Entries are now open for the 2014 WOLFoundation essay competition.
Whether it relates to environmental degradation, personal privacy, the functioning, or otherwise, of our democratic processes and many other issues, many people feel that we are suffering from an almost global crisis of leadership. An inability to break out of the status quo to enable societies to address some of the growing social and environmental issues that we all face.
The theme of this year’s competition is: Leadership: What are the characteristics of effective leadership in the 21st century?
Entrants to focus on the nature of leadership itself rather than the specific issues that leaders should be addressing are encouraged.
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
Kellie Payne reports on the Green Alliance’s summer debate about the arts and the environment.
For their summer reception, the environmental think tank Green Alliance hosted an evening of opera and debate at the Royal Opera House. In conjunction with The Opera Group, the evening began with a fifteen minute excerpt of Luke Bedford‘s new opera Seven Angels, is inspired by Milton’s Paradise Lost and has environmental degradation as its theme.
Following the opera taster, there was a panel discussion entitled ‘What have the arts ever done for the environment? The panel included a mix of representatives from the worlds of policy, the arts and academia. It was chaired by Julie’s Bicycle’s Alison Tickell, and panellists included: The Southbank Centre artistic director, Jude Kelly, RSA chief executive Matthew Taylor, Arcola Theatre executive director Ben Todd, the sculptor Peter Randall-Page and David Frame, fellow of Oxford University. In her introduction, Tickell indicated that the Seven Angels was one among a crop of new work being made by British artists that addressed nature or the environment among those artists she listed were Antony Gormley, Ian McEwan, Jay Griffiths.
One of the main themes of the evening was an attempt in the discussion to answer the general question of what it is that art can do for the environment. It was generally agreed that one of the strengths of art was that it was well equipped to deal with the complexities that many environmental issues such as climate change raise. Matthew Taylor saying that art should be one of the many interventions required to tackle climate change.
One of the most eloquent responses came from the scholar, David Frame, who highlighted art’s ability to deal with complexity and tension. He felt that as climate change and environmental problems are so complex in nature, with for instance climate change knowledge dispersed amongst many specialists without a graspable whole. He said that the arts community has ‘a unique ability to convey complexity, delicacy, and beauty and among the things you can do is you don’t need to simplify…’
He pointed to the deficits in mediums such as Twitter or the 1,000 word Op Ed piece and contrasted this with the length of a novel or a film where he said ‘the possibilities for the ideas you can upload to people is phenomenal.’ This type of medium he said was also more able to cope with uncertainties. ‘You leave interpretation open which isn’t considered acceptable in other forms and I think that in doing so you can bring out tensions between these parallel values’.
Changing values seemed to be one of the key roles identified for art that emerged from the discussion. Alison said she has observed what she describes as a ‘palpable’ shift in values taking place rapidly and for her ‘the arts do have a role to play in reflecting and shaping and engaging with those values.’ While Matthew didn’t agree with Alison the extent to which values have already changed in the positive direction Alison described. In fact, he warned that during this current time of disturbance there is a clear dissatisfaction with current values but which way public opinion would turn was not decided. He said the dissatisfaction could lead in two ways, and not necessarily in a progressive direction he lamented that ‘it can go in a dangerous direction as well.’
The question of how politics should be addressed raised differing opinions. Jude Kelly began by announcing she ‘didn’t mind a bit of bad art’ provided that art had some sort of message. She went on to say, ‘I don’t think it’s a hanging offence to produce a message’ However if it’s not particularly interesting it might ‘bore me after awhile’. Further, ‘I don’t mind artists having a go. I really dislike the idea that artists shouldn’t be allowed to take centre stage to comment on things.
While Peter conceded that there was ‘nothing wrong with political art’, for him it was less the politics which art was best equipped to address. He was more of the mind that art’s quality was that it didn’t have a direct ‘purpose’ that it was its intrinsic values alone that made art great. He believes that ‘arts are not well placed to (do) issue based lobbying’ contrasting what he finds often to be the pragmatism of the environmental movement with the arts ability to nourish imagination and the spirit in the way the natural world does. ‘I think the role that I feel for the arts in environmentalism is that it… reminds us that we’re not all bad. If we only feel negative it’s impossible for us to move forward and remove this exclusively pragmatic approach to looking after the world.’
Matthew wanted to introduce a third way of thinking about the issue agreeing that art shouldn’t attempt to kick us around the head. However, he felt art could ‘challenge people to live differently and value things in slightly different ways.’ Providing a vision of how ‘a different, deeper kind of understanding about what makes life worth living and what it is society wants to be.’ This task he felt art was ‘incredibly well suited’. That is, ‘art is there to explicitly to get you to think about what the good life is.’ He concluded this thought saying ‘art shouldn’t be ashamed to say that art is here to help you rethink what our values are and I don’t think that requires you to revert to a kind of crude placard waving.’
In addition to the discussion about art and politics, the panel also touched on the controversial issue of artists lifestyles and the high carbon footprint of the arts. The general attitude on the panel was that this shouldn’t be paid as much attention as it has been. Jude Kelly saying that this arts requires face-to-face interactions and not allowing artists to fly amounts to a cultural boycott. But Matthew Taylor thought artists should be accountable, and if they want to have influence on others they have to take account of their own actions.
Increased collaboration amongst artists was encouraged, suggesting that the problem of the environment is one that artists should attempt to do together. Arts organisations such as Cape Farewell and Tipping Point were highlighted as doing exceptional work, helping to inform artists of climate change and bringing the topic to their consciousness.
It was edifying to see an organisation such as the Green Alliance, who normally deals with more policy related issues such as building a sustainable economy, investigating climate and energy futures, designing out waste and political leadership to host a conversation with the arts community. A cursory glance over badges of audience members saw representatives from business and policy, including the Department for Energy and Climate Change and The Environment Agency, so the wider these issues can be encountered and discussed the better. It’s time the arts community made it’s voice heard in the conversation about climate change. Peter concluded well, stating that it is artists who need to create metaphors and narratives which make it possible to go into the future.
“ashdenizen blog and twitter are consistently among the best sources for information and reflection on developments in the field of arts and climate change in the UK” (2020 Network)
The editors are Robert Butler and Wallace Heim. The associate editor is Kellie Gutman. The editorial adviser is Patricia Morison.
Robert Butler’s most recent publication is The Alchemist Exposed (Oberon 2006). From 1995-2000 he was drama critic of the Independent on Sunday. See www.robertbutler.info
Wallace Heim has written on social practice art and the work of PLATFORM, Basia Irland and Shelley Sacks. Her doctorate in philosophy investigated nature and performance. Her previous career was as a set designer for theatre and television/film.
Kellie Gutman worked with the Aga Khan Trust for Culture for twenty years, producing video programmes and slide presentations for both the Aga Khan Foundation and the Award for Architecture.
Patricia Morison is an executive officer of the Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts, a group of grant-making trusts of which the Ashden Trust is one.
The COAL Art & Environment prize was launched in 2010 by the French association COAL, the coalition for art and sustainable development, to reward a project about the environment by a contemporary artist.
The winner is chosen by a jury of personalities from the worlds of contemporary art, research, ecology and sustainable development, out of 10 finalists selected from an international call for entries.
The COAL Prize 2011, worth 10 000 euros, comes under the auspices of the french Ministry of Culture and Communication, the National Centre of Fine Arts (CNAP), and enjoys the support of PwC and a private benefactor.
Special mention : To mark 2011 the International Year of the Forest and promote entries on this theme in 2011, a second prize will reward entries that focus on forest issues.
The application period closes on 30 April 2011.
The prize will be awarded in May 2011.
Today, environmental degradation represents a growing concern, covering a very wide field:
resource management and depletion: water, energy, waste…
crisis factors: system of production and consumption, pollution, demographics, land use…
environmental crises: climate change, rising water levels, loss of biodiversity…
conceptual framework: environmental law, shared assets, social justice, community harmony…
Jury and selection committee
The 2011 juryand selection committee are currently being assembled.
Are already confirmed :
Bernard Blistène, directeur du département du développement culturel du Centre Pompidou et directeur artistique du Nouveau Festival.
Dominique Bourg, philosopher;
Anne-Marie Charbonneaux, president of the National Centre of Fine Arts;
Patrick Degeorges, Biodiversity department, Ministry of ecology
Eva Hober, Art dealer;
Philippe Jousse, Art dealer;
Sacha Kagan, Founder Cultura21
Sylvain Lambert, PwC associate, sustainable development service
Laurence Tubiana, founder of the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations(IDDRI)
Theresa Van Wuthenau, coordinatrice du réseau Imagine2020
Selection of entries
The entry selection criteria take stock of the artistic value, relevance (understanding the issues), originality (ability to introduce novel approaches, themes, and points of view), pedagogy (ability to get a message across, to raise awareness), a social and participative approach (engagement, testimony, efficiency, societal dynamics), eco-design, feasibility.
An artist’s specialisation on the environment is not a selection criterion. The aim of the prize is to encourage artists to focus on environmental issues.
An internationally renowned scientific committee
As part of the call for entries, COAL is organizing a meeting between artists and members of the scientific committee, with a view to providing tailored guidance. This scientific committee is made up of:
Edouard Bard, climatologist, Collège de France, science academy, CNRS
Nathalie Blanc, geographer, CNRS UMR LADYSS
Dominique Bourg, philosopher, IEP, UTT, member of the ecology watch committee of the Nicolas Hulot Foundation,
Denis Couvet, ecologist, MNHN, polytechnic,
Alain Grandjean, associate director, Carbone 4, member of the ecology watch committee of the Nicolas Hulot Foundation.
Coal prize award ceremony
The COAL Art & Environment Prize ceremony is a unique event held in a symbolic location, attended by the artist finalists and personalities from the world of art and sustainable development.
Entries by artist finalists are displayed to promote networking with bodies and authorities, which could facilitate the future realisation of projects.
Support for entries after the COAL prize
Beyond the award ceremony, the COAL prize is an opportunity to promote the entries and artists involved and to demonstrate the creative potential of fine arts with regards to the environment and related issues.
COAL fosters the networking of artists with scientists and stakeholders, and produces, encourages and promotes the numerous entries to the COAL Prize at exhibitions, events and commissions.
This should comprise the following documents, assembled in a single PDF file:
A Curriculum Vitae and artistic dossier;
A summary and illustrated description of the entry, detailing its artistic aspects and its relevance to the environment;
A note on the technical aspects of the entry, notably in terms of the construction and means of production;
An estimated budget.
Deadline 30 April 2011
All proposals should be submitted to the COAL FTP server at before 30 April 2011.
By entering this competition, applicants expressly authorize the COAL association to publish, reproduce and display in public all or part of the elements of their entry, for any purposes linked to the promotion and communication of the COAL project, on all platforms, media, in all countries and for the LEGAL DURATION OF THE COPYRIGHT. Entries submitted but not selected will be held in the archives of the COAL association. They will, however, remain the property of their authors.
Participation in this call entails the full acceptance of the conditions laid out above.