Monthly Archives: May 2021

Fading Reefs: Using Process To Tell A Story

By Elizabeth Ellenwood

Some of my earliest childhood memories are of coral reefs. In 1992, my family sailed from Florida to the Bahamas. I still remember my five-year-old self mesmerized by the crystal-clear water and the world of creatures living beneath its surface. My “class time” consisted of snorkeling and observing the reefs: fish of all sizes darting in and out of vibrant coral structures, conch shells glistening and nurse sharks gently resting on the sandy sea floor, jellyfish camouflaging with the water, and, on the lucky days, spiny lobsters emerging from their caves. I was witnessing a thriving ecosystem. This formative childhood experience cultivated in me a lifelong love of the ocean. Less than 30 years later, the coral reef ecosystems are collapsing or have fully collapsed as a result of climate change. Now, as a practicing artist, I feel an urgency to help protect and bring attention to the vital reef systems that sparked my interest in the ocean.

Elizabeth Ellenwood snorkeling in the Bahamas, 1992.

Climate change means ocean change. The ocean’s temperature is warming, it is becoming more acidic, sea level is rising, and storm patterns and precipitation are changing. All of these factors individually create stress for corals. Combined, they have demolished the reef systems that have flourished for centuries. The coral reefs of my childhood memories are bleaching, and entire ocean ecosystems are vanishing due to the loss of their habitats.

Fading Reefs 1, Anthotype made with beets.

The term “coral bleaching” has bounced around news headlines for years, but it took documentaries like Chasing Coral and Mission Blue to inspire me to dig deeper into the science. Corals get their colors from pigment-rich algae that live within their tissues. The coral-algae partnership is symbiotic, each supporting one another. When stressed from the ocean changes, the algae are expelled from the coral, revealing the white coral skeleton underneath. This bleaching triggers a domino effect: all living organisms that relied on the reef habitat either vacate or die, from the smallest plankton to the largest predator. The reef system is rapidly turning into a wasteland; no corals, no fish. This devastation is taking place on a massive scale and at a rapid rate, with nearly half of the world’s coral reefs bleached or severely damaged.

Fading Reefs 2, Anthotype made with blackberries.

This devastation has swept through coral reefs in the Bahamas – the very ones that brought me so much childhood joy. I feel a loss for the diverse ecosystems that depended on the corals. Caught in a vortex of pollution, rising temperatures, acidification, and overfishing, thinking about humanity’s destruction of our waterways can be paralyzing. But to improve our relationship with the ocean and bring about positive change, we must fully understand the effects of our actions.

My research on coral reef bleaching led to the creation of my series, Fading Reefs. I am inspired by the biology of corals, driven by sadness for the loss of the reefs from my childhood, and compelled to shed light on this destructive cycle. It is important to me to create based on science and in a sustainable way, using environmentally friendly processes and as few materials as possible. One of the oldest photographic processes, the anthotype, uses the light sensitivity of plants and sunlight to create an image. Because these prints fade over time, it is difficult to research historical images, though documents and research track its emergence from 1816 to 1844.

Fading Reefs 3, Anthotype made with red cabbage.

I see the process of coral bleaching and the anthotype process as linked together. Making anthotypes requires time and patience. This process begins with crushing or juicing a plant to create the light-sensitive emulsion. A piece of paper is then soaked in the liquid and dried, absorbing the pigment of the plant. An image on transparency film is placed on top of the color-stained paper and then placed in direct sunlight. The image develops and appears on the page as the sunlight bleaches the pigment in the exposed areas of the plant emulsion. This is a very slow process; depending on the plant used and the strength of the sun, the printing can take days, weeks, or even months. Once developed, anthotype images will fade over time, especially if they are exposed to UV light. There is no way to make them permanent, which I see as a beautiful quality to embrace. 

In the 1800s, anthotypes were stored in what they called “night albums” and only viewed by candlelight to help preserve the images. Some artists build boxes or use black fabric over their framed piece to protect the prints while they are on display. When Fading Reefsis exhibited, I embrace the impermanence of the process and leave my prints uncovered to speak to the vulnerability of the corals. The anthotype process is a perfect way to tell the reefs’ stories, the bleaching pigment in the prints refers to the devastating loss of pigment-rich algae that not only give corals their colors, but most importantly keep them alive. The prints in Fading Reefs are delicate, time sensitive, and beautiful – just like our ocean’s coral reefs.

Elizabeth Ellenwood with anthotype in process, photograph by Tim Martin.

Just as the algae is crucial to the corals’ survival, the corals are vital to the oceans, and the oceans are integral to human life. It is possible many of us will go our entire lives without actually seeing a living coral reef, but we must work urgently to save these necessary ecosystems. Corals not only support an underwater ecosystem, they also provide for life above the water’s surface. Reef structures provide crucial protection from storms for coastal areas and offer an abundance of food that we consume. Studying individual corals and organisms living within the reefs even helps advance medical technology and treatments. No corals means an unhealthy and unbalanced ocean, which affects the entirety of the world. 

Fading Reefs 5, Anthotype made with red cabbage.

We all have skills and abilities that can help our coral reefs and waterways. Small actions have the potential to contribute to global impacts. Paying attention to what we consume, where we shop, and what organizations we support can support a thriving ecosystem. While half the world’s coral reefs have been negatively impacted, the remaining fifty percent desperately need our help. We need to get creative in our conversations and solutions, ultimately bringing awareness to and helping to protect these very special underwater worlds.

While Fading Reefs started with my memories and my call to action, it is ultimately about our shared world, our oceans, and our shared responsibility. It is my hope that my anthotype prints will not only act as a reminder of the rare and precious life that exists in our oceans, but also provide insight and perspective on coral reefs, inspiring viewers to become involved in ocean conservation and compelling individuals to acknowledge that the fate of the oceans and of humanity are woven tightly together.

(Top Image: Fading Reefs 4, Anthotype made with red cabbage.)

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Elizabeth Ellenwood uses photography to visually explore and bring attention to critical environmental issues. She is a recipient of a U.S. Fulbright Student Research Grant and an American Scandinavian Grant. Her recent solo exhibition at The Alexey von Schlippe Gallery was supported by a Connecticut Sea Grant Art Support Award. Elizabeth’s work was recently exhibited at The Newport Art Museum, Panopticon Gallery and The Vermont Center of Photography. Elizabeth received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography from The New Hampshire Institute of Art and a Master of Fine Arts in Studio Art from the University of Connecticut.

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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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Women Eco Artists Dialog: Art as Strategy

Women Eco Artists Dialog – WEAD
Art + Activism Web Series Episode No. 6“Art as Strategy” with Aviva RahmaniSunday, May 23rd 7:00 – 8:00pm EDT (4:00 – 5:00pm PDT)
Please register at Eventbrite

I sometimes think of myself as a warrior against ecocide. Beauty is my shield – but art, music, law, science and stubborn persistence are my weapons. In this event for WEAD, I will focus on two projects in depth, Ghost Nets (1990-2000), and how it morphed into other work including a theory of change and The Blued Trees Symphony (2015-present). Both continue. The former restored a coastal town dump to flourishing wetlands on a remote island in Maine. The latter composed a continental scale aerial symphony out of tree-notes. It contested the interpretation of eminent domain law by claiming copyright protection for a sonified biogeographic installation and in a mock trial, won an injunction against a corporation. -Aviva Rahmani

WEAD’S ART + ACTIVISM WEB SERIES is grounded in the belief that art can be a powerful tool for raising awareness and prompting social change. In this series we explore ways that artists actively engage in creating climate solutions and promoting sustainability.

(Top image: Listening to the Tree, Toya Lillard as “Oxygenia Kelp, the Tree Translator” listens to – then translates music about ecocide and copyright infringement “emanating” from a cut tree at the mock trial, “I Speak for The Trees” produced by A Blade of Grass for The Blued Trees Symphony, held at the Cardozo School of Law in New York, NY. Photograph by Eric McGregor, 2018.)

Job: Project manager

We’re looking for an enthusiastic individual with arts management experience to join our core team.

This is an opportunity for an enthusiastic and dedicated individual with a demonstratable background in arts management to become a central member of the Deveron Projects team, with a role that covers all aspects of supporting the programming and the running of the organisation. Deveron Projects is an internationally renowned creative organisation working with artists in the North East of Scotland.

The post holder manages all aspects of Deveron Projects, from everyday book-keeping and running the office to grant reporting and looking after the artists and their needs. They work closely with the director, to ensure the smooth running of the organisation’s residencies and projects and advancing the organisation as an internationally renowned arts programme.

Deveron Projects is currently in an exciting period of development. We invite new perspectives to help shape strategies for the future of the organisation. To find out more about the job and how to apply visit Deveron Projects website.

  • Application Deadline: 11pm 16 May 2021
  • Salary: £25,000 – £27,000 (based on experience)
  • Working hours: 40 per week, Monday to Friday 9.30am – 6pm
  • Interview date and location: 28 May – 6 June, Huntly, Aberdeenshire (digital option available)
  • Start date: 28 June – 9 July 2021
  • Term: Permanent (on the basis of Creative Scotland regular funding)

The post Job: Project manager 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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Ecosystem Services and Gaelic report published Pt2

The intersection of the cultural and the ecological highlighted in the previous post, including the ways that artists and cultural practitioners engage with cultural dimensions of biodiversity, in this case manifest in language, engages the cultural sector directly with understanding and articulating ecosystem services. Ecosystem Services and the associated assessments provide a critical method used across environmental research and management. Too often the cultural dimension has been focused by tourism and the role of the arts and culture in opening up understandings of ecosystems has been overlooked.

Dave Pritchard contextualised the Ecosystem Services and the Gaelic language report(NatureScot 2021) in relation to wider policy work being done by different bodies. In terms of language and ecosystems, he highlights:

The cultural services chapter of the status & trends volume of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment places languages in the ecosystem services context – https://www.millenniumassessment.org/documents/document.286.aspx.pdf .

The UK National Ecosystem Assessment produced an excellent report on cultural services http://uknea.unep-wcmc.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=t884TkrbVbQ%3D&tabid=82 . It combines linguistics in the sense of vocabularies with linguistics in the sense of distinct languages.

In the wider context of language as part of intangible cultural heritage, Dave highlights:

The United Nations 2003 ‘Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage’.

There has been specific work to highlight the relationship between intangible cultural heritage and sustainable development (publication in English here other languages also available). UNESCO have developed an interactive interface highlighting the connections between specific exemplary intangible heritage including dance, rituals, festivals and other forms, and the Sustainable Development Goals.

UNESCO and the Convention on Biological Diversity have joint programme and have identified a range of resources https://www.cbd.int/lbcd/resources including publications on cultural and spiritual values of biodiversity. There is more information on the programme here https://www.cbd.int/lbcd/about.

According to Dave, internationally the pre-eminent organisation is Terralingua which promotes understanding and appreciation of the vital value of the world’s biocultural diversity for the thriving of all life on earth.— the diversity of life in nature and culture.

There is also the International Ecolinguistics Association, and its journal Language & Ecology – http://www.ecoling.net/ .

In a Scottish specific context he highlighted Museums Galleries Scotland’s report ‘Scoping and Mapping Intangible Cultural Heritage in Scotland Final Report (PDF)‘ from 2008 (which is on the website of the Fair Scotland, celebrating Scotland’s Show People).

ecoartscotland is a resource focused on art and ecology for artists, curators, critics, commissioners as well as scientists and policy makers. It includes ecoartscotland papers, a mix of discussions of works by artists and critical theoretical texts, and serves as a curatorial platform.

It has been established by Chris Fremantle, producer and research associate with On The Edge ResearchGray’s School of Art, The Robert Gordon University. Fremantle is a member of a number of international networks of artists, curators and others focused on art and ecology.

Go to EcoArtScotland

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An Interview with Poet Tamiko Beyer

By Amy Brady

This month I have for you an interview with Tamiko Beyer, a writer whose latest poetry collection, Last Days, is out now on Alice James Books. Tamiko writes passionately about the climate crisis and how it’s driven by systemic forces like capitalism and racism. She’s also a social justice communications writer and strategist.

I spoke with Tamiko about what inspired her most recent collection, how she thinks about climate change beyond her writing, and the role she sees poetry playing in our larger discourse on climate change.

The poems in your recent collection, Last Days, are rife with images of plants, animals, and humans living and moving together. Is it fair to say that you’re encouraging readers to think about interconnectedness between life forms? Or perhaps that the boundaries between humans and other living things might be more porous than many folks believe?
 
Yes, that’s exactly right. I wrote Last Days as a poetic practice of radical imagination for our current political and environmental crises. I believe that one of the root causes of these crises is how disconnected so many of us feel to each other and the world around us. This vast disconnection makes it possible to internalize and enforce white supremacist structures. And, the exploitation of people and the natural world required by capitalist systems is made far easier when CEOs, workers, and consumers (that is, all of us) can disconnect from the harm we are causing to other people, other beings, and the Earth by our participation in this system.
 
I wanted to explore what it might look, feel, and sound like to live into the truth that we are all completely interdependent. How do I understand the ways in which I am more connected to than separate from the warbler singing in the laurel tree next to the tidal river? In what ways are we both dependent on the tree and the river, and the algae and the bacteria? What does it mean to move through the world as if we are all connected not just in the present moment, but also across time and space – connected to our ancestors and the generations that will come after us?
 
Your poems also speak to environmental crises. What else do you hope readers take away from this collection?
 
I hope that these poems encourage readers to follow their own threads of interdependence, and see how that might shift their relationships to the people and beings around them.
 
But of course, the climate crisis cannot be solved only by individual changes. I hope that some of these poems also encourage readers to think about the larger systems that are fueling the crisis, like racialized capitalism.
 
The central poem of the collection follows a small group of revolutionaries who are taking down the Corporate empire. As they do, the main character comes to understand her own power and trust her intuition. I think 2020 made clear to so many more people that we are, indeed, in the last days of the Corporate empire. We need radical, transformative changes if we – all beings – are going to survive the climate and related crises.
 
So I wrote this book for all the activists, organizers, healers, cultural workers, teachers, and artists who are doing the daily work of creating radically new worlds within this broken one. My wish is that these readers can lean into the hope that Last Days is rooted in, and that the poems offer ways for them to ground in their power.

Do you think about environmental issues, climate change, and related problems beyond what you write about in your poetry?

It’s impossible for me to live in this world, in this moment, in this body, and not think about and be affected by the climate crisis and its root causes – racism, capitalism, and heteropatriarchy. As a writer of prose and poetry, and as a social justice communications strategist, I feel called to write about the structures and systems we are living under, as well as the ways that we can navigate through them, ultimately tear them down, and create new ones. 

For most of the years during which I worked on Last Days, I worked at Corporate Accountability, which wages campaigns challenging the life-threatening abuses of corporations, and I still write for them as a freelancer. So I’m often writing about Big Polluters, their role in fueling the climate crisis, and the solutions that are being led by communities on the frontlines of the crisis – Black, Indigenous, people of color; communities in the Global South; women; people with disabilities; and youth.

I also write about these issues in my newsletter, Starlight and Strategy.

What role do you think poetry plays in our larger conversations and thinking about climate and environmental issues?

Poetry invites us to think and feel expansively and nonlinearly, to listen closely, and be willing to be completely surprised. I can think of it as practice for how to implement solutions to the climate crisis. We need to listen to the people on the front lines who are already putting these solutions to work. We need to be expansive, radical, and unfettered by what we’re told is politically possible.

My favorite kind of poetry helps me understand language as more than just utility, but as magic. I’m currently co-editing a book with fellow poets Destiny Hemphill and Lisbeth White on poetry as spellcasting, by and for BIPOC. We are thinking about how poems are ritualized acts of liberation. One section of the book is devoted to the way poetry as spellcasting can help re-establish a reciprocal relationship with the Earth and help us move in right relationship towards healing deep wounds inflicted on ourselves and the Earth.

Some of your poems speak to the damage – ecological and cultural – wrought by colonialism. 

The collection as a whole grapples with the many manifestations of white supremacy, of which colonialism is one. Colonialism can only succeed when both the people who are doing the colonizing and those who are colonized feel deeply disconnected from the source and power of the land and the people.

I spent my first ten years in Japan where I absorbed both the fundamental Buddhist teaching of interdependence, as well as the form of animism that is central to the Shinto religion. I grew up understanding that things have a spirit – are beings – whether they are animate or inanimate, and that all beings are connected. These are ancient teachings, central also to Indigenous cultures, and colonization and imperialism have attempted at every turn to destroy such ways of understanding the world. No wonder we are in the crises we are in. In this collection I seek paths back into interconnection.

Your collection opens with quotes from three incredible writers and activists, including Audre Lorde. Her quote is: “I have always known I learn my most lasting lessons about difference by closely attending the ways in which the differences inside me lie down together.” How do these powerful words relate to the poetry in your collection?

Yes, the work of all three powerful women – Audre Lorde, Grace Lee Boggs, and adrienne maree brown – were influential in the development of this collection.

When I was pulling the book together, I was reading Audre Lorde’s collection of essays, “A Burst of Light.” I spent a lot of time with the titular essay: diary entries as she lived her life with cancer. That line, that idea, appears in several places in the essay, and it stayed with me. I guess it’s another approach toward understanding how we are interconnected – we all have differences inside ourselves, and knowing how to navigate these differences in generative ways teaches us to better navigate differences with others to whom we depend on and are connected to. As a queer multiracial femme and a third culture kid, I’ve spent a lot of time navigating the differences inside me, and I was interested in what it might look like to think about how they “lie down together.” Many of the poems that address race and nationality in this collection is my attempt to do that.

Your approach to launching this book is a bit unusual. Please tell us about it!

In this political moment, I feel called to reimagine what I do and how I do it. So as I thought about launching this book, I was interested in how it could be a catalyst for new ways of thinking about the intersection of arts and organizing, poetry, and movement work. I developed an idea for a launch grounded in collaboration and solidarity instead of competition, one that operates within a gift economy instead of a capitalist approach.

The central component of this project is to give away Last Days and performance artist and poet Gabrielle Civil‘s forthcoming chapbook, ( ghost gestures ), to at least 250 organizers, campaigners, activists, cultural workers, and healers, prioritizing people working on racial, climate, and economic justice. At the time I write this, we’ve already got 175 people signed up to receive the books. I’m also organizing virtual “catalyst events” in the fall to inspire and activate people; creating tools for teachers to share the books with a new generation of organizers, activists, writers, artists, and cultural workers; and promoting other BIPOC writers with new books through my website, newsletter, and social media. And I created a successful fundraising campaign to power it all, asking people in my network and strangers to support this new way of launching a book.

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 at 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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Guest blog: questioning the candidates at the Culture Hustings

Scottish elections will take place on Thursday 6th May 2021.

On Friday 23rd April, Jean Cameron and Kate Leiper attended the Culture Hustings, hosted by Culture Counts to hear candidates’ responses to five questions. In this blog they share a summary of what they heard.

We are members of Culture for Climate Scotland (Cultar airson Gnàth-shìde Alba), a working group established in January 2021. Our aim is to identify ways in which we, the culture sector, can contribute to a just, green and creative recovery after COVID-19. We believe that the culture sector is a key player in creating a society more focused on wellbeing and that we can contribute creatively and imaginatively to the challenges of climate change and climate justice. The group was initiated by Creative Carbon Scotland and is comprised of members of the Green Arts Initiative and Green Tease network (part of the culture/SHIFT programme).

An opportunity for culture

At our very first meeting we were very aware that with the Scottish Parliamentary elections in May and Glasgow hosting COP 26 in November, it was an opportune moment to initiate political engagement. We were invited by Culture Counts to submit several questions to the Culture Hustings they were hosting. Of course, given COVID-19 restrictions, these hustings were to be online. However, they were to follow the familiar format: five candidates from different parties invited to answer pre-prepared questions in front of a live, online audience. There was no guarantee that there would be time in the 90-minute event to ask all questions we submitted but we were delighted to be making a contribution.

Culture for Climate Scotland’s task was to craft our questions. This process felt very inclusive and given that this was one of our first big tasks working as a group, it was a wonderful participatory experience listening to each other and working collaboratively to get the wording just right.

We must acknowledge and thank Culture Counts for all the work and effort they put into this event. They took care to ensure that the host did not belong to any political party, proceedings were conducted fairly and that equal time was given to each candidate to express themselves. Culture Counts invited questions before the event and because of the large volume of submissions, questions with similar themes were merged.

On what was a busy agenda, we were delighted to see the inclusion of a question on culture’s role in a green and just recovery, as put forward by Culture for Climate Scotland

What were the questions?

At the event, each question was aimed at one candidate, then all the other candidates were given the chance to ‘respond’. As five questions were asked over the course of the event, each of the five candidates had the opportunity to be the first to answer. The questions covered a variety of topics:

  • The place of the performing arts in a wellbeing economy
  • The culture sector’s place in a just and green recovery
  • Aiming for a wellbeing economy
  • Freelancers, COVID-19 and the Universal Basic Income
  • COVID-19 recovery in communities
Who was there?

The Culture Hustings provided a platform for an online audience representing different parts of Scotland’s cultural ecology to hear from a range of candidates representing a variety of views, from different parts of the political spectrum.

Contributing (in alphabetical order) :

  • Claire Baker, Scottish Labour Party
  • Pam Gosal, Scottish Conservative & Unionist Party
  • Fiona Hyslop, Scottish National Party
  • Kim Long, Scottish Green Party
  • Fred Mackintosh, Scottish Liberal Democrats

In their opening statements, candidates took it in turn to share examples, from their personal experiences, each illustrating an active, individual interest and engagement in arts and culture as well as setting out their party-political perspectives.

Candidates used opening statements to acknowledge the devastating impact of the pandemic on Scotland’s cultural sector and to speak about their belief in the critical importance of culture to Scotland’s recovery.

Claire Baker recognised the creative sector as the first to close and likely to be the last to open. Fiona Hyslop highlighted the value of the arts and the role that culture has played throughout the period of the pandemic to get people through difficult times. Fred Mackintosh spoke about the huge impact of venue closures on performers and production staff and the worry caused to people working across the sector as a whole. Kim Long stressed the ongoing uncertainty facing the cultural sector whilst other industries could see light at the end of the tunnel. Pam Gosal emphasised the importance of sustainable funding models to support the cultural and creative sectors play a strong role in Scotland’s recovery.

It was heartening to hear candidates acknowledge a shared responsibility to work across parliament towards Scotland’s world-leading climate change targets and to hear several candidates reference the intersection between equalities and climate justice, environmental sustainability and grassroot recovery in communities, in responses to the different questions asked during the event.

Responses to our question

Candidates had the opportunity to expand on their environmental pledges in the specific question put forward by Culture for Climate Scotland:

How would your party actively engage, support and champion the culture sector as a key player in Scotland’s just and green recovery?

This question was first directed to Kim Long, representing the Scottish Green Party, who expressed her delight in a green recovery now being considered a mainstream topic and that other parties are also keen to tackle it. She spoke about a need for fresh thinking, a more participatory democracy, possibly embedding artists in local and national government projects. She outlined the need for investment funding to transform town centres, which could include converting unused spaces into low-carbon arts spaces, thereby cultivating possibilities for the cross-pollination of ideas. She would like to see the Scottish Government amend procurement strategy so that local artists are given more opportunities and expressed her support for the Universal Basic Income and a four-day working week with no loss of pay. In summing up, she said that we had to now be bold and going back to how things were before COVID-19 was not an option.

Pam Gosal, from the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, confirmed the need to create new jobs in new green industries and that the culture sector has a very important role to play in this. Her party proposes a Circular Economy Bill, which would involve work in education and awareness to engage businesses, an area the culture sector would be able to contribute towards.

They are also developing an electric vehicle action plan and aim to tackle housing, making it more efficient through working with developers. The culture sector also has a big role to play here. She emphasised that it’s very important that local councils are better funded so that creative cultures and local artists can be knitted into the planning processes.

Claire Baker, from the Scottish Labour Party, confirmed that we need to work collaboratively and collectively and to set ambitious plans. She pointed out that the culture sector also has a responsibility to look at reducing its own carbon footprint. Some practitioners, have very low footprints. However, this is not the case with larger international touring companies. She believes that culture should be part of the transformational change, for example, fitting electric vehicle charging points at heritage sites or retrofitting buildings into cultural spaces. She would also like to see changes in procurement policy, which allow local artists and organisations more employment opportunities, and a clear carbon reduction plan for all businesses working with the public sector.

Fred Mackintosh, from the Scottish Liberal Democrats, began by reminding those of us who live in Edinburgh how strange it was last year without the festivals. He pointed out that it has allowed us to reopen the debate on sustainability, referencing as an example the miles covered by touring companies and long-distance international tourism. One solution could be providing more sleeper trains to Edinburgh from central Europe? He acknowledged that we need to focus on decarbonising and that this is an area that has to be looked at in all sectors.

Fiona Hyslop, from the Scottish National Party, began by stating that small countries can move swifter, faster and smarter to tackle climate emergency. She said that she was also expecting communities to make major shifts to meet carbon reduction targets. She believes in the power of culture and that through community work, artists can help communities to creatively think, express and mobilise themselves. She confirmed that her party’s manifesto includes creating 20-minute neighbourhoods and the repurposing and retrofitting of buildings, thereby freeing up space for artists to use. She also highlighted her party’s proposed major infrastructure programme, which will aim to help drive the economic recovery and which includes investment in the arts. With every new public infrastructure project, 1% of the budget will be for commissioning arts, thereby freeing up £150 million for commissioning cultural activity and community arts. She summed up by saying that her party is aiming to create a wellbeing economy and to improve diversity.

Strong messages

Consensus building and co-operation were strong messages given in answer to questions across the hustings, as was a commitment to a Scotland that nurtures access and better representation for under-served communities. Several proposals were made to address the precarity of freelance workers in the cultural sector and strengthening the resilience of the sector more widely. The majority of candidates advocated for a model of minimum income provision. All acknowledged the need for better local-national partnerships and a role for the cultural sector to support this, including participatory decision-making processes.

For more details of party manifestos, we recommend the summaries of the key pledges relevant to the arts, screen, heritage & creative industries, published by Culture Counts.

Conclusion

In this election week, we invite all incoming members of the next Scottish Parliament to recognise and harness the unique ability of Scotland’s creative and cultural sectors to work with empathy and imagination across communities. We ask MSPs to seize the opportunity to engage collaboratively with our sector so we that we can embed our energy, our innovation and commitment to play our active and meaningful role in the green, just and creative recovery that Scotland deserves.


Authors
Jean Cameron is a freelance creative producer based in Glasgow. Find her on Instagramand Twitter.

Kate Leiper is an artist and illustrator based in Edinburgh. Find her on Instagram: @kate_leiper_artist.

Both are members of Culture for Climate Scotland (Cultar airson Gnàth-shìde Alba) Working Group

The post Guest blog: questioning the candidates at the Culture Hustings 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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Tree Talk: Artists Speak for Trees

Thursday, May 20, 2021

USA: 10am PT, 11am MT, 12pm CT, 1pm ET

EUROPE: Scotland/Ireland/England:18:00 GMT, Belgium/Germany/Spain: 19:00 UTC

Marie-Luise Klotz, Christopher Lin, Erika Osborne, Leah Wilson

For our May Tree Talk, we will hear from four ecoartspace artists who will share their ideas and artworks about trees and forests. Marie-Luise Klotz will present her project, “Connected Earth,” which considers how nature is deeply connected forming a single entity that is whole in and of itself. Christopher Lin will discuss empathy, symbiosis, maintenance, and responsibility through his sculptural, installation, and performative works. Erika Osborne will speak about how trees are metaphor and subject in an on-going exploration of the relationship between nature and culture. Leah Wilson will tell the story of “Listening to the Forest,” her installation created for Oregon State University’s College of Forestry.



Tree Talk is moderated by Sant Khalsa, ecofeminist artist and activist, whose work has focused on critical environmental and societal issues including forests and watersheds for four decades.



Co-sponsored by Joshua Tree Center for Photographic Arts

Members and one guest are free. General Public can attend for a $10. Capacity is 100 participants. All participants MUST REGISTER.

REGISTER

Annie Patterson and Peter Blood Rise Up Singing

By Peterson Toscano

In the Art House this month, we feature song leaders Annie Patterson and Peter Blood. They are liberal Quakers in New England who have been leading singing for over 30 years. They talk about the songs that motivate and inspire climate advocates. Some are protest songs and others are beautiful ballads. They discuss the role of music in social movements as they offer up their own tiny desk concert. 

Annie and Peter are the creators of the Rise Up Singing and Rise Again Song Books. These songbooks take on social justice issues like racism, poverty, inequality, and sexism. See them in action on the Rise Up and Sing YouTube channel.

Annie and Peter appeared on Citizens Climate Radio episode 57: The Tide is Rising along with former U.S. representative Bob Inglis, a Republican fostering conversations with fellow Conservatives.

Next month, we meet Claire Vaye Watkins, author of the cli-fi novel, Gold Fame Citrus.

If you like what you hear, you can listen to full episodes of Citizens’ Climate Radio on iTunesStitcher Radio, Spotify, SoundCloudPodbeanNorthern Spirit RadioGoogle PlayPlayerFM, 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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ecoartspace event: Getting Off the Planet

Thursday, May 13

USA: 10am PT, 11am MT, 12pm CT, 1pm ET

EUROPE: Scotland/Ireland/England:18:00 GMT, Belgium/Germany/Spain: 19:00 UTC

Erika Blumenfeld, Adam Belt, Lanny DeVuono, Sandra Taggart, Candace Jensen

In this Zoom Dialogue, we consider our human relationship with space while exploring the implications of mining off the earth for resources, as well as the cosmological considerations of seeking out other forms of life in the universe. Presentations by our members include: Erika Blumenfeld will share work exploring connections across the cosmos from astromaterials to marine bioluminescence; Adam Belt will present his representations of primordial energies made visible as light and of geologic time; Lanny DeVuono will present paintings from her recent series titled Searching For Water on Mars;Sandra Taggart will share her paintings that reminds us of our oneness with the universe; and Candace Jensen will present her visual essays on the mythic and symbolic language of Earth herself.

Members and one guest are free. General Public can attend for a $10. Capacity is 100 participants. All participants MUST REGISTER.

REGISTER

Walking Publics/Walking Arts: walking, wellbeing and community during Covid-19

Dee Heddon asked us to share this, and to encourage participation in the research through completing the survey (below). Walking is an everyday activity (more so since the shops have been closed) and also an approach used by artists, whether as part of a social or solo practice, to create personal work or as part of larger projects. Rebecca Solnit says in Wanderlust, “Walking . . . is how the body measures itself against the earth.”


Anecdotes and data alike suggest that during the past year of COVID-19, people have walked more and, when restrictions were in place, such walking was necessarily hyper-local (within a 1-mile radius) or local (with a 5-mile radius). This certainly resembles my experience. I’ve lived in Glasgow for most of my adult life, moving here to attend University at the age of 17, spending a relatively brief 7-years in Devon, and returning in 2006. I’ve only ever lived in the west of the city (Maryhill, Partick, Kelvinbridge, and Hillhead). I thought I knew this area like the back of my hand. This year has taught me that, in fact, I knew very little. As well as walking familiar routes, sometimes daily (Botanic Gardens, River Kelvin), the restrictions also prompted me to do lots of urban drifting, traversing streets not yet walked, finding new (to me) cobbled lanes and mews houses, modern builds tucked around corners and down dead ends, residents’ gardens dotted across the urban landscape, and hidden alleyways. The west end of Glasgow is much more than tenement flats. I’ve also extended my pedestrian reach to new parks, including Dawsholm and Ruchhill, the first home to astounding old woods inhabited by parakeets, the second to the largest daffodil display in Glasgow and resident woodpeckers. I’ve been quite astounded by the city that’s surfaced from beneath my feet.

Walking and Covid research project / University of Glasgow Photograph by Martin Shields Tel 07572 457000 http://www.martinshields.com © Martin Shields

Since 2010 I’ve been following, writing about and practicing walking as a cultural practice, first by interviewing women artists about their walking work and secondly by launching my own creative walking projects (40 Walks and The Walking Library). Now I embark on a new venture: exploring people’s experiences of walking during COVID-19, with a particular focus on felt experiences and the intersection of walking and creativity. At a time when restrictions have kept us physically distanced, the well-placed coloured stones or chalked messages seem to have been deployed artfully to keep us socially connected, and to keep our walking joyful and engaged. There are a lot of artists in the UK who identify as “Walking Artists”, and many of them have continued to create walking work this year, adapting their practice to the new landscapes within which we find ourselves. A brief scan also suggests that some artists have turned to walking as a new material for their creative practice, something that can still connect, can be convivial or restorative or attentive, and be undertaken safely. 

‘Walking Publics/Walking Arts: walking, wellbeing and community during Covid-19’ is an 18-month research project, funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council. We are exploring the potential of the arts to sustain, encourage and more equitably support walking during and recovering from a pandemic. You can find out more at www.walkcreate.org 

We’ve launched the project with two surveys about walking during COVID-19, one for the general public and one for artists who have used walking in their practice.

The aim of our research is to understand more about how creative practices can be used to support more people to walk well, during and out of a pandemic. We look forward to sharing our findings, but to help us please do complete one of our surveys. 


Dee Heddon is Professor of Contemporary Performance at the University of Glasgow(UK). She is a practice-based researcher and has published articles in peer-reviewed journals, as well as academic monographs and book-chapters. She is well known for her interest in autobiographical performance, site-specific performance and walking art.

(Top photo: Dee Heddon / University of Glasgow Photograph by Martin Shields Tel 07572 457000 http://www.martinshields.com © Martin Shields)

ecoartscotland is a resource focused on art and ecology for artists, curators, critics, commissioners as well as scientists and policy makers. It includes ecoartscotland papers, a mix of discussions of works by artists and critical theoretical texts, and serves as a curatorial platform.

It has been established by Chris Fremantle, producer and research associate with On The Edge ResearchGray’s School of Art, The Robert Gordon University. Fremantle is a member of a number of international networks of artists, curators and others focused on art and ecology.

Go to EcoArtScotland

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