Monthly Archives: July 2019

An Interview with Artist Sabrina Diaz

by Amy Brady

This month I have for you a great interview with Sabrina Diaz, a Miami-based artist who works only with found and donated materials to create her art. (She discusses why in our interview below.) She’s also a member of Fempower, an artist collective led by queer, black, and brown artists whose work focuses on systemic oppression – including the ways in which climate change makes life worse for the world’s most vulnerable.

Your work incorporates all kinds of materials, both man-made and natural. Do you have a favorite material to work with? Do you have a favorite medium to work in?

I didn’t plan it, but textile and fabrics have revealed themselves as themes in my work. I’ve used clothing, bed sheets, and scrap fabric that were all donated to me to make rope, giant rag dolls, and macramé nets. It really has proven itself to be a mutable material. I always add an earthly element like sand, leaves, or dirt to my pieces as well. Earth acts as a multifaceted symbol, but one message that has remained consistent in every piece – and I hope resonates – is the feeling of shared healing and home.

You don’t purchase any of the materials you use in your work. Why is that?

Many reasons, but the main reason is that I’ve been a student my whole life, have had a minimum of two jobs since I started working and have been paying off debt, mostly medical, and credit cards, since I was 18. Purchasing supplies often means contributing to that debt. That being said, I have to acknowledge that I have one of the more privileged circumstances. As an able-bodied, white-Latina, I’ve always had a job, a place to sleep, and a support system. My position is often seen as a best-case scenario while living in the US, a world powerhouse, but such an equation just doesn’t make sense to me. I’m trying to imagine a world past capitalism, which specifically thrives on exploitation. Making art that I feel stands in opposition of our current system means challenging myself to work outside of its means of control. Most often that means reaching out to my community for resources and skills.

We live in a culture that glamorizes resource hoarding for the ego stroke that is “doing things on your own” but that’s the biggest illusion. I literally wouldn’t have been able to make anything without the support of those who contribute material, ideologies, or skill sets. Our interdependence becomes more apparent through this process. The purchasing of a product or service allows you to be disconnected from the labor that goes into it by real people whose livelihoods are reduced to the value of these items. Connecting with friends and strangers reminds me that our survival will depend on each other, and my art-making allows me to engage with that truth more directly by activating communal skill sharing.

Tensión Palpable is a sculpture made of re-purposed fabric and tree trunk. This piece stands in solidarity with the people of Puerto Rico post-hurricane Maria. More than a year later, the island continues to struggle and overcome. The piece re-imagines the tension between Mother Earth and the people of Puerto Rico, a US occupation. The colors of the fabric create a confusable interplay between the Puerto Rican and American flags. Its torn state reflects the strain of Puerto Rican identity in the midst of crisis. The interlaced fabric propping up the log imitates the people of PR tending to their land and healing communally.” —Sabrina Diaz

What first drew you to the subject of climate disaster, and why do you pursue it in your art?

I’ve lived in Miami my entire life, and we see better than anyone else anywhere in the US the effects of the climate crisis. I became unhealthily obsessed with the life changes I could make as an individual to contribute less to climate disaster and remember losing my mind on social media one day about the water crisis when Niki Franco, Fempower political educator and friend, recommended I read Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine. That’s when I started to understand that my efforts were futile if I didn’t begin to combat the wealthy people not only contributing to climate disaster on a massive scale but using it as a tool against marginalized communities.

As summers become unbearably hot and sea levels become noticeably higher, the poorest in Miami are affected first through climate gentrification, increased health problems due to longer heat waves, and more powerful hurricanes, which put those living on the street and in less stable houses at higher risks of injury or death. Maintaining a livable environment on Earth sounds like a cause we should all be able to get behind but we have to start speaking truth to the elite that are trying to get rich at our expense. My art ultimately points the finger of climate disaster at the powers that be, those who consistently put profit over people.

Tell us about the art collective you’re a part of. What are their goals, and how does your art connect to the other work they’re creating?

Fempower is a queer, black and brown-led artist collective that fights against systematic oppression by centering the needs of the most vulnerable. Through community education, activism, art, music, healing and shared joy, we are changing Miami’s political landscape. We have free programming like the Femme Fairy garden, which brings people together to tend to the Earth and learn environmentalism, herbalism, and activism through self-sustaining farming practices. Liberation book club provides free education on topics like decolonization, abolition, eroticism, and environmental justice. The knowledge learned in Fempower spaces has strategically been inaccessible by other means because it gives power back to the people: Fempower’s ultimate goal. Much of the book club readings have sparked the concepts behind my work. I attempt to create a visual language that’s as critical as the theory we’re learning and can act as an alternative method of seed-spreading.

What do you hope viewers take away from your art?

I’ve been stunted recently, because I’ve been trying to find ways to send messages of hope. I think hope gets people closer to imagining something new. Until then, I want to leave people feeling uncomfortably burdened. My pieces are bigger in scale and normally heavy for that reason – I want people to feel crushed by the weight of knowing until that weight breaks their apathetic facade. We need people to start deeply caring for each other.

When it comes to climate change, are you hopeful for the future?

Being active in my community keeps me hopeful. I think being unconditionally supported eventually makes you a more supportive person. Over all, I stay grounded knowing that if we do die off, Earth lives on, flourishing – I’ll stay fighting until then.

(Top image: Photo by Joice Gonzalez. Instagram handle: @joicegonz.)

This article is part of the Climate Art Interviews series. It was originally published in Amy Brady’s “Burning Worlds” newsletter. Subscribe to get Amy’s newsletter delivered straight to your inbox.

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Amy Brady is the Deputy Publisher of Guernica magazine and Senior Editor of the Chicago Review of Books. Her writing about art, culture, and climate has appeared in the Village Voice, the Los Angeles TimesPacific Standard, the New Republic, and other places. She is also the editor of the monthly newsletter “Burning Worlds,” which explores how artists and writers are thinking about climate change. She holds a PHD in English and is the recipient of a CLIR/Mellon Library of Congress Fellowship. Read more of her work at AmyBradyWrites.com and follow her on Twitter at @ingredient_x.

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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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Green Arts Competition: Winner Announced!

This spring we hosted a competition for Green Arts Initiative members to find creative, innovative and exciting idea springing up across the Green Arts community. Now we’re revealing our community winner!

The Competition

Earlier this year, Creative Carbon Scotland was a runner-up in the Sustrans Scotland ‘ Scottish Workplace Journey Challenge‘, coming runner-up in the category of organisations with less than 20 employees. As a runner-up, we won the opportunity to donate £50 to a charity of our choice! We discussed it as team, and decided we wanted to use the donation to help support the sustainability work of the cultural sector.

We decided to run a small competition for the members of our Green Arts Initiative – all Scottish-based cultural organisations committed to reducing their environmental impact – asking for submissions of ideas which tackled environmental sustainability in a small or a big way!

The Winning Idea

We had some really interesting and innovation entries, but after a serious deliberation process in the Creative Carbon Scotland office (voting rounds, people defending their favourite submissions – it was almost a European election!) it was Lisa, Green Champion at The Beacon Arts Centre, whose idea triumphed:

“The Beacon are looking for some seed-funding, quite literally! We want to buy bean seeds to supply to local schools, encouraging them to participate in a green class project. Once the seedlings have grown into ‘mini beanstalks’, we will host a green arts workshop and showcase for all local schools involved at the end of the year, in-line with our panto, Jack & the Beanstalk!”

Although it was a close call, there were a few reasons why we chose this idea from those submitted:

  • We liked that their green work was integrated into their creative programme: identifying green opportunities within regular or special programming is a great way to align sustainability with the identity and activity of your organisation!
  • We thought it was an innovative way to engage audiences: combining schools engagement with activities such as growing and the concepts behind the production and the process sounded like fun! Public-facing initiatives have the potential to impact our wider society’s approach to climate change.
  • We thought it was something which could inspire others: although each organisation is distinct, many of the planning cycles and traditional seasonal events (e.g. the panto) are common the cultural sector, or sub-sectors. Thinking ahead and seeing where green arts can fit in in the coming months and year is a great way to make it ‘green business as usual’.

You can keep up to date with the progress of the show on the Beacon’s website.

Thank you to all those Green Arts members and Green Champions to entered the competition! There was such a range of fantastic ideas, and it was hard to choose. We’ll be in touch if we think there are other ways we can help to make them a reality.

Our Green Arts InitiativeThe Green Arts Initiative 6

The Green Arts Initiative is a networked community of practice, made up of over 225 cultural organisations in Scotland committed to reducing their environmental impact. Free to join, the community is working on everything from reducing their carbon emissions, to engaging staff, to producing artistic work that tackles climate change head-on.

We provide monthly updates for members on the news, events and opportunities which support their work as Green Champions, as well as programming our annual Green Arts Conference (this year on Tuesday 8 October 2019) and providing year-round advice. Find out more (and join!) on our Green Arts Initiative project page.

The post Green Arts Competition: Winner Announced! appeared first on Creative Carbon Scotland.

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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.

Go to Creative Carbon Scotland

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Using Comedy to Unpack Climate Justice

by Peterson Toscano

Some people in the US believe there is a conflict between their faith and accepting the reality of climate change. They look to the Bible to give them guidance and inspiration. After chatting with Evangelical Christians about the question, What Does The Bible Say About Climate Change? I decided to revisit a popular Bible story and give it a climate twist.

Character Tony Buffusio from the Bronx, NY tells the story of Joseph in the book of Genesis. Joseph lives in Egypt during a time of temporary regional shifts in the climate. Not only does he predict changes in weather patterns, he develops a plan for how to look after the people. As a Bible scholar, I have a passion for looking after the welfare of people who are affected by extreme weather events.

Coming up next month,  circus artist Eliana Dunlap grapples with how to do circus in a time of climate change. She sees circus with its high stakes and need for cooperation as the perfect metaphor for climate change and climate action.

If you like what you hear, you can listen to full episodes of Citizens’ Climate Radio on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, Podbean, Northern Spirit Radio, Google Play, PlayerFM, and TuneIn Radio. Also, feel free to connect with other listeners, suggest program ideas, and respond to programs in the Citizens’ Climate Radio Facebook group or on Twitter at @CitizensCRadio.

This article is part of The Art House series.

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As host of Citizens’ Climate Radio, Peterson Toscano regularly features artists who address climate change in their work. The Art House section of his program includes singer/songwriters, visual artists, comics, creative writers, and playwrights. Through a collaboration with Artists and Climate Change and Citizens’ Climate Education, each month Peterson reissues The Art House for this blog. If you have an idea for The Art House, contact Peterson: radio @ citizensclimatelobby.org

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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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Towards a Sustainable Aesthetic Theory: Climate and Rasa

by Erin Mee 

photo: Ammanur Madhava Chakyar in a kutiyattam performance of Bali Vadham. Photo by Erin B Mee.

If theatre is going to fundamentally change the way we think about climate change – and the way we relate to our planet and other species on it – we must change the way we make theatre so that it embodies new ways of sustainable thinking. Aesthetic theories reflect and shape ways of thinking, being, and interacting. Aesthetic theories are not, then, politically neutral; they require particular dramaturgical structures that are in turn political. In order to make theatre that embodies a politics of sustainability, I suggest we replace the aesthetic theory of catharsis – and all it implies and entails – with the Sanskrit aesthetic theory of rasa.

The term “rasa” has been variously translated as juice, flavor, taste, extract, and essence. According to The Nātyashāstra (The Science of Drama), the Sanskrit aesthetic treatise attributed to Bharata, rasa is the “aesthetic flavor or sentiment” savored in and through performance. It’s the mixing of different emotions and feelings that arise from different situations, which, when expressed through the performer, lead to an experience, or “taste” – the rasa – that is relished, or “digested,” by the partaker.

The metaphor is important: this relishing is multisensory in that taste always involves touch and smell, and it is internal and embodied: to taste something you have to put it in your body-mouth – or at least on your tongue. Eventually, as you digest, what you put in your mouth becomes part of you. So the metaphor of “tasting” performance posits aesthetic experience as interactive, embodied, sensual, tactile, multisensory, internal, and experiential. It allows us to think about becoming one with what is around us, with our experiences, rather than remaining separate. If we want to save the planet, this cognitive shift is crucial, and rasa can help us make it.

Like rasa, Aristotle’s theory of catharsis, which takes place in the teatron, or place of seeing, is one of emotional response; productions evoke this reaction in spectators. Unlike rasa, though, which asks partakers to relish emotion, catharsis is designed to purge excess emotion (the ancient Greeks privileged moderation). As noted classicist Edith Hall points out in her book Aristotle’s Way:

Emotions pre-exist in people, but they can be stimulated by an external force in a way that makes them susceptible to katharsis. An externally applied ‘treatment’ (music [or theatre]) actually creates a homeopathic response within the listeners [spectators], in that the arousal of a strong emotion to which they are predisposed leads to a lessening of the grip which that emotion has on them.

The central idea of catharsis – and productions that have been influenced by catharsis and/or embrace catharsis as a central goal – is that it “cures” excess emotion. Catharsis devalues emotion by asking us to experience it only in moderation – and to purge, or remove, any excess. It also asks us to maintain a distance between ourselves and that which we encounter and experience. This is the mindset that theatre needs to address, but before it can address it through content, theatre needs to address the political implications of its aesthetics.

The central metaphor of catharsis (sight) distances us from the world around us; that of rasa (taste) connects us to it. Words and metaphors are powerful because they not only reflect the way we think, they shape it. As catharsis and rasa govern modes of thinking and interacting on stage and in the auditorium, they therefore have implications on the way we interact with each other, with other species, and with the planet itself.

Catharsis demands a linear dramaturgical structure that builds to an ultimate release of tension or excess emotion in the form of a climax: A leads to B, which builds to C, which builds to D, and so on until the climax is reached. A, B, and C are not valued in and of themselves, but for what they add to the build of the linear narrative. Linear narratives also teach us to believe in causality (A causes B, which causes C) and are closely associated with notions of progress. So catharsis asks us to see the timelines of history in terms of progress and causality. Catharsis is also closely associated with agon – conflict, contest, competition. The plot moves forward because two characters enter into conflict with one another; there are winners and losers. All of this to say: catharsis reflects and constitutes notions of progress, linear (rather than cyclical) time, conflict, and dominance. These modes of thinking are detrimental to solving current climate issues, but they are embedded in Aristotelian theatrical structures.

In contradistinction, rasa requires a nonlinear, flexible dramaturgical structure that allows the partaker to linger in and with particular moments and to “wander around,” exploring numerous sensorial stimuli that give rise to emotions that can be savored. Rasa asks the partaker to value tributary streams, stories, and feelings. Rasa depends not on conflict but on association and elaboration. To return to the metaphor of food: an amuse bouche is an experience to relish in and of itself; it is not a prerequisite for the appetizer. Nor is the appetizer a prerequisite for the main course. Although vegetables are often considered to be a prerequisite for dessert, dessert is not the “goal” of a meal. A meal has things that come before and things that come after, and certain tastes complement or interact with each other, but D does not depend on C or B or A. You can still understand and appreciate a main course if you have not had an appetizer; in a non-linear structure, A, B, and C are valued in and of themselves, as a means to an end.

Rasa allows for multiple experiences and interpretations, it eschews causality and linear notions of time and progress. I believe the ways of thinking embedded in the aesthetic theory of rasa can be helpful in rethinking our relationship to the planet and to climate. It can help us think about time as cyclical (like the seasons), relationships that are not based on conflict, and interactions that do not determine winners and losers. If rasa suffuses our theatre, rather than catharsis, it will teach us different modes of interacting with the planet and each other.

For the most part, performances that offer catharsis are viewed on the proscenium stage, where much of the theatre in the United States takes place. This setup invites “the male gaze,” which describes the (male) spectator’s act of looking, or gazing, in order to fulfill his fantasy of controlling the (female) other. Even when the spectator is a woman, performances are constructed, consciously or unconsciously, with the male gaze in mind. The classic statement of the gaze is explored in feminist film theorist Laura Mulvey’s essay “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema.” Mulvey draws on Jacques Lacan’s psychoanalytic theory of identity formation (the mirror phase, when an infant sees themselves in a mirror and is able to ask the question, “Is that image me?”). According to Lacan, the recognition of “myself” by the infant is overlaid with misrecognition and leaves the young person with a fundamental ontological-identity insecurity. It also initiates lifelong scopophilia, or love of looking, where the pleasure in looking “has been split between active/male and passive/female” such that the male look (or gaze) “projects its fantasy onto the female figure,” who becomes a bearer rather than a maker of meaning.

Ammanur Madhava Chakyar in a kutiyattam performance of Bali Vadham. Photo by Erin B Mee.

In Ways of Seeing, art critic and writer John Berger links the male gaze to landscape painting – which allowed land owners to display paintings of the land they owned on their walls to impress their guests – and to the rise of capitalism. He also links the male gaze to the invention of perspective, which puts the human viewer at the center of the world that is viewed, and implies that “man is the measure” and everything is laid out for his viewing pleasure. This creates a human-centric view of the world, and the notion that humans own what they see. Thus, ways of seeing are political. The male gaze, built into the structures of seeing set up by the proscenium, encourages us to see the world as though it is laid out from and for our own perspective, and to use each other for our own benefit. A viewing practice that encourages us to take what we need and discard the rest teaches us a mode of engagement that is not sustainable.

Ways of seeing rasic productions are built on darshan, which in Sanskrit means “seeing.” Darshan refers to the “visual perception of the sacred,” and, more specifically, to the contact between devotee and deity that takes place through the eye. In contradistinction to the male gaze, darshan is an exchange: the devotee goes to see the divine and to be seen by the deity in order to take in a superior perspective – maya, or illusion. In other words, sight becomes insight, a revelation occurs, and the spectator is transformed into a seer.

Most dance-drama in India is performed in the round, or in a three-quarters thrust. Many ritual performances are environmental and/or processional. In these circumstances, the spectators’ gaze cannot be possessive of its “desired object” because there is neither a central place of performance nor a central place from which to view and experience the event. The male gaze – the notion that everything is laid out for the viewing pleasure of the viewer as a commodity – is disabled. Darshan offers a way of seeing and a mode of engagement that is about partnership, about co-creation. No one dominates; it’s about growth. This way of seeing is more useful for theatre that seeks to address the causes of climate change and shift our ways of interacting with our planet.

Catharsis invites a distant, commodified, competitive approach to theatre that allows us to dominate, to take what we want, and to discard the rest. In contradistinction, rasa is a more sustainable approach to theatre, to ways of seeing, to modes of engagement, to each other, and to our planet. Most importantly, it is co-created: it teaches us to work together. If we want to make theatre that is itself sustainable, but that also embodies and teaches us sustainable ways of thinking and being, I urge us to create rasic rather than cathartic theatre.

This article was originally published on HowlRound, a knowledge commons by and for the theatre community, on March 26, 2019.

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Erin B. Mee has directed at the Public Theater, New York Theatre Workshop, SoHo Rep, HERE, The Magic Theatre, and The Guthrie Theater in the United States; and with Sopanam in India. She is the founding artistic director of This Is Not A Theatre Company, for which she directed Pool Play (in a swimming pool), A Serious BanquetReadymade Cabaret, and Ferry Play – a smartphone play for the Staten Island Ferry. She is the author of Theatre of Roots: Redirecting the Modern Indian Stage, co-editor of Antigone on the Contemporary World Stage, co-editor of Modern Asian Theatre and Performance 1900-2000, and has written numerous articles for TDRTheatre JournalAmerican Theatre MagazineSDC, and other journals and books. She is Assistant Professor/Faculty Fellow of Dramatic Literature at NYU. 

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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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Ben’s Strategy Blog: Flight Free

In Ben’s latest strategy blog he uses his experience as a seasoned ‘train-setter’ to look at why, and give practical tips of how, to travel Flight Free.

I pledged to go Flight free 2020 recently – it’s a campaign to get 100,000 people pledging to do the same in the UK and beyond. Creative Carbon Scotland has a general ‘no flight’ policy. Interestingly, ‘flightshame‘ is now so common in Sweden that an orchestra is banning conductors and soloists from travelling by plane to get to them, so we’re not alone. I’ve seldom flown in the last few years so it’s no big deal for me, but people are amazed that you can travel – even live! – without flying. So here are a few thoughts about how to do it. 

Don’t travel at all! 

Of course the first thing to do is question whether you need to travel at all: would a phone call, video conference or email do the trick? Or a holiday nearer to home? Travel wastes lots of time, is tiring, is quite often rather boring and lonely, is never risk-free and is environmentally unfriendly. It may be flattering to be asked to speak at that event or seem crucial to attend that conference, but consider whether it’s really time well spent. We’ve delivered talks by recorded video in the last few months.

There’s a lot of talk about the importance of artists making international connections, but Mozart, Shakespeare and Caravaggio, to name a few dead white men, seemed to do pretty well despite travelling a lot less than we do todayAnd will a holiday including a long trip to Turkey be better than renting a house in the hills or by the coast in Scotland? To coin a phrase, ‘Is your journey really necessary? 

Cost  

Everyone always says that trains are so expensive compared to flying or driving. Well, it’s not necessarily the case. Depending on where you’re going and when, you may need to do a bit more planning, but not always. However, you do need to know some tricks. 

Travelling in the UK, buying a ticket to your final destination can be very pricey but splitting the journey can make it much cheaper. For example, going to my parents’ in Shropshire near Craven Arms always involves a change in Crewe. Advance tickets to Crewe, plus a standard ticket from Crewe to Craven Arms work out much cheaper than a through ticket. Even booking today Thurs 27 June for Monday 1 July, so not far ahead, a through ticket will be £177.45 one way, while booking an Advance Single to Crewe is as cheap as £33 and the ticket from Crewe to Craven Arms is £22.70. It’s worth splashing out on an ‘anytime’ ticket from Crewe, just in case your first train is a bit late, but if you’re happy to take the risk you can go even cheaper and buy another Advance for £15.50. So instead of paying £177.45 you will pay about £50.  

There’s a website https://www.splityourticket.co.uk/ that will do this work for you but it charges a small fee and it’s easy to do yourself: just book the first ticket then most rail company websites invite you to ‘book another ticket’ before you pay, so you get it all in one transaction. By the way, I always use LNER.co.uk to book my tickets as it doesn’t charge fees and is pretty straightforward. All train company websites offer the same trains and same prices (except Raileasy – see Europe below). 

Booking to London needn’t be so pricey either. Edinburgh to London trains booked today to travel on Monday go from £70 upwards for an Advance ticket with city centre to city centre journey times of about 4 ½ hours and trains every 30 minutes. Air travel + getting to the airport + security + boarding + getting out of the airport + getting into town will take you about the same time and at today’s price, Easyjet will cost you £61 at the lowest, flying to Stansted, and you’ll have to pay to get to/from the airport at each end, plus any baggage costs. 

Get a railcard 

If you are travelling in the UK regularly with someone else, or sometimes even for one long journey, get a Two Together Railcard. You don’t even need to be friends! £30 for two for a year gets you 33% off most tickets. You  need to travel together but you don’t have to have the card when you buy, as long as you have it when you travel.

Time – and not wasting it 

By the way, driving to Craven Arms takes about the same time and is maybe 300 miles: at 50 miles a gallon that’s about 30 litres of petrol, say £33. But that doesn’t take into account the wear and tear of your car or the hours of time you’ve wasted. If you’re sharing a car with others it obviously makes it much cheaper (although almost as much of a time-waster). And four people travelling in a small car is actually pretty carbon-efficient, so feel free to do that! 

Europe 

If you’re going further afield to Europe, the website you need is www.seat61.com. This will tell you just about everything you need to know. It’s a bit dense, but it’s worth the read. Choose the country you’re going to and it will tell you about the routes, the timings, the prices and where to buy tickets etc. Most of the information assumes you’re travelling from London, so remember to factor in the Scotland-London trip in times and prices. 

The site for buying tickets to most places is www.loco2.com, but Seat61 may direct you for particular offers to Deutsche Bahn for trips to Germany, or to other operators for night trains etc, so read the details.  

Eurostar, booking alerts and Raileasy 

One thing to remember is that Eurostar tickets can be expensive, especially for trains that weekenders are likely to use, and they go on sale long before most European tickets. You can buy the Eurostar ticket separately early and so cheaply, but the advantage of a through ticket to your final destination is that if your Eurostar (or any other train) is late, you’ll be put on to the next one at no cost, whereas if you have separate tickets they may not be so obliging. Use the ‘booking alert’ system on loco2.com to hear when tickets are available.

If you want to book your European trip but advance tickets for the UK leg aren’t yet available so you can’t get a cheap through ticket, here’s a crucial tip: www.raileasy.co.uk is the only place to sell tickets to ‘London International (CIV)’. What this means is that if your train from Scotland to London is delayed and you miss the Eurostar check in, you’re entitled to get on the next one and any subsequent trains. And similarly you can book from London International (CIV) and your ticket is valid for any train within 24 hours of your arrival on the Eurostar. Prices can be surprisingly good. Raileasy charges a booking fee but it’s worth it as you can book your cheap Eurostar/European tickets early knowing that you’ll be able to book an advance ticket to/from London later on with the confidence that you can manage any delays. 

Stopovers 

One thing to think about is whether it makes sense to do a stopover. When one of the Creative Carbon Scotland team and I had to go to Brussels for our EU project, she stopped over in London and saw an old friend while I went to see some family in Kent and got the Eurostar from Ebbsfleet. We both did a full day’s work on Tuesday, had a good evening and a good sleep and arrived in Brussels on time and relaxed. Colleagues from another Scottish company got up at 3:30am to catch the early flight, slept badly, were knackered at the meeting and had a lot less fun! 

Hotels in London can be awful and expensive but check out the Hub by Premier Inn five minutes’ walk from King’s Cross and 10 from St Pancras International which has nice, modern rooms fairly cheaply and a decent breakfast for £5. And Premier Inn has fairly good environmental credentials, too.  

Sometimes the recommended itineraries on Seat61.com don’t work if you’re coming from Scotland unless you stopover in London, but look at your itinerary and think about stopping in Paris – always cheaper and it has a certain je ne sais quoi, too. Brussels can be pricey, but you can get to Bordeaux, Strasbourg or various other places on the way to points south and east where you can have a good cheap sleep and be on your way the next day. Strasbourg has a cathedral that’s well worth visiting and cheap Ibis hotels right next to the station, Bordeaux is a pleasant place with no end of places to stay and eat: why not enjoy the travelUse Booking.com to find a decent hotel near the station you’re leaving from in the morning and then book the hotel direct if you can – often better prices and better for the hotel.

Caledonian Sleeper and checking in for Eurostar

I used to recommend catching the sleeper to London, but it has become very expensive since it had a makeover:  gone are the happy days of the £19 Bargain Berths! It might be worth it, but I’d check the price of the Hub hotel first. Note that the sleeper usually gets you in by about 7.30, but it can run a bit late so leave a good margin. Check-in for the Eurostar at St Pancras is a good 15 minutes’ walk away from Euston where the sleeper arrives, and you need to leave at least 45 minutes in my experience, preferably a bit longer 

By contrast, King’s Cross, where the East Coast trains arrive, is about two minutes from the Eurostar check-in desks. (Exit at the front of King’s Cross and turn right and head slightly away from the busy Euston Road, cross the smaller road and take the large side entrance into St Pancras International and you’re there.) 

No need to stop 

But you may not have to stop over. Catriona and I went to Dusseldorf in February. The train journey took about 11 ½ hours door to door and it was solid good work/relaxing time: easy connections, good wifi all the way, no hassles. And if you can book in advance it’s not so expensive: booking today, Glasgow to Paris in early September will cost you about £100 city centre to city centre and takes eight hours. Easyjet will cost you a minimum of £54 plus getting to and from the airports etc. It takes two hours in the air, but add another 2 ½ hours at least for checking in etc. And the time will be stressful and wasted hanging around in queues rather than working or relaxing on the train. (Booking today for next week the prices are pretty much the same for train and plane.) 

Of course if you have a railcard it will reduce the price a bit – but it only applies to the UK leg. 

Interrail

One other useful thing to know is that InterRail, that thing you did when you were young and impoverished, has modernised and is now both available  and feasible for all of us. It’s worth looking at the Seat61 InterRail page, as it explains it pretty well, but a few key things to know are:

  • It will cover your journey from within the UK as well as the European bits, but only to the Eurostar and back
  • You will have to pay supplements to go on the Eurostar (£28.50 each way), some high speed trains, sleepers etc, but they generally don’t add up to much and get you the reserved seat
  • The total including supplements may well be cheaper or at least not much more expensive than the point to point tickets, and it gives you more flexibility and allows you to book later
  • You can get passes that cover 3 or 5 days, so they may be good for longer and more complicated journeys, like the ones we’re taking to Sweden in November for our EU project Cultural Adaptations
  • You can get a first class one if it takes your fancy!

So do the calculations and see whether it works out better or more convenient. You could even do a little side trip if you have an extra day of travel free. And let us know: I haven’t actually used an InterRail pass yet, although I think I will in the summer.

Summary 

To sum up, here are a few things to think about: 

Cost 

  • Planning – book early;  
  • Planning – check whether it’s really more expensive  
  • Split tickets if in the UK; use Raileasy if you can book the Eurostar early 
  • Consider all costs: getting to and from airports, baggage 
  • Consider timings – trains may be more frequent so no extra overnights etc 
  • Would an InterRail pass be better value or more convenient for complicated journeys?

Time 

  • Consider all time-costs: getting to and from airports; check in, hanging around uselessly
  • Consider timings – fewer flights so you may need to arrive or leave too early or be hanging around until late 
  • Consider work time – is the time more useful on the train for work/rest/research than on a plane, in airports, in transit, in queues?

And finally, if travelling both ways by train seems too big an ask, why not go one way by train and return by plane for your next trip? You’ll almost halve the carbon emissions and you’ll get the hang of it. Soon you may become an ardent Flight Free Fan like me! 


Flight Free

Flight Free UK is a people-powered campaign which asks people to agree not to fly in the year of 2020 – knowing that 100,000 others have pledged to do the same. It’s about taking collective responsibility to reduce the amount we fly in order to lessen our impact on the planet. If you’re not in the UK you can find campaigns in Sweden, Germany, France, Belgium, Denmark and Canada or start your own!

The post Ben’s Strategy Blog: Flight Free appeared first on Creative Carbon Scotland.

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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.

Go to Creative Carbon Scotland

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Come Together, Right Now…

by Joan Sullivan

In late October 2018, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited the National Gallery of Canada to tour Anthropocene, the international multimedia art exhibit by renowned photographer Edward Burtynsky and filmmakers Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier. After his visit and photo ops, the Prime Minister tweeted earnestly: “We have a responsibility to our kids and their kids to protect our environment. The #Anthropocene exhibit is a stark reminder that the time to act is now.” [Emphasis added.]

The three artists presented the Prime Minister with a special edition of their Anthropocene Project book. In addition to Burtynsky’s hauntingly beautiful photographs of ravaged industrial landscapes, this book contains 11 poems from The Plasticene Suite by the celebrated Canadian poet, novelist and activist Margaret Atwood. A segment from one of these poems should make us all squirm, collectively:

We are a dying symphony.
No bird knows this
But us – we know
What our night magic does.
Our dark night magic.

—Margaret Atwood, The Plasticene Suite

Eight months after Mr. Trudeau toured the Anthropocene exhibit, Canada became the third country (after the UK and Ireland) to declare a national #ClimateEmergency, on June 17, 2019. You’d be forgiven for thinking that maybe, just maybe, a major art exhibit about humanity’s devastating signature on our planet might have influenced government energy policy. Think again.

Less than 24 hours (18 hours and 17 minutes to be exact) after Canada declared a climate emergency, Mr. Trudeau’s cabinet re-approved the expansion of a $5.5 billion USD controversial pipeline that will carry nearly a million barrels of crude oil per day from Alberta’s oil sands to the British Columbia coast for export to Asia. At the same time that Mr. Trudeau made this announcement, Alberta was fighting a 300,000 hectare climate-fueled wildfire, experiencing its driest conditions in 40 years. So it goes.

How did Mr. Trudeau justify expanding a pipeline in the middle of a climate emergency? “We need to create wealth today so we can invest in the future. […] Every dollar the federal government earns from this project will be invested in Canada’s clean energy transition.”

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg spotted the hypocrisy immediately, calling Canada’s decision “shameful” in a tweet the following morning:

One second they declare a #ClimateEmergency and the next second they say yes to expand a pipeline.

This is shameful.
But of course this is not only in Canada, we can unfortunately see the same pattern everywhere…https://t.co/zVbWXnLBSQ

— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) June 19, 2019

It’s not just Canada. The four countries that have, to date, formally declared a #ClimateEmergency – UK, Ireland, Canada and France – collectively provide $27.5 billion USD annually in fossil fuel subsidies for coal, oil and gas. These subsidies involve a variety of tax breaks, financial incentives and support for private – let me repeat that, private – companies exporting abroad.

According to an article in this week’s The Guardian, G20 nations have almost tripled the subsidies they give to coal-fired power plants in recent years, despite having pledged 10 years ago to phase out fossil fuel subsidies. Citing a new study by the Overseas Development Institute, The Guardian’s Damien Carrington quotes Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe saying in September 2018 that “Climate change can be life-threatening to all generations … We must take more robust actions and reduce the use of fossil fuels.” [Emphasis added.] Sound promising? Think again: Japan ranks third among G20 nations with the largest coal subsidies.

No wonder people are losing confidence in elected “leaders.”

I am reminded of Isaac Cordal‘s subversive 2011 installation “Follow the Leaders” in a Berlin puddle which, after going viral on social media, has forever since been referred to as “Politicians Discussing Climate Change.”

As I wrote back in 2014:

I’m willing to bet that Cordal’s photo of a group of his clay businessmen submerged in a Berlin puddle will re-appear and re-appear on Twitter for years if not decades to come. It is a perfect example of the subversive nature of art: how artists must first create friction in order to generate new ways of seeing, understanding. To me, this is climate change art at its finest.

And yet, for all the brilliance and urgency of a Cordal or a Burtynsky, what is the point of “climate change art” if our so-called elected “leaders” effectively ignore it by speaking to us in platitudes?

I realize that not all climate change art is purposeful and/or prescriptive. But I think it is safe to say that the majority of artists grappling with climate change today do hope that their art will effect positive change – whether that means raising awareness, changing attitudes, motivating behavior, inciting action or influencing policy.

But is it possible that climate change art has reached a crossroads? Is it possible that by focusing primarily on dystopic visions of an unlivable planet, climate change art has inadvertently numbed audiences? Is it possible that our images / poetry / music / dance / theatre / films about melting glaciers, rising seas, biodiversity loss, deforestation, drought, coastal erosion and extreme weather events are only preaching to the converted, and no longer resonate with the general public and politicians?

I am beginning to think so. You may not agree; I welcome your comments below.

But if there is one thing we can agree on, please, let it be this: No more images of polar bears stranded on ice floes. We can do better.

“Climate change isn’t about polar bears or the future; it’s about you and me, right here, right now,” explains climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe:

A powerful new book about individuals struggling against overwhelming odds is Richard Powers‘ brilliant The Overstory – winner of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction. Structured like a tree – roots, trunk, canopy, seeds – this epic 500-page story is, at first glance, a passionate paean to trees, described as “the most wondrous products of four billion years of creation.”

This is not our world with trees in it. It’s a world of trees, where humans have just arrived. [. . .] Trees know when we’re close by. The chemistry of their roots and the perfumes their leaves pump out change when we’re near.

—Richard Powers, The Overstory

But beyond the science and wonder of trees, Powers’ The Overstory is also a hymm to collective action. In this fictional tale set in the 1980s, nine disparate characters (each of whom has his/her own “tree story”) are drawn together through collective action at an anti-logging protest camp in the last old-growth forest of the northwestern United States. Not all ends well. Nevertheless, Powers’ hopeful message is that nothing will change until citizens band together for political and systemic change – à la #climatestrike, #FridaysForFuture, or Extinction Rebellion. Waiting passively for politicians to “fix it” for us is futile, as Cordal so cleverly reminds us.

This banding together for collective action is, in my opinion, the best way that artists can “change the narrative” about climate change. As eco-anxiety increases, artists can shift our focus away from dystopic discourse to climate narratives that reduce feelings of isolation and hopelessness, while simultaneously helping audiences visualize a role for themselves through collective action. Amy Brady has written two excellent articles here and here on how a new generation of climate fiction (cli-fi) authors are leading the way “to envision new, more sustainable and compassionate social structures” in which collective action plays a leading role.

The drama, then, lies in the emotional arcs of the characters as they face their lives with alternating hope and despair, knowing that while the future looks bleak, it has yet to be written.

—Amy Brady, Guernica Magazine

In a similar vein, Project Drawdown‘s Paul Hawken said on a recent podcast that “the mindset that will solve the [global warming] problem is collaborative.” [Emphasis added.] In reference to his organization’s best-selling book that ranks the top 100 most substantive solutions to global warming according to their financial, social and environmental benefits, Hawken explained: “[It] is all about narrative, really. It’s not a fear-based book… fear isn’t a good place to start communication. Fear doesn’t work.”

By focusing on solutions that already exist – three of the top 10 solutions involve renewable electricity generation – Project Drawdown is simply “reflecting back to the world what it is already doing.” For those feeling overwhelmed by the negative discourse that dominates our social and mainstream media, focusing on tangible solutions gives agency. The new documentary film 2040, by the Australian filmmaker Damon Garneau, presents a hopeful vision of what the world might look like if we adopted many of Drawdown’s top solutions:

I’ll end here with another plea for collective action from the prodigious Icelandic-Danish artist Olafur Eliasson: “The tools for dealing with our changing climate will have to come from all fields; we all need to work together – scientists, artists, architects, businesses, governments – if we are to avoid the worst effects of climate change.”

P.S. A nod to John Lennon for the title of this post.

(Top image: cellphone image by Joan Sullivan)

This article is part of the Renewable Energy series.

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Joan Sullivan is a Canadian renewable energy photographer. Since 2009, Joan has found her artistic voice on the construction sites of utility-scale wind and solar projects. Her goal is to keep our eyes on the prize – a 100% clean energy economy in our lifetimes. Joan is currently working on a documentary film and book project about Canada’s energy transition. Her renewable energy photographs have been exhibited in group and solo shows in Canada, the UK and Italy. You can find Joan on ElloTwitter and Visura.

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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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News: A Greener Edinburgh International Book Festival in 2019

Edinburgh International Book Festival, a leading member of the Green Arts Initiative, shows how they’re going greener through their new programme and the festival’s operations.

At Edinburgh International Book Festival we are working at reducing our environmental impact, increasing our sustainability and creating a forum for discussion to bring environmental concerns and the climate change debate to a wider public. This year’s programme theme is We Need New Stories, and climate change is one of the many pressing issues that have led us to seek new ideas in a world that requires creative solutions with increasing urgency.

The 2019 Programme

The Fragile Planet is a strand running through the 2019 programme bringing together environment specialists, scientists and activists to ask: how can we avert disaster?

Author and journalist Fred Pearce has been exploring science and environmental issues for two decades and comes to Charlotte Square Gardens to discuss his new book When The Rivers Run Dry, which revolves around the Earth’s water resources. UCL emeritus professor Steve Jones joins us to discuss how crucial our nearest star is to life on Earth through Here Comes the Sun. And award-winning Norwegian professor of Life Sciences, Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson investigates our Earth’s astoundingly fragile ecosystem.

Mary Robinson: Our Children's PlanetAuthors finding new ways to talk about climate change in a series of events presented in an exciting new collaboration with WWF include former President of Ireland Mary Robinson, sustainability expert Mike Berners-Lee and Alex Rogers, a pioneer in marine biology and consultant on BBC’s Blue Planet II.

One of the strand’s major highlights is From Carbon’s Casualties to Climate Solutions, part of the New York Time Debate Series in which Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times photographer Josh Haner comes together with Australian novelist and campaigner Tim Winton and Laura Watts, whose Energy at the End of World offers a way forward through Orkney’s role as a centre for energy innovation.

We also take time to celebrate the wonders of the natural world with writers, including Norwegian explorer Erling KaggeKathleen Jamie who previews her luminous new essay collection Surfacing, master wordsmith Robert Macfarlane takes a lyrical journey into the hidden worlds beneath our feet and artist Amanda Thomson’s first book is a paean to our ways with words about the world.

For younger readers Chris Mould has illustrated a new edition of The Iron ManNicola Davies brings her Country Tales series as well as an event for grown-ups that explores how to Inspire a Generation with Science Books to take action for the planet. Jill Calderpairs her award-winning illustrations with stories and facts from the BBC’s Miranda Krestovnikoff about our blue planet and how to protect it and YA writers Marcus Sedgwick & C A Fletcher introduce ideas about civilisation and its impact on the planet.

On Site in August

We strive to make our Festival Village in Charlotte Square Gardens and the west end of George Street as sustainable as possible. We have extensive recycling facilities and separate 100% of recyclable waste – we have also specially designed child-friendly recycling bins to encourage sustainability from a young age. Our caterers use compostable packaging, plates, cups, glasses and cutlery in all cafes and bars on site, and we have prominent public drinking-water taps across our Festival site to encourage people to use reusable bottles.

All our public and author toilets on site are connected to mains sewerage, avoiding the use of chemicals and waste collection vehicles. Staff uniforms use fairly-traded and, where available, biodegradable materials. In 2018, we introduced e-tickets, a more sustainable alternative to printed tickets. The Book Festival brochure is printed on 100% recycled paper and we actively encourage audiences to recycle their copies or pass them on to a friend.

In Our Offices

We have our own Green Team – a cross-departmental team of staff who champion sustainability throughout the year. They ensure that environmental matters are considered at every stage of activity to help identify where changes can be made, however small, to reduce our impact. We separate all our office recyclable waste too, order milk for the kitchens in glass bottles and reduce paper waste by using an online HR portal and avoiding printing wherever possible. Most recently, the team have been working on creating a transport policy with the aim of reducing the number of domestic and short haul flights taken by our staff to reduce our environmental impact further.

Share your ideas

Have you got ideas for how the Book Festival could reduce it’s impact? We’d love to hear them, simply email admin@edbookfest.co.uk or call us on 0131 718 5666. Tickets for the 2019 Edinburgh International Book Festival are on sale from 8.30am Tuesday 25 June at edbookfest.co.uk

Read more about our organisational environmental work at edbookfest.co.uk/about-us/going-green

The post News: A Greener Edinburgh International Book Festival in 2019 appeared first on Creative Carbon Scotland.

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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.

Go to Creative Carbon Scotland

Powered by WPeMatico

News: An Lanntair Walks to Work for the Environment

An Lanntair’s staff team and friends will be Walking to Work……. a whole 16.5 miles from the Callanish Stones to Stornoway!

The team is getting together to do a Sponsored Walk on Saturday 7th September 2019 – from the incredible Callanish Stones on the West Side of the Isle of Lewis, all the way across the island to Stornoway and An Lanntair! 16.5 miles in total.

An Lanntair’s team is embarking on this marathon challenge to raise money to purchase and install a new Covered Cycle Shelter on the forecourt of An Lanntair in the centre of the town of Stornoway for the public and staff to use.

The organisation has just launched its new organisational Travel Plan to help reduce negative impacts on the environment and climate change. This ambitious Sponsored Walk will help to celebrate this and buy a much-needed Covered Cycle Shelter to support local people and An Lanntair staff to travel into town by bike.

As well as all this, An Lanntair has pledged to reduce its plastic usage and has already stopped stocking plastic straws, cups and water bottles in its cafe bar. Any local business who is interested to join forces and would like to see a copy of An Lanntair’s Travel Plan is welcome to contact its Chief Executive, Elly Fletcher elly@lanntair.com, who would be happy to share all their plans.

Help support An Lanntair’s Team reach its target to install a brand new cycle shelter in Stornoway here: https://www.gofundme.com/an-lanntair-walks-to-work-for-the-environment

The post News: An Lanntair Walks to Work for the Environment appeared first on Creative Carbon Scotland.

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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.

Go to Creative Carbon Scotland

Powered by WPeMatico

Opportunity: Participate in 52 Stitched Stories

A community arts project creating a postcard piece of textile art every week for a year is seeking new communities to participate.

The 52 Stitched Stories project began life on Arran but, very quickly, jumped the water to West Kilbride. Members in each community produce a postcard piece of art work for as many weeks as possible in 2019 as possible. On Arran this is limited to ‘stitched’ work but in West Kilbride all media is included. The participants have monthly meetings to share their work, processes and swap ideas. This month the two groups came together for a fascinating sharing event. The work will be exhibited in the Barony gallery in March 2020. It has already proved to be a remarkable project that is sustaining both individual practice and community bonds. Being part of something bigger has created a feeling of belonging. At sharing meetings it is obvious just how many of the pieces use recycled materials and Upcycling processes and this has been particularly rewarding.

Call for communities to participate

This is a call for new communities who would like to begin their 52 Stitched Stories journey in 2020. We are meeting with interested groups or individuals to support them in their preparation and also looking at new and innovative ways of connecting the communities involved in the project. If you would like to find out more visit our new website or email Fiona at earththreadsuk@gmail.com

The post Opportunity: Participate in 52 Stitched Stories 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

Powered by WPeMatico

Painting the Oceans: All of Them

by Susan Hoffman Fishman

Danielle Eubank is an expedition artist and, as such, has dedicated the last 20 years to traveling and painting the world’s five oceans (Atlantic, Pacific, Arctic, Southern and Indian). Eubank calls her inspiring and ambitious project, One Artist Five Oceans. She models herself on the expedition artists of the past, such as William Hodges, who accompanied Captain Cook on his second voyage to the Pacific Ocean. Just as these earliest artists were the “eyes of the expedition,” the ones who brought back the first images of a new world before photography became the medium of choice, Eubank too has created her own singular portraits of the oceans’ “moods and emotions” for us all to see. Her goal is to encourage people to feel, think about and act on what is happening to the oceans and environment.

1525px-Hodges,_Resolution_and_Adventure_in_Matavai_Bay.jpg
William Hodges, HMS Resolution and HMS Adventure in Matavai Bay, Tahiti, 1776

Origins of the Project

In our recent conversation, Eubank related to me that she started painting water reluctantly. Having grown up near Bodega Bay, California, she had seen her share of seascapes and had turned to painting portraits, landscapes and animals instead. “Besides,” she said,” I felt that water was really hard to depict – it’s constantly moving and how do you draw that in an original way?” In 2001, during a visit to the Doñana National Park in Huelva, Spain, where Eubank had been sketching the dunes for days with her back to the sea, she turned around. Forcing herself to draw the water, Eubank began what became a decades-long passion. As she worked over a number of subsequent days, observing the water more and more closely, she began to develop a visual language for water that became increasingly abstract and emotive.

The Expeditions

In 2013, on the strength of her growing body of water paintings, Eubank was invited to serve as the expedition artist aboard the Borobudur Ship, a wooden replica of an 8th century Indonesian trading vessel. From 2013 – 2014, the expedition sailed from Indonesia, across the Indian Ocean, around the Cape of Good Hope and up the Atlantic Ocean to Ghana. Aboard the Borobudur, as with all of her voyages, Eubank would draw and photograph what she saw, and later, in her studio, develop a series of large-scale paintings based on these observations.

Of all of the oceans she has sailed, Eubank credits the Indian Ocean as her probable favorite. With its proximity to the Equator and the high level of pollution in the air, the Indian Ocean reflects a wide variety of colors, including the intense orange of the sunrises and sunsets, pale turquoise, ultramarine blue and purple. In Mozambique, Eubank visited fabric stores, which displayed the bright colors of the country’s traditional printed cloth. Her paintings from this time period were highly influenced by both the varied color palette of the water and the local dress. Eubank considered the experience “transformative” and began thinking about traveling and painting all of the world’s oceans.

eubankANCOL13large.jpg
Danielle Eubank, Ancol XIII, oil on linen, 44” x 28,” 2008.  The Borobudur Ship Expedition

From 2008 – 2010, Eubank served as the expedition artist for The Phoenician Ship Expedition, a recreation of a 6th-century BCE voyage, which sailed from Syria, through the Suez Canal, around the Horn of Africa and up the west coast of Africa, through the Straits of Gibraltar and across the Mediterranean to return to Syria. The vessel was a replica of a 2,500-year-old Phoenician ship that circumnavigated Africa six centuries before the birth of Christ. Eubank’s paintings from the voyage reflect the hot colors of Western Africa.

eubankMOZAMBIQUE09large.jpg
Danielle Eubank, Mozambique IX, oil on linen, 60” x 72,” 2011. The Phoenician Ship Expedition

In 2014, Eubank traveled to the High Arctic aboard the Antigua, a barquentine tall ship. She was one of 27 artists, scientists and educators who made the voyage around the international territory of Svalbard, an Arctic Archipelago. The Antigua passed through a world of pale blue icebergs and “turquoise-cerulean ice calving from glaciers.” To Eubank, the already abstract nature of the landscape was vastly different from the water and sky of her previous expeditions. Her challenge, as she described it, was to find a new way to translate that environment:

Normally, I deconstruct the physical forms found in water to create stacks of abstracted rhythms. In this case, the Arctic Ocean already looks abstract before I’ve had a chance to deconstruct it.

eubankARCTIC11large.jpg
Danielle Eubank, Arctic XI, oil on linen, 60” x 72,” 2018

Eubank achieved her 20-year goal of visiting and painting the world’s five oceans in February of this year when she sailed through the Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica. Although she has filled sketchbooks with drawings and taken numerous photographs, she has not yet completed the full body of paintings that will derive from this expedition. She is, however, currently exhibiting work from all five expeditions for the first time at the Kwan Fong Gallery, California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, California through August 1, 2019.

When I asked Eubank what she had learned from her journeys, she admitted that she had seen firsthand how

messed up the waters around the world are, how much less marine life there is now than even in the 20th Century; how it’s really important that people have a way of protecting and feeding their families – without that, they can’t possibly think about fixing the environment.

In answer to my question “what’s next?” Eubank responded that she will probably always be working with the topic of water and that she will continue to spread the message about the importance of reducing the use of plastic and fossil fuels that have had a devasting effect on our climate and our precious oceans.

(Top image: Danielle Eubank, Arctic XII,oil on linen, 72” x 116,” 2019.  The Arctic Expedition)

This article is part of Imagining Water, a series on artists of all genres who are making the topic of water a focus of their work and on the growing number of exhibitions, performances, projects and publications that are appearing in museums, galleries and public spaces around the world with water as a theme.

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Susan Hoffman Fishman is a painter, public artist, writer, and educator whose work has been exhibited in numerous museums and galleries throughout the U.S. Her latest bodies of work focus on the threat of rising tides, our new plastic seas and the wars that are predicted to occur in the future over access to clean water. She is also the co-creator of two interactive public art projects: The Wave, which addresses our mutual need for and interdependence on water and Home, which calls attention to homelessness and the lack of affordable housing in our cities and towns.

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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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