Our series of Thematic Overviews draw out a selection of work from across the community-led participatory arts projects that make up the Culture Collective network. They’re intended to give an insight into some of the themes that have been identified as important by communities, and offer a starting point into the ways that creative activity can be used to address wider topics.

Climate and the environment

Concerns about climate and the environment were raised regularly from the early of Culture Collective activity. Artists and communities have worked together to bring a local dimension to what can otherwise be a frightening or intimidating conversation – encouraging one another to consider their relationship to their natural world, to start discussions about how the effects of the changing climate are being felt locally, and to take action to change consumption patterns, take positive action to clean up local ecosystems, or advocate for wider-scale action.

The wider context

In the Scottish Government’s commitment to transition to a net zero emissions Scotland, “supporting communities to tackle climate change” is identified as a key strand of action.

In 2021, Culture for Climate Scotland (a working group made up of individuals and organisations from across the cultural sector in Scotland, led by Creative Carbon Scotland) launched ‘10 Steps for a Just & Green Recovery’. Consisting of five principle and five tactics, the 10 steps centred a commitment to “harness our sector’s ability to contribute artistically to wider conversations around climate change” and “integrate and amplify underrepresented voices and freelance artists at every stage of systemic change”.

A 2023 Scottish Government report into achieving a net-zero Scotland, informed in-part through a visit to CULTIVATE Dundee, found that “most community groups working in the broad area of “net zero” are in practice making a two-for-one contribution: they are delivering carbon savings as an additional benefit of projects about food, money-saving, cycling, community cohesion, mental or physical health, etc. In so doing, they can generate the success stories, inspiration and positivity that can instigate and maintain support for climate action”.

Culture Collective work in action

Other Culture Collective thematic overviews

Continue exploring themes that have emerged as important to artists and communities through our other thematic overviews, on: