Enablers of Change




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Feb 26, 2016
by Louise Hallman
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Enablers of Change

Who can help change happen? Rise Wilson at the session "Beyond Green"

If we want to enable and sustain positive change, we need both the rabble-rousers and the insiders.

Post-COP, there is now a sense of urgency – but also a sense of paralysis. What do we do next to seize this moment and accelerate change?

Artists can help ask questions about our “inconvenient truths” and disrupt the current power structures. But artists can also prompt and facilitate difficult conversations between diverse actors. Under oppressive regimes, it can often be valuable to work with or around the system, and learn how to look about society but without touch politics – and avoid being silenced.

Artists and creatives, institutions and custodians, policymakers, and audiences all have vital roles to play but they don’t always know how to speak to or help each other.

Organizations, such as Julie’s Bicycle in the UK, can help support artists, institutions and policymakers looking to foster change in multiple ways. Julie’s Bicycle provides resources such as “how to green a festival,” conducts research such as carbon footprinting the whole of the UK’s music industry, and hosts events where like-minded artists, organizations and individuals can come together. These activities not only provide artists with the means of greening their own behavior, but also provide valuable evidence for policymakers. To have lasting change, “We need to come together, amplify our voices and talk up” to power structures, not just to each other.

Funders also have a key role to play in helping artists working to enact change, and not only by strategically investing funds; they can also offer a “bird’s eye” view of what else is happening and help artists collaborate.

The two notions “to change everything it takes everyone” and “the front lines of crisis are the forefront of change” may seem conflicting, but climate change offers the chance for equity and solidarity: “We will soon all be in the same boat, for a change.”

The Salzburg Global session Beyond Green: The Arts as a Catalyst for Sustainability is part of Salzburg Global’s long-running Culture and the Arts series. The session is supported by the Edward T. Cone Foundation, the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, the Bush Foundation and Red Bull Amaphiko. More information on the session can be found here: www.salzburgglobal.org/go/561. You can follow all the discussions on Twitter by following the hashtag #SGSculture.