In his pre-recorded keynote, Ben Twist (Creative Carbon Scotland, UK) shelved the focus on carbon literacy and reminded us why arts and culture are crucial when it comes to adapting to climate change. “The age of abundance is over”, it’s time to change our metaphorical climate!
He assured us that arts and artists are crucial because they can make people think collectively and build community in the process.
Ben also talked about what we can concretely do in our cultural institutions regarding how we manage our physical spaces and our production and presentation practices.
The forum’s first panel addressed policymakers by talking to cultural managers about their projects in which funders took a different approach: Matthieu Gillieron’s sustainability tools and online guide for ECoC 2022 Esch (LU), funded by Luxembourg’s Ministry of the Environment, Climate and Sustainable Development; Vânia Rodrigues’s data-gathering academic research project “Green Production – Performing Arts in Transition”, funded by the University of Coimbra (PT); and Zala Velkavrh’s work in Slovenia with Prostorož’s grassroots interdisciplinary projects addressing environmental and social challenges, funded by numerous local funders. Moderator Yohann Floch (On the Move) began by quoting the bold and “almost visionary” European Parliament Resolution of 15 September 2020, which “Calls on the Commission and on national agencies and desks to establish criteria to enable the environmental aspects of projects to be factored into project evaluation, thus promoting greener practices. Trusting artists is key!
In the forum’s second panel, focused on bottom-up practices, Motovila’s Ines Kežman moderated a discussion with producers/consultants from the field of new media and web-based art (in Slovenia known as intermedia art), music and film who have been involved in projects that have been creatively and effectively raising awareness and pushing the need to act. Uroš Veber (Projekt Atol, SI) spoke about his 20 years building a culture of green thinking in international cooperation projects looking at the human in relationship to nature and the environment. Karolina Juzwa (Wytwornia Foundation, PL) gave an overview of the project Footprints, which aimed to support emerging artists to develop their international and professional careers through sustainable tours utilising green mobility (if/when possible), paying artists fair fees, at venues that include the community. And Katja Schwarz (International Screen Institute, AT) told of how she introduced green practices into the film industry in Munich, which led to the first green-produced films in Germany in the 2010s. It’s about more than eliminating plastic straws!
In her closing keynote, Katja Sreš (Ecologists without Borders, SI) asserts that the environment is a concern not only for environmentalists: “Climate action needs culture, decision makers from different sectors and, obviously, a functioning public transportation network.” It’s not about highlighting the climate in your artwork. Cultural organisations can act by setting an example:
* Prepare green productions, maintain buildings, travel sustainably.
* Check that your brandprint (brand identity) portrays a sustainable organisation in all activities.
* Start small, start even if you don’t have any funding for green projects.