Green Arts and Green Ops: The GAI at ArtCOP Scotland

3rd December 2015

The arts and cultural sector can improve their environmental sustainability both through their artistic work and their physical operations. Find out how our ArtCOP Scotland partners are combining their efforts!

ArtCOP Scotland is currently in full swing, with over 50 events responding to climate change and the UN COP21 summit taking place across the country. However, making work about environmental sustainability is often only part of what these arts organisations are doing to effect their impact on the planet. Several of our ArtCOP Scotland partners are members of the Green Arts Initiative (the GAI): a Scotland-wide arts community striving to become more environmentally sustainable.

As members, they have committed to reducing their environmental impact; often achieved in a myriad of forms, and influenced by the form of the organisation, their agency and the areas where they have the greatest effect!

Our ArtCOP Scotland GAI Member Partners

Although we’re working with a huge range of organisations to make ArtCOP Scotland happen, here are a few examples of the actions being taken by our Green Arts community:

  • Gayfield Creative Spaces, host of the To Sleep Lightly exhibition, the ArtCOP Scotland launch and several surrounding events, has been exploring programming which directly aims to grow a more sustainable world, as well as focusing on greening their biggest challenges as a visual arts gallery – particularly their power supply source and more sustainable printing.
  • The Centre for Contemporary Art is our Glasgow hub for a series of events at the start of December (including the Report from a Threatened City performance, Tom Bulter’s Anthem workshop, and the launch of Ellie Harrison’s Radical Renewable Art and Activism Fund). As a member of the GAI, it has a wide-ranging environmental policy, and has previously upcycled exhibition fixings to form staff bike racks to encourage sustainable commuting!
  • The Church Hill Theatreas a City of Edinburgh Council venue, and a longtime GAI member, is the current host an exhibition of The Lifecycle of Stuff Project, which worked with six Edinburgh schools to creatively explore the idea of a circular economy. Reducing energy use, resource use and waste production are all part of the theatre’s daily aims and long-term objectives – and they’re keen to make their audiences aware of it!
  • Edinburgh Palette’s third annual exhibition Re:See it 3 (a selection of which is on show at Gayfield Creative Spaces in an example of some GAI collaboration!) responds directly to thematic notions of sustainability, but also works directly with recycled materials – with sustainable procurement being a major area of how green arts organisations can strongly engage with effecting their impact on the environment in a very direct way.
  • North Edinburgh Arts regularly focuses its programming on working with the youth and local community to form cultural approaches to the environment and wider sustainability concerns – including its ArtCOP Scotland performance of The Puffin who knew NuffinHowever, in its year-round membership of the GAI, the organisation has also been sharing its learning amongst the community regarding improving its local physical environment in a biodiverse and ecologically sound manner.

What is the Green Arts Initiative?

GAI One Pager Snap

The Green Arts Initiative (GAI) is a proactive network of environmentally engaged organisations aiming to build and develop a green arts community in Scotland.

Over the past year we’ve tripled in our membership across the country, conducted a members survey that’s driving our resource and event development, and hosted a full-day conference for members with 21 members presenting on their actions to date. We’re excited to keep growing in utility, size and recognition over 2016, and showcase and support our committed GAI community.

Join the Community

If you’re an arts organisation based in Scotland looking to effect your impact on the environment, join us! We’re a thriving community of 130 Scottish-based venues, companies, festivals, arts offices and artists working collectively and individually to increase their environmental sustainability.

Become a member is free and simple: just complete the very short form on our GAI webpageWe’ll then get in touch with you with ideas, events, resources, case studies and guides could support you in your efforts, as well as sending you the GAI branding for your use in your building or on publicity materials, to allow you to tell your audiences about your green work!

If you have any questions about the GAI or want to know more, visit the webpage or email Catriona at catriona.patterson@creativecarbonscotland.com.

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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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0131 529 7909
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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