The theme for June’s WNCC meeting which took place on June 6th was activism and arts organisations within the context of a climate emergency:
What does climate activism look like in the cultural climate space and how do we harness our collective voice? We will be discussing activism and arts organisations, following on from the recent activity and within the context of parliament’s motion to declare a climate emergency. How can we move institutions to be more radical and take leadership in this space? Challenging the borders between politics and non-political actors.
This meeting took place a day after World Environment Day, in which Secretary-General, António Guterres said:
“It is time to act decisively. My message to governments is clear: tax pollution; end fossil fuel subsidies; and stop building new coal plants. We need a green economy not a grey economy”
Who was in the room?
Please find more information on the What Next? Climate Change subgroup here, including a link to sign up.
June’s WNCC meeting was our busiest yet, with more than 100 people signing up, and around 90 people attending on the day. About 50% of guests were joining for first time, with about 40% of those in the room having joined Culture Declares Emergency.
We are really grateful to the British Council who hosted us and Bergit Arends, Curator & Researcher at Tate, who expertly chaired the meeting.
Speakers and presentations
- Chiara Badiali from Julie’s Bicycle, gave a policy update on climate and the environment, which can be found here
- Chris Gerrard from Culture Unstained, who gave an update on Fossil Free culture and the Art Not Oil activism and divestment campaigning they’ve been organising
- Read Culture Unstained’s Letter to Sadiq Khan signed by 200 musicians
- Kendall Robbins from British Council’s Architecture, Design and Fashion Team looking at how design activism and cultural relations can be used to address global challenges
- Find out more about the Fashion Revolutionaries programme
- Bridget McKenzie from Flow Associates with an update on the Culture Declares Emergency project
- Lois Keidan from Live Art Development Agency on how to navigate activism with your board and throughout your organisations
- Toby Peach an independent artist, sharing direct action activist projects he has worked on for Coney and Greenpeace, working with young people around the theme of air pollution
- Read Toby’s Sustainability Manifesto
- Abbi Knell from Children’s Investment Fund Foundation – on communicating how organisations navigate public facing activism
- Check out Abbi’s blogpost summarising her presentation on climate activism
- Miranda Lowe from Museum Detox, on the importance of addressing power and privilege in narratives and action, and being a STEM ambassador in schools
Other discussion points
- We also discussed the new Arts Council England 10 year strategy and how it crucially needs input from many individuals and organisations to ensure it addresses the context of climate breakdown in a fundamental way.
- Discussion groups considered how climate activism is interrelated with the history of empire, extraction and corruption.
- It was highlighted as a necessity for organisations to make a statement about the ethics and values of their practice from the position of senior management. The difficulty of needing senior management endorsement and reaching trustees was raised, and XR’s last suppers were introduced as a way to get senior influencers together to discuss crucial issues of the climate crisis in a safe space and start to plan a strategy to address this.
- Lots of people talked about how useful it is to have Green Riders – you can find a template Green Rider on our website.
- The next iteration of Season for Change 2020 was introduced, which will take place from June – December 2020. A more detailed overview of the festival, themes and partnerships we are developing can be found here.
- London’s National Park City Festival was mentioned which takes place from 20 – 28th July.
- This resource was recommended from Rob Hopkins, founder of the Transition Towns movement titled ‘Why the next 10 years will be the making of us’.
Future What Next Climate Change meetings
- Julie’s Bicycle facilitate the WNCC group and meetings under the role of secretariat pro-bono, and so are currently considering how best to continue supporting this group as it grows. If you are a member of the group we would be grateful if you could take a few minutes to complete this short survey and help us improve how we host this community.
- The next WNCC meeting will take place on September 12th in London, venue and theme tbc.
- What Next? Climate Change conversations can be followed via the hashtag #WhatNextClimate.