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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