Credit Lyth Arts Centre

‘Climate Beacon’ to link creativity and climate change in Caithness and East Sutherland for COP26

Timespan, Lyth Arts Centre and University of the Highlands and Islands Environmental Research Institute are coming together to inspire public engagement and positive action in Caithness and East Sutherland in the run up to and beyond the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference, taking place in Glasgow this November.

The partnership will be one of seven hubs across Scotland known as ‘Climate Beacons’, funded by the Scottish Government’s Climate Change and Culture Divisions, Creative Scotland, and Museums Galleries Scotland. Six other Beacons are taking form in Argyll, Fife, Inverclyde, Midlothian, the Outer Hebrides, and Tayside.

Bringing together shared resources and knowledge from cultural and climate organisations, the Climate Beacons will provide a welcoming physical and virtual space for the public, artists and cultural sector professionals, environmental NGOs, scientists and policymakers to discuss and debate COP26 themes and climate action specific to their local area.

A collaboration between Timespan, Lyth Arts Centre and the University of the Highlands and Islands Environmental Research Institute, among others, the Climate Beacon is focusing on climate colonialism, land justice and redistribution as well as the crucial role of the area for peatland restoration.

Charlotte Mountford, Co-Director at Lyth Arts Centre, said “As a collective, we are absolutely delighted to have been selected as one of the seven Climate Beacons for COP26. Caithness and Sutherland offer a truly unique location to host a Beacon, offering a transformational opportunity for our communities to truly have their voices heard in national and international climate conversations.”

The seven Climate Beacons will operate in the lead-up to, during, and after COP26, each utilising their own expertise and responding to the needs of their local area and communities with planned themes including Scotland’s temperate rainforests, industrial heritage, water, adaptation to climate change, land use, biodiversity, green jobs, and the recovery from COVID-19.

Scottish Government Culture Minister Jenny Gilruth said of the project: “This pioneering work from Creative Carbon Scotland ahead of COP26 makes a powerful link between culture and climate action. Climate Beacons will play an important role in ensuring that the history-making COP26 negotiations are not only felt in Glasgow but across the country, helping everyone in Scotland to better understand climate change and how to contribute to becoming a net-zero society.”

Creative Carbon Scotland, an arts and sustainability charity, is overseeing the project. They are connecting the seven Beacons and offering support throughout, alongside co-ordinating partners Architecture & Design Scotland, Creative Scotland, Edinburgh Climate Change Institute, Museums Galleries Scotland, Scottish Library and Information Council, and Sustainable Scotland Network.

Ben Twist, Director at Creative Carbon Scotland, said: “Tackling climate change requires us to find imaginative solutions to complex problems. Cultural buildings and events can provide an open and welcoming space for these challenging conversations, bringing people together to collectively think, imagine, feel and develop lasting connections that will strengthen future climate action.”

Iain Munro, CEO at Creative Scotland, commented: “There is an enormous amount of work being undertaken across the arts, screen and creative industries to improve sustainability, using art and creativity to influence and inspire action. The Climate Beacons will see art and cultural organisations across the country collaborate with environmental organisations to develop a range of creative activities focused on addressing the climate emergency and stimulating our understanding of the role of art in climate action. We look forward to working with the Beacons in this crucial year for
climate action in Scotland.”

Lucy Casot, CEO at Museums Galleries Scotland, said: “We are committed to supporting museums and galleries to be at the forefront of climate conversations and action in culture and heritage. We are pleased to partner with the Climate Beacons, which will be important places for people to come together across Scotland to reflect, be inspired and take action in the lead-up to COP26 and beyond. Cross-sector collaboration is key to the Climate Beacons and museums and galleries will work with a range of arts, cultural, and environmental organisations to create long-lasting relationships to take action against the climate emergency.

To find out more about each of the Climate Beacons, how to get involved and keep up to date with latest developments, visit www.climatebeacons.com.

Contact Information

Notes to editors

The seven Climate Beacons are:

  • Argyll, a collaboration between Cove Park residency centre and Argyll and the Isles Coast & Countryside Trust, focusing on Scotland’s temperate rainforests, reforestation, and biodiversity.
  • Caithness & East Sutherland, a collaboration between Timespan, Lyth Arts Centre and the University of the Highlands and Islands Environmental Research Institute, among others, focusing on climate colonialism, land justice and redistribution as well as the crucial role of the area for peatland restoration.
  • Fife, the Leven Programme, ONFife and Levenmouth Academy are coming together with others to channel the arts and build on climate action in the area, eager to share stories of the proud industrial heritage and show the world how we can transform to a resilient low carbon community of the future.
  • Inverclyde, a collaboration between The Beacon arts centre, Belville Community Garden Trust, RIG Arts and Inverclyde Libraries, focusing on the roles of climate change mitigation and adaption as part of Scotland’s most deprived area’s recovery from COVID-19
  • Midlothian, a collaboration between the National Mining Museum Scotland and the British Geological Survey, will create a transformative journey following the flow of water, from Scotland’s past legacy of fossil fuels towards a future of decarbonisation, connecting local and international cultures through art and science.
  • Outer Hebrides, a partnership between An Lanntair arts centre, Taigh Chearsabhagh museum and arts centre, Ceòlas, Community Energy Scotland, Western Isles Libraries, TSI Western Isles, NatureScot, Adaptation Scotland and the wider Outer Hebrides Community Planning Partnership Climate Change Working Group, the Outer Hebrides Climate Beacon will focus on how the islands can adapt to the worsening impacts of climate change while celebrating their unique natural and cultural heritage.
  • Tayside, a collaboration between Dundee Repertory Theatre, the James Hutton Institute, Victoria and Albert Museum and Dundee Transport Museum, focusing on the role of designed thinking in finding climate solutions.

Visit www.climatebeacons.com for a full list of the participating organisations.

Creative Carbon Scotland, an arts and sustainability charity, is overseeing the project, connecting the seven Beacons and offering support throughout, alongside six co-ordinating partners Architecture & Design Scotland, Creative Scotland, Edinburgh Climate Change Institute, Museums Galleries Scotland, Scottish Library and Information Council, and Sustainable Scotland Network.

About Creative Carbon Scotland: Creative Carbon Scotland believes in the essential role of the arts, screen, cultural and creative industries in contributing to the transformational change to a more environmentally sustainable Scotland. We work directly with individuals, organisations and strategic bodies engaged across cultural and sustainability sectors to harness the role of culture in achieving this change. Through year-round work and one-off projects, we combine strategic expertise and consultancy; bespoke carbon management training and guidance; and a range of programmes supporting the development of artistic practices in Scotland which address sustainability and climate change. www.creativecarbonscotland.com. Stay in touch with us via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

About Architecture and Design Scotland: Architecture and Design Scotland is Scotland’s design champion. We believe in the power of design to improve people’s lives and we bring people together to make better places for everyone. Our vision is a Scotland whose places are healthy, sustainable and thriving, where everyone works together to shape their future. We connect people and organisations, use our wide range of skills to provide advice on projects, champion good design and collaboration, and share insight from our work to grow capacity across Scotland. Our aim is to see the benefits of the Place Principle become an everyday reality in the way Scotland’s places are created, adapted and sustained. www.ads.org.uk.

About Creative Scotland: Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here. We distribute funding provided by the Scottish Government and The National Lottery. Further information at www.creativescotland.com. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

About the Edinburgh Climate Change Institute: We are the leading climate change hub for Scotland and beyond. Hosted by the University of Edinburgh, we deliver ground-breaking projects and kick-start new ideas. For more information visit www.edinburghcentre.org.

About Museums Galleries Scotland: Museums Galleries Scotland is the National Development Body for museums and galleries in Scotland and offers strategic development support to the sector. For further information about Museums Galleries Scotland visit www.museumsgalleriesscotland.org.uk/about-us/.

About Scottish Libraries and Information Council: The Scottish Library and Information Council is the independent advisory body to the Scottish Government on library and information related matters. Our members are drawn from the public sector, school libraries, higher education institutions, further education colleges, health libraries and special interest libraries. We lead development in the library sector, monitor standards of provision and promote development. For more information visit www.scottishlibraries.org.

About the Sustainable Scotland Network: The Sustainable Scotland Network (SSN) is Scotland’s public sector network on sustainability and climate change. The network supports the public sector to drive action on climate change, scaling up impact through leadership, policy and research. For more information visit www.sustainablescotlandnetwork.org

Media Contacts: 
Lewis Coenen-Rowe, culture/SHIFT officer, lewis.coenen-rowe@creativecarbonscotland.com, 07741457824
KD (Katherine Denney), Communications manager, kd@creativecarbonscotland.com

Image Credit: Lyth Arts Centre

Photos and graphics are available in this Google Drive folder:
https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1Ew-V02MqsqJAOHc1OwQzX0wAYgGI008z?usp=sharing and on request.