Back in June 2020, Creative Carbon Scotland announced a successful PhD funding proposal to the Scottish Graduate School for the Arts and Humanities, in collaboration with the University of Glasgow.
Applications were invited and interviews for the position were conducted in late July. Now, it is with great pleasure that we announce Emma Hall, a recent Masters graduate, has begun working with us as a collaborative doctoral researcher. To update you on the project, we thought we would ask Emma a few questions:
CCS: Emma, congratulations on your studentship! First, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
EH: Thank you, I’m so pleased to be working on the project! I grew up in Birmingham, but I’ve always had a love of the outdoors and spent as much time as possible with my grandparents in Snowdonia, Wales. My favourite hobbies were running, climbing and hiking – until I injured my ankle! Now, I lead a more laid-back lifestyle and enjoy reading, cooking or swimming in my spare time. Having moved to Glasgow in September, I’ve loved getting out into the hills on the weekends and will be exploring all the art galleries and museums once they open again.
CCS: And what is the project you’ll be working on?
EH: The project is titled ‘Assessing arts-based interventions for sustainable practice’ and, my role will be to reflect critically (and constructively!) on a range of Creative Carbon Scotland’s cultural projects, with particular focus on activities in the culture/SHIFT programme. Over the next three years, I’ll be evaluating the success of the interventions at engaging communities and motivating sustainable change. The overall aim of the project is to develop an open-access framework that cultural organisations and funders can use to make informed decisions when designing or assessing arts interventions.
CCS: What interests you about the project?
EH: I’m interested in this project because it is so interdisciplinary and collaborative. Initially, I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature before transitioning to work as an environmental policy advisor back home in the West Midlands. I subsequently retrained abroad in Gibraltar with an MSc in Marine Science and Climate Change, undertaking fieldwork on marine protected areas and citizen engagement in the Mediterranean. The research I’ll be conducting in this project spans all my interests – from the arts to the sciences to climate policy – enabling me to reconcile my rather unusual mix of academic interests and providing the opportunity to work collaboratively with CCS to develop useful project outputs.
CCS: What challenges do think will come up for you, or have any come up already?
EH: Hmm, it’s early days so far, but I have noticed there is currently a lack of scholarship on the transformative role of the arts in stimulating social change. This knowledge gap could make the project more challenging, but it means the research will also contribute towards evidencing an under-explored area of scholarship. Whilst I enjoy the interdisciplinarity of the project, I’ve found that it does complicate the literature review process as there are more topics to get my head around! My role as an embedded researcher at CCS is helpful in bringing the academic readings out of the ivory tower and into conversation with the practical context of the project.
CCS: What are you looking forward to?
EH: I’m looking forward to getting started on the evaluation side of the project after the literature review. I’ll be using different social science methods (like interviews and focus groups) to evaluate the culture/SHIFT projects and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that these can occur in person, rather than online. It has been lovely getting to know the Creative Carbon Scotland team and my supervisors at the University of Glasgow (Dr Tom Bartlett and Dr Rhys Williams) over Zoom in the last few months but, I’m also looking forward to finally meeting them all face to face in the new year!
CCS: Thanks, Emma and good luck with the project. We’re thrilled about it and are looking forward to working with you over the next three and a half years.
If you would like to get in touch with Emma, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
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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.
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