Blog: Embedding Artists in Sustainability Contexts

19th February 2018

Creative Carbon Scotland’s work placement Elly White shares what she’s been up to so far on her six-week placement, contributing to our culture/SHIFT project and our plans for a sharing event in early March run with North Edinburgh Arts.

My name is Elly White and since the end of January I have been undertaking a work placement at Creative Carbon Scotland.  I’m currently a fourth year student at the University of Edinburgh, studying History of Art and Photography for a degree in Fine Art.

The main focus of my placement is researching for the culture/SHIFT project, which explores how cultural and creative perspectives can contribute towards greater sustainability. I have spent my first few weeks researching a wide range of examples, such as Jenny Kendler at the Natural Resources Defence Council in the USA. She worked alongside their staff for a significant period of time (2013-2016) and was given access to resources, which embedded her fully within the organisation. Kendler created artistic projects that called for participation as the NRDC wished to engage more with the public to communicate environmental issues and her work helped create a greater dialogue.

My investigations have expanded to different sectors such as science and public health; how these too can function to serve as models in the culture/SHIFT context. The objective is to compile a variety of case studies to contribute to the creation of a Library of Practice. This will aid in the facilitation of new initiatives, highlighting the benefits of re-imaging culture and the possibilities of giving artists the scope to share their knowledge within organisations to address environmental issues.

Finally, I am working towards co-hosting an event at the end of my placement with other students on the course who are currently on placement at North Edinburgh Arts. This will be a great platform to reflect on my time at Creative Carbon Scotland and for the discussion to take place within the context of a cultural community organisation embedded in the area of North Edinburgh.

Full details of the event, taking place on 6th March are available here. We hope you can join us!

culture/SHIFT – Adapting to and mitigating the impacts of the climate we have created requires collaborative, interdisciplinary thinking as well as creative solutions. Our culture/SHIFT programme supports cultural and sustainability practitioners to explore new ways of working together to address complex problems and bring about transformational change. Find out more about the programm here. 

Please feel free to get in touch if you have examples that may be of relevance towards the development of the Library of Practice, contact me via email at After March please direct emails to culture/SHIFT Creative Carbon Scotland Producer, Gemma Lawrence, at

Image: Advertisement for Glenrothes Town Artist. Newspaper Image © ‘The Birmingham Post’, Monday 6 May 1968. Image reproduced with kind permission of The British Newspaper Archive (

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About Creative Carbon Scotland

We believe cultural and creative organisations have a significant influencing power to help shape a sustainable Scotland for the 21st century.

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Supported by

Edinburgh Festival City Edinburgh Festival City

A project initiated by Edinburgh’s Festivals with key partners the Federation of Scottish Theatre and Scottish Contemporary Art Network

Edinburgh Festival City Federation of Scottish Theatre Scottish Contemporary Art Network