Calls for Arts Council England to Declare Climate Emergency

Climate protestors in Trafalagar Square today, 27 September (Photo: Culture Declares Emergency)

Calls for Arts Council England to Declare Climate Emergency

‘As artists, we are uniquely positioned to speak up and out.’

A number of music and arts organisations have today called on Arts Council England to declare a climate emergency.

At a protest in Trafalgar Square, London (27 Sept.), Music Declares Emergency, Culture Declares Emergency and Architects Declare Emergency hosted a rally as part of the Global Strike for Climate and issued a letter to Arts Council England demanding that it put the climate emergency at the heart of its new ten-year strategy.

The Council published a draft strategy in June and plans to publish the final version this December.

The letter asks why the climate emergency isn’t central to the new strategy considering that it covers the years 2020 to 2030.

We … write with the profound question as to why… it does not inform and shape the vision and strategy itself? If the facts of climate and ecological change overshadow all else, they would surely underpin and be addressed throughout the entire strategy?

It continues:

…the [ACE] strategy neither addresses the urgency of the climate and ecological emergency nor grasps the chance to trumpet boldly the pivotal role arts and culture play in bringing about societal changes needed to avert disaster. … Culture Declares Emergency urges ACE to prioritise the importance it claims to give to the emergency throughout its new 10-year strategy.

Culture Declares Emergency is asking the public and artists to contact local Arts Council representatives with the full text of the letter.

Culture Declares Emergency was launched earlier this and took part in the protest in April with a ‘Letters to the Earth’ performance featuring Emma Thompson. Since April, over 600 arts and cultural organisations have declared a climate and ecological emergency in support.

Music Declares Emergency was launched during the summer and has already received support from hundreds of artists and companies including Radiohead, Christy Moore, Peggy Seeger, Nitin Sawhney, Kathryn Tickell, Rough Trade Records, Warner Music UK and Abbey Road Studios.

Commenting on today’s protest, musician Fay Milton of Music Declares Emergency said:

As artists, we are uniquely positioned to speak up and out. Our voices ripple so strongly through society. Jointly we can support one another, sharing expertise as a collective and a community. This is a long road and we’re going down it together, so let’s make friends and let’s find the joy in being part of something great.

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Published on 27 September 2019


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