One of the few publications that focuses on giving voice to artists involved in ecological work, the magazine of the Women Environmental Artists Directory has just published a new issue entitled Dirty Water. The issue features essays by artists including Betsy Damon, Stacy Levy and Jackie Brookner, as well as Chris Drury. Activist, writer and poet Jourdan Imani Keith provides a personal perspective and Linda Weintraub provides a survey of practices. This is essential reading for anyone interested in artists and water. Previous issues are well worth checking out.
ecoartscotland is a resource focused on art and ecology for artists, curators, critics, commissioners as well as scientists and policy makers. It includes ecoartscotland papers, a mix of discussions of works by artists and critical theoretical texts, and serves as a curatorial platform.
Launched on 16th Nov 2013, ‘Sgeulachdan na Mara / Sea Stories’ is an innovative interactive map that reveals Barra’s rich local knowledge, language and culture through the voices and experiences of the local community.
Visitors to the map are encouraged to explore the audio, video, images and stories in any order they like and within a couple of clicks they can learn about Barra’s shipwrecks, listen to traditional songs, view images of the island’s dramatic landscape or even hear stories about lifeboat landings during the war.
Housed in Barra’s Heritage Centre, the Sea Stories cultural map is now a permanent feature within the community and will be updated as further ‘sea stories’ are gathered by Castlebay School’s media students in the future. It will also be accessible to the public at local cultural events and to the wider world online via the project website. Sea Stories: Barra is also featured in the current exhibition ‘Sea Change’ at the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh organised by Cape Farewell.
Creative Carbon Scotland is a partnership of arts organisations working to put culture at the heart of a sustainable Scotland. We believe cultural and creative organisations have a significant influencing power to help shape a sustainable Scotland for the 21st century.
In 2011 we worked with partners Festivals Edinburgh, the Federation of Scottish Threatre and Scottish Contemporary Art Network to support over thirty arts organisations to operate more sustainably.
We are now building on these achievements and working with over 70 cultural organisations across Scotland in various key areas including carbon management, behavioural change and advocacy for sustainable practice in the arts.
Our work with cultural organisations is the first step towards a wider change. Cultural organisations can influence public behaviour and attitudes about climate change through:
Changing their own behaviour;
Communicating with their audiences;
Engaging the public’s emotions, values and ideas.
On the 26th November Julie’s Bicycle launched, with think tank Meteos and 100 exceptional women, alice.
Launched in November 2013 by one hundred women from across a variety of different backgrounds, industries and age groups, alice seeks to articulate what good leadership looks like, and empower and support its manifestation.
alice is a new leadership voice fit to deal with the urgent and accumulating social and environmental challenges we face.
alice is a movement founded on a shared sense that we need new leadership. Instead of today’s ego-driven, zero-sum ethos, we need a leadership that is collegiate, distributed and generous. It needs to have the ambition to find collective and durable solutions to the common obstacles we face.
alice is an expression of this ambition, the protagonist that drives this movement. Her anonymous voice will publicly reward, challenge and inspire the leadership behaviours we need. She will support and empower the manifestation of these values.
Julie’s Bicycle is currently coordinating alice in partnership with Meteos. The movement brings together women who exemplify the passion, drive and desire for change articulated above.
Julie’s Bicycles’ 3 year sustainability partnership with the London Theatre Consortium, a network of thirteen producing theatres, is coming to a close. Each year they recognise amazing achievement with the LTC Green Awards and in 2013 the winners were:
Green Venue of the Year Battersea Arts Centre for integrating environmental thinking across all project teams, and their capital redevelopment project.
Most Improved Venue Young Vic for their sustainable production pilot, After Miss Julie, and proven emissions reductions.
Greatest Emissions Reduction Theatre Royal Stratford East for an outstanding reduction of 47% in relative energy emissions.
Since 2010 the LTC has collectively reduced absolute energy emissions by 10% and saved over 350 tonnes of CO2e.
And if you want to get invigorated browse the case studies section of the Julie’s Bicycle website.
The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama has won a 2013 Green Gown Award for work on its sustainable pilot production of the musical ‘Cabaret’.
The Green Gown Awards are an annual celebration of sustainability best practice organised by the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges. The accolade, presented at a ceremony at Derby College on 12th November, recognised Central’s achievement in staging the production using sustainable methods and in considering and measuring the environmental impact and carbon footprint of each stage of production. The initiative, a pilot programme for Central, was undertaken in partnership with Julie’s Bicycle.
Central staff and students involved in ‘Cabaret’ collect the award at the prestigious ceremony in Derby.
Central’s Environment and Safety Manager Susanne Page said ‘As a small, specialist performing arts institution, recognition from outside our niche profession, for an Award that recognises how creativity and sustainability can complement one another, further inspires and energises the continued nurturing of sustainable practices within our theatrical community’.
The judges particularly recognised the project for its role in bringing education for sustainable development to a novel and unusual setting, and they highlighted the scheme’s capacity to shape future practice.
Research undertaken by the students throughout the pilot contributed to the Julie’s Bicycle Sustainable Production Guide, a practical toolkit now available to arts organisations globally via the Julie’s Bicycle website as a guide to reducing their environmental impacts in production and to promote sustainability. The work will also help to enable effective integration of sustainability into Central’s general curriculum and across future productions, and it has inspired the students involved to carry this knowledge and experience into their professional careers and make a wider, lasting impact on the industry.
Sholeh Johnston, Arts Manager at Julie’s Bicycle, who provided training and mentoring for students involved in the project said ‘The necessary shift towards a sustainable cultural sector is enabled through projects like Central’s Cabaret pilot. The learning and best practice explored by staff and students at Central is now providing practical information and inspiration to other student and professional practitioners. This award celebrates their commitment, and will hopefully galvanize others to get involved with this incredibly exciting movement – one that embodies the best of our sector’s creativity and ingenuity in finding and scaling up more sustainable approaches to theatre making.’
Read more about Central’s production of ‘Cabaret’ in Julie’s Bicycle case study.
Julie’s Bicycle be working with Central on their next ‘green’ production of ‘Greece’ in 2014.
Set in a picturesque country park in Northamptonshire, the environment has always been central to the ethos of Shambala Festival. The event is now firmly established as a focus for innovation in sustainable technologies and the more elusive “science” of drawing people into a deeper dialogue about the environmental sustainability issues confronting us all today.
For these reasons, Shambala was the first organisation ever to achieve a 3 star Industry Green certification from Julie’s Bicycle in 2010, and has most recently been awarded a 3 star IG certification for the 2013 festival too. In fact, the festival has scooped three 3 star Industry Green certifications over the last four years!
Shambala has been undertaking independent carbon auditing since 2007, and thanks to a partnership with Peter Harper, Head of Research at the Centre for Alternative Technology, the scope of their studies has been even broader than our Industry Green assessment, including factors such as staff and concession travel and camping equipment, examining the life-span of the materials used to construct stages, and even guestimating how much more people might drink at a festival compared to a typical weekend at home! Building on a decrease in emissions per audience member of 20% between 2007 and 2008, Shambala has reduced carbon emissions per audience by an outstanding 81% (based on energy, water, waste water and waste) between 2009 and 2013, with a 32% reduction between 2012 and 2013 alone.
TOWARDS 100% RENEWABLE POWER
This reduction reflects Shambala’s ambition to becoming 100% renewably powered. In 2008 Shambala aimed to use 100% waste vegetable oil (WVO) bio-diesel across the site (not-with-standing that WVO bio-diesel is not a renewable power source) but had issues with power consistency and experienced power-outs. Since 2010 Shambala has experienced relative success with a transition to 95% non-mineral based power through the use of WVO bio-diesel and six micro renewable energy suppliers on site, alongside diesel and gas sources. In 2010 the festival supplied solar showers and composting toilets.
The festival is now 94% renewably powered. In 2013 the festival also teamed up with its power provider, Midas, and De Montfort University on a new pilot project to monitor fuel use for individual generators, looking to improve fuel efficiency across the site. The learning from this will be shared via the Powerful Thinking initiative.
They have also developed a robust waste reduction and management approach, and increased recycling rates by 10% between 2012 and 2013. This has been greatly supported by a high level of both trader and audience engagement, including campaigns such as Bring a Bottle – their most successful audience engagement ever, with the sale of water in plastic bottles banned onsite completely – and Surplus Supper Club.
AUDIENCE TRAVEL EMISSIONS
The biggest environmental impact produced by festivals is audience travel. As Shambala’s energy emissions decrease, so the proportional impact of their audience emissions has increased, from 53% in 2009 to 90% of the festival’s total emissions in 2010. Audience travel remains a challenge: an audience travel survey in 2010 showed that 79% travelled by car – although with an average occupancy of 3 people they are well above the average (2.6). 10% travelled by train, 8% by dedicated coaches, 3% by public transport bus, and 0.2% by short-haul flights. While the festival isn’t in direct control of audience choices on issues such as travel, Shambala has a number of initiatives that aim to reduce these emissions and encourage more festival-goers onto public transport, including a biofiel shuttle bus service from the local train and bus station and subidised express coaches from 6 cities. If audiences can see busing as a realistic travel option there is huge potential to reduce emissions.
The festival has introduced a range of initiatives to promote the use of public transport, car and lift sharing to its audience, to reduce their travel impacts. The team have been building on the Carbon Travel Fund they introduced to provide festival-goers with an alternative travel offset option, and are working with The Converging World on investing in wind power projects, looking at a new model for offsetting all festival emissions.
Shambala’s environmental priorities are communicated to the audiences online and on site, and a recent survey highlighted that the festival’s audience does feel strongly about the environment; the website, press releases, emails, event programme, the ticket buying process and the festival site all reflect the environmental credentials of the festival, and on the Sunday of each festival the organisers run a ‘People’s Parliament’ for audiences to comment on their ‘green credentials’ and feed back on how the festival is run.
LOCALLY-SOURCED PRODUCTS AND MATERIALS
Shambala is going beyond the minimum requirements of their own commitment to environmental performance through work with the supply chain that supports the festival, requiring contractors and traders to complete questionnaires and comply with a sustainability checklist for tendering. ‘Green’ trader assessments and awards are also undertaken.
Ambitious policies to reuse materials and enforce traders to source produce locally were partially met in 2009, and in 2010 these policies were communicated to all artists, creative projects and area/venue managers. This procurement policy on traders means that produce has to be ethically sourced with a preference for small/local suppliers, resulting in fairtrade tea and coffee and happy meat and a priority for organic traders, while all construction timber has to be FSC certified. Preference is also given to traders who are powering themselves self sufficiently and the local community is invited to trade via a community letter.
FROM THE ORGANISERS…
Shambala Coordinator Chris Johnson believes “festivals have a key role in inspiring behavioural change in society. Our challenge is finding the most effective ways to communicate sustainable messages to festival goers, by virtue of the way we manage events, how we communicate this, and the content of the events.”
“Good auditing provides the information we need to make informed decisions about where to concentrate our efforts in reducing carbon, and how successful initiatives have been year on year” says Jen Coles, Shambala’s Sustainability Coordinator.
Over the years, the efforts of Shambala have provided new insights into innovation on how to run a more sustainable festival. The ambitious sustainability policy of Shambala provides a guiding light in educating, inspiring and motivating the festival sector as a whole. Shambala have taken this role one step further by co-founding the Powerful Thinking initiative, a festival industry think-do tank exploring game-changing ideas for responding to climate change.
Powerful Thinking – the non-profit think-do tank on sustainable energy at festivals (of which Julie’s Bicycle is a founding member) – now has its own website, featuring case studies, resources and news. Have a browse, and Julie’s Bicycle will update you soon on the exciting plans emerging for festival industry action on climate change.
Julie’s Bicycle has embarked on a series of cross-European workshops on sustainability and the visual arts, with a session in Spain, organised by artist residency resource hub Art Motile and hosted by the Museum of Contemporary Art in La Coruna, Galicia. As part of the Green Art Lab Alliance (GALA), Julie’s Bicycle will be working with local arts organisations in seven European countries – from Scotland to Serbia – to identify realistic steps that address the environmental sustainability implications of artistic work, operations, and engagement with the wider public.
The workshop at La Coruna had a special focus on the role of artist residencies, with a fascinating and inspiring talk from Joya: arte + ecología, an arts organisation based at an off-grid converted farmhouse in a national park in Andalucía. Joya: arte + ecología’s latest project is Sistemas Efímeros ephemeral systems – an arts-led, trans-disciplinary collaborative project that explores the perception of the natural value of arid landscapes, while promoting sustainable and transferable adaptations to land use and water resources at a time of rapid environmental change.
With the support of the Culture Programme of the European Union.
Throughout November and December Julie’s Bicycles’ Environmental Sustainability team has been touring the UK, carrying out a series of workshops for Arts Council England organisations. Kicking off at the Shed at National Theatre London, they’ve been as far as Sage Gateshead, Leeds Art Gallery, mac Birmingham, Bristol Old Vic, Free Word London and Cornerhouse Manchester.
Feedback and results have been encouraging with 83% of attendees agreeing workshops were excellent or good. Thanks to everyone who has hosted or joined one of the 13 sessions across the country over this Autumn.
The team have also been sharing results and learnings from the first year of environmental reporting with Arts Council Relationship Managers, including next steps and how they can support organisations alongside Julie’s Bicycle. Julie’s Bicycle has already visited London, the North East, the West Midlands, Yorkshire and the North West, and will be visiting the East, South East and South West offices in early 2014.
Julie’s Bicycle has partnered with the Royal Opera House and Creative and Cultural Skills to deliver Culture Change, a low carbon support programme for creative businesses based in the East of England.
Funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), Culture Change will launch at a conference on 5th February 2014.
Culture Change is a business support programme for the creative and cultural industries in the East of England.
It’s designed to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and microbusinesses improve the environmental sustainability of their activities. The best bit is that it’s all for free.
The project is supported by the European Regional Development Fund and provides a minimum of 12 hours free support to your organisation.
What does the conference offer?
Culture Change is supporting creative companies through a diverse programme of activity:
a series of conferences with three different themes focusing on business sustainability
a programme of specific low-carbon focussed business support seminars
use of the IG Tools carbon calculators and advice provided by Julie’s Bicycle
bespoke individual SME and microbusiness support and action planning around environmental sustainability
creation of a peer-to-peer business support network.
Who can participate?
SMEs and microbusinesses working in the creative industries within the East of England with:
Fewer than 250 employees
An annual turnover of less than 50 million euros
If you are eligible and are interested in being part of the programme or obtaining further information please register by contacting Sholeh Johnston: firstname.lastname@example.org 020 8746 0400
SAVE THE DATE: 5TH FEBRUARY 2014 – ROYAL OPERA HOUSE, COVENT GARDEN