Hot Topic - Why Should Artists Be Involved in Discussions Surrounding Sustainable Developments and What Do We Expect of Them?




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Feb 25, 2016
by Patrick Wilson
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Hot Topic - Why Should Artists Be Involved in Discussions Surrounding Sustainable Developments and What Do We Expect of Them?

Fellows at the session Beyond Green: The Arts as a Catalyst for Sustainability share their opinions on the day's topic Fellows at Session 561 | Beyond Green: The Arts as a Catalyst for Sustainability

“I believe artists are really important stakeholders in negotiations and what kind of future we want to design. We can help scientists and politicians to be more creative and we can succeed where scientists and politicians fail.”
Anaïs Roesch Project Manager, COAL (Coalition for Art and Sustainable Development), Paris, France

“I think that artists need to be involved because artists are not different to anyone else; we all need to be part of discussions about sustainable development. I think we need to ask what is particular about artists when we look at what we expect from them. Artists have a certain ability to see the things others can’t, they’re cunning like a fox to get things to happen and they use certain practices that are interesting—and work.”
Ben Twist Director, Creative Carbon Scotland, Edinburgh, UK

“Art is a very efficient tool to transport an idea about sustainability and the conservation of nature in general. “Sustainability” is a vast word and artists are thinkers who are linking different issues and different layers of society. Artists can be catalysts of transmitting an idea or message. Art is usually more touching to the normal citizen than a document.”
Anne-Marie Melster Co-founder & Co-director, ARTPORT_making waves, Paris, France

“I think we need to define “Artist.” I define “art” as the word that capitalism made up to deal with the concept of culture. It’s a word that slips in and outside of the current paradigm that has caused the problem of climate change. Artists make commodities and they also exist in a spiritual plane outside of commodities. I think artists need to be double agents in society that can leverage resources and power towards the grassroots.”
Rachel Schragis Visual Artist & Cultural Organizer, New York, NY, USA

“I believe the artists should be engaging in sustainability because sustainability is boring. It’s not popular and people just don’t care about it. Art is the tool to make it more interesting and to simplify the idea that everything is wrong and we are destroying our planet every day. I’ve spent half of my life using art as a tool and I think I’ve achieved amazing results. Getting exposure in mass media through art is a powerful tool for change.”
Mundano (Thiago Ackel) Artist; Founder, Pimp My Carroca, Sao Paulo, Brazil

“I’m not sure there really is such thing as sustainable development; I think this is a term that should be examined. The reason to have artists involved is we are uniquely skilled at critical analysis that can understand this philosophically as well as offering practicality in new cultural models.”
Frances Whitehead Principal, ARTetal Studio; Professor, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, USA

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: You can follow all the discussions on Twitter by following the hashtag #SGSculture.