Culture and the Climate Emergency
Streamed from the awe-inspiring Rainforest Biome at Eden Project in Cornwall, this morning’s Culture and the Climate Emergency explored the ways in which creativity can impact our perceptions of the natural environment, democratise discussions, and be a powerful catalyst for change.
Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair of Arts Council England, chaired a panel discussion with distinguished speakers included: Dr Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg – Artist, Matt Hocking – Founder & Creative Sustainability Officer, Leap, Mark Jenkin – Filmmaker, Vanessa Kisuule – Poet & Performer, Fehinti Balogun – Actor, Theatre-maker & Activist and Emily Brown – Lead Designer Ustwo games. The event was sponsored by ERDF Cornwall.
A key area of discussion was the power of art in shifting perceptions of the environment. “I think ‘Wonder’ is such a beautiful under-appreciated feeling, when it comes to how we’re going to actually maintain the motivation to make the changes we need to make,” said Vanessa Kisuule.
“When we really care about and are in awe of the natural environment, of course, we’re going to want to do what we can to help it.”
Matt Hocking highlighted the need to “harness the power of creativity” and describes the creative sector as “the true catalyst of this time” – having more impact than politicians, or even education providers.
For Dr Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg, the role of artists and creatives is to pose questions and create a space for contemplation and transformation. Speaking about the climate crisis, she says “we can solve this as citizens, and as consumers and as activists – we’re not going to solve it as artists.”
The discussion moved on to consider the voices in these conversations about our planet. Vanessa Kisuule described the power of the internet in allowing art to reach broader audiences; “as artists, we are creating other artists, because they’re thinking, oh, like, she just put a camera in front of herself and did a poem… I could do that… I don’t need to have a PhD to do that.”
Fehinti Balogun emphasised the importance of collaborative working: “The idea that we singularly will save the planet, one recycling bin at a time – that just isn’t true because it’s about communities about coming together… having spaces that can reach people that people feel comfortable in all different types of people, but especially platforming those that have been historically ignored… making it a space where they feel comfortable… and then we can reach and therefore connect to those grassroots activists and organisations.”