June 21, 2023
June 2023: A networked sector is a resilient sector

Last Thursday, we held our much-anticipated webinar Reorienting Practice: The role of artists in the climate adaptation emergency with Jen Rae. In her talk, Jen addressed the importance of building resilience in the sector by actively engaging with future scenarios. Engaging with both present and future simultaneously is one of the many new skills required  by the climate emergency, as is our ability to foster connections and work collaboratively with others. This is why at SCALE, we are so committed to strengthening a pan-Canadian climate-arts network.  We hold firm in our conviction that an interconnected arts and culture sector is a resilient sector, poised for meaningful impact, which is why we have just launched our network intake tool. Only by listening to and understanding our members will SCALE be able to carry out its mission – to foster a coordinated, artful and impactful response to the climate emergency from Canada’s arts and culture sector. This is why we are requesting 10 minutes of your time to fill out this network intake form. By filling it out, you are becoming an active participant and supporter of SCALE’s transition to the next phase of tangible action.


We are also very excited to launch our new section: Network Spotlight. As a “network of networks”, we want to shed light on the rich climate arts ecosystem and bring you closer to the networks that are already doing great work. The sooner we’re connected to one another, the stronger our opportunities to affect change as a sector. Please send your suggestions for future Network Spotlights to julia@scale-lesaut.ca. If you wish to remain anonymous, our Inspiration board is always open. 

You can read the most recent updates at the intersection of art and climate below. 

Wishing you all a great summer,

Julia Matamoros

Dennis D. Gupa

Dennis D. Gupa is a theatre director and an Assistant Professor at the University of Winnipeg’s Theatre and Film Department. He received his PhD in Applied Theatre at the University of Victoria. His dissertation, “Applied theatre as post-disaster response: re-futuring climate change, performing disasters, and Indigenous ecological knowledge” centers the wisdom and knowledge of local elders rooted in sea rituals and traditional fishing practices within a typhoon-affected community in the Philippines. His research interest is on the intersection of climate change, Indigenous ecological knowledge, and applied theatre. Through applied theatre, Denis explores agency, relationality, and creativity in the aftermath of a disaster. His most recent performance project, “Gossip with Whales, was presented at COP26/The 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference’s Virtual Ocean Pavilion. He won the Performance Studies International’s Dwight Conquergood Award (PSi Laureate), the Ada Slaight Drama in Education Award and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts’ Doctoral Award. He is a SSHRC Vanier Scholar, one of Asia Society’s Philippines 21 Fellows for the Arts and Culture, and is included in The Cultural Centre of the Philippines’ Encyclopedia of Philippine Arts for his contribution to the contemporary theatrical heritage of the Philippines. SCALE is honoured to have Dennis as a member of our Mission Circle!

For our very first Network Spotlight, we spoke to Viviane Gosselin about the Coalition of Museums for Climate Justice (CMCJ).  You can visit CMCJ’s website to learn more and connect directly.  

What led to the creation of the Coalition of Museums for Climate Justice? What does it do?

CMCJ emerged in 2016 as a response to the absence of effective climate policies for the arts and culture sector in Canada. We are a volunteer-run association that aims to mobilize Canadian museum professionals and organizations in raising awareness and building resilience in the face of the climate crisis. Despite limited resources, CMCJ has been able to support museums in rethinking their operations through a sustainability lens. We developed a website and social media platforms for partners and related organizations to share valuable resources. These platforms focus on providing ideas, practical tools, and concrete actions that address the climate crisis and empower museums to become more effective climate educators and advocates. 

Who does this network serve and what is the best way to get involved? 

We serve anyone who works in and with museums and art galleries. You can join the FB group and write a blog post for our website about the exciting climate work you do or see in museums and art galleries. 

Anything you’re excited about that you’d like to share with us?

We are working with the Museum of Vancouver on SAGE, short for Sustainability Arts and Green Ecosystem. This new collaborative effort involves the visual arts, theatre, museum, and design communities dedicated to reevaluating their design and fabrication practices to minimize waste. SAGE’s primary objectives are to integrate circular models of production and consumption into the development of exhibitions and theatrical performances.

To stay informed about everything SCALE every day, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.  

SCALE at MEMETIC Festival – June 9

Our very own Annette Hegel, SCALE’s Organizational and Network Development Lead, will be the Manitoba Electronic Music Exhibition (MEMETIC) in Winnipeg for a discussion on climate action and possible paths forward for the sector, with a special focus on the music industry and lower-impact events. This in-person event, organized in partnership with Manitoba Arts Music, will be followed by a Q & A session.


Climate Change Theatre Action Festival – Sept 17 – Dec 23 

Climate Change Theatre Action is a worldwide festival of short plays about the climate crisis presented by the Arts & Climate Initiative in collaboration with the Centre for Sustainable Practice in the Arts.  50 writers from around the world were commissioned to write five-minute plays inspired by Octavia Butler’s “All Good Things Must Begin.” The plays are available at no cost to anyone who wants to organize an event in their community in the fall using one or several of the plays. Events can be readings, public performances, radio shows, podcasts, film adaptations – the possibilities are endless! Organizers can design their event to reflect their own aesthetic and community, and include additional material by local artists.


CMPA’s STAR  Carbon Calculator Training – June 8

The Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA)’s STAR Producer Professional Development Program will be hosting a virtual Carbon Calculator Training in partnership with Reel Green for the film/tv production industry, for which you can register here.  You can also watch the recording of its recent training webinar on The budgetary implications of sustainable production practices  here.

Artists within the Anthropocene – until June 23 

The Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery at UBC is hosting a series addressing artistic practices in times of ongoing social and ecological collapse. The artists’ work centers on the recognition that we have entered into the Anthropocene, a new geologic era marked by the impact of human activity on the earth. Working in a variety of modes, ranging from critique to practical demonstrations and shading into other currents like social practice, relational aesthetics, environmental activism and systems theory, these artists express the hope that art can point the way to a more ecologically sustainable future. Participants come from a wide variety of disciplines and contexts, such as sound, performance, photography, dance, film and poetry, including political, curatorial, artistic and scholarly activism. Free admission, reservation required. 


The Canadian Academy announces the Sustainable Production award

The Academy of canadian cinema & television recently announced the introduction of the sustainable production award, presented by cbc for the 2024 Canadian screen awards. The award is designed to recognize a production that has shown excellence in sustainable production and has had a measurable reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and/or innovations in circularity, and that has also contributed positively to the Canadian media landscape and local communities. The criteria for the sustainable production award will be released in the summer of 2023, along with the rules and regulations for the 2024 Canadian screen awards.


Art for Change Prize on the theme of Regeneration –  July 17 deadline 

Applications are now open for the free-to-enter Art for Change Prize, an international art initiative from M&C Saatchi Group and Saatchi Gallery, open to artists working in the first five years of their career. This year’s prize asks artists to creatively respond to the theme of Regeneration. A total prize fund of £20,000 will be split between six winners. Winning artists will also have the unique opportunity to exhibit their work at Saatchi Gallery in London.


CIMAM launches its Toolkit on Sustainability in the Museum Practice  

In its effort to raise awareness and respond to the evolving needs of museums, CIMAM, the International Committee for Museums in Modern Art, has launched a new toolkit to support museums in reducing their carbon footprint in the short, medium, and long term. The toolkit comprises sections on environmental, social, and economic sustainability aspects in museum practices. It includes: (1) Examples of Immediate Actions, (2) Sustainability Action Plans, (3) Carbon Footprint Calculators and Certificates, (4) Sustainability Consultants, (5) Inspiring Projects, Platforms, and Resources and  a (6) Reading List.


British Museum ends BP sponsorship deal after 27 years 

Last week, we were thrilled to see The British Museum announce its move away from fossil fuel sponsorship. In doing so, the British Museum joins The Tate and the National Portrait Gallery, among many others,  in ending  decade-long funding partnerships with the fossil fuel company, marking the almost complete expulsion of the fossil fuel giant from the British arts world. Campaigners hailed the development as a “massive victory”. This is one powerful example of how the arts and culture sector can move the needle in a significant way through concerted effort, decisively removing fossil fuel’s social license by ending arts sponsorships. 



Interview with Jen Rae from the conscient podcast 

Back in 2021, Claude Schryer, SCALE Board Chair and Mission Circle Member, interviewed artist-researcher Jen Rae for his conscient podcast, a podcast about exploring art and the ecological crisis. Jen’s work is centered around cultural responses to climate change/everything change – specifically the role of artists and creative inquiry. This is a great listen for those who would like to continue exploring Jen’s work after attending our webinar last week. Likewise, If you are just beginning to discover Jen’s work,  this is a great way to start. Enjoy!


THE SERVICEBERRY: An Economy of Abundance by Robin Wall Kimmerer 

We wanted to share with you this short essay  on the “gift economy”  by celebrated writer and botanist  Robin Wall Kimmerer for Emergence Magazine. In her piece, Wall Kimmerer considers the ethic of reciprocity that lies at the heart of the gift economy. How, she asks, can we learn from Indigenous wisdom and ecological systems to reimagine currencies of exchange? You can read the complete piece here

Playing for Time: making art as if the world mattered by Lucy Neal 

A resource book for artists, community activists and anyone wishing to harness their creativity to make change in the world, Playing for Time explores the pivotal role artists play in re-thinking the future; re-inventing and re-imagining our world at a time of systemic change and uncertainty. Playing for Time identifies collaborative arts practices emerging in response to planetary challenges, reclaiming a traditional role for artists in the community as truth-tellers and agents of change.


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