‘Climate Beacons’ to bring together culture and green sectors for COP26

Published: 29 Mar 2021

Climate Beacons for COP26: Applications now open

Applications are now open for partnerships made up of Scotland-based organisations across the cultural and environmental sectors to apply to take part in Climate Beacons for COP26.

Climate Beacons for COP26 is an innovative project that will harness the cultural sector’s unique power to deliver deep-rooted public engagement with climate change through the once-in-a-generation opportunity of COP26 (‘Conference of the Parties’, the UN Climate Summit) coming to Glasgow in November. It will seize this chance to bring about lasting change within the cultural sector, society and policy in Scotland and provide an internationally inspiring example of Scotland’s climate leadership.

This project will pair leading organisations in arts, culture, heritage, climate science, policy, the public sector, and civil society to form ‘Climate Beacons’ that will work in close collaboration to develop lasting public engagement with climate change in the lead-up to, during and after COP26. The Beacons will be situated around Scotland in a wide variety of locations, strengthening engagement with COP26 beyond Glasgow to the whole country and supporting the recovery of Scotland’s cultural sector from the impacts of COVID-19.

Learning from the successes and failures of previous COP artistic programmes, Climate Beacons for COP26 will promote greater collaboration between the cultural and climate sectors, distribute activity more broadly and accessibly, and ensure that there is a long-term legacy beyond the UN Climate talks. It is now recognised that climate change is as much a socio-cultural issue as it is a technical, scientific, economic, or political one. With its ability to influence society, the cultural sector therefore has an essential role to play in addressing it.

Creative Carbon Scotland is co-ordinating the project, bringing our existing expertise as a unique connecting role between sectors as well as learnings from ongoing research and collaborations. A steering group of ‘co-ordinating partners’ provides additional advice, contacts and networks. These partners are leading sector organisations and development bodies: Architecture and Design Scotland, Creative Scotland, the Edinburgh Climate Change Institute, Museums Galleries Scotland, the Scottish Library and Information Council, and the Sustainable Scotland Network. The project is funded by the Scottish Government, Creative Scotland, and Museums Galleries Scotland among others.

The Climate Beacons will launch ahead of COP26 and continue to operate until mid-2022. Beacons will make use of the shared resources and knowledge of cultural venues and climate organisations to provide a welcoming physical and virtual space for conversation about COP26 and climate action between members of the public, artists and cultural sector professionals, environmental NGOs and wider civil society, scientists, and policymakers.

Ben Twist, director of Creative Carbon Scotland, said: ‘The presence of the COP26 talks in Glasgow this year represents a major opportunity to boost climate action in Scotland. At Creative Carbon Scotland, we have witnessed the enthusiasm of arts organisations around the country for contributing to this activity. Climate Beacons provides an opportunity to direct the skills and resources of the arts sector into deep-seated and long-lasting public engagement that will ensure that this momentum continues long after the COP26 negotiations have concluded.’

Dave Reay, executive director of the Edinburgh Climate Change Institute, said: ‘Creative Carbon Scotland has a proven track record of bringing together innovative collaborations between the cultural and climate sectors. The ambitious Climate Beacons project will share that expertise, setting up partnerships that will focus on engaging the public with COP26 but that will also establish connections and learning that will persist long into the future.’

Applications are open to all Scottish-based organisations. The closing date is 10th May at 9am, with successful partnerships announced at the end of May.


  • We define ‘culture’ here as encompassing the arts, heritage, crafts, creative industries, and design, including voluntary as well as professional organisations. We define 'environmental’ organisations as any for whom some of or all their focus is on addressing the challenges (and opportunities) posed by environmental issues such as climate change. This could include local and national authorities, public bodies, NGOs and charities, community organisations, education institutions or businesses.
  • Further information and the application form are available on the Creative Carbon Scotland website.
  • Our findings from a survey of previous arts and culture engagements with COPs are available on the Creative Carbon Scotland website.

Creative Carbon Scotland believes in the essential role of the arts, screen, cultural and creative industries in contributing to the transformational change to a more environmentally sustainable Scotland. We work directly with individuals, organisations and strategic bodies engaged across cultural and sustainability sectors to harness the role of culture in achieving this change. Through year-round work and one-off projects, we combine strategic expertise and consultancy; bespoke carbon management training and guidance; and a range of programmes supporting the development of artistic practices in Scotland which address sustainability and climate change. https://www.creativecarbonscotland.com/. Stay in touch with us via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Architecture and Design Scotland is Scotland’s design champion. We believe in the power of design to improve people’s lives and we bring people together to make better places for everyone. Our vision is a Scotland whose places are healthy, sustainable and thriving, where everyone works together to shape their future. We connect people and organisations, use our wide range of skills to provide advice on projects, champion good design and collaboration, and share insight from our work to grow capacity across Scotland. Our aim is to see the benefits of the Place Principle become an everyday reality in the way Scotland’s places are created, adapted and sustained. https://www.ads.org.uk/.

Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here. We distribute funding provided by the Scottish Government and The National Lottery. Further information at creativescotland.com. Follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

The Edinburgh Climate Change Institute are the leading climate change hub for Scotland and beyond. Hosted by the University of Edinburgh, we deliver ground-breaking projects and kick-start new ideas. For more information visit https://edinburghcentre.org/.

Museums Galleries Scotland is the National Development Body for museums and galleries in Scotland and offers strategic development support to the sector. For further information about Museums Galleries Scotland visit www.museumsgalleriesscotland.org.uk/about-us/.

The Scottish Library and Information Council is the independent advisory body to the Scottish Government on library and information related matters. Our members are drawn from the public sector, school libraries, higher education institutions, further education colleges, health libraries and special interest libraries. We lead development in the library sector, monitor standards of provision and promote development. For more information visit www.scottishlibraries.org.

The Sustainable Scotland Network (SSN) is Scotland’s public sector network on sustainability and climate change. The network supports the public sector to drive action on climate change, scaling up impact through leadership, policy and research. For more information visit https://sustainablescotlandnetwork.org/.

Media Contact

Lewis Coenen-Rowe, culture/SHIFT officer, lewis.coenen-rowe@creativecarbonscotland.com, 07741457824