“CCS’s Arts & Sustainability Residency is becoming a major intersection point for artists and the most significant thinkers in sustainability.” Chris Fremantle, independent arts producer, writer & researcher
In September 2016, eight artists were invited to participate in CCS’s annual Arts & Sustainability Residency, working with facilitators Jan Bebbington (Professor of Accounting and Sustainable Development, Director, St Andrews Sustainability Institute) and Lex ter Braak (Director, Van Eyck Institute, Maastricht, Netherlands), and partnering with Cove Park.
Over an intensive three-day programme, participating artists were asked to reflect upon and develop their understanding of how their practices connected with themes surrounding the burgeoning field of the Anthropocene, and the wider cultural shift towards a more environmentally sustainable society.
Key questions and themes discussed included:
- The contested starting points of the Anthropocene and the social, political and creative implications contingent on each of these;
- The cultural responses that an understanding of geological deep time provokes;
- The historical role of the artist in society;
- Developing robust theories of change which can provide practical hope in addressing the transition away from unsustainable practices.
As well as supporting the development of artistic practices in Scotland, the Arts & Sustainability Residency plays an important role in shaping CCS’s thinking and work. Key learning points stemming from the residency on CCS’s role included:
- Actively developing and brokering relationships artists and sustainability experts and institutions, helping to set the right terms for the ways in which artistic practices can contribute to environmental sustainability contexts;
- Supporting and facilitating commissioning opportunities for the development of new artistic
work in this area with other cultural organisations;
- Continuing to create opportunities for learning and knowledge/practice exchange such as the residency and Green Tease events;
- Making the most of artists’ curiosity and readiness for the unknown within the context of
the challenges surrounding issues such as climate change.
CCS created a space where artists were not under pressure to produce new work, however, this hothouse of ideas organically gave way to inspiration, learning and forward planning. This allowed for a thorough reflection on creative practice and I left the residency feeling enriched, reassured and, in question of my working practices – all alongside a new, and growing, understanding of what my practice is about. I found [the Arts & Sustainability Residency] to be a transformative learning experience and I am excited to see where these new connections and understandings will lead.” Kathy Beckett
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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.