Climate Beacons for COP26

Green map of Scotland with black 'beacon' icons placed at various locations across the map. These are joined from top to bottom by a grey line that spiral inward towards Glasgow.

Climate Beacons for COP26 will be a Scotland-wide collaborative project between climate change or environmental organisations and arts, heritage or cultural organisations to stimulate long-term public engagement in the lead-up to and following COP26.

Applications are now open for partnerships made up of Scotland-based organisations across the cultural and environmental sectors to apply to take part in Climate Beacons for COP26 All applications should be submitted through the form at the bottom of this page by the deadline of 9am Monday 10th May. The page also provides information about the project and FAQs. 


  • About Climate Beacons 
  • What Beacons will do 
  • How Beacons will be supported 
  • What we’re looking for from partnerships
  • Application form
  • FAQs

About Climate Beacons 

This project was developed through research 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 that others are planning 

Our 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 
  • 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-rootedlonger term connections, changes to practice, and community interest 

The 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. Creative Carbon Scotland will take a ‘hands off’ approach to these partnerships, providing support but trusting in their own expertise and allowing freedom to plan the kinds of activity that the partners deem to be most effective. Support will also be provided from other co-ordinating partners, Architecture & Design Scotland, Creative Scotland, Edinburgh Climate Change Institute, Museums Galleries Scotland, Scottish Library and Information Council and Sustainable Scotland Network 

We are planning to launch this project in May 2021, with activity taking place in the lead-up to and following COP26, running up until July 2022 

Climate Beacons for COP26

The Climate Beacons will be based in six physical locations around Scotland as well as organising online activity. Locations shown here are purely illustrative, the Beacons could be based anywhere in Scotland.

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.  

We imagine 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 networksbut we welcome expressions of interest from organisations with a wide variety of remits and expertise. 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. 

We 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.  

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 activitiesas 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 
A green circle with icons of an artist's palette, music notes and a record, a thermometer with cloud and sun, and a flame at four points around the circle. In the centre is the 'beacon' icon.

Climate Beacons will be formed from collaborations between two or more organisations based in the same geographical area.

How we will support Beacons 

Creative Carbon Scotland will support Beacons to deliver their project activity. Partners, depending on their status and their own resources, may receive funding to cover artistic fees, staff time, travel and expenses, and event costs. We can confirm that funding of at least £30,000 will be available for each Beacon and we are aiming to secure further funding during the course of the project. 

Creative Carbon Scotland, and other co-ordinating partners where relevant, will provide:  

  • Support to establish and develop partnerships. We are already in contact with a variety of national and international organisations and individuals that are looking to contribute to public engagement activity around COP26 and can instigate connections.  
  • Advice on producing effective activity, drawn from our research into previous COPs or existing expertise. Help with finding and contacting local environmental groups or artistic practitioners. 
  • Promotion and publicity to the general public and within sectors. 
  • Evaluation and legacy support, including through the Green Arts Initiative. 
Graphic in dark grey and bright green with white and black text illustrating the relationship between local stakeholders, the Climate Beacon and the co-ordinating partners.

Climate Beacons will work with local stakeholders and be supported by co-ordinating organisations working across Scotland.

What we’re looking for from Beacon partnerships 

Partnerships should be made up of two or more organisations representing a mix of cultural and climate expertise. Organisations should have a background in the arts, culture, heritage, climate science, policy, the public sector, or civil society and could include, but are not limited to: 

  • Art galleries 
  • Community arts centres 
  • Climate advocacy organisations  
  • Educational organisations 
  • Environmental charities 
  • Faith organisations
  • Government bodies or agencies  
  • Libraries 
  • Museums  
  • Public bodies
  • Research organisations  
  • Theatres 

We anticipate that different Beacon partners will bring vastly different skills and experiences to the collaborations. However, all partnerships must include a mixture of cultural and climate expertise and must have at least one appropriate venue for activity. Partner organisations must be Scotland-based and should be located in the same geographical area, although we leave it to applicant’s discretion to determine how broad or specific this should be. Partners do not need to have already submitted an expression of interest. 

We can support the formation of partnerships and have a list of organisations that have expressed interest and are happy to be put in touch with other potential applicants. If you are seeking partners, we encourage you to get in touch with to enquire about contact information. 

We will also host two ‘mixer’ events at 3pm on Thursday 1st April and 1:30pm on Wednesday 21st April. These will be hosted via Zoom and will be a chance to meet representatives of other organisations that are interested in applying. Please sign up for these using the links below. The link will take you to a registration page and a link to join the event will then be sent via email.

Once established, it will be possible for Beacons to establish connections and working relationships with other  organisations in order to deliver activity. This could include international connections.

Graphic in bright green and dark grey including 'beacon' icons and a timeline with dates May 2021, November 2021 and July 2022

Climate Beacon activity will run for equal lengths of time before and after COP26.

How to apply

Applications for Climate Beacons for COP26 partnerships are now open and will close on Monday 10th May at 9am. Please submit your application using the form below. We will assess these applications and get back in touch to let you know our decision by the end of May. If there are many submissions, we may invite applicants to interview in order to make final decisions, so please check your availability for interview dates on the 17th, 18th and 19th of May. 

If you have any questions about the application system, please direct these to  

Application criteria 

We will be assessing the applications against the following criteria, given in bold with some examples highlighted underneath to indicate what might be covered under these points. These subsidiary points are offered only as examples and there may be alternative ways that you can show how you fulfil the criteria. 

Availability of appropriate and accessible venue(s) 

  • Outline any venues and how they might host Beacon activity 
  • Describe any online platforms or spaces that might be used 
  • Describe the accessibility and inclusivity of the physical and online spaces 

A high-quality partnership mixing cultural and climate organisations, and bringing expertise, capacity and finance or other resources 

  • Show what each organisation is bringing to the partnership 
  • Describe how the partnership will work together 

An exciting and clear vision for the Beacon 

  • Describe what you would like to do before, during, and after COP26 
  • Describe what would you like to achieve through this activity 
  • Outline how success might be measured 

Meaningful equality, diversity, and inclusion 

  • Show how diversity is represented among the partner organisations 
  • Describe how you will ensure that activity is inclusive 
  • Outline how engagement work will reach beyond ‘usual suspects’  

Ability to deliver and demonstrate a deep and lasting legacy to the project  

  • Describe how partner organisations will benefit from involvement in the project 
  • Show how the project will respond and contribute to issues at the local and national level 
  • Describe how you can document project activity  

Ability to adapt to changing situation with COVID-19 

  • Outline how flexibility can be built into plans 
  • Describe how digital approaches could be used 

Ability to handle financial management of project 

  • Demonstrate that one or multiple partner organisation(s) have a proven track record of handling finance 


Climate Beacons Application Form

  • The lead organisation will be the primary point of contact with us and will also be in charge of looking after and distributing the funds granted to the Beacon and thus must be able to demonstrate proven ability to manage finances. They will not necessarily have any greater role in the day-to-day running of the Beacon.
  • Please provide registered charity number, community interest company number or similar if applicable
  • Please list the names, addresses, email addresses, and registered status for any further partner organisations here.
  • Tell us why you specifically want to be involved in this project, what it will help you achieve, and how you could benefit from the particular nature of this opportunity,
  • These criteria are given above the form in bold, with some examples highlighted underneath to indicate what might be covered under these points. These subsidiary points are offered only as examples and there may be alternative ways that you can show how you fulfil the criteria.
    Tick all that apply. This information is for the purpose of limiting any bias during the process of assessing applications.
    If necessary, we will hold brief interviews during these dates to ask further questions about your application. It will be beneficial for multiple members of the partnership to be present at this interview, but it is not necessary for a representative from every organisation involved to attend if this is difficult to arrange.



Q: I didn’t submit an Expression of Interest; can I still apply? 

A: Yes, you can still apply. We do encourage you to make contact with others in your area who have submitted expressions of interest 

Q: My organisation is based outside of Scotland; can I still apply?  

A: Unfortunately not; this is an opportunity specifically for Scotland-based organisations. Once the Beacons are established, it may be possible to get in touch with them about potential collaborations.  

Q: I am working as an individual rather than a representative of organisation, can I still apply?  

A: Unfortunately not; this is an opportunity for organisations. However, we still encourage you to get in touch and we may be able to suggest other opportunities or ways to work with the Beacons once they are established.  

Q: If Beacons should be based in particular area, how small or large should that area be? 

A: We leave this to the discretion of applicants as it depends on local geography and the type of organisations involved. For example, more densely populated areas may be suited to Beacons that focus on quite a small area, while more rural areas may suit a broader focus. If your organisations work with very local audiences then it may make sense to focus on this, while if your work encompasses a broader region then this might be the logical scale.  

Q: Can there be multiple Beacons in the same area? 

A: There is no restriction on this, but we are unlikely to support two Beacons situated very close together as we are aiming for a broad geographical spread.  

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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.

0131 529 7909

Supported by

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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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