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Climate Beacons for COP26

A Scotland-wide collaborative climate and culture project in the lead-up to and following COP26.

As a co-ordinating partner, ECCI is supporting the Climate Beacons project to stimulate long-term public engagement between environmental and arts organisations in the lead up to COP26.

Climate Beacons for COP26 logo

The Climate Beacons project was developed through research conducted by Creative Carbon Scoltand into previous arts and culture engagements with COPs and the emerging landscape around COP26* - responding to perceived gaps that could be filled and avoiding repeating work.

*Named the “26th session of the Conference of the Parties” – shortened to COP26 - the conference is an important place for countries to come together to discuss how climate change will be tackled and to agree global and national targets.

Creative Carbon Scoltand's research demonstrated a need for:

  • More effective collaboration between the culture and climate sectors, involving working closely together for substantial periods, learning from each other and co-producing work
  • A wider spread of engagement work, reaching audiences beyond Glasgow and holding work before, and especially after, COP26 to avoid an ‘overload’ of work in one place and a lack elsewhere
  • An emphasis on legacy, seeking to develop deep-rooted, longer term connections, changes to practice, and community interest

The Climate Beacons project seeks to fulfil this need by creating six ‘Climate Beacons’ made up of partnerships between cultural and climate organisations and focusing on different parts of Scotland over an extended period.

ECCI is one of the co-ordinating partners alongside Architecture & Design Scotland, Creative Scotland, Museums Galleries Scotland, Scottish Library and Information Council and Sustainable Scotland Network. 

The project will launch in May 2021, with activity taking place in the lead-up to and following COP26, running up until July 2022. 

What Beacons will do

Beacons will use the shared resources and knowledge of cultural 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. 

Partnerships are yet to be confrimed but co-ordinators advise that a cultural partner may provide the public engagement expertise and physical venue that will form the core of this activity, while climate partners may provide technical expertise, knowledge and networks. Ideally, partners working on the same Beacon will be based in the same geographical area and Beacons will be made up of two to four organisations.

Get involved

Creative Carbon Scotland welcomes expressions of interest from organisations with a wide variety of remits and expertise. 

Organisers estimate 60-80 working days of staff time split across all partners will be required to manage each Beacon. The whole project will be supported by around 120 working days of time from Creative Carbon Scotland staff as well as further support from other co-ordinating partners.

Creative Carbon Scotland said: "We believe in the special value of in-person engagement work and see this as the preferred option, but with the coronavirus pandemic ongoing we recognise that there will be a need to host online activities and digital engagement methods as well as to build flexibility into plans, especially during the period ahead of COP26."

Creative Carbon Scotland will not determine the exact form of a Beacon’s activities, as we believe that Beacon partners will have the best ideas for what will fit their specific context and the nature of the partner organisations. However, work should:

  • Take a variety of forms
  • Take place over an extended period
  • Be accessible and inclusive
  • Respond to the needs of the area where the Beacon is based

Examples of the kind of work we would encourage from Beacons include:

Artistic work

  • Developing and commissioning performances, exhibitions or participatory art projects engaging with issues of climate change and climate justice, developed in dialogue between cultural and climate partners
  • Hosting or curating work or performances from local environmental artists

Engagement work

  • Organising talks, workshops or discussions held at the cultural venue or online and featuring contributions from project partners or others
  • Providing regular open space for ‘climate cafes’ or for local environmental groups to meet or host discussions
  • Including a regular feature or space on websites, in email newsletters, on social media, or in traditional print media

Development work

  • Holding regular discussions between cultural and climate partners to develop collaboration and long-term relationships and increase understanding of the links between climate change and culture
  • Collaboratively developing policies for permanent ways in which cultural partners can continue to operate more sustainably post-COP26