About these tools

‘Will Be’, Tim Etchells, 2010

Tools for arts practitioners and cultural organisations for facing and sustaining our future world.  The full list is in the menu to the right, or find them in these three sections:

  1. Grasping the situation – tools to learn and think about the planetary emergency
  2. Cultural response – developing work to respond to the planetary emergency
  3. Changing organisations – adapting your ways of working to be more resilient

AND also Other resources – additional tools, initiatives or ideas.

These tools underpin the emerging Climate Museum UK, which aims:

  • To support cultural & civic workers to address the challenges of engaging audiences with climate change
  • To educate and empower audiences in the ways they might take action on climate change and other threats to the biosphere.

Possible Culture refers to the idea that cultural organisations may continue to exist despite future challenges (such as the Climate & Ecological Emergency) by looking squarely at those challenges, imagining the future, and being relevant to their communities.

  • They might take a ‘Possitopian‘ approach, not being stuck in either wishful Utopian or despairing Dystopian positions about the future, but looking imaginatively and openly at the widest cone of possibility.
  • They might proactively work with communities to shift towards more regenerative and circular economies.
  • They might explore ethical and participatory forms of revenue generation in order to sustain themselves when or where public funding dries up.
  • They might provide safe, inclusive spaces for envisaging possible futures, for learning from indigenous cultures or from the capacities of nature, and for helping communities take action for eco-social justice.

The continued existence of culture and its organisations is dependent on the possibility of a habitable biosphere. This possibility is looking threatened within this century. So, cultural organisations have to contribute to the possibility of our continued existence, including their own. These tools or exercises might go some way to encouraging teams to work together towards this possibility, and to consider what will need to change.

A first step might be to declare a climate and ecological emergency, and to take part in #CultureDeclaresEmergency

What’s the background?

I’ve devised these as potential ideas, or have tried and tested them, in my paid or voluntary work with cultural organisations.

I’ve been setting up Climate Museum UK since 2018, with a small group of volunteers. Since 2006, I’ve been director of Flow Associates – consultants working to help cultural organisations thrive. Our clients include the Happy Museum Project and Invisible Dust. Before this I managed learning programmes, for example, at Tate and the British Library. I also support organisations Culture Declares EmergencyCulture Unstained (seeking to end oil sponsorship of culture) and ONCA (which provides a space for artists to engage with social and environmental challenges). I’ve been active and vocal about the role of culture in tackling climate change since the 1990s and am a Julie’s Bicycle Creative Climate Leader.

Contact me if you would like to discuss training, facilitation, research or speaking on any of the themes covered in this resource.

Please share your views about these tools and what kinds of support you need in the face of the Climate & Ecological Emergency by answering this short questionnaire.