Creative Carbon Scotland is a partnership of arts organisations which puts culture at the heart of a sustainable Scotland.
We provide a range of services which help the cultural sector achieve this goal. These include:
Training in carbon measurement and reporting;
Initiating special projects which engage organisations, artists and audiences in the sustainability debate and inspiring behavioural change;
Lobbying government, funding bodies, organisations and artists for the role of the arts in building a more sustainable Scotland.
Our work will help Scotland’s cultural sector to be at the forefront of current debate on climate change by influencing public awareness and inspiring behavioural change as well as providing practical support in carbon management and strategic planning projects.
This is in line with likely future funding requirements from Creative Scotland which will require arts organisations to report their carbon emissions in line with Scottish Government policy and following a similar move by the Arts Council England.
ecoartscotland is pleased to announce that we will be co-hosting a talk by Louis Helbig, Canadian environmental photographer, at in the Main Boardroom (Level 5) Evolution House (corner of West Port and Lady Lawson Street), Edinburgh College of Art at 4pm on Tuesday 2nd April. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Louis Helbig is a Canadian aerial art photographer and social commentator. His best-known project, Beautiful Destruction – Alberta Tar Sands Aerial Photographs, uses the evocative power of art to create space for viewers to reflect, imagine and think for themselves. He depicts one of the largest industrial projects of our time.
Also ongoing is Sunken Villages about what disappeared and has re-emerged; ten communities flooded by the St Lawrence Seaway in 1958. That industrial project was the pride of the Commonwealth in its time.
Raised in rural British Columbia, Canada, Louis Helbig’s work is informed by the eclectic. His background includes membership of Canada’s national cross-country ski team, several academic degrees, flying bush planes, and employment with various public agencies and government departments, NGOs and education institutions. He left Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs in 2006 to pursue art.
I have come for a short weekend break to the port city of Niigata on the West coast of Japan at the mouth of the large Shinano river which also serves the huge areas of rice fields that lie between here and the inland mountains.
My first day here brought two cultural experiences that took me to the extreme ends of cultural life in Japan.
Fighting Kite Museum, children’s kites below the large ones. Photo and permission Su Grierson
With several major attractions shut for renovation and total re-hangs, I decided to head out of town to the Large Kite Museum. With not so much English being spoken here finding my way on local buses was the first challenge. And with only a very rudimentary tourist map to assist me, knowing where to get off the bus proved an even greater problem. But it was certainly worth the effort.
As the only visitor in the Museum on a Saturday afternoon I was given privileged treatment. I had a private viewing of a 3D film in English outlining the annual Shirone fighting kite festival. It is a year long community effort to construct and paint the massive 7m x 5m, 30kg, bamboo and paper kites. The strength of the handmade grass ropes that are needed to keep these massive constructions airborne is critical to the outcome of the battle. It takes great skill that is passed down through the generations.
9m bamboo poles are split to make the frames. Photo and permission Su Grierson
Handmade grass ropes are crucial for success. Photo and permission Su Grierson
With teams on either side of the Nakanokuchi river the aim is to catch the opposition by twisting lines so that both kites come down in the river. This is when the real battle begins as both sides enlist their whole community to tug the kites towards their bank of the river. The winner is the team with the fewest broken ropes. It can take 30 to 40 people on the ropes to get the kites airborne and hundreds of all ages pulling together when the kites are in the water.
Kites preparing for battle Photo and permission Su Grierson
The day before the main battle there is a children’s festival with smaller kites and a large street procession. As the film points out, these battles which are always carried out in a sense of friendly rivalry, are important in keeping old traditions and skills alive in a way that is still embedded in the community as well as promoting a genuine inter-generational unity in their society.
Museum curator laying out kites for me. Photo and permission Su Grierson
The Museum itself also has examples of kites from around the world, and the curator who came and laid out some kites for me to see, said they had an example of a traditional English kite. I protested that I didn’t think we had any but had to laugh when he showed me the example. It was a cane bent over and tied into an oval shape with newspaper pasted over. It had along string tail with twists of newspaper slotted into the string. I do indeed remember making a kite exactly like this, as a child in the frugal years at the end of 40’s and early 50’s. There were a few other examples of small kites made with leaves and feathers. Such simple and natural toys.
Part of Sake festival. Photo and permission Su Grierson
My second cultural experience came late in the afternoon when I set off to visit the Annual Saki festival held in a very large conference venue on the river banks of Niigata City. The hundreds of people walking (or more accurately staggering) towards me as they left the event was a clue to what was to follow.
Sake Festival part of the Tasting Hall. Photo and permission Su Grierson
I had originally intended to buy a ‘tasting ticket’ where you are given a label and small ceramic Sake cup in which to freely sample up to 900 of the varieties on display. But one look down into the main hall quickly decided me otherwise. Thousands of people formed what looked like a monumental scrum gathered around the drinking stalls. It seemed quantity rather than quality was the aim. The palette would be so quickly flattened that I doubt it would be possible to distinguish one variety from another anyway.
Going down into the hall as a visitor I was constantly jostled by inebriated drinkers and the smoke and food smells from the surrounding stalls was sticky and oppressive, nothing like the aroma of the interesting and subtle food I have been eating while here.
The Japanese make the most clear and amusing illustrated public signage. You can never doubt that you will drown, crash you bike or walk in dog poo, but the ‘no fighting’ signs at the Sake festival really did give an idea of what might happen as the evening progressed.
No Fighting Sign. Photo and permission Su Grierson
Sake is the national drink made from fermented wine. Like wine it ranges from sweet to dry depending on brewing times and water quality. It is also made into rich fruit liqueurs and can be added to many cooking sauces and dishes. Mr Sato owner of our local Yamatogawa brewery and many members of the public have donated so much Sake to our events that we need some extra gatherings just to use it all. In Kitakata generosity and levels of support for our projects are both humbling and inspiring.
Finally after reaching Kitakata again, we are faced with the news that there has been an electricity failure at the crippled Daiichi nuclear plant. It seems they do not know the cause which seems even more worrying. The online Japan News Today says:
“Electricity has been cut to pools used to cool spent fuel at the reactor 1, 3 and 4 units” as well as to the equipment to treat contaminated discharge including radioactive cesium, TEPCO spokesman Kenichi Tanabe said.
However, the incident had not so far affected cooling-water injection to the number 1, 2 and 3 reactors, which suffered core meltdowns soon after the start of the March 2011 nuclear crisis, he said.
The temperature at the pool for spent fuel from reactor number 4 was believed to be the highest and slightly above 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit), still well below the safety limit of 65 degrees, he said, adding it was rising by 0.3-0.4 degrees every hour.
If the system is not restored, it will take four more days for that pool to reach the limit, he said.
“We are trying to restore power by then,” he said, adding the deadline would be about 14 days and 26 days for the other two.
This was on breakfast news today (Tuesday 19th) but I have the feeling that the people are almost numbed to disaster now. There are endless TV programmes about potential Tsunamis and personal security, yet I find that most of the people I speak to have no faith in the new Government to handle these situations. They believe they will bend to the industrial companies desire to re-open the nuclear plants, and I have seen for myself that some sea defenses broken two years ago have not even begun to be restored. There are some small anti-Government public protests in Tokyo, but few people seem to believe it will make any difference.
Based purely on the people I talk to here, I find that while they are individually inspiring, the country seems to be still struggling to cope with all that has happened and are a long way from finding a constructive way forward.
I fly home in 3 days time and by then the first cooling deadline will have been reached. Let’s hope there is only good news to report.
The Upcycle: Beyond Sustainability—Designing for Abundance, which William McDonough wrote with Michael Braungart, will be published next month. Four years in the making, the book re-joins the conversation sparked by Cradle to Cradle in 2002.
Cradle to Cradle is a foundation, a fulcrum against which we can lean levers of desirable change. The Upcycle is a collection of stories about amplifying, scaling up and accelerating change, about discovering those leverage points where innovation tips the world not just toward sustainability but beyond. They believe upcycling the quality of our design—seeking purposeful, continuous improvement instead of simply recycling yesterday’s sub-optimal or obsolete ideas—is the force that will raise up a more just, prosperous, fruitful world.
President Bill Clinton haswrote a foreword to the book. Here’s an excerpt—
“The Upcycle is a book about creativity, about thinking big even if we have to act small, and about approaching problems with a bias for action…Bill McDonough and Michael Braungart invite you to think about the future we share; to imagine what could be and how to make it so. We are all in this together, and we’ll need a global commitment to sustainability if we want our children to inherit a world of shared opportunity, shared responsibility, and shared prosperity. Let’s get to work.”
We are living in a moment of reckoning and extraordinary opportunity, a calamitous time when many businesses are seeking new ways to apply their considerable energy and resources to meeting the world’s needs. Agile, responsive businesses, those able to upcycle everything they do, will create more value for more people. They will prosper, and so will the places and people sharing their beneficial presence. Generosity, abundance and the good health of our world will define success.
The Web of Life Foundation (WOLFoundation.org) is issuing the first call for essays for its 2013 essay competition.
WOLFoundation is dedicating to stimulating new thinking in the field of sustainability and socio-environmental issues. Within this context, the theme of this year’s essay competition is “An Aspirational Future”.
Essays should be up to 2,000 words of prose in any non-technical style (including fiction) and are meant for a general readership.
From the Guidelines: “Any and all views on the specified theme are welcome and encouraged. We would like to see entries that address all perspectives creatively. Just avoid giving us tired ideas that have been hashed out many times before.”
The winning essay will receive a cash prize of $1,500 and $500 is awarded to the second placed entry.
Dalziel and Scullion have been invited to give a lecture entitled Ecology of Place as part of the Edinburgh Lectures series. It takes place Monday 27th May 2013 at Our Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh.
Other speakers in the series include the zoologist Aubrey Manning, specialist on the lynx Dr David Hetherington, Geddes expert Dr Walter Stephen, author on the arctic Ken McGoogan, marine biologist Prof Murray Roberts, natural history television producer Nigel Pope, local food advocate Lady Claire Macdonald and geologist Prof Iain Stewart.
One of the industry’s key events of the year to focus solely on sustainable production, the afternoon will include a programme of talks and discussions from industry experts, and a trade show exhibiting tried-and-tested products and services designed to help green your production.
You will have the opportunity to try out new technologies and seek advice from manufacturers, designers and event production professionals on all aspects of greening your work.
Green My Production will feature an afternoon of practical demonstrations, talks and discussions from industry experts on approaches to reducing the environmental impacts of production. Programme speakers will include:
Soutra Gilmour Set and Costume Designer
Laura Pando, Sustainability Manager Festival Republic
Robin Barton, Lighting Systems Technician Royal Opera House
Adam Bennette, Technical Director ETC Europe
Simon Yorke Stage Designer
Bryan Raven, Managing Director White Light
Alison Tickell, CEO Julie’s Bicycle
Rob Halliday, Lighting Designer and Developer FocusTrack
If you have used earth materially or symbolically in your creative practice, or in some way addressed the value, function, or meaning of soil in your art, you are cordially invited to take part in an online survey about soil and art.
“Although the arts play a critical role in sustainability discourses, the actual opinions, knowledge and practices of artists are rarely a subject of scientific inquiry. This is why your voice is so important!” With your help, the researcher in charge of this project, Alexandra Toland, hopes to identify a wide spectrum of art projects that bring new awareness to the thin layer of matter on which all life is based, and to gather information on the various conditions under which such works are made.
This survey makes up part of Ms. Toland’s PhD research (at the Technische Universität Berlin) on the artistic use, interpretation and representation of soil and soil conservation issues. All data is collected with utmost integrity for research purposes. Specific details about individual projects and persons will not be disclosed without respondent’s consent. As a symbol of appreciation for your participation, Ms. Toland would like to feature your work on the soilarts.org research platform.
Deadline: April 15th 2013
Cultura21 is a transversal, translocal network, constituted of an international level grounded in several Cultura21 organizations around the world.
Cultura21′s international network, launched in April 2007, offers the online and offline platform for exchanges and mutual learning among its members.
The activities of Cultura21 at the international level are coordinated by a team representing the different Cultura21 organizations worldwide, and currently constituted of:
– Sacha Kagan (based in Lüneburg, Germany) and Rana Öztürk (based in Berlin, Germany)
– Oleg Koefoed and Kajsa Paludan (both based in Copenhagen, Denmark)
– Hans Dieleman (based in Mexico-City, Mexico)
– Francesca Cozzolino and David Knaute (both based in Paris, France)
Cultura21 is not only an informal network. Its strength and vitality relies upon the activities of several organizations around the world which are sharing the vision and mission of Cultura21
This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland
I am sorry for the delay in sending this Blog. We have had an exhibition of the work we have made during the residency, and with lots of entertaining besides, time has just evaporated. Yesterday I gave a talk as part of a series at the exhibition.
Exhibition space in rice Kura with Link exhibition installed, photo and permission Su Grierson
I was asked to talk about Scotland and decided to tell the story of the evacuation of the Scottish Islands of St Kilda in 1928. This involved a lot of internet research to get good information, images and video. My feeling is that there are many similarities with the forced evacuations here in Fukushima as a result of the tsunami disaster 3/11. During the research my feelings were re-enforced many times. While the St Kildans chose to evacuate, the reasons were largely outside their control. The encroaching modern world and their awareness of their own precarious and simplistic life eroded their centuries-old community structure. The slow migration of younger people to Canada and America had started the decline.
The subsequent handling of the financial and personal aspects of their re-homing was as complex, inefficient and time consuming, just as the process we are seeing here in Fukushima has been. And one can imagine that the success of the move for the St Kildans was as dependent on personal attitudes towards making a fresh start, as it is here with the Tohukans.
The question my talk posed was basically … is it possible to go back and re create a shattered community? Will it be forever changed? Is a fresh start needed wherever refugees settle? Where is home? Does it lie in the past, or the future, or is it now?
Bewery Gallery Kura, image and permission Su Grierson
Our exhibition has been short but successful in that we have attracted many local people to come and join us. Some of us have always been on hand to welcome and chat to visitors, even if it was only to smile and use sign language. Part of the brief of this project was to help re-establish a cultural life in this area internationally blighted by the nuclear disaster which happened in an area hundreds of miles away but carrying the same Prefecture name.
The two Norwegian artists and I seem to be the only westerners in town and as we were on TV together with our lead Japanese artist Yoshiko Maruyama early on we seem to be known wherever we go. The fact that we are holding the exhibition in the most historically important Kura has also attracted people who rarely get a chance to see inside this privately owned building. It is preserved but un-restored with no glass in doors or windows and only limited electricity, so a chilly place in sub zero temperatures. It is the largest Kura in town, being three separate Kura buildings linked together. A Kura is a traditional rice storage barn and, with the town being in the centre of a very large and fertile rice growing area, there are huge numbers. The Mayor told us there are estimated to be 20,000 Kuras in and near the city. There was a saying that every man born in Kitakata should build his own Kura, and with a current population of 40,000 the numbers still stack up.
Exhibition Kura, photo and permission Su Grierson
The massively thick doors and windows were a feature designed to protect against fire. Clearly with so much flammable material inside if one Kura went up in flames those adjacent would soon stoke the furnace and the whole city could be ablaze. But with solid doors and windows quickly closed the fire could be contained.
Rural Kura, photo and permission Su Grierson
The walls are made of rice straw and mud with heavy wooden beam structures. The roofs are today usually covered with shiny ceramic wave shaped tiles which allow the water and snow to run off, in particular snow doesn’t build up. Before that they were thatched with thick rice straw. The style is consistent and they have raised roofs with air space to allow good ventilation. I learned from artist Aeneas Wilder that even today in rural areas rats and the snakes they attract – the snakes eat the baby rats – are still a problem. Today the Kuras continue variously as conversions into housing, shops, offices, fire stations, and cafes. Some of course are in terminal decline and others just surviving. Bringing our art into this culture has been a unique experience.
Kura in decline, photo and permission Su Grierson
For my part having to decide early on in the residency what form my work would take, and with a requirement to connect with local issues, I decided to take an in-depth look at the snow that deeply covers this area. While snow of this depth was a great surprise to me I soon discovered that all of the local people and the refugees housed here really hated snow. They actually used that word ‘hate’ which is very strong in the Japanese culture who rarely show their feeling, especially negative ones, so easily. Could I make images that might show this element in a different light? Avoiding the obvious ‘ touristic’ beautiful shrines in snow – although I couldn’t resist putting a few of those on Facebook – I looked firstly at the power of snow to remove landscape. All the human details of habitation, agriculture and communication and the cultivated land itself are simply removed from the landscape.
Tree mound, 2013, Su Grierson with permission
What still shows are the clues or residues of our occupation and this concept fuelled my initial images made in the foothills of the mountains near the village in which we were staying. Then spending more time in town I was interested in the effects of snow on the light and the way that in turn affected window reflections. The Japanese have a habit of blocking out light – or maybe just prying eyes – with thin patterned curtains, adhesive patterned plastic sheets, cut glass, or with paint which often carries the scratches of wear and tear causing an interesting effect. The reflection of the snow and snow covered building in these semi-clear windows created many unusual layered views of these locations.
Scratched Window, 2013, Su Grierson with permission
I also began looking at the concepts of Japanese Sumi-e painting. The ancient concepts of essence of place in which information was omitted and selected detail used to stand in for the whole, and of the broken paint technique which simply suggested form and movement through abstract marks seemed to have much resonance with the work I was making. And it began to direct my interest. I named my exhibition ‘link’ after one image in which by using computer rotation I created a long line of trees each linked by a single branch. This very much reflected the many conversation I have had with local people who talk much about the connection with nature and between the forces of nature. Many people live by these concepts in their daily life.
Agricultural calligraphy, 2013, Su Grierson with permission
Yoshiko, who knows my previous work, commented that I seemed to have moved away from my normally more conceptual approach into something more personal and free. She is probably right although I am still not entirely comfortable with that. It is the nature of residencies in another culture, they can break into your established patterns of thought and action if you are willing, like the Refugees, to let it happen.
Shared from Yasmin announcement – Call for applications
Ars Bioarctica Residency 2013 – application deadline 6.4.2013
Since 2010 the Finnish Society of Bioart is organizing the ARS BIOARCTICA RESIDENCY PROGRAM together with the Kilpisjärvi Biological Station of the University of Helsinki in the sub-Arctic Lapland.
The residency takes place in the facilities of the Kilpisjärvi Biological Station. It provides the residents with a combined living and working environment, a basic laboratory, internet connection and sauna.
The Kilpisjärvi Biological Station offers to the residents the same possibilities and infrastructure as its scientists and staff. This includes access to scientific equipment, laboratory facilities, the library and seminar room as well as the usage of field equipment. A dedicated contact person in Kilpisjärvi will familiarize residents with the local environment and customs.
The emphasis of the residency is on the Arctic environment, art&science collaboration and is open for artists, scientists and interdisciplinary research teams.
Applications have to include:
a biography and CV of the applicant or group
a work plan
the desired residency starting time and duration
Travel to and within Finland to Kilpisjärvi have to be covered by the applicant. The Finnish Society of Bioart will assist with the funding process.
The evaluation of the applications emphasizes the quality of the proposal, its interaction of art&science, its artistic and scientific significance, the projects relation to the thematics of Ars Bioarctica and its feasibility to be carried out at the Kilpisjärvi Biological Station in the given time.