Culture|Futures Invitation: Eco-Leadership by Cultural Institutions Venue: São Paulo Cultural Centre 30 May 2011

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Invitation: Eco-Leadership by Cultural Institutions
Venue: São Paulo Cultural Centre
30 May 2011

Download Sao Paulo Culture|Future Conference – Program

Workshops for cultural managers and practitioners
31 May 2011

Venues: Goethe Institute, British Council & Centro Cultural da Espanha em São Paulo

Organized by:

Culture|Futures and the City of São Paulo in cooperation with
C40 cities, EUNIC Brazil, Danish Cultural Institute, Spanish Culture Centre/AECID, British Council, Goethe Institute, Crie Futuros, Arup and other partners at the occasion of the World Summit of the Large Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40)

Culture|Futures Sao Paulo 2011 and partners logos

Conference Program

Eco-Leadership by Cultural Institutions - May 30th 2011, Cultural Centre of São Paulo

Aims and objectives

The overall aim is to foster cultural actions for the transition to an Ecological Age by 2050.

The objectives are:

  1. To inspire cultural institutions in São Paulo to consider new eco-social practices and leadership.
  2. To provide international mutual inspiration and exchange on the vision of an Ecological Age and how cultural institutions in their normal own practice can provide eco-leadership.
  3. To mark the initiation of a new global network for large cultural institutions on eco-leadership.


MC: Wellington

8:45 – 9:15 Arrivals and registration

9:15 – 9:30 General explanation about Culture|Futures, the conference & workshop programs and the whole process

  • •Olaf Gerlach-Hansen, Director of Culture|Futures.

9:30 – 10:00: Opening Address

  • EUNIC President Ana Paula Laborinho
  • Ministry of Culture Secretary Marta Porto
  • City of São Paulo Cultural Secretary CALIL

10:00 – 11:30: Global Key Notes on Connecting Culture and Ecology

  • Mark Watts, Arup (expected): International key note on Entering an Ecological Age.Mark Watts is managing the C40 team in Arup, advising cities around the world on sustainable urban development. His presentation is based on a research done on what the global transition to an ecological age, will require for cities around the world.
  • Lala Dehenzelin: South-South key note on the Creative Economy and sustainability.Lala Dehenzelin is UNDP Special Advisor on the Creative Economy South – South Programme, founder of Cries Futuros and has a background in arts and culture.

Questions & Answers

11:30 – 12:30: Lowering carbon and ecological footprint and benefitting from it

Moderator: Ricardo Voltolini (tbc)

  • Justine Simons, Head of Culture, Greater London Authority: The creative industries green programme in the context of the London Mayor’s Cultural Strategy. The experience of working with the creative sector to lower carbon footprint through goals, practical guides, tips etc. So far with sub-sectors of music, visual arts, film, theatre and now fashion and others coming.
  • Danilo Santos de Miranda, Director SESC São Paulo (tbc): The experience of SESC São Paulo on lowering carbon and ecological footprint in their centres

Question & Answers / dialogue with audience on greening cultural sector based on experiences of institutions in different disciplines.

LUNCH: 12:30 – 14.00

14:00 – 15:00: Re-thinking culture/nature and communication with audiences

Moderator: Paulina Chamorro (Eldorado) ou Denis Russo (Revista VEJA)(tbc)

  • •Janek Müller, fmr. theatre director, current curatorial team-member and dramatic adviser for the Über Lebenskunst festival. Über Lebenskunst is a project initiated by the German Federal Cultural Foundation in cooperation with the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin.
  • Ana Dip, Somos um Só Project

Q & A/dialogue with panel from Sao Paulo/international persons on connecting cultural content and communication with ecology

15:00 – 16:30: Culture – Ecology and Community

Moderator: Felipe Chaimovich, curator from MAM (tbc)

  • Philip Vencken, architect advising founder of Cradle to Cradle, Baumgartner.Introduction on applying cradle to cradle approach to city/community development. Dutch cities are now leading this worldwide
  • Hernani Dias, artist, founder of “re:farm the city”. Refarm the city (aka re:farm) is a collective project started and led by Hernani Dias with the purpose of developing open source software and hardware tools for urban farmers. Its now linking groups in Barcelona, Lisboa, Buenos Aires, New York and Beijing.
  • Questions & Answers/dialogue with panel from SP/int‘ on how culture can be part of community, city, regional or sector greening programs

16:30 – 17:30: Closing panel on the power of culture for green growth

  • Apresentacao dos workshops – MC
  • Olaf Gerlach-Hansen – Presenting Culture|Futures global eco-leadership network for cultural institutions and cities
  • Eduardo Jorge, Secretaria do Verde (tbc)
  • Ricardo Resende, Director of Cultural Center of São Paulo

17:30 – 19.00 Reception and social networking

Please note program is subject to change

Culture|Futures is an international collaboration of organizations and individuals who are concerned with shaping and delivering a proactive cultural agenda to support the necessary transition towards an Ecological Age by 2050.

The Cultural sector that we refer to is an interdisciplinary, inter-sectoral, inter-genre collaboration, which encompasses policy-making, intercultural dialogue/cultural relations, creative cities/cultural planning, creative industries and research and development. It is those decision-makers and practitioners who can reach people in a direct way, through diverse messages and mediums.

Affecting the thinking and behaviour of people and communities is about the dissemination of stories which will profoundly impact cultural values, beliefs and thereby actions. The stories can open people’s eyes to a way of thinking that has not been considered before, challenge a preconceived notion of the past, or a vision of the future that had not been envisioned as possible. As a sector which is viewed as imbued with creativity and cultural values, rather than purely financial motivations, the cultural sector’s stories maintain the trust of people and society.
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How a ‘spiral of engagement’ of Culture, Sustainability & Policy intends to create an Ecological Age by 2050

by Juhi Shareef, Martin Farrell, and Olaf Gerlach-Hansen

Published in the Winter edition of the CSPA Quarterly, which was focused on the 2009 United Nations Conference of the Parties in Copenhagen.  To view or order back issues, visit  To subscribe to the CSPA QUARTERLY, join us!

In 1982 UNESCO defined culture as

“… the whole complex of distinctive spiritual, material, intellectual and emotional features that characterize a society or social group. It includes not only arts and letters, but also modes of life, the fundamental rights of the human being, value systems, traditions and beliefs.”


Culture|Futures is an expanding, positive ‘spiral of engagement’: a collaboration of organizations and individuals who are concerned with shaping and delivering a proactive cultural agenda to support the necessary transition towards an  ‘Ecological Age’ by 2050. Culture|Futures is the brainchild of Olaf Gerlach-Hansen from the Danish Cultural Institute and Peter Head from the engineering firm Arup and was first presented at the UN Climate Change Summit (COP 14) in Poznan, Poland. The positive reception it received has since led to ongoing activities in London, Brussels and recently, a three-day Launch Symposium and Working Seminar in Copenhagen in the run up to COP 15.

This was organised in collaboration with many important international cultural organisations and actors in the cultural field, including the European Union National Institutes of Culture (EUNIC), the International Federation for Arts Councils and Cultural Agencies (IFACCA), the Asia Europe Foundation (ASEF), Arup, Cultura21, the European Cultural Foundation, the Association for Performing Art Presenters and the RSA. UNESCO and the European Commission also attended.

These events brought together well over a hundred artists, musicians, filmmakers, architects, designers, international cultural institutions and many more cultural actors and organisations from 27 countries and 5 continents. The participants discussed the cultural sector’s visions for an ecological age and the relationship between cities, culture and an Ecological Age. These discussions were facilitated by a draft Background Paper, comprising practical actions, sustainability  recommendations and case studies, that is currently being reviewed to include feedback from participants. A strategy is now being developed based on the event outcomes.

A key outcome of the Culture|Futures events was a letter to the then President of COP 15, Connie Hedegaard. The letter stated that “a large number of private sector, public and civil society, cultural organisations in the world have agreed to collaborate on a cultural agenda to achieve a sustainable future by 2050” and called for COP 15 to formulate “a cultural agenda”.

What is an ‘Ecological Age’?

 An Ecological Age is defined as having achieved an 80% reduction of carbon emissions in developed countries compared to 1990 levels (50% reduction at world level), the lowering of the global ecological footprint to 1,44 gha/person based on a projected population, and furthermore an improved Human Development Index.

This definition is a contribution from Peter Head, a Director at Arup – the design-engineering firm better known for the engineering of the Sydney Opera House and the ‘bubble cube’ aquatics centre at the Beijing Olympics that has also  developed detailed designs for the eco-cities of the future.

As part of the Brunel Lecture Series, Peter Head in 2008-9, discussed the definition in the lecture ‘‘Entering the Ecological Age: The Engineer’s Role””

 which has been peer-reviewed by numerous international organizations and NGOs. The    lecture content has been informed by an ongoing dialogue with business leaders and policy-makers who have shared   practical realities, local solutions and best sustainability practices from each location. One of the outcomes of the dialogue has been  a powerful message that an Ecological Age will not be achieved without widespread cultural and behavioural change.

The Role of Culture

The cultural sector has a unique part to play in creating an Ecological Age by 2050. It is trusted, collaborative, interactive and transformative – and it is everywhere in all communities, in rich and diverse shapes and forms.

The cultural sector is understood to be an interdisciplinary, inter-sectoral, inter-genre collaboration, which encompasses policymaking, intercultural dialogue/cultural relations, creative cities/cultural planning, creative industries and research & development.  Cultural actors are people, institutions and enterprises in art, design & architecture, film & media, cultural heritage, sport, education, leisure, communication and many more areas. 

Many cultural actors choose to express their perspectives about sustaining life on earth through their chosen media.  In diverse and creative ways they bring their perspectives alive and as they do so, the thinking and behaviours of people and communities are affected and gradually begin to change. As living sustainably gradually becomes accepted, an Ecological Age evolves.

However, we face a cultural challenge of enormous proportions. An ecological transition can fail if it is not supported by cultural development. Political, economic and technological solutions are crucial, but they are not enough. For example, without cultural development these solutions can be expected to face a backlash from voters that would undermine political will for new ecological policies, and even support the return of previous unhelpful policies. As stated by  UNESCO:

“Achieving sustainability will depend ultimately on changes in behavior and lifestyles, changes which will need to be motivated by a shift in values and rooted in the cultural and moral precepts upon which behavior is     predicated. Without change of this kind, even the most enlightened legislation, the cleanest technology, the most sophisticated research will not succeed in steering society towards the long-term goal of sustainability.”

Diversity is essential to the ecological cultural transformation. The UNESCO 2005 convention on “The Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions” provides a normative cultural policy instrument to constructively deal with the challenge of retaining diversity in the face of globalisation.

New cultural responses and paradigms are still under development and urgently required; the positive incentive of a better future life arguably outweighs the negative. Culture has a fundamental role to inspire as well as the inevitable requirement to make its own practices sustainable. 

Culture, climate and ecology are all cross-sectoral policy issuess. Addressing the cultural dimension of how to deliver an Ecological Age by 2050 is thus relevant not only to cultural sector policies, but to all policies at local, national and  international levels.

Underpinning Principles

Participants of the Copenhagen events and the wider Culture|Futures community have been asked to consider the principles which will inform the further development of Culture|Futures.  Based on the input to the discussions at the  Copenhagen Culture|Futures working seminar, the preliminary formulation of these principles is that Culture|Futures will:

Proceed with a sense of modesty in service to the noble idea of creating an Ecological Age.  Culture|Futures will therefore seek recognition for itself only in so far as it achieves this goal – it will not seek to create a self serving brand identity.

Seek to engage cultural actors across the globe. Culture|Futures is seeking to sustain human and all life by addressing global warming, the planet’s limited biocapacity and human development, which are all interdependent and global issues. 

Create an enabling environment for cultural action by (1) advocacy and bridgebuilding vis a vis governments and other large stakeholders for establishing policies, strategies and actions, which together will enable the ecological age; (2) offer a global platform for diverse culture actors from different sectors, who freely act from their own local, regional or international base, to inspire each other; and (3) encourage research on best practices fostering sustainable living, behavior and structural change.

Hold the vision and imperative of an Ecological Age in 2050 whilst being realistic about what can be done immediately and quickly to move towards it.  This means that planning horizons, particularly now, are short (eg now to summer 2010, and the following few years), but may extend as Culture|Futures unfolds.

Three Strategic Objectives

The strategic direction for for Culture|Futures over the coming years is now being considered, having first been outlined at a meeting of key partners in Brussels in October 2009. The current three, mutually interdependent, strategic objectives for Culture|Futures are:

i)   Advocacy and bridge building with key stakeholders, with a priority on cities

I.e. to create an enabling environment for cultural actions which together will create an ecological age by 2050 by collaborating with key stakeholders. One key focus is likely to be urban development: urban cultures will   increasingly be decisive for shaping the conditions for sustainable living. With cities moving from constituting 50% in 2010 to 75% of world population in 2050 and therefore carrying much of the ecological strain related to this change, they are a natural choice for an initial strategic focus for global cultural action.

ii)  Building a worldwide platform for cultural action for sustainable living

This will mean the establishment of a global cultural platform which will enhance the ability of key actors in the cultural sector to partner with other stakeholders to take cultural actions for sustainable living.

iii) Building a basis for research, learning and inspiration

I.e. to i) establish research on cultural actions for sustainable living ii) communicate research and learn to inspire and improve practices  iii) build an evidence basis for assessing which actions are most efficient in relation to achieving the goal of sustainable living and an Ecological Age by 2050.

Whilst 2050 is four decades away, it is essential to act now to strengthen dialogues, foster synergies, learn and share best practices, and do what culture does best: inspire.

For more information, including the programme of events at Copenhagen, the Background Paper, visit:

To join the Culture|Futures community and contribute to the conversation, visit: Also on Twitter, YouTube and Facebook.



Martin Farrell of get2thepoint:

Olaf Gerlach-Hansen of the Danish Cultural Institute and Culture, Development & International Cooperation (CuDIC):

3 More Days in Copenhagen (and London)

It is now the morning of the final day of COP15. Obama is in town. We are, of course, meeting for coffee.

No we aren’t, I’m technically closer to Obama right now than I ever am in the States, but I’m sure he’s busy anyway. That was the most common question I had before coming, “Are you going to be there when Obama is in town?”

Regardless of our Head of State, it’s been a very busy and exciting few days since the last marathon check-in. Hopefully you’ve been following as we highlight the arts happening around Copenhagen as they respond to COP15. I also hope you’ve been following the progress of the demonstrations around Copenhagen and the extreme tension that has built up between those inside the Bella Center and those forceful kept out.

As we left it in our last re-cap, Christiania had been raided and evacuated by Danish police. Miranda and I left the following morning for London and had to watch from afar for 24 hours. Miranda continued on home to Los Angeles, but I was in London to take care of some business.

My first goal was to get a copy of the the catalogue from the Central School of Speech and Drama’s Theatre Material/Material Theatre conference. This was the first time we had appeared anywhere using the name of the Center to talk about what we were working on. It’s a beautiful little volume with great material.


That evening was really what I had come for though, the launch event for Arcola’s new space in Dalston. The event was held in London’s Living room on the 9th floor of the London City Hall. Ben Todd appeared, introducing all of he partners in bringing together support behind the project. We’ve got the city of London, ARUP, Hackney, BOC  and so on. We celebrated with a couple of drinks and a fantastic view of the tower bridge.


The next day was truly the highlight though, I’m only a bit sad that it’s not the right time to got into great detail about what happened. What I can say is that myslef, Ben Todd, and both Peter McKinnon and Liz Asselstine from York University got together in the morning to discuss an ambitious international coalition for sustainability in the performing arts. We followed this meeting by crashing Ben’s next at his invitation. We met with Alison Tickell and Catherine Bottrill of Julie’s Bicycle to discuss both their efforts to green the music industry and how we can all work together. Before heading back to Copenhagen I met, for the first time in person, William Shaw of the RSA for coffee in their London offices.


I returned to Copenhagen to a city near lock down. Police are now milling about everwhere. As I’m sure you are likely to know, the demonstrations advancing on the Bella Center on wednesday turned ugly. I hesitate to say violent, but it’s hard not to since police were using force to literally beat back demonstrations. The metro station at the Bella Center is shut down, as are the next in either direction. NGOs have been shut out from the talks, credentials removed and there are a whole lot of angry people as the temperature and snow began to fall.


Moving about Thursday brought with it a sense of tension. We’re in the home stretch and at that time we hadn’t had many world leaders appear yet. There is so much work to be done for the climate talks, and so little time, and it’s very cold. Today was my first trip to the Klima Forum, the concurrent meeting for mainly NGOs. Here I was able to interview Aviva Rahmini about her workshop, which I was sad to miss while in London. We were also there for the candle light vigil that evening and a few performances at Øsknehallen.

Sara, my host here, and myself met back up and went to the RE:Think – Kakotopia exhibition at the Nikolia Copenhagen Center for Contemporary Art. It’s a good exhibit, one of three locations with a variety of interesting work. You may have seen more about it here before. The work ranges from the witty Safety Gear for Small Animals, to the generative Most Blue Skies, to the strangely fascinating  Link.

It was in watching Link that we found ourselves sitting next to police that seemed to be taking shifts in from the cold. They were checking their email on iphones and chatting. Wandering around the galleries and looking at the installations. It is very cold outside and we’re right next to the central shopping district and a few steps from the center of the government. But, it’s one thing to walk by police as they patrol, even in heightened numbers. It’s another thing to sit with them in full uniform in a gallery watching this short Finnish film.


We walked home, having dinner along the way. We passed a digital sign post recording the number of bicycles had past that day and since June 15th. There were fireworks, but we don’t know from where. It was hard to tell if it was a dud from the fireworks or something intentional, but we crossed the street at some point after a small explosion went off in front of us. With the about of anger in the air, my mind went to it being something nefarious, but I doubt there is much to that.


Today, Friday, the final day, I’m going to meet up with the guys at their office. I’m going to try and see the final day, and likely the largest and more active of the demonstrations. There is a Yes Men event this evening at the Tck Tck Tck Fresh Air center which I hope to get into.

2009 Green Day

GREEN Day: Greening in the Entertainment Industry

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Join LDI in going GREEN! A full day dedicated to what the industry is doing—and can do—to reduce its carbon footprint and be environmentally smart!  A special full-day conference organized in conjunction with Showman Fabricators, as LDI “goes green.”

Sessions open to all LDI full-conference badge holders, and four-pack or eight-pack tickets.

PLUS: The Green Technology Today Showcase on the LDI Show Floor: November 20-22

Welcome and Kick-Off
Bob Usdin of Showman Fabricators and the Broadway Green Alliance kick off Green Day with an overview of what’s happening in various aspects of the industry. Featured speakers include David Taylor, Arup;

GD01 Why Bother? A Session for Skeptics!!!!!

Is there a Crisis?  The facts are indisputable when you see this evidence. Why is Greening in the entertainment industry important?  Beyond just the immediate carbon footprint of an event, talk about the ultimate payoff: Getting your audience to be green in their lives.
Learn about the 4-D’s, and how to deal with skeptics.

GD02 Green Standards: Alphabet Soup

LEED, CRI, Greenguard, FSC, Greenlabel, VOC, MERV, 3 R’s, CFC’s, Carbon Offsets: A whole new language has evolved around greening. What does it all mean? More importantly, what standards are useful for the entertainment industry? We’ll look at how to weigh claims and benefits in materials, products, and practices.

View Green Products from the LDI Show Floor
What are manufacturers and suppliers offering that are green?  LDI exhibitors are invited to showcase their products that can contribute to making productions greener and more sustainable.

GD03 Breakout Brainstorming Session:

This roundtable discussion will seek out Best/Better Practices being used around the country, in a completely ‘hands-on’ traditional brainstorming session with post-its and white boards. At the end of the session all ideas will be compiled and posted on a website. Bring every idea to the table no matter how crazy.

To focus attention, there will be three separate groups:
* Lighting / Sound / Projections
* Scenery / Staging / Props / Costumes
Buildings / Facilities / General Operations

GD04 Closing Session: The Proof is in the Pudding:

A look at projects from the past year that incorporated some green projects (productions, events, buildings, theatre companies, etc.) followed by a general discussion of where the entertainment industry can and should go to be green.

Green Pavillion

What are manufacturers and suppliers offering that are green?  LDI exhibitors are invited to showcase their products that can contribute to making productions greener and more sustainable; in conjunction with The Green Technology Today Showcase on the exhibit floor, presented by LDI and Showman Fabricators. For information on how to participate in this session and The Green Technology Today Click here to download the Green Pavilion form

via 2009 Green Day .

Arcola Theatre Relocates and Renews

Reprinted from Building Design: “UK’s first carbon-neutral theatre planned for Hackney” by Elizabeth Hopkirk, September 9, 2009

The Arcola Theatre in Hackney aims to relocate to a 2,000sq m site next to Dalston Junction station and create a 350-seat theatre built of sustainable materials including straw bales and doors salvaged from skips.

Engineer Arup has given 18 months worth of pro bono work for the proposal while the London Development Agency has awarded a £60,000 for a feasibility study subject to Hackney Council approving the site.

The overall concept, which can be scaled up or down according to how much money is raised, includes an expanded main theatre with two smaller studios, an eco café, gym, learning centre and park.

A key element is an enterprise centre with offices and laboratories for entrepreneurs and technology and product design firms.

Arcola chief executive Ben Todd said the feasibility study could be completed by December, with work on the new theatre starting in 2010 and completing in 2012.

Todd, who trained as an engineer, said: “The theatre will literally be built from straw bales, rendered to pass fire regs and be weather-proof.

“Doors from old schools and hospitals that don’t match are a nice example of the reuse, recycle attitude and are important to the texture. If we end up using steel and if most of the project comes after 2012, it would be a nice idea to recycle some of the Olympic stadia.”

Hackney Council is due to discuss the plans next week.

Go to the Green Theater Initiative