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12 November 2018

What does COP24 mean for the arts sector?

Audience members sat on rows of chairs in front of stage with 4 speakers
Season for Change event on COP24 at the National Theatre, November 2018.

On 2 November, over 60 people from across the arts gathered at the National Theatre in London for a COP24 Industry Briefing, organised as part of Season for Change. In the run up to the COP24 negotiations in Katowice, Poland on 3-14 December, the event sought to contextualise the key objectives of the talks for the cultural sector.

We were delighted to be joined by a line-up of high profile speakers:

  • Farhana Yamin, Chatham House Associate Fellow and former Climate Adviser to the Marshall Islands;
  • Alison Tickell, Director of Julie’s Bicycle;
  • Paule Constable, award-winning lighting designer and National Theatre Associate;
  • Zoë Svendsen, Artistic Director of performing arts company METIS.

Following a welcome by Lisa Burger, Executive Director at National Theatre, Farhana discussed the significance of COP and introduced the key objectives for this year’s talks. Alison explored why the cultural sector should act on climate change and what has been done so far, while Paule and Zoë presented what we can do in the arts moving forward.

If you weren’t able to attend, you can listen to the speakers here. Please note that the recording has not been edited:

All four speakers raised thought-provoking questions around the unique role the arts and culture occupy in the environmental movement, and around the decisions we choose to make – or not make – in our creative practice or programming. Here are just a few of them:

Farhana Yamin also opened her discussion with a film, Rise: From One Island to Another, which depicts the poetic expedition by Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner of the Marshall Islands and Aka Niviâna of Greenland. You can watch the film below and find out more about the project online:

Following the event, Paul Jozefowski, Head of Building Design and Environmental Sustainability at National Theatre, led a tour of the National Theatre’s spaces and environmental practice.

Thanks to those who attended and we hope that the events’ conversations and ideas spark future collaborations and projects.