ArtCOP Scotland: Scotland’s Climate Change Arts Season

ArtCOP Scotland: Scotland's Climate Change Arts Season 14

ArtCOP Scotland was a season of artistic performances, exhibitions and events which coincided with the COP21 UN climate change negotiations in Paris (30th November – 11th December).

Using COP21 as a catalyst, Creative Carbon Scotland worked with a number of artists and cultural organisations to explore how culture can address climate change.

ArtCOP Scotland took place alongside the international arts initiative ArtCOP21.

Critical reflections on ArtCOP Scotland were commissioned by CCS

Moira Jeffrey: ‘From Below, a Visual Arts Reflection on ArtCOP Scotland’ – Part I and Part II

Wallace Heim: ‘”Good Luck Everybody”, the theatres of ArtCOP’ – Part I and II

Creative Carbon Scotland received funds from the Creative Scotland Open Fund, as well as Glasgow City Council Sustainable Glasgow and City of Edinburgh Waste Action Team to support commissions and events.

Commissioning partners

Firefly Youth Arts (Livingston) who produced three theatre pieces with one of their youth theatre groups, performed in Livingston and Edinburgh.

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (Glasgow) which supported artist Nic Green to adapt her ‘Cock & Bull’ performance with RCS students and stage a sell-out performance of the work at the CCA.

Gayfield Creative Spaces (Edinburgh) which commissioned designer Dawn Ellams to research and produce an exhibition exploring the circular economy and provided spaces for exhibitions with Edinburgh Palette.

Deveron Arts (Huntly) who commissioned storyteller, Ben Macfayden, to reinvigorate the tale of the White Wood, working with the community to bring ecology and peace together in a tale that will still be told in 300 years’ time.

The Stove (Dumfries) artist-led network who commissioned a series of new artworks as part of submerge exhibition examining the future of Dumfries’ river relationship.

City of Edinburgh Council’s Culture and Sport Division and Schools and Learning team who worked artist Kathy Beckett and CCS on a schools visual arts project focused on the circular economy and repurposing materials.


We also supported a programme of smaller events, workshops and discussions, mostly led by members of our Edinburgh and Glasgow Green Tease networks who have been developing their ideas in this area over the last two years, including:

  • Saffy Setohy and Bill Thompson, Light Fields performance in progress, Gayfield Creative Spaces
  • Karen Gabbitas and Andrew Sclater, Gardens, poetry and walking: slow walk and poetry reading, Gayfield Creative Spaces
  • Tom Butler, Anthem protest song writing workshop, CCA
  • Ailie Rutherford, performance of Report from a Threatened City education project, CCA
  • Ellie Harrison, launch of the Radical Renewable Art + Activism Fund, CCA
  • The Land Art Generator Initiative, presentation on new Glasgow public art/renewable energy commission, Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation
  • James Winnett, Dear Green exhibition resulting from year-long residency with Sustainable Glasgow, The Lighthouse
  • Alice Cooper, The Puffin who knew Nuffin childrens theatre show, Craigmillar Library
  • Zero Waste Scotland, Circular Economy Panel Discussion, Gayfield Creative Spaces
  • Scottish Contemporary Art Network, visual arts sector meeting exploring curatorial opportunities in relation to the Environment Connection Theme, CCA

ArtCOP events and partner activities

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Short documentary of the Lifecycle of Stuff: visual arts education project led by artist Kathy Beckett

Participant comments on ArtCOP Scotland

“Amazing insight into artists working locally and nationally with a focus on climate/ environment, using different approaches, thought processes and concepts for exploring our changing relationship with place.”

“Diverse range of artist practice. Engagement with local public through connection to local flooding issues at Submerge. Interest generated by We Live With Water project (international requests…ecological network…political interest). Open and inclusive space for debate and the number of people who contributed”

“All participants and audience members seemed to fully embrace the idea of art and culture inter-merging with sustainability.”

“The chance to channel our passion for a sustainable agenda through an artistic response.  The faces on the audience members!  A refreshing opportunity to enjoy art in action.  The chance to speak openly and discuss concerns around the environment and how we can play our part.  The strong partnerships.”

Main image credit: Julia Bauer

*COP stands for the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change – it is the main meeting of the UNFCCC which the UN hosts annually. The last big COP was in Copenhagen in 2009 and is widely viewed to have failed due to lack of cooperation from key parties including America and China. This year negotiations are looking more optimistic with key commitments already made by America and China.

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

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