Yearly Archives: 2015

Culture Shift: How Artists are Responding to Sustainability in Wales

Culture Shift: How Artists are Responding to Sustainability in Wales’ is a research report commissioned by the Arts Council of Wales bPaul Allen, Emily Hinshelwood, Fern Smith, Rhodri Thomas and Sarah Woods

The report is available as a download in English and Welsh

Logo_Emergence_PINK_RGB.1.1‘Culture Shift’ gives an overview of the many pioneering sustainable arts initiatives currently operating across Wales. The report is a witness to what is going on already. It is also intended as a statement of intent and a call to action. It highlights the power of the arts to contribute towards or even take a leading role in the transition to a life-sustaining society. It is hoped that this report will contribute towards future arts policy within the context of the Welsh Government’s ‘Well-being of Future Generations’ Bill’. The report draws attention to how a growing number of artists are leading a paradigm shift in values and relationships around access to future resources.

 It contains recommendations to the Arts Council of Wales regarding future artspolicy in supporting the development of such pioneering practice. It is backed up by case studies and interviews from many artists and organisations and builds on the results from a sector wide survey conducted in Spring 2014. The appendices to the report give the survey data in more detail as well as naming many projects, formative books, articles, useful resources, contacts and organisations.

Although concentrating on Welsh activity the research is framed within the context of the wider changes and inspirations Welsh artists are drawing from those outside – including Artsadmin, Julies Bicycle, Tipping Point, Platform, Creative Carbon Scotland, People United, Encounters and Case for Optimism.

The work was undertaken by a team of artists and specialists in sustainability.These are; Fern Smith – actor and director and co-founder of Volcano Theatre, Sarah Woods – writer and performer, Emily Hinshelwood – poet and performer, Paul Allen – Communications Director for the Centre for Alternative Technology and Rhodri Hugh Thomas – actor, writer and sustainable development specialist with Cynnal Cymru-Sustain Wales.

 “Emergence bid for and succeeded in the tender, not as consultants but as artists. We aimed at the process and outcome as being a creative collaboration between artists and those working in the field of sustainability designed to include as many voices as possible. We see this report very much building on and contributing to a growing narrative that appears to be gaining momentum and confidence across Wales, the UK and beyond. We hope that ‘Culture Shift’ will be a working document. We hope that it will serve as an impetus for others to join the conversation and to support those already doing this work.”

Fern Smith, creative producer Emergence

“This is an important report and the issues it raises are worthy of debate. We are very conscious of the need for organisations such as ourselves to show leadership and commitment. The support and encouragement of the arts sector to continue the excellent work that is already going on is vital. Wales’ arts sector has already taken a lead on this and this report attempts to document, record it and share it.”

Sian Tomos, Arts Council of Wales

“Wales – a creative culture where artists are in abundance – is one of only three democracies willing to hold themselves legally accountable for promoting principles of sustainability. It is no surprise, therefore, that this leading edge reportcomes from Wales. Without artists how can we ever fully feel our way into asustainable community or create the relationships that sustain us through difficult times?”

Margaret Wheatley, activist and author

Emergence is a collaborative project designed to develop a low carbon, resource efficient arts infrastructure and to enable the arts to be a crucible for new ideas and thinking. Core partners on Culture Shift are VolcanoCynnal Cymru-Sustain WalesAwel Aman Tawe and Centre for Alternative Technology

Greenie-in-Residence program at Arts House

A set of principles for Greening the Arts that emerged through the 2014 Greenie-in-Residence program at Arts House.

Melbourne-based theatre artists and arts organisations embraced the opportunity to build on their environmental performance and sustainability knowledge this year, by joining this innovative program with Arts House ‘Greenie’ Matt Wicking.

The year-long program of workshops, consultation and networking saw them incorporating environmental sustainability into the making and distribution of their work.

Areas covered included measurement and materials, impacts and emissions, action planning, communications and more.

Participants included Arts House, A is for Atlas, Bek Berger, Circus Oz, Fragment31, ILBIJERRI Theatre Company, KAGE, Polyglot Theatre, Next Wave, SANS HOTEL and Victorian Opera.

This event is for anyone interested in greening the arts, and also launches a practical guide for arts practitioners wanting to green their practice.

To learn more about this project, email

Read practical principles from a year of Greening the Arts: Reflections of a Greenie-in-Residenceby Matt Wicking.

The Greenie-in-Residence Project has been supported by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body; and the City of Melbourne through Arts House.

Nil by Mouth at the Scottish Parliament – CREATIVE FUTURES

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

We’ve just put up an excellent video from documenting Crichton Carbon Centre‘s Nil by Mouth event (produced by Wide Open) at The Scottish Parliament last November. You’ll also find background on the project, lots of info on the scientists from The James Hutton Institute, Rowett Research Institute and SRUC as well as links to pdfs and websites associated with the various artists: Harry Giles, Center for Genomic Gastronomy, Hans Clausen as well as Jo Hodges and Robbie Coleman.  Read more here

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.

It has been established by Chris Fremantle, producer and research associate with On The Edge ResearchGray’s School of Art, The Robert Gordon University. Fremantle is a member of a number of international networks of artists, curators and others focused on art and ecology.

Go to EcoArtScotland

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Update of the International campaign for the inclusion of culture in the UN post-2015 agenda

This message was sent to the signatories of the Declaration

Last round of negotiations on the UN post-2015 development agenda launched in NYC on January 19, 2015image002

Endorsement to Declaration reaches 2,200 signatories from 120 countries, including more than 800 organizations

  • UN Secretary General synthesis report ”“The Road to Dignity by 2030“, released on Dec. 4 as a lead up the final round of negotiations on the post-2015 Development Agenda. It recognizes the enabling role of culture:

“We must also mobilize the power of culture in the transformative change we seek. Our world is a remarkable mosaic of diverse cultures, informing our evolving understanding of sustainable development. We still have much to learn from cultures as we build the world we want. If we are to succ governments. It must be embraced by people. Culture, in differenteed, the new agenda cannot remain the exclusive domain of institutions and aspects, will thus be an important force in supporting the new agenda.” (Para. 132)

  • Global networks leading the campaign “The Future We Want Includes Culture” have responded to the report by calling for the outcome document to more fully embrace the transformative potential of culture. The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) has issued its own response with emphasis on access to information.
  • Consultations with UN member states in preparation for the final round of negotiations indicate reluctance to reopen the outcome document of the Open Working Group containing 17 goals and 169 targets, if only to streamline it although there is no consensus on this.
  • Focus is likely to shift to targets and indicators, with an emphasis on measuring tangible results and accountability. UNSG synthesis report calls for indicators to include other measures than GDP.
  • ·      Global cultural networks have just issued their proposal of indicators “Recognizing the role of culture to strengthen the UN post-2015 Development Agenda”. They argue for taking into account the great strides accomplished by multilateral organizations such as the OECD, UIS, UNESCO, WIPO, UNCTAD and the World Bank in meeting the challenge of universal comparative data for culture.

Other news:

  • The Third UNESCO World Forum and Cultural Industries adopted the Florence Declaration outlining recommendations for the incorporation of culture in the post-2015 development agenda. United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) members are to adopt a new Agenda 21 for Culture (see second draft) at their Summit of Bilbao (Basque Country, Spain) on 18-20 March 2015.
  • The Red Latinoamericana de Arte y Transformación Social (Latin American network for the art and social transformation), with members in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Uruguay and central America, joins the other global networks in the campaign “The Future We Want Includes Culture”.

What you can do:

  • Read the proposal on cultural indicators and send us examples of cultural initiatives that have made a positive contribution to development with their indicators and measures of results to help us put forward a platform of universal reach and appeal to UN member states. The best examples received will be annexed to the proposal. Please be succinct and concrete. Write us at Forward the proposal on cultural indicators to your country’s permanent representative to the UN and to the persons in charge of defining your country’s position (Foreign Affairs / International Cooperation).
  • Use the communications tools to ask organizations and individuals that have not yet endorsed the Declaration to do so.
  • Share the Declaration in French, Spanish, Arabic, Portuguese, Chinese and Russian.
  • Follow #culture2015goal on Twitter

‘Counting Consciousness’ at GSA

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

GSA-sustThe Glasgow School of Art Sustainability in Action group and Artists Using Resources in the Community will host an exhibition next week showing a culmination of work from the year. The ‘Counting Consciousness‘ exhibition shows research, learning and outcomes from the past year alongside work from project reSOURCE. Attendees are invited “to embark on a journey through 15 months’ work exploring the edge between creativity and sustainability.”

The exhibition will be held 9th March- 11th March 2015 at Fleming House (Glasgow School of Art)- with a honey tasting and workshops on Tuesday 10th March. More information about the event can be found at the GSA Sustainability website.

GSA Sustainability is a network of artists, staff and members of the larger arts community at the Glasgow School of Art who are engaging with issues of sustainability within an arts context. The GSA Sustainability in Action Group aims to develop, inform and oversee the implementation of the GSA’s Sustainability Strategy. Artists Using Resources in the Community is a Climate Challenge Funded (CCF) project based within the Glasgow School of Art, with the aim of reducing the GSA’s carbon emissions by 100 tonnes before March 2015. The collaboration between these two groups has produced an evolving group of dedicated artists and creatives within the GSA community whom have produced significant explorations of the links between arts and sustainability. More information about this group can be found here.

The post ‘Counting Consciousness’ at GSA appeared first on Creative Carbon Scotland.


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.

Go to Creative Carbon Scotland

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Portraits of Time

This post comes from the Artists and Climate Change Blog

Beth Moon, Yemen, tree, Dragon's Blood, Socotra

Stunning. Magical. Exquisite. Monumental. Timeless. These are just a few of the adjectives used to describe Beth Moon’s magnificent platinum portraits of ancient and mythical trees, lovingly photographed over a 14 year journey that crossed almost every continent.

From her website: “Many of the trees I have photographed have survived because they are out of reach of civilization; on mountainsides, private estates, or on protected land. Certain species exist only in a few isolated areas of the world.”

“I photograph these trees because they may not be here tomorrow.”

Silent witnesses to time and history, some of these majestic beings are “older than the civilisations that have flourished around them” (Michael Abatemarco, The New Mexican). Others may very well out-survive our own species. They have much to teach us about ourselves and our relationship to our environment.

Sixty of her portraits, along with essays by Todd Forrest and Steven Brown, have been published in a splendid volume titled “Ancient Trees: Portraits of Time“.

In between international book tours and gallery exhibitions, Beth took some time to answer a few questions for us:

What was the inspiration behind this project? Does this project end with the publication of Ancient Trees?

Connecting with the natural world fuels me on many levels. As a child I was outdoors from dawn until bedtime, and playing in trees was a big part of my day. I remember a favorite oak with a comfortable nook in which I spent many afternoons. The world can look different from that vantage point! So trees were a natural subject choice for me, but I wanted to find the oldest ones because I was interested in their age and their strategies for survival.

It’s hard to say that I’ve finished with this project because someone is always telling me about a remarkable tree that rouses my curiosity. Lately, inspired by studies that link tree growth with starlight, I’ve begun to photograph trees under the night sky called Diamond Nights.

Beth Moon, baobab, Botswana

What is your process? How long do you stay in each location? 

I do as much research as possible which makes it easier to deal with unforeseen challenges. I try to allow a day or two minimum to take advantage of light on the best angle. When possible I like to camp nearby the tree, which allows me to be there as the sun comes up and sets.

What do you think is the single most important thing artists can do to address climate change? What gives you hope?

To make change happen on a global level, everyone needs to play their part. It all starts with awareness; a dialogue begins. That is the part of the artist. Channeling great passion into art can only help incite the politician and the law maker into taking action.

I am hopeful and very inspired when I see the reforestation that Sebastian Salgado has done with his homeland property in Brazil and the Big Life Foundation that Nick Brandt has initiated in Africa. I am equally encouraged with the attention that these tree photographs have garnered and find it very encouraging as I continue to explore new paths of awareness.

All images by Beth Moon, taken from her website.

Follow Joan Sullivan on Twitter.


Artists and Climate Change is a blog that tracks artistic responses from all disciplines to the problem of climate change. It is both a study about what is being done, and a resource for anyone interested in the subject. Art has the power to reframe the conversation about our environmental crisis so it is inclusive, constructive, and conducive to action. Art can, and should, shape our values and behavior so we are better equipped to face the formidable challenge in front of us.

Go to the Artists and Climate Change Blog

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Does anyone know Professor Paul Younger Rankine Chair of Engineering and Professor of Energy Engineering at the University of Glasgow?

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

… or any of his co-authors of the letter published in the Guardian 10 October 2014 (his co-authors were Prof Colin McInnes, James Watt Chair and Professor of Engineering Science; Prof Fin Stuart, Professor of Isotope Geosciences; Prof Rob Ellam, Director, Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre; and Prof Adrian Boyce, Professor of Applied Geology all of the University of Glasgow).

We are working on the principle of 6 degrees of separation, and since there are nearly 1000 people who receive ecoartscotland posts we reckon someone knows Prof Younger.  You see we sent him a piece of work by an artist and we want to know if he received it.

It started with Roanne Dods posting a story from the Glasgow Herald. Senior Engineers at Glasgow University called the University’s recently announced commitment to long term divestment from the fossil fuel industry “vacuous posturing.”  Read more about divestment here.

We were so enraged by this that we ordered a copy a poster to be sent to Prof Younger.  The poster, created by New York based artist Rachel Schragis, is distributed by Just Seeds and is part of’s Do The Math campaign.  BTW Global Divestment Day is Feb 14th.

The image above is Rachel Schragis’ fabulous mind map for the Do The Math campaign – see more of her work at

So we’d like to know if Prof Younger got the poster, and whether he’d like to have a conversation about divestment, climate change and the role of public institutions?  Obviously ecoartscotland can only speak to issues of art and ecology, but I’m sure someone knows an economist to can talk about fossil fuels, and a behavioural psychologist who can talk about behaviour change, and a systems theorist who can talk about conflict in systems…

Come on engineers. You must be able to do the maths.

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.

It has been established by Chris Fremantle, producer and research associate with On The Edge ResearchGray’s School of Art, The Robert Gordon University. Fremantle is a member of a number of international networks of artists, curators and others focused on art and ecology.

Go to EcoArtScotland

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Mourning the planet: Climate scientists share their grieving process – from Truthout

This post comes to you from EcoArtScotland

Dahr Jamail, staff reporter for Truthout and known for his work on Iraq and Afganistan, speaks to scientists working on Anthropogenic Climate Disruption about their emotional responses in this important piece.  Thanks to Truthout for permission to repost extracts.  Jamail starts,

I have been researching and writing about anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD) for Truthout for the past year, because I have long been deeply troubled by how fast the planet has been emitting its obvious distress signals.

On a nearly daily basis, I’ve sought out the most recent scientific studies, interviewed the top researchers and scientists penning those studies, and connected the dots to give readers as clear a picture as possible about the magnitude of the emergency we are in.

This work has emotional consequences: I’ve struggled with depression, anger and fear. I’ve watched myself shift through some of the five stages of grief proposed by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. I’ve grieved for the planet and all the species who live here, and continue to do so as I work today.

Continue reading here…

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.

It has been established by Chris Fremantle, producer and research associate with On The Edge ResearchGray’s School of Art, The Robert Gordon University. Fremantle is a member of a number of international networks of artists, curators and others focused on art and ecology.

Go to EcoArtScotland

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