Tom Chivers – Cape Farewell’s Climate Poet-in-Residence
Art and climate change organisation Cape Farewell is launching ADRIFT – an interrogation of climate as culture, devised by Cape Farewell’s poet in residence, Tom Chivers (in London, UK). They invite the public for a drink, performance and short film, as Tom Chivers maps the natural territories written into urban space. Free admission.
“Discover what’s hidden underneath the streets and find out what an ‘urban pilgrimage’ is. Join us in the Main Space at Rich Mix from 6.30pm on Friday 5th October. Appearing with the director of Cape Farewell, artist and photographer, David Buckland, Tom will be presenting ongoing research and new writing. Over the next 12 months, follow ADRIFT at capefarewell.com/adrift as Tom undertakes a range of mixed-media investigations: text work, live performance, debate and collaborations with other artists, writers, and poets. ADRIFT builds towards the presentation of a major new poetic project, in Spring 2013, supported by a series of live events across East London.”
Tom Chivers’ commission is launched as part of Cape Farewell’s new series of Urban Interventions. This will include the summer launch of SWITCH, a youth inquiry into poetics, culture, migration and climate.
Cultura21 is a transversal, translocal network, constituted of an international level grounded in several Cultura21 organizations around the world.
Cultura21′s international network, launched in April 2007, offers the online and offline platform for exchanges and mutual learning among its members.
The activities of Cultura21 at the international level are coordinated by a team representing the different Cultura21 organizations worldwide, and currently constituted of:
– Sacha Kagan (based in Lüneburg, Germany) and Rana Öztürk (based in Berlin, Germany)
– Oleg Koefoed and Kajsa Paludan (both based in Copenhagen, Denmark)
– Hans Dieleman (based in Mexico-City, Mexico)
– Francesca Cozzolino and David Knaute (both based in Paris, France)
Cultura21 is not only an informal network. Its strength and vitality relies upon the activities of several organizations around the world which are sharing the vision and mission of Cultura21
The Theatres Trust, The National Advisory Public Body for Theatres, has launched its sixth annual conference, ‘Delivering Sustainable Theatres’ -the challenge of achieving the triple bottom line.
Taking place on 12 June 2012 at Stratford Circus in London, next to the Olympic Parkin East London, the Conference will explore how theatre buildings are managing their building’s resources and addressing their future sustainability.
With its timing scheduled to take place the day before the ABTT Theatre Show, Conference attendees and sponsors will be able to take advantage of these co-located events, and network with the UK’s theatre sector as they congregate in London.
The 2012 Theatres Trust Conference will address the question of‘ Delivering Sustainable Theatres’looking athow theatres are addressingthe sustainability agenda in theserapidly changing times, and how they are providing a catalyst for social and economic recovery in the communities they serve. Conference speakers, sponsors and delegates will explore how UKtheatres arecoveringthe cornerstones of sustainability and merging green building principles whilst offering unique cultural experiences.The Conference will look at how theatre design, engineering, IT infrastructure and the use of space is changing to help navigate economic pressures, provide space for hospitality and social activity, and meet the challenges of environmental change.
With rising costs of buildings management, cuts to public subsidy and a massive change in the public ownership of theatres-what does it mean to be a sustainable theatre?Is the first rule of sustainability simply to stay in business? And significantly, what of the role of the theatre in sustaining our cultural and spiritual lives?
Four years on from when The Theatres Trust Conference addressed how theatres could become ‘greener’, it is time to explore what has been achieved in terms of sustainable development given the challenges of rising energy costs, tougher building regulations, and even more difficult economic times. A key feature of Conference 12 will be the case studies from the 48 London theatres on The Theatres Trust ERDF funded ECOVENUE project.
Mhora Samuel, Director of The Theatres Trust said, “With theatres facing challenging times ahead, our conference next year will be a really important event for anyone trying to maximise the value oftheir theatre building through redesign or adaptation. As a sector we’ve come so far since our Building Sustainable Theatres Conference in 2008 and I’m delighted that we’ll be looking at some of the success stories since that time. What we clearly and urgently need to do now is establish how we take the three pillars of sustainable development -economic, social and environmental -and relate these to a theatre’s ability to sell a unique cultural experience and make sure our theatre buildings have the capacity to deliver what’s needed for today, and into the future. I’m delighted that we are offering a platform to address this topical issue head on in 2012.”
During the day, up to 250 delegates, sponsors and speakers will debate the subjects raised and in the evening, participants will have the chance to informally unwind at the Conference Reception, drawing together both ABTT exhibitors and ‘Delivering Sustainable Theatres’contributors, sponsors, delegates, and invited guests.
‘Delivering Sustainable Theatres’, presented by The Theatres Trustwill providea high profile platform for companies and individuals in the theatre community to support the better protection of theatresanddemonstrate the industry’s commitment to the sustainable development and cultural influence of theatre in our society today, and into the future.
On Monday 7 November, Arcola participated in an exciting discussion about designing out waste in the art and design sector. It was organised by the London Community Resource Network with speakers from TRAID and the East London Furniture Project; it was an exploration of how artists and designers can ensure sustainability in the first place by Designing Out Waste.
The talk was part of the Sustain series of talks at the RCA. For more information, see HERE
Cycle Sunday: House of Hot Breath, photo by Erica Earle
Sitting between art and activism, performance and protest, this year’s Two Degrees festival takes over the streets of East London
Two Degrees is the first ever festival to bring together over 30 radical and political artists to respond to and intervene in the public debate on climate change and government cuts.
Transcending the gallery space and traditional definitions of ‘art’ this festival is about audiences actively taking part. From bike rides and haircuts to sharing food and stories, Two Degrees is a unique series of performances, films, installations, walks and interventions by artists and activists that offer a positive, alternative response to the current financial and climate crises.
Our consumption of food is increasingly a high-profile political issue, from food miles to fair trade. For one week only a pop up café created by Clare Patey will draw attention to some of the lesser known problems we face. Crayfish Bob’s stylish eatery invites dinner party conversation whilst highlighting the damage caused to London’s waterways by the invasive American Signal Crayfish. Elsewhere in the festival, Rebecca Beinart investigates herbal medicine and natural poisons in a performance that gathers powerful plants from London’s streets and the Otesha Project lead a food foraging cycle tour.
Finding new ways of sharing ideas and creating dialogue can mobilise change. The Haircut Before the Party is a hair salon with a difference. Customers at this temporary Whitechapel salon will be offered a free haircut in exchange for swapping their opinions, experiences and thoughts with their hairdresser. Future Editions, an alternative human library at Toynbee Studios will allow you to actively engage with leading climate change specialists. Visitors to the library are met by a maverick librarian who selects for them a human book. Your book will then offer you a 10 minute conversation – a rare opportunity to ask questions or exchange views. Glasgow based artist and activist Ellie Harrison looks at our increasingly fragmented and precarious labour market in Work-a-thon; an attempt to break the world record for the most self-employed workers in one space, creating a social environment for workers to combat issues of isolation, lack of solidarity and unregulated hours.
Green transport is also part of the programme and Cycle Sunday (in collaboration with Arcola Theatre) invites audiences to participate in a range of performances, events and workshops, all made for bikes. From a grafitti tour of London to a bingo bike ride and bike powered smoothie maker– artists, campaingers, engineers and designers explore the possibilities of green technology and low carbon lifestyles.
Across the UK, protest and activism have hit the headlines in recent months, but what is the link between the economic crisis and climate change? Two Degrees asks this question, bringing together artists and activists working outside of the mainstream, proposing alternative and inspiring solutions to the problems we face today, bridging the gap between art and activism.
Two Degrees is Artsadmin’s weeklong festival of art and activism, climate and cuts. Following the first festival in 2009, Two Degrees 2011 takes place from 12-18 June in and around Artsadmin’s Toynbee Studios home.
Two Degrees takes place as part of the activities of the Imagine 2020 Network of European arts organisations who are working together to encourage arts organisations and artists to engage more with the subject of climate change. The current partners in the network are Artsadmin; Lift, London; Bunker, Ljubljana; Le Quai, Angers; Kaaitheater, Brussels; Domaine d’O, Montpelier; New Theatre of Institute of Latvia, Riga; Transforma, Torres Vedras; Domino, Zagreb, Rotterdamse Schouwbourg, Rotterdam; and Kampnagel, Hamburg. www.imagine2020.eu
Two Degrees is supported by the European Commission Culture Programme and by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.
Artsadmin is based at Toynbee Studios and is a unique producing and presenting organisation for contemporary artists working in theatre, dance, live art, visual arts and mixed media, also offering various support services for artists, including a free advisory service, mentoring and development programmes and a number of bursary schemes. Toynbee Studios is Artsadmin’s unique centre for the development and presentation of new work. The studios comprise a 280-seat theatre, five studio spaces and the Arts Bar & Café, all of which host performances and events throughout the year. www.artsadmin.co.uk
As the financial climate gets ever chillier, much has been said about the need for theatre companies to band together if they are to survive the coming cuts. So it is good to see that a new spirit of cooperation is now developing across the industry – albeit in response to an entirely different climate. The curiously named Julie’s Bicycle – an organisation that exists to help the creative industries lower their greenhouse gas emissions – has recently announced the launch of a “UK-wide theatre programme” aimed at helping theatres play their part in the fight against climate change.
Of course, for some theatres, an interest in the environment is nothing new. There have been individual efforts going on for a number of years now. Some companies are building theatres that are literally recycled, the National Theatre has been working with Philips to reduce its energy consumption and east London’s Arcola theatre has made itself the industry leader with its hugely impressive Arcola Energy project.
Yet what is particularly exciting about this new initiative is that it seeks to foster a much greater level of cooperation across the industry as a whole. The aim of Julie’s Bicycle is to bring together producers from both the commercial and subsidised sectors, and they have already attracted some of the biggest names on both sides of the theatrical divide. A steering committee for the project has been set up, chaired by Nick Starr, the executive director of the National Theatre, which boasts representatives from organisations as diverse as Cameron Mackintosh Productions, Glyndebourne, the National Theatres of Scotland and Wales, the RSC and many others.
Sian Alexander, Julie’s Bicycle’s associate director for theatre, says this shows that there is a “huge appetite” in the industry for tackling this issue. The plan is that companies will share information and ideas so that eventually Julie’s Bicycle will be “able to produce an annual report for theatre on GHG emissions and progress towards targets based on the data collected by the industry”. Given how secretive theatres can be about their plans and operations, it is good to see that differences are being overlooked in the face of this major challenge.
In fact, as the Stage recently explained, Julie’s Bicycle has already launched one major report about the impact that touring theatre has on the environment. They calculated that in 2009 British touring companies produced approximately 13,400 tonnes of greenhouse gases: equivalent to flying round the world 2,680 times. In one sense this is good news – Alexander points out that this figure is not as high as they had initially feared it might be – but she adds that there are also many areas where things could be improved.
As well as working directly with theatres, the organisation has provided a number of resources on its websites to enable companies to measure their impact themselves. These include a free carbon calculator, which theatres can use to work out what their carbon footprint is, and a range of other advice on how to become more energy-efficient.
Recent years have seen a range of shows – from Filter’s Water to the Bush’s Contingency Plan – that have sought to tackle climate change from an artistic point of view. So it’s good to see theatres attempting to be green not just in word, but in action too.
noplaceprojects | OPEN CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: BeLonging
Following on from the success of RePlaceat Ada Street Gallery in June 2009,[noplaceprojects*] invites participants working in lens based media [moving and still images] to engage with the theme of BeLonging.
While the context of BeLonging should be urban and global, an engagement with being and place is critical. Regardless of origin, we are interested in exploring issues that a person or a community could face when choosing to live in a city.
[noplaceprojects*] are looking at a February 2010 opening.
Deadline for submission is Monday, November 30th 2009.
Final selection of six to eight participants by mid December 2009.
Venue TBA (East London).
To express interest please email, with supporting visuals and biog to:
This is from an article I have in this morning’s Observer magazine:
Flicking through a history of community gardening in America, Amy Franceschini discovered that between 1941 and 1943, 20 million Americans took part in the Victory Gardens programme, an initiative created to feed the nation during wartime.
“I was thinking, when have 20 million Americans ever participated on that scale besides sports – or shopping?” says Amy, nursing a cup of green tea in her studio, an expansive floor of a former warehouse. “And San Francisco was the most successful place for Victory Gardens. They took it on massively here.”
In a local newspaper she found a photo dated 18 April 1943. There, in front of the august neo-classical pillars and dome of the San Francisco City Hall, were row upon row of vegetables. “And I thought, ‘We have to have a garden in front of city hall again.’”[…]
“What artists do is seed things. They plant ideas,” says Michaela Crimmin, head of the RSA Arts and Ecology Centre. Which maybe explains why these cheap, relatively small-scale projects like Franceschini’s can have such an influence.
Harvesting food as art is growing in the UK, too. Patrick Brill – otherwise known as the artist Bob and Roberta Smith – currently features as one of the new generation of “Altermodern” artists at Tate Britain. In 2007, he created a work called The Really Super Market in Middlesbrough. Encouraging local gardeners, schoolchildren and farmers to grow vegetables, they turned the town centre into a giant farmer’s market for a day, an event that culminated in a community cook-in.
The idea took root. This summer, in east London’s Gunpowder Park, artists Amy Plant and Ella Gibbs are running a ramshackle Energy Café, using only renewable resources to cook organic food foraged locally, or supplied from within a six-mile radius.
Turner prize-winner Jeremy Deller initiated a 10-year project in Munster, in Germany, in 2007, giving all the gardeners on a community plot a large leather-bound diary in which to record their notes – whatever they wanted to write. In exchange for their participation, Deller handed each an envelope containing seeds of the dove tree. When planted, the trees should flower for the first time at around the point the project comes to fruition, at which time Deller will collect the diaries and put them in a library. “The gardens are a vernacular art work in their own right,” says Deller. “They’re homemade and made up as they go along. The people that tend them are thinking about colour and form.”
Meanwhile, for the past nine years, the artists Heather and Ivan Morison have been working on a garden and woodland in Wales – originally a community garden plot developed as a conscious echo of Derek Jarman’s Prospect Cottage in Dungeness. (Jarman, of course, was another artist who helped change the way we think about gardens.)
Based on that story a couple of weeks ago on the RSA Arts & Ecology website, I have this feature in the current New Statesman:
There’s a hint of tumbleweed blowing down the nation’s high streets. Behind the headline-worthy collapses of Woolworths and MFI are the disappearances of hundreds of smaller shops. By the end of 2009, the analyst Experian predicts, one in six UK shops will have closed down. Not only will the effect on employment be catastrophic, the projected 135,000 vacancies will not be good for the health of town centres – empty shopfronts quickly multiply.
Yet what is grim news for some may prove a bonus for artists.
From the abandoned warehouses of Shoreditch in east London to the empty apartments of Berlin, we know artists gravitate to disused space, and have been successful in transforming it. Can art now drive the regeneration of slack retail space by turning it into a low-cost cultural playground?
In Durham, Carlo Viglianisi and Nick Malyan, an artist and an art fan, both in their early twenties, took over the lease to a disused off-licence in December last year and reopened it as Empty Shop (www.emptyshop.org), a gallery and creative centre where local sixth-form college students can go for media and art classes. “The local response has been fantastic,” says Viglianisi.
They are far from alone. Across the country, artists and would-be gallerists have been having the same idea, seemingly quite spontaneously. This January in Brent, a group of artists formed Wasted Spaces; they are holding their first show in a vacant retail space in Wembley this summer. In Halifax, another group has taken on an empty unit at the Piece Hall and opened Temporary Art Space (www.temporaryartspace.co.uk), which will run for six months…