Pioneering ‘Climate Beacons’ to bring together culture and green sectors for COP26 public engagement across Scotland.
Applications are now open for partnerships made up of Scotland-based organisations across the cultural and environmental sectors  to apply to take part in Climate Beacons for COP26.
Climate Beacons for COP26 is an innovative project that will harness the cultural sector’s unique power to deliver deep-rooted public engagement with climate change through the once-in-a-generation opportunity of COP26 (‘Conference of the Parties’, the UN Climate Summit) coming to Glasgow in November. It will seize this chance to bring about lasting change within the cultural sector, society and policy in Scotland and provide an internationally inspiring example of Scotland’s climate leadership.
This project will pair leading organisations in arts, culture, heritage, climate science, policy, the public sector, and civil society to form ‘Climate Beacons’ that will work in close collaboration to develop lasting public engagement with climate change in the lead-up to, during and after COP26. The Beacons will be situated around Scotland in a wide variety of locations, strengthening engagement with COP26 beyond Glasgow to the whole country and supporting the recovery of Scotland’s cultural sector from the impacts of COVID-19.
Learning from the successes and failures of previous COP artistic programmes, Climate Beacons for COP26 will promote greater collaboration between the cultural and climate sectors, distribute activity more broadly and accessibly, and ensure that there is a long-term legacy beyond the UN Climate talks. It is now recognised that climate change is as much a socio-cultural issue as it is a technical, scientific, economic, or political one. With its ability to influence society, the cultural sector therefore has an essential role to play in addressing it.
Creative Carbon Scotland is co-ordinating the project, bringing our existing expertise as a unique connecting role between sectors as well as learnings from ongoing research and collaborations. A steering group of ‘co-ordinating partners’ provides additional advice, contacts and networks. These partners are leading sector organisations and development bodies: Architecture and Design Scotland, Creative Scotland, the Edinburgh Climate Change Institute, Museums Galleries Scotland, the Scottish Library and Information Council, and the Sustainable Scotland Network.
The project is funded by the Scottish Government, Creative Scotland, and Museums Galleries Scotland among others.
The Climate Beacons will launch ahead of COP26 and continue to operate until mid-2022. Beacons will make use of the shared resources and knowledge of cultural venues and climate organisations to provide a welcoming physical and virtual space for conversation about COP26 and climate action between members of the public, artists and cultural sector professionals, environmental NGOs and wider civil society, scientists, and policymakers.
Ben Twist, director of Creative Carbon Scotland, said: ‘The presence of the COP26 talks in Glasgow this year represents a major opportunity to boost climate action in Scotland. At Creative Carbon Scotland, we have witnessed the enthusiasm of arts organisations around the country for contributing to this activity. Climate Beacons provides an opportunity to direct the skills and resources of the arts sector into deep-seated and long-lasting public engagement that will ensure that this momentum continues long after the COP26 negotiations have concluded.’
Dave Reay, executive director of the Edinburgh Climate Change Institute, said: ‘Creative Carbon Scotland has a proven track record of bringing together innovative collaborations between the cultural and climate sectors. The ambitious Climate Beacons project will share that expertise, setting up partnerships that will focus on engaging the public with COP26 but that will also establish connections and learning that will persist long into the future.’
Applications are open to all Scottish-based organisations. For more information, including criteria and FAQs, and to apply, please visit our Climate Beacons for COP26 project page. NB: The application form is towards to the end of the page.
The closing date is 10th May at 9am, with successful partnerships announced at the end of May.
Lewis Coenen-Rowe, culture/SHIFT officer, firstname.lastname@example.org, 07741457824
Notes We define ‘culture’ here as encompassing the arts, heritage, crafts, creative industries, and design, including voluntary as well as professional organisations. We define ‘environmental’ organisations as any for whom some of or all their focus is on addressing the challenges (and opportunities) posed by environmental issues such as climate change. This could include local and national authorities, public bodies, NGOs and charities, community organisations, education institutions or businesses.  Our findings from a survey of previous arts and culture engagements with COPs are available here: https://www.creativecarbonscotland.com/resource/a-history-of-arts-and-culture-at-cops/.
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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