“Share the dreams and way you envision the world to be or the way you want to be in the world. We really need us as artists to promote the dreams that are for a better world.”
Christian Gade Bjerrum, Sustainable Performing Arts NOW
In this panel, we discussed creative solutions to climate change and what role cultural organisations and artists can play in ensuring more sustainable working practices.
Through engaging with leading climate action movements and organisations, the talk explored their action points for the cultural sector and how cultural institutions and artists can incorporate these in the future.
Declare with Culture Declares Emergency
Look at Julie’s Bicycle’s Sustainable Production Guide to make your production more sustainable
Take it step-by-step – every small change matters
Engage with the young people – support them and give them a platform for their voices and demands
Start with the small, simple things and try to make the right choices
Don’t even start tomorrow, but start today
Write down ten bullet points on how to create performing arts within the next five years
Do the work to get to carbon zero as soon as possible
Be part of the change
Set goals and be concrete – both on the daily basis and in the long run
Use your artistic skills topromote the dreams that are for a better world
Reflect and learn as a part of the process
Hire a Climate Advocate
When you go to venues, ask if they are green labeled
Push the leaders to push the agenda on a bigger scale in the political system
Have the politics and the funding systems so that you can actually make a green change in your institution
As a leader you have to play your part and take responsibility
You're not alone, but you have to be part of the change
Start with the low-hanging fruits – What is the change on a day-to-day basis
Reflect and learn. Then trying something again actually becomes a sustainable process in itself. And that is about sustainable leadership, collaborative leadership too
“We need to be engaging with the young. We need to be working with young people on this. It is their future and we need to do all we can to support them and platform their voices and demands.”
Kay Michael, Culture Declares Emergency
Kay Michael is a theatre director and activist and the communications coordinator for Culture Declares Emergency. In 2019 she co-founded Culture Declares Emergency,
a growing international movement of individuals and organisations in the cultural sector declaring climate and ecological emergency. Their mission is to ensure the cultural sector is a leading contributor in creating a regenerative future that sustains everyone, everywhere. Kay co-edited the award-winning book ‘Letters to the Earth, Writing to a Planet in Crisis’, published by HarperCollins and introduced by Emma Thompson.
Christian Gade Bjerrum is the co-founder of Sustainable Performing Arts Now, Denmark's first organisation focusing on supporting the Danish performing art industry in working more sustainably. Their vision is to ensure the Danish performing arts industry becomes the leading sustainable arts sector in the world. Their mission is to establish Sustainable Performing Arts Now as an organisation that monitors and guides the sustainable transition in the performing arts industry. Christian is an actor, entrepreneur and nature activist and has run climate-campaigns in Nigeria, Russia, New York and Denmark, as well as running for parliament in 2019 for the green party "Alternativet".
Gunn Hernes is originally from Norway and is the director of the Nordic House on the Faroe Islands. She trained in Cultural Development and has been a guest speaker and training manager for workshops in the music and performing arts field in various topics.
The Nordic House on the Faroe Islands’ primary remit, as an open and vibrant cultural venue, is to showcase Nordic art and culture on the Faroe Islands and to raise awareness about Faroese art and culture across the Nordic region. The Nordic House is one of the most important instruments that the Nordic Council of Ministers has to further the political priorities of the Nordic cultural co-operation. The house is run as a Nordic institution of art and culture with a diverse programme of music, literature, theatre, film, visual arts, lectures, conferences and much more.
It can’t be a Cut the Cord event without a little glitter check. At the end of each of our panels, we had a short set from a Nordic musician/band to round off our event.
Our first band was the Icelandic folk duo Ylja. Their sound is described as “a combination of powerful yet delicate vocal mastery and instrumental purity”. You can find all their albums on Spotify - so have a listen and see if you can guess which song we have chosen for our Climate Change panel (hint: you might have to understand Icelandic to guess it).
You can also see some of Ylja’s live sessions and music videos here: https://ylja.is/ylja-videos/
“Don’t be afraid. Everything matters. Just step-by-step, and ask questions, find partners, ask these organisations that you have around you. You’re not alone, but you have to be part of the change."
Gunn Hernes, Nordic House Faroe Islands
Embra Collective (UK)
Intersectional feminist collective interested in sustainability and place-based action.
Defining Activism and Sustainable Activism
Check out Embra Collectives’ articles and creative project:
Teater Viva (DK)
Katrine Faber made an important show called Tales From The Trash:
A global, virtual festival of climate action - and it’s FREE!
A Life on Our Planet (Netflix)
If you haven’t watched it yet, treat yourselves tonight with this important film!
4 brilliant benefits from going green:
Extinction Rebellion Art Group (UK)
An open group that anyone can join - check out the great work being made:
Season for Change
Season for Change is a nationwide programme of artistic and cultural events that celebrate the environment and inspire urgent climate action.
Immersion by Selina Thompson
Immersion is one of the commissions for Season for Change, a UK-wide programme of arts activity focused on a step-change in climate awareness, activism and justice, delivered in partnership by Julie’s Bicycle and Artsadmin.
Julie’s Bicycle is a London based charity that supports the creative community to act on climate change and environmental sustainability.
Here you can find Julie’s Bicycle’s brilliant guide to make your production more sustainable: https://juliesbicycle.com/resource-production-guide-2013/