Monthly Archives: April 2018

Opportunity: Go Wild Photo Competition

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

Photographers of all ages and experience are invited to submit entries to the Go Wild competition

A new photo competition, aimed at capturing images of wildlife on the National Cycle Network in Scotland, has been launched by Sustrans Scotland.

Photographers of all ages and experience are being invited to submit their entries to the Go Wild competition, which is supported by Scottish Canals and Scottish Wildlife Trust.

The free competition forms part of Sustrans Scotland’s Greener Greenways project, which is part-funded by Scottish Natural Heritage, and aims to improve and enhance biodiversity on traffic-free sections of the Network that are home to a variety of animals and plant species.

Entrants will compete for a selection of prizes, including the opportunity to have their image displayed along the Union Canal, during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Sustrans Scotland Volunteers Coordinator, Laura White said: “We hope Go Wild will help encourage more people to get out by foot or bike to explore their local National Cycle Network routes and discover some of the wildlife on their doorstep.

“The National Cycle Network plays a vital role in supporting and promoting a wide variety of wildlife in Scotland and is a fantastic place for people to experience some of the rich biodiversity that Scotland has to offer.

“We hope it will inspire more people to take part in our wildlife volunteering and record[ing], something that is vital to the future health of wildlife in Scotland.”

There are approximately 2,371 miles (3,815 km) of National Cycle Network routes in Scotland, including 644 miles of traffic-free routes which use a mix of railway path, canal towpath, forest road, shared-use path, segregated cycle lanes and re-determined rural footways. It plays a vital role in helping people to travel by foot, bike or public transport for more every day journeys and can act as a green corridor for wildlife.

Deadline for entries to the Go Wild competition is Monday 18th June with winners being announced on Monday 17th July. Visit www.sustrans.org.uk/scotphotocomp18 for more information.


The post Opportunity: New photo competition to capture wildlife on National Cycle Network 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

Opportunity: Showcase at Bright Beauly Fair

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

An opportunity for any organisation or small business in Arts, Crafts, Music & Food in Highlands & Islands to have stall, host a workshop or demonstration, sell your products and promote your business at Bright Beauly Fair.

Bright Beauly Fair is on Saturday 18 August 2018 in Beauly, Inverness-shire

The aim of Bright Beauly Fair is to reinstate the historic marketplace in Beauly with an annual one-day event, showcasing and celebrating the BEST of the Highlands and Islands Arts, Crafts, Music and Food.

We’d love any organisation or small business in the Highlands & Islands to apply to be part of the fair via our website www.brightbeaulyfair.com/apply/

Closing date is Friday 1st June

All applicants will be informed via email if their application has been successful or not by Friday 8th June

Pitch fees (inc. VAT)
£150 – Stalls are 2.5m x 1.8m each.
Should you not require the entire stall, there is an option to share with another trader at £75

Please email info@brightbeaulyfair.com to enquire further.

The post Opportunity: Showcase Arts, Crafts, Music & Food at Bright Beauly Fair 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

Open Call: Coal Prize 2018

The COAL Prize is open to artists throughout the world who dare to imagine and experiment, to transform territories, lifestyles, organisations, and production methods. Together, they are building a new collective narrative, a new vision, developing our future heritage, and in doing so creating the necessary optimistic framework for everyone to find the means and the motivation to implement the changes needed for a more sustainable and just world.

This year, the COAL association celebrates its 10th anniversary. A decade of commitment alongside artists who wish to give their all to using culture as a medium of change, an ecological transition through solidarity. These words are not a figure of speech, but the result of our story. A decade ago we were talking about “sustainable development”. France defined its plan of action at the Grenelle Environment Round Table, as countries around the world were preparing for the 14th COP in Poznan, Poland. This year COP24 will be back in Poland, in Katowice, and just as 2007 was in its time the second warmest year in a century, 2017 has now claimed that title. Over this same period, the number of breeding birds species that are endangered in Europe has risen from 25 to 33 percent. There is hope however, for the solar-wind-biomass trio finally overtook coal as the main source for generating electricity in the European Union last year, and while some things have not changed as hoped, our dedication is not weakened, quite the contrary.

So this year, we see neither a failure nor an outcome, but the basis of a movement towards a renewed commitment that makes the COAL Prize ever more relevant.

The COAL Prize has become a vehicle for identification, promotion and dissemination of these artists to the general public, political actors and professionals of culture as well as of ecology. Each year, it honors ten projects in the field of visual arts relating to environmental issues, which are selected through an international open call. Though only one of them is awarded the COAL Prize, all the artists and projects considered by COAL and the selection committee will become part of a network which COAL may invite or endorse for other relevant opportunities and projects carried out by the association.

With the sponsorship of the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Ecological Development. With the support of the Ministry of Culture, the European Union and the Imagine2020 network, the Museum of Hunting and Nature and the François Sommer Foundation.

>>> Download the open call for the COAL Prize 2018

SCHEDULE

Application deadline : July 31, 2018

The Coal Prize 2018 will be awarded in October in Paris, at a ceremony organized in partnership with the Museum of Hunting and Nature and the François Sommer Foundation, in the presence of the ten shortlisted artists and actors in the domains of art and sustainable development.

PRIZE

The winner of the COAL 2018 Prize will receive an award of 5,000 euros and a residency with additional financial support for artistic production at the Belval estate (Ardennes), property of the François Sommer Foundation.

The François Sommer Foundation was founded in 1966 by François and Jacqueline Sommer, pioneers of the implementation of a humanist ecology. Faithful to the commitments of its founders, it works for the respectful use of the resources of nature, the sharing of wealth of the natural, artistic and cultural heritage for the protection of a biodiversity in which mankind find its proper place.

The Belval estate is located in the commune of Belval-Bois-des-Dames. With an enclosed area of ​​600 hectares, it is essentially a forested area covered in meadows and 40 hectares of ponds. A veritable observatory of rural life and wildlife, each year it welcomes selected artists who contribute to the representation of their vision of Man’s relationship to his natural environment. Testament to the Foundation’s commitment to supporting contemporary artistic creation, the residency at the Belval estate contributes to the dissemination of the artists’ works to a wide audience. The combined knowledge of the scientific and educational teams of the Museum of Hunting and Nature and those of the Belval estate will also available as a resource for the artists.

Download the Belval Residency charter

CRITERIA

Applicants will be judged on the following criteria: artistic value, relevance (understanding of the theme), originality (the ability to introduce new approaches, themes, and points of view), pedagogy (ability to get a message across and raise awareness), social and participative approaches (engagement, testimony, efficiency, societal dynamics), eco-design and feasibility.

The COAL Prize supports art projects in progress. Its award is not intended to cover all production costs of the project but should be considered as an aid to its development.

This year’s jury and selection committee is currently in the process of being assembled. We invite you to refer to the selection committee of the COAL Prize 2017 for an idea of its composition.

APPLICATION

The application should include the following documents in a single PDF file not exceeding 20 pages:

– The completed application form, available for download HERE
– A description of the proposed project, detailing its artistic dimension and its relevance to environmental issues;
– Two high-definition visuals illustrating the project
– A note on the technical aspects of the project, particularly in terms of construction and means of production;
– An estimated budget
– A Curriculum Vitae and a portfolio.

SUBMISSION

All proposals should be submitted before July 31, 2018 via the COAL server : projetcoal.org

TERMS AND CONDITIONS

By entering this competition, applicants expressly authorize the COAL organization to publish, reproduce and display in public all or part of the elements of their entry for any purpose linked to the promotion and communication of the Coal project, via all platforms and media, in all countries, for the legal duration of the copyright. Entries submitted but not selected will be held in the archives of the Coal organization. They will, however, remain the property of their authors. Participation in this open call entails the full acceptance of the conditions laid out above.

CONTACT

For any questions,  write to: contact@projetcoal.

Opportunity: Ice-Themed Writing, Art & Music

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

Artists, writers, scientists, travelers, and musicians are invited to submit work that explores ice.

Artists, writers, scientists, travelers, and musicians are invited to submit work that explores ice-related themes to the new art project Black Coffee & Vinyl Presents. We are seeking work that features the physical and spiritual beauty of our world’s ice, explores the life of the people and cultures that are connected to the ice from the Arctic Circle to Antarctica, and addresses important political issues related to ice.

Climate change effects

As climate change affects the weather and composition of our planet, our ice is melting. Black Coffee & Vinyl Presents wants to address the importance of ice; focus on its beauty; and learn from the people who study, live near, and love it.

For literature, please submit only works in English. For other work (visual art or music), please submit an English translation. Artists with selected work will be provided with a $50 (U.S.) honorarium. All payments will be made by PayPal. Recipient must be able to receive payments via PayPal.

Where the work will be published

Accepted works will be published online and in a print version of the publication. Artists will be asked to grant permission for publication with Black Coffee & Vinyl Presents (both online and in print), and will thereafter retain copyright of their work.

Visit Black Coffee & Vinyl Presents for full details and how to apply

Submission deadline: May 31, 2018.



The post Opportunity: Ice-Themed Writing, Art & Music 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

Opportunity: Create Development Worker with WHALE Arts

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

WHALE Arts are recruiting for a Development Worker to help address food insecurity and connect people creatively with dignified food provision, skills development and their community, working with the Living Well Wester Hailes partnership. 

Funded by the Aspiring Communities Fund, which is supported by the European Social Fund and Scottish Government, ‘Tasting Change’ is an exciting project that seeks to respond to local priorities and aspirations in order to support community development and empowerment in Wester Hailes, Edinburgh.  To achieve this, the project will develop and deliver sustainable community-led solutions that tackle deprivation levels and inequalities created by food insecurity.

Tasting Change is being delivered through the Living Well Wester Hailes partnership which includes local organisations, GPs and CEC colleagues. The partners in Tasting Change have signed a consortium agreement that lays out how they will work together across a number of integrated project strands including the Create programme which will be delivered by WHALE Arts.

Working with local people, the Tasting Change project team, and other community partners, the Create Development Worker will be responsible for the development and delivery of activities that connect people creatively with dignified food provision, skills development opportunities and their community.

The Create Development Worker will be a key member of both the WHALE Arts staff team and the multi agency Tasting Change project team.  Excellent communication and a collaborative approach will be central to the success of this innovative role which blends creative programming and community development with project management.

Visit the WHALE Arts website for further information and to find out how to apply. 

Applications should arrive at WHALE Arts Agency no later than 12:00 (midday) on Monday 23rd April. Interviews will be held Monday 30th April.


The post Opportunity: Create Development Worker with WHALE Arts 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

Open Call: Trestle Gallery, Small Works 2018

Trestle Gallery Seeks Applicants for Small Works 2018, Curated by Sharon Louden

Application Deadline: May 1st, 2018
Show Dates: July 26th – August 29nd, 2018

Submission Guidelines: 

– Pieces may be no bigger than 12″ on longest side – we accept 2D and 3D framed and unframed works of all media. If a work is framed, the frame can be a maximum of 2″ larger than the piece itself, making the max dimension 14″
– You may submit up to 3 works for consideration
– Images must be in JPEG format, 1000 pixels on longest side
– CV and Statement must be submitted in PDF form

Submit Online: https://trestlegallery.submittable.com/submit/91991/small-works-2018

Contact: trestle@brooklynartspace.org

___________________________

About the Curator:

Sharon M. Louden is an artist, educator, advocate for artists, and editor of the Living and Sustaining a Creative Life series of books.
Louden graduated with a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicagoand an MFA from Yale University School of Art. Her work has been exhibited in numerous venues including the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, the Drawing Center, Carnegie Mellon University, Weisman Art Museum, National Gallery of Art, Birmingham Museum of Art, Weatherspoon Art Museum and the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art.
Louden’s work is held in major public and private collections including the Whitney Museum of American Art, National Gallery of Art, Neuberger Museum of Art, Arkansas Arts Center, Yale University Art Gallery, Weatherspoon Art Museum, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, among others.

Image Credit: Ahn Hyun Jung, “Cranky and Grumpy”, 2017, Wood, 2.75 x 2.5 x 1.25″


Trestle is a 501c3 non-profit contemporary art space located in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, that was established in 2012 in Gowanus, Brooklyn. Our mission is to foster creativity and community by offering exhibition, education, and networking opportunities for contemporary artists and curators. We provide a place for creative people to focus on the development of their art and their career. Our mission is carried out through four core programs: Contemporary Exhibitions, Professional Development, Community Classes, and Residencies.

Why Do Women Climate More Than Men?

This post comes from the Artists and Climate Change Blog

I have been doing work at the intersection of arts and climate change for over a decade, and though I have no scientific data to back what I’m about to say, I have observed that women climate much more than men—that is to say, this particular intersection is overwhelmingly female. I have found this to be true again and again, whether I’m leading workshops, commissioning playwrights, or publishing essays by artists who engage with the issue. As soon as you say “arts” and “climate change” in the same sentence, the traditional male/female ratio gets reversed.

In a world where we have to fight tooth and nail for equal representation, how did women manage to claim a space, let alone that space, for themselves? Although this state of affairs seems to be true in all of the arts, including the theatre, it is certainly not true in the sciences. According to the National Girls Collaborative Project, women make up only 29 percent of the science and engineering workforce. And my own unscientific observations, based on who I meet at universities and climate change conferences, confirm that there are far more male climate scientists than female. So, what is it about the intersection of arts and climate change that attracts women, or, at the very least, that hasn’t caught most men’s attention yet?

Gaia. 8838: Tellus. Roman relief, 13–9 BC. Marble, Ara Pacis. Royal Cast Collection, Copenhagen.

Since we are the primary caretakers of children, I suppose it follows that we would be the primary caretakers of the planet. How we bond with our offspring must be similar to how we bond with nature and our environment. In almost all cultures Mother Earth is female so there is clearly a deep-rooted connection; think of Gaia (Greek), Pachamama (Inca), Jörð (Norse). Not to mention the countless female deities associated with nature such as goddesses of water, wild animals, mountains, forests, etc. But while this reasoning may be partly true, I hesitate to see it as absolute and reinforce traditional gender roles. If the nurturing impulse was the sole driving force, we would be a majority in more than one discipline that has climate change as its primary focus.

Could this gender imbalance be a function of the deeply entrenched inequalities in the arts, which keep women in the margin, away from economically viable opportunities and the eyes of the public? Used to being cut off from the mainstream, we may be turning to where we feel we can have an impact. With climate change being so politically charged, small and nontraditional venues are more likely to engage with it than large institutions. Those venues are also more likely to have a woman at the helm, which, in turn, increases the chances of women artists working there. Since commercial success is mostly inaccessible to us, maybe we choose to focus on issues that are personally meaningful rather than financially rewarding.

In addition, according to UN Women, climate-induced disasters exacerbate entrenched gender inequalities. Or, as the title of a WomenWatch article aptly describes it, The Threats of Climate Change are not Gender-Neutral. In impoverished countries, women and girls face greater health and safety risks as resources become scarce or compromised, and they are more likely to become victims of gender violence. Women also have less access to decision-making and economic assets that may mitigate the effects of climate change. Female artists may be especially attuned to this reality and understand the need to address climate change as an imperative to protect ourselves.

I brought up this question of gender in relation to arts and climate change in a few conversations recently to see if anyone had any insight. A colleague from the UK cited women’s ability to collaborate as a possible factor influencing female artists’ decisions to engage this issue. Climate change mitigation and adaptation requires collaborative problem-solving across many sectors and an ability to bring multiple partners together. Since women show greater proficiency in this skill than men, she posited, wouldn’t they naturally gravitate toward a field that requires working across disciplines and establishing successful collaborations? I did a bit of research to see if there was data out there that supported this claim. This is what I found:

According to an article from BBC News, a worldwide study conducted in schools shows that girls outperform boys at collaborative problem solving. Girls “show more positive attitudes towards relationships, meaning that they tend to be more interested in others’ opinions and want others to succeed.” Another study done by the School of Management at the University of Buffalo reveals that “when male-dominated work groups foster collaboration and communication, it’s women who are more likely to emerge as leaders.” Because groups tend to choose leaders who exemplify their values, when those values include communication and increased interactions between members, women have a leadership advantage.

Women in Uganda carrying water from a shallow well in plastic jerricans. Photo from waterjournalistsafrica.com.

Further research produced another interesting article published by Stanford Medicine about the cognitive differences between men’s and women’s brains. Women retain stronger, more vivid memories of emotional events than men do. They also recall emotional memories more quickly, and the ones they recall are richer and more intense. As a warning not to jump to easy conclusions though, the Stanford article concludes: “Trying to assign exact percentages to the relative contributions of ‘culture’ versus ‘biology’ to the behavior of free-living human individuals in a complex social environment is tough at best. … The role of culture is not zero. The role of biology is not zero.”

In light of these studies, it seems reasonable to say that women tend to work more collaboratively than men, and that this propensity may be a factor in why female artists are taking on climate change in greater number than their male counterparts who are better equipped at solving problems alone. And if women do, in fact, have stronger and more vivid memories of emotional events then men do, and recall them more quickly and intensely, wouldn’t it be harder for us to turn away from the tragedies brought on by climate change? Wouldn’t we feel compelled to expose them in every way we can and work to prevent more from happening?

All of this suggests that there isn’t one reason but, more likely, multiple reasons why women climate more than men. And these reasons are both internal and external. They have to do with who we are biologically, how our genetic makeup predisposes us to seek or excel at certain things, and how we relate to our life circumstances and exist in a world where our chosen roles are affirmed or denied by our communities.

OK. This is perfectly logical, but entirely uninspiring. Let’s try something more radical.

Is it possible that female artists are intuiting the world’s need for certain skills, know that they are ours to offer, and actively seeking ways to use these skills in service of a different future? Are we slowly establishing ourselves as leaders by using the arts, a fairly benign point of entry, to show what is possible? Are we engaging with climate change because it’s urgent, yes, but also because it’s the most obvious leverage point in creating a more gender-balanced world?

Forgive me for waxing poetic here but I do believe there is truth to the saying “The Future is Female.” It’s no coincidence that the #MeToo movement is happening in this very moment and that women all over the world are taking to the streets. Yes, it took a corrupt, racist, misogynist, narcissistic, and generally disgusting president in the United States to galvanize us, but the abuses perpetrated against women—whether sexual or other—are no different from the abuses perpetrated against our planet.

Luckily, the systems that have made those abuses possible are starting to crack. And we saw what happened last summer when a crack in the Larson C ice shelf grew to the point where an iceberg the size of Delawareweighing one trillion tons, broke free from the Antarctic continent. Cracks are to be taken seriously. If you keep chipping at them, they invariably turn into earth-shattering events.

Perhaps after millennia, the cosmic pendulum is finally swinging back toward the feminine. Thanks to women everywhere, perhaps the yin is finally reasserting itself and reclaiming its share stolen by the yang. And perhaps just like our days running our economy on fossil fuel are numbered, our time running the world on testosterone is over.

And to the men out there who may be wondering what’s going on, I say: Join us! We need you! We need you in the #MeToo movement. We need you in the environmental movement. We need you making deep, challenging, beautiful, provocative, earth-shattering work at the intersection of arts and climate change so we can all find our way forward together. A number of your peers—brave male artists, including wonderful theatre artists—are already doing this work, but we need more. And don’t be mistaken: this is not about hugging trees (though if you’ve never hugged a tree, I highly recommend it). This is about figuring out whether we have it in us, as a species, to continue living on this earth with justice and integrity.

Before I sign off, here’s a last bit of statistics from the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs:

The evidence is clear: wherever women take part in a peace process, peace lasts longer. In fact, a peace agreement, which includes women, is 35 percent more likely to last at least fifteen years. And without the solid foundation of peace, development is doomed to be unstable and unsustainable.

Climate change. Justice. Peace. We got it.

Now, Ladies. Let’s climate some more, shall we?

______________________________

Chantal Bilodeau is a playwright and translator whose work focuses on the intersection of science, policy, art, and climate change. She is the Artistic Director of The Arctic Cycle – an organization created to support the writing, development and production of eight plays that look at the social and environmental changes taking place in the eight countries of the Arctic – and the founder of the blog and international network Artists & Climate Change. She is a co-organizer of Climate Change Theatre Action, a worldwide series of readings and performances of short climate change plays presented in support of the United Nations COP meetings.


 

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

Art as Collision

This post comes from the Artists and Climate Change Blog

Despite being more connected than we ever have been, today’s world is, arguably, more fragmented than it has been since we entered the era of the global village. We can track the shift: think Brexit, Trump, and the rising of imaginary walls in what seems like a regression to Cold War-era isolationism.

But let’s not be too quick to become despondent. I believe the fault lines we’re seeing emerge are probably the last hurrah of old, staid ways of thinking. Traditional power is in a corner, and right now it happens to be screaming the loudest. The more people feel their way of life (or thinking) is under threat, the more likely they are to retreat into silos where all ideas are familiar and comfortable.

That’s where the artist comes in: to challenge, to disrupt, to interrogate what makes people uncomfortable, and push us towards understanding ourselves and the world more fully. Good art is often not born out of comfortable spaces, but comes from conflict and collision – and it’s not until there’s difference that people collide. Through collision there’s an exchange of ideas and perspectives, and through that exchange, if those involved are really listening and applying themselves, art, as well as the acknowledgement of a shared humanity and connection to the planet we live on.

“Every culture has its origins in hybridization, interaction, confrontation. In isolation, by contrast, civilization dies out. The experience of the other is the secret to change,” writes Octavio Paz in an essay on art and culture.

Young people today feel less defined by national borders, and increasingly see themselves as global citizens. Modern technology and media connect us all. We are increasingly becoming aware of “the other,” of how their differences manifest in their perspectives, and we are learning to listen, sometimes readily, sometimes with more resistance. If we accept our role as artists, and take responsibility for creating art that grasps at truth, we can tap into the collision and the difference, experience others, and challenge each other, as well as our audiences. Art is, after all, confrontation. We can become a collective made up of a kaleidoscope of culture that pushes new modes of expression.

But to do this, we need to think outside the box. We need to go outside the box if we are to collide. We need to be curious, raise questions, and be understanding, even if we don’t find the answers that we sought. We need to think differently about booking art, making it, marketing it, curating it and selling it. We need to dismantle traditional ways of thinking to build newer, more nimble models that adapt to the world’s changing dynamics and reflect our myriad of truths, through our practices and experiences.

This work is already happening in museums, in art centers, in hospitals, in academia, in businesses. It’s happening everywhere, in all the spaces in which there’s tension, where we push ourselves in new and potentially unknown and brave directions. I like to call our generation, especially the youth of today, the “slash” (/) generation because we’re not afraid to throw caution to the wind and try our hands at new and exciting things. Today’s artists, myself included, wear many different hats.

In addition to my roles as theatremaker, educator, and international arts advocate/consultant, and underpinning all of them, I’m a connector. I’m curious about people and I encourage them to be curious about one another. I’m fortunate enough to be able to facilitate the exchange of ideas and practices through programming conferences and hosting long tables where the art “elite” sit alongside young cultural innovators. These forums are vital sites for disruption because artists are the real cultural diplomats, as their creations speak to the people, their audiences, the loudest, and make further linkages possible.

Too often I hear people say they “can’t.” “How?” they ask. They get so bogged down by that question that they don’t even think about the what. They don’t realize that the closer they get to the what, the clearer it becomes, the more the question of how begins to fall away. When I hear an artist say, “I can’t,” I ask: “How do you work in a field of imagination, of dreams, of access, and say it cannot be done? You are here, in this field where we have the privilege of engaging with ideas and expression, and with that, comes responsibility. You must speak your truth. You are a thought leader. Discover what you have to offer, acknowledge it, and let it radiate from you. You’re here. You have power. You’re in a position to make a difference and create change.”

There’s a dire need in art, and the world today, for voices to speak, limbs to tweak, brushes to streak, from a new, diverse generation of artists. The current fragmented world this generation grows up in, just like others before, is a particularly fertile ground for the creation of art. Increasingly, our communities are rich with people from all walks of life. It’s an ideal space for collision, for learning, for artistic expression. Let us not pigeonhole what culture should be. Let us not build walls around our traditions. Instead, let’s allow ourselves to engage and collide with all the “others” around us, and march to the tune of a future that’s pregnant with potential. Let’s tap into our moment of political and ideological fission to create art that does not shy away from difference or shirk uncomfortable questions. Engage. Learn. Create. The world is our audience…as well as our teacher.

(Images: I-DENT-I-TIES, a large-scale interdisciplinary performance project with 50 students of the University of the Free State Qwa Qwa Campus, South Africa. Creative Team: Djana Covic, Nico de Rooij, and Erwin Maas.)

______________________________

Erwin Maas is a New York based theatremaker, educator and international arts advocate from the Netherlands. He has worked extensively in Australia, Europe, South Africa and USA. In New York, he directs numerous productions Off Broadway, Off Off Broadway as well as Site Specific. Maas is the Artistic Director of the International Society for Performing Arts (ISPA), Artistic Associate & Director of the Fellowship Program for the International Performing Arts for Youth (IPAY), Co-founding Director of the Pan-African Creative Exchange (PACE), and the Programming Director for the Off Broadway Origin Theatre Company


 

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

Necessary Recalibration

This post comes from the Artists and Climate Change Blog

I have travelled to many out-of-the-way places but the Antarctic landscape, or my imagined Antarctica, has been on my mind for as long as I can remember. It was like a mythical place that was rumored to be real. I visited Antarctica two years ago in January and feel like a part of me is still there.

Before leaving I read several books, but nothing could have prepared me for what I experienced while there. My initial impression was one of suspended belief – I had no point of reference for what I was seeing, making it impossible to take in. The scene from the ship felt like a backdrop for a movie or a play. When I finally kayaked and spent time with the landscape, I began to absorb what I was seeing and close the physical and mental distance I felt at first; I had to touch it to believe it was real. Because Antarctica is so quiet and the color palette limited to mostly grays, blues, and white, I could take in more than usual: limited distractions amplified my perceptions. Time felt suspended and this slowed-down quality allowed for increased sensitivity to my surroundings. Even my ability to listen seemed more acute. Sounds consisted of the ocean, wind, creaking glaciers, penguins, and whales blowing and breaching. Calving glaciers sounded like cannons going off – it was beautiful and terrifying and more alive than any landscape I have visited. The poet John O’Donohue wrote: “the landscape is not just matter but it is as alive as you.” The place has a palpable power that is indescribable.

Real Blue, 2017. Pigment print with gouache, graphite, and charcoal.

Antarctica is enormous in every way and the idea of “capturing” it with anything, including a camera, seemed ridiculous and not something I was capable of. I shot a lot of footage not knowing what I was going to do with it. After I got back, it took a year before I looked at the images. Instead, I researched and read to try to make sense of my intense response and the trip’s lingering resonance. Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s essay  “Eye and Mind” was interesting and helpful. He writes about the world and the body being made of the same “stuff” and the “undividedness” of things. I read about “jouissance” from the perspective of Hélène Cixous and gained further insight from Donna Haraway’s brilliant book Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene. These readings and more helped me understand the recalibration that occurred while I was in Antarctica. I realized I have always been uncomfortable with our culture built upon a platform of human exceptionalism. I experienced a place as alive and deserving of respect as any human being.

Blue Flow, 2017. Pigment print with ink and graphite.

I decided to document the feeling of Antarctica and continue to learn from it in my studio. I traced the architecture of the icebergs and glaciers with graphite and charcoal as a way of remembering the nuances of its form. I emphasized certain remarkable traits such as the impossible neon blue color as well as the millions of variations of blue. While studying my photographic documentation, I tried to mimic Antarctica’s palette and made almost invisible markings on the photographs with ink, charcoal, graphite, and gouache. When printing the final pieces, I played with the density of the photograph only to emphasize certain elements that I remembered but worried were easy to overlook at the reduced scale. I hope the viewer who hasn’t been to Antarctica might experience some of what I experienced. I would love to have the opportunity to take this work outside of art venues to the broader population, and share these observations with as many people as possible. The more the human population embraces the Earth as a companion needing our care, and not as a supply house and a sewer, the better our chances of stopping the destruction.

Lone Glow, 2017. Pigment print with charcoal and ink.

I’m still working on the Antarctica images in the studio and don’t know when I’ll move on to another body of work. I’ve never worked on a particular series this long but I can’t seem to let go. Since Antarctica is melting and could disappear soon, it’s difficult to stop. The government is working against us and Trump has no interest in accepting climate change or in protecting the environment. I feel committed to Antarctica as both a powerful teacher and a critical place that must survive if we are to maintain a thriving world.

Iceberg Study #2, 2017. Pigment print with gouache and graphite.

(Top image: Electric, 2018. Pigment print with ink and graphite.)

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Liza Ryan uses her work in photography, video and mixed media to explore themes such as the presentation and disruption of the visual narrative; the fluid psychological relationship between real and imagined spaces; processes of release, dispersal, and disappearance; and the intimate, undeniable connection between humans and the natural world.  Travel and extensive multi-disciplinary research are integral to her practice. Her work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally. She is represented by Kayne Griffin Corcoran Gallery in Los Angeles.


 

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

Opportunity: Green stories short story competition

This post comes from Creative Carbon Scotland

Writing a better future: writing competition

Enter a free writing competition to solicit short stories (<3500 words) set within a sustainable society. There are prizes and opportunities for publication, and the deadline is 19th April 2018. Details are on www.greenstories.org.uk.

Why we are doing this

We are currently living beyond our means – if everyone lived as we do in the UK we’d need 3 planets, so the aim of sustainable development is to find ways of living where there is less wasteful distribution of resources. We need to work out ways that we can all have what we need using fewer resources and be just as happy. The necessary societal transformations to sustainable societies require profound systemic changes across social, cultural, economic, environmental, political and technological domains. But to imagine how all aspects can come together within one society is more the domain of creative fiction. Therefore this competition aims to harness the creative visions of writers to imagine sustainable societies.

Why we ask for a positive view

Stories are powerful means of inspiring positive change. The Black Mirror series reflects anxieties about our future, and climate change discourse further creates fear and avoidance. What we really need are some positive visions that allow potentially transformative solutions to be showcased and played out. The difficulty in promoting sustainable behaviours is that they are often seen negatively as ‘doing without’ and the typical fear-based discourse can turn people off. This matters as in turn, political parties tend not to see environmental issues as ‘vote winners’ which limits potential for green policy making.

Just as some books/films product place products, we aim to ‘product place’ sustainable attitudes behaviours products and policies. The story doesn’t have to be specifically about climate change or catastrophic shortages, it can be any kind of genre – rom com, crime drama, legal drama, children’s book, sci fi etc. as long as it showcases sustainable technologies, practices, products or ideas in the background. Or another acceptable approach could be to focus on characters. Currently characters in fiction who are green/ethical are often portrayed as priggish or aggressive, we’d like to see attractive characters behaving in sustainable ways.

Future competitions

This is a small-scale competition just asking for short stories. But the hope is to run a competition on a much larger scale next year, with more formats (film, screenplays, radio plays, tv series, full-length novels etc.) and larger prizes and media involvement. We hope this will create a cultural body of work showcasing sustainable solutions. Entering this competition will not affect entry into the follow-up competition.



The post Opportunity: Green stories short story competition 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