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It’s here! Our Climate Talk is now a podcast on Nordic Talks:

“Can art stop climate action?”

A growing number of artists are using their work to tackle climate change, challenging concert, theatre and museum-goers to act.
In this episode, Kay Michael, a theatre director, activist and the co-founder of Culture Declares Emergency, Christian Gade Bjerrum, actor, entrepreneur, activist and co-founder of Sustainable Performing Arts Now (Bæredygtig Scenekunst NU), and Gunn Hernes, the director of the Nordic House on the Faroe Islands, will take a closer look at what role culture can play in countering climate change. And more importantly, what can you and I do?

This podcast comes from the live Nordic Talk “Sustainable Leadership in the Arts”, chaired by Cut the Cord theatre in London, as part of International Leadership Week.

Listen to the podcast "Can art stop climate change?" on or your preferred podcast service.


Sustainable Leadership in the Arts was part of the Nordic Talks series with the Nordic Council of Ministers for International Leadership Week 16-19 November 2020. The 3-day event included 3 free online panels with Nordic and UK artistic leaders discussing their organisations' positive practices and what changes need to be made for the future. 

The talks focused on three key areas: Climate Action, Diversity and Inclusivity, and the future of artistic leadership and development. 

The talks were chaired by Cut the Cord Theatre, with audiences being able to ask the panelists questions in the live comments. 

Panelists included: Fin Kennedy (Tamasha), Bo Anders Sundstedt (Unge Viken Teater), Christian Gade Bjerrum (Sustainable Performing Arts Now), Gunn Hernes (Nordic House), Ulricha Johnson (ScenSverige / Proud Performing Arts), Kay Michael (Culture Declares Emergency), Kate Atkinson (Clore Leadership), Janne Saarakkala (Reality Research Centre), and Lars Werner Thomsen (Glad Teater).


Panel 1 - Tuesday 17 November 11-12:30     CLIMATE ACTION

Kay Michael, Culture Declares Emergency – United Kingdom 

Christian Gade Bjerrum, Sustainable Performing Arts Now – Denmark

Gunn Hernes, Nordic House – Faroe Islands

Panel 2 - Wednesday 18 November 11-12:30    DIVERSITY AND INCLUSIVITY

Fin Kennedy, Tamasha – United Kingdom

Ulricha Johnson, ScenSverige / Proud Performing Arts – Sweden 

Lars Werner Thomsen, Glad Teater – Denmark



Kate Atkinson, Clore Leadership – United Kingdom

Bo Anders Sundstedt, Unge Viken Teater – Norway 

Janne Saarakkala, Reality Research Center – Finland


The Sustainable Development Goals are a call to action by all countries – poor, rich and middle-income – to promote prosperity while protecting the planet. They recognize that ending poverty must go hand-in-hand with strategies that build economic growth and address a range of social needs including education, health, social protection, and job opportunities, while tackling climate change and environmental protection. More important than ever, the goals provide a critical framework for COVID-19 recovery. Read more here.

Sustainable Leadership in the Arts

End of International Leadership Week Reflection


We have reached the end of our Nordic Talks on Sustainable Leadership in the Arts, exploring the ways in which the cultural sector can work towards a more sustainable future. We wanted to host these discussions during International Leadership Week as we need to reimagine the structures we work within and whose voices are represented in the arts, to rebuild better and ensure a fairer, more representative and climate-conscious future.

Through our talks we have spoken to panellists who are frontrunners in each of their fields, changing the way they lead and inspire others and how their organisations work towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals needed to ensure our future – both in the arts, and across all other industries and aspects of our lives.


This week we have learnt that we don’t have all the answers, and that that’s ok. Because we need to look out into the world to find allies, to partner with each other, create solidarity and collaborate beyond our fields to be able to do this. A sustainable future means climate action, as well as diversity, inclusivity and more open and transparent leadership.

We have learnt that we, as cultural leaders of both organisations and individual practices, need to step to the side and keep the door open for others whose voices aren’t represented. There is no one way to lead, but cultural leaders do have a responsibility to work actively towards sustainable goals and nurture the next generation of artists and leaders. We need to share our resources, invite people into our spaces, and use the power of storytelling and the arts to bring people together to dream up the new future. We need to fight for our planet and use the arts and our curiosity to inspire others to act. We are running out of time. We need to make our cultural industry a home to everyone and work towards changing the rigid structures holding us back from achieving these sustainable goals.


There is a lot to do, and on many scales, for both large organisations, smaller companies and individual artists. But every little day-to-day step makes a difference and will lead to bigger footprints. A field of footprints becomes a movement. Together we can make the shifts needed to secure our industry is brave to fix what is broken and come together for a new way of leading.


We need to start today, not tomorrow.


We hope you will join us in learning and explore these action points for a more sustainable future for the arts.


Camilla Gürtler

Artistic Director

Cut the Cord Theatre

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