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‘Climate Beacons’ to link creativity and climate change across Scotland for COP26

Published: 03 Jun 2021

Climate Beacons for COP26

More than 30 environmental, cultural and heritage organisations are coming together in regions across Scotland to inspire public engagement and positive action in the run up to and beyond the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference, taking place in Glasgow this November.

With funding from the Scottish Government’s Climate Change and Culture Divisions, Creative Scotland and Museums Galleries Scotland, seven hubs known as ‘Climate Beacons’ will take form in Argyll, Caithness & East Sutherland, Fife, Inverclyde, Midlothian the Outer Hebrides, and Tayside.

Bringing together shared resources and knowledge from cultural and climate organisations, the Climate Beacons will provide a welcoming physical and virtual space for the public, artists and cultural sector professionals, environmental NGOs, scientists and policymakers to discuss and debate COP26 themes and climate action specific to each local area.

Scottish Government Culture Minister Jenny Gilruth said of the project: “This pioneering work from Creative Carbon Scotland ahead of COP26 makes a powerful link between culture and climate action. Climate Beacons will play an important role in ensuring that the history-making COP26 negotiations are not only felt in Glasgow but across the country, helping everyone in Scotland to better understand climate change and how to contribute to becoming a net-zero society.”

Organisations including Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), Community Energy Scotland, British Geological Survey, James Hutton Institute, University of the Highlands and Islands, and Argyll and the Isles Coast & Countryside Trust will collaborate with cultural organisations including An Lanntair, Taigh Chearsabagh, Lyth Arts Centre, Timespan, Dundee Repertory Theatre, V&A Dundee, ONFife, Cove Park, The Beacon Arts Centre, RIG Arts and National Mining Museum Scotland, among many others*.

Each Beacon will respond to issues specific in their local area, from moving beyond fossil fuels in Fife, to Scottish rainforests in Argyll, from peat bogs in Caithness, to water in Midlothian, and design in Dundee.

Iain Munro, CEO of Creative Scotland commented: “There is an enormous amount of work being undertaken across the arts, screen and creative industries to improve sustainability, using art and creativity to influence and inspire action. The Climate Beacons will see art and cultural organisations across the country collaborate with environmental organisations to develop a range of creative activities focused on addressing the climate emergency and stimulating our understanding of the role of art in climate action. We look forward to working with the Beacons in this crucial year for climate action in Scotland.”

Leading the initiative is Ben Twist, Director of Creative Carbon Scotland, who said: “Tackling climate change requires us to find imaginative solutions to complex problems. Cultural buildings and events can provide an open and welcoming space for these challenging conversations, bringing people together to collectively think, imagine, feel and develop lasting connections that will strengthen future climate action."

The Outer Hebrides Climate Beacon will focus on how the islands can adapt to the worsening impacts of climate change while celebrating their unique natural and cultural heritage through a partnership between An Lanntair arts centre, Taigh Chearsabhagh museum and arts centre, Ceòlas, Community Energy Scotland, Western Isles Libraries, TSI Western Isles, NatureScot, Adaptation Scotland and the wider Outer Hebrides Community Planning Partnership Climate Change Working Group.

Elly Fletcher, Chief Executive at An Lanntair said: “We are thrilled to become a Climate Beacon for COP26! What an incredible opportunity we have to work together here in the Outer Hebrides to engage people and explore climate impacts, whilst celebrating the islands’ unique natural and cultural heritage. We have lots of exciting plans in the lead up to COP26 this year and beyond, and we can’t wait to get going and to share and connect nationally with the whole Beacons network.”

In Fife, the Leven Programme, ONFife and Levenmouth Academy are coming together with others to channel the arts and build on climate action in the area, eager to share stories of the proud industrial heritage and show the world how we can transform to a resilient low carbon community of the future.

Pauline Silverman, SEPA Senior Manager Partnerships and Places and The Leven Programme Manager said: “Climate change requires immediate action if we are to adapt and live with its effects. We are so excited to use our collaboration to bring science and the arts together to develop the story of change from a carbon intensive past to a low carbon resilient community of the future.”

To find out more about each of the Climate Beacons, how to get involved and keep up to date with latest developments, visit the Climate Beacons website.

The logos of the organisations involved - Creative Carbon Scotland, Edinburgh Climate Change Institute, Architecture & Design Scotland, Museums Galleries Scotland, SLIC, SSN and Creative Scotland