THREE MODES OF ENGAGEMENT
1. GREENING THE SECTOR
measuring and minimizing climate impacts associated with our activities, IN ORDER TO reduce the impacts of our venues, productions, touring, festivals, and general operations.
Greening our operations is indisputably important. We must decarbonize our operations as rapidly and profoundly as possible, just like every other sector. But beyond this, what is the unique value proposition of the arts? What is it that only the arts can do to activate and accelerate the urgently needed cultural transformation?
2. RAISING THE PROFILE
communicating and aestheticizing scientific outputs, and advocating for policy change through art.
The majority of climate arts fall in this bucket. Often these works reflect climate grief, anger, anxiety, and despair—a necessary process as we move towards hope and action. With “Raising the profile” the aim is to increase awareness, concern, and responsiveness. Mode 2 can be understood as the push away from our current ways of living and being in the world. We also need the pull towards the horizon of possibility, which brings us to:
3. REAUTHORING THE WORLD
activating the unique creative capacities of our sector to build the imaginative horizon of the post-fossil world, rallying citizens with courage and heart to strive towards these green and just futures.
Mode 3 stands in contrast to Mode 2’s “know more/feel worse” approach. It is an explicit and urgent appeal to escape this status quo, in joyful, welcoming, exuberant, and empowering ways. This third mode remains poorly understood and minimally resourced, yet we believe it holds the most untapped potential for the arts to lead the radical social transformation we need to ensure a sustainable future. One of SCALE’s primary aims is to mobilize knowledge and disseminate research in these new forms of practice, so that we can better deploy the full capacity of our sector in the world-making upon which our futures depend.
Thanks to Mission Circle member David Maggs for his articulation of this framework.