually: our way of thinking changes throughout our whole life. So what, then, is identity? How can we identify ourselves as the very same person all along despite these changes? Looking at ourselves at the ages of ten and fifty there is more difference than similarity. A seed and a tree with widely spreading branches grown from the seed do not apparently hold anything in common, yet we are talking about the same living organism.

Studying the issues of identity, Tamas Dezsö finds the metaphor of human existence in plants, which are built up from the same material and similar structures as ourselves. Every living being – whether human or non-human – is constituted by the same material, which is almost the same age as the universe. In other words, everything that is living represents a transitionary stage of an immense metamorphosis. The elements making up our bodies have already been parts of other bodies at a different place and time, and they are in us only temporarily: we are mediatory media of alien materials. So a separate environment does not exist, there are only various existing, living creatures in infinite forms.

A forest is constantly changing and undergoing millions of transformations – the leaves change, trees that make up the forest only live up to a few hundred years. However, despite that, even over millions of years, we speak about the same forest, provided it remains in the same location. How can we speak about the same forest when all its molecules have been replaced many times over the centuries?

Works by Tamas Dezsö in the exhibition represent a heterogeneous assembly, a kind of Wunderkammer. Initially they are presented from a great distance and reach microscopic proximity: from a far off view of a forest taking shape from millions of leaves in graphic detail to the tiniest part of the surface of an enlarged leaf. The species of a plant can be identified even by its microscopic part, yet no two identical entities exist, even if they are of the same species.

The title of the exhibition quotes Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, who zealously researched the identity of plants and during his journeys he wrote in his diary: “Hypothesis: everything is leaf, and through this simplicity the greatest diversity becomes possible.” Tamas Dezsö’s work is a collection of thought experiments whereby during the interpretation of the issues of identity, the question is emphatically raised whether it is possible to retune the anthropocentric approach which has marginalised vegetal existence for thousands of years. Why does the many-million-year-old vegetal existence constantly surrounding us seem so unknown and alien to us? While the complete elimination of arbitrary, anthropocentric classification has become of vital importance, is it possible to understand the radical difference of plants when it still appears hopeless to accept difference between human beings?

In relation to the ecological crisis it has become imperative that we handle plants in accordance with their significance, and alongside the troubling feeling of the constantly deepening delay, make serious efforts in order to understand not only human identity, but also the issues of fragile vegetal existence – and not merely because our own existence depends and relies on it.

István Virágvölgyi
curator

Tamas Dezsö: Leaf (Deutzia Gracilis), 2019, archival pigment print
Tamas Dezsö: Sections, 2016-2022, archival pigment prints, photographs taken of vegetal segments on 19th-century British and French microscopic slides
Tamas Dezsö: Pinus Radiata (Monterey Pine), 2021, archival pigment print
Tamas Dezsö: Variations on the Self, 2018-2022, archival pigment prints, Carrara marble
Tamas Dezsö: Hedge, 2017, archival pigment prints

The series was previously presented at the UGM Studio in Maribor, Slovenia in autumn 2021 and in collaboration with Kunst Haus Wien at the FOTO WIEN Festival in Vienna, Austria in spring 2022.

(Top image: Tamas Dezsö: Garden (afterimage), 2017-2022, archival pigment prints)

Guest blog: The first International Climate Control Conference

Time to do something about climate control. Please help us by filling out this survey.

We are all aware that climate control is one of the most carbon intensive aspects of the art and cultural sector. And we are very aware that changes are needed – relaxing ranges to increase our energy efficiency and decrease our carbon footprint. And we know that the scientific evidence is there to support changing our climate control. So, the question is: why haven’t we made the switch? There are many answers – loan agreements, insurance policies, sometimes it’s as simple as a miscommunication or missing conversation.

Whatever the reason, we can no longer work in this way. We are now out of time. Between the climate crisis and energy crisis, we have to address this issue now. This is a collective problem and needs a collective solution. In an effort to facilitate action in this area, Ki Culture, in partnership with Gallery Climate Coalition, will be hosting the first International Climate Control Conference on 1 and 2 December 2022 to highlight best practices, and get climate control conditions in check. This free online event will outline the current state of climate control globally, outline the scientific data behind new protocols and kick off a pilot with 50 museums to implement energy efficient solutions.

Please complete our survey

In anticipation of this event, we’re asking you to take two minutes to fill out a survey on your current climate control protocols. The data collected will be presented at the conference (institutions names will be included ONLY if express permission is given at the end of this form). Emails are not collected unless you have opted for a follow-up interview.

Make sure to follow Ki Culture and GCC for more information about the conference and the Pilot. If you are interested in getting more information, please contact us at kifutures@kiculture.org.

Thank you for contributing to this important research. We look forward to seeing you at the conference!

Link to survey: https://bit.ly/3e6DjdC

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