Kent and Medway Creative Sector Environmental Sustainability Day – Reflections and Next Steps

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Kent and Medway Creative Sector Environmental Sustainability Day – Reflections and Next Steps

Earlier this year Creative Medway partnered with Creative Kent to invite creative practitioners and organisations across the county to a one day event to consider how as a sector we can become more environmentally sustainable.

The event brought together freelance culture professionals, SMEs, National Portfolio Organisations and cultural trusts at all stages of developing their sustainable practice.  We asked local artist Jane Pitt to reflect on the day.

“The local is as important as the global in mitigating climate change and climate justice so it was a timely opportunity for creatives and arts organisations to come together.  As a sector we talked, listened and shared knowledge around approaches to sustainability in our practice and commissioning methods and acknowledged our unique position to use stories, imagination and creativity to bring climate issues and action to public attention.

Climate change is already evident across our county with wildfires due to rising temperatures, coastal erosion and flooding due to rising sea level and storms related to changing weather patterns. The need for hope and the urgency to understand and communicate ways to adapt to our changing world was palpable in all our discussions. 

Inspirational presentations from Future Foundry and Footprint stimulated attendees to think about what they are already doing, how much further they can go and how we can support each other. Julie’s Bicycle encouraged us to look at cultural and environmental policy as inextricably linked and as a way to deepen our community’s connection to the environment. Presentations by the climate change officers at both Medway and Kent Councils stimulated conversation around net zero, and the need for shorter term achievable targets.

Everyone felt ready to make a commitment to go forward together, to increase their own skills, share existing tools, influence local policymakers and commit ourselves to new actions and ways of working.”

The day set the agenda for ongoing collaboration and a joint Creative Medway and Creative Kent working group was created to draw up a collective vision and direction of travel for the creative sector and set up sector specific carbon literacy training.  Icon Theatre volunteered to coordinate a resource page including case studies and toolkits. 

Executive Director of Icon Daniel King shared his experience of the day “It was interesting and inspiring to hear from local and sector leaders about how other place-based collectives have led successful collective projects and initiatives. It was particularly valuable to connect with other similar-sized organisations, share concerns, our own journeys and trouble-shoot together. I left the day with a better direction of travel for developing Icon’s environmental and sustainability plans and a sense that we could collectively take action.”

Thank you to our hosts at The Institute of Culture and Creative Industries at University of Kent and our project funder the UK government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

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