Arts Council England
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Second cohort of Accelerator Programme launched to advance the cultural sector’s environmental practice

Yesterday, Thursday 23 January, Arts Council England and Julie’s Bicycle announce the second cohort for their Accelerator Programme, a strand of work launched in 2018 to foster enterprise, innovation, future thinking and creative perspectives on climate and the environment.

The Accelerator Programme provides the space, resources, time and expertise to support organisations in developing innovative approaches to their environmental practice. The insights and learning from the programme will be circulated with the wider cultural sector, forming a critical part of a roadmap for a shared vision for change.

This is the second of two cohorts – made up of ten projects each – to receive expert mentoring from Julie’s Bicycle as well as other industry leaders and a residential training programme adapted from Julie’s Bicycle’s Creative Climate Leadership course.

The organisations and consortia in the second Accelerator cohort are:

  • FanSHEN, Abandon Normal Devices and Art Catalyst have joined together to explore the environmental impacts, and highlight the ecological pros and cons, of digital arts.
  • Brunel’s SS Great Britain will be carrying out an optimisation exercise on their dry dock to reduce their carbon footprint by improving the energy efficiency of climate control across the whole site.
  • Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance will be collaborating on a hospital-based project supporting innovative practice in acute care – addressing stakeholders’ travel footprints and supporting the spread and development of new economic models.
  • The Courtyard Trust and Watts Gallery: Artists’ Village have formed a new collaboration which will consider more environmentally sustainable travel schemes for rural arts organisations for both staff and audience members.
  • Horniman Museum and Gardens will explore environmental visitor engagement and communications within the cultural sector, around the topics of climate change, biodiversity, pollution and migration.
  • D6 Culture, And Other Stories and BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art have formed a Northern-based consortium to explore the environmental sustainability challenges within mobility, travel and transnational connectivity that artists, exhibitions and audiences are faced with.
  • Knowle West Media Centre will aim to bring environmental issues to the forefront of their community, through using the local ‘make do and mend’ culture, reigniting an existing passion for locally available resources and skills to benefit the community.
  • Live Art Development Agency and Gasworks have joined together to address the challenges of Climate Justice within the context of both organisations’ creative fields, and the large networks of organisations that they host both nationally and internationally.
  • The Barbican, Artillery and London Borough of Waltham Forest have created a consortium organisation named ‘Local Futures’, which will address the impact of festivals on the environment – including travel impacts, and the relationship between rural and increasingly popular city-based events.
  • Norfolk & Norwich Festival will be redesigning how the power and infrastructure of the festival is delivered and resourced.

Two organisations in the cohort will also take an active role collaborating with and mentoring two Accelerator Associates: New Art Exchange will be supported by the Culture, Health & Wellbeing Alliance, and Canterbury Cathedral Trust by Horniman Museum and Gardens. Due to the number of high-quality proposals received, three organisations have been invited to join the cohort as Accelerator Peers: the National Space Centre, Complicité and Arvon; they will work with the cohort to exchange ideas and develop new skills.

Andrew Ellerby, Senior Manager, Environmental Sustainability & Combined Arts, Arts Council England, said: “The Arts Council is committed to supporting the cultural sector’s increasing ambition when it comes to addressing climate change, and through our work with Julie’s Bicycle we want to nurture their creative and innovative approaches to sustainability practice.  It’s been fantastic to see the first Accelerator cohort’s projects grow and develop over the past 18 months; the proposals set out by the second cohort are equally exciting and I look forward to seeing what they can achieve.”

Lucy Latham, Arts Council England and Policy Programmes Lead, Julie’s Bicycle, said: “We are delighted to welcome these new and exciting projects into the Accelerator community. Accelerator is proving the point that incubating cultural talent and environmental ambition leads to new intelligence and innovative practice, contributing to a sustainable and future-proof sector”

Notes to editors

The first Accelerator cohort have been progressing similar projects, including developing sustainable touring models, zero carbon roadmaps, digital outreach programmes, and renewable energy initiatives: for example, Bow Arts and Arts Admin’s collaboration has focused on artistic practice and materials; London Theatre Consortium and Manchester Arts Sustainability Team have both been engaging with their local city governments; New Adventures, Sadler’s Wells and Norwich Theatre Royal have forged an international collaboration, learning from Hawaii-based singer Jack Johnson’s green touring activities; and East Street Arts has focused on training its staff and becoming Carbon Literacy certified.

Quotes from Accelerator cohort 1 participants:

Janet Vaughan, Co-Artistic Director, Talking Birds, said: “The great value of the Accelerator Programme, particularly for us as a small organisation, is being part of a larger like-minded group. Being able to draw on the support, inspiration and authority, both of that group and of Julie’s Bicycle, is incredibly useful – on an operational level, but also when you need a bit of heft behind you in negotiations or dealings with other, less convinced parties. At a time when it feels that – finally – the wider public is beginning to take the threat of climate change seriously, Accelerator is now less an outrider, but far more central: provoking the arts to imagine, construct and lead change.”

Natalie Highwood, The Strategic Lead for Accelerator, London Theatre Consortium, said: “Accelerator has come at a crucial time for London Theatre Consortium, enabling us to take our 8 year history working on environmental sustainability to the next level. Our project is to create a roadmap towards the consortium’s target of achieving a 60% reduction in carbon emissions by 2025. Through Accelerator we are benefiting from expert advice that we otherwise would not have had the resources to access. The programme provides a ready-made peer network of other organisations with whom we can share learnings, questions and enthusiasm. And with the help of Julie’s Bicycle, we hope to open up new conversations which will be both inspiring and practical. As our involvement progresses, the idea of a roadmap is widening beyond carbon emission reductions: we are looking forward to continuing to work together over the next months to imagine truly sustainable theatres of the future.”

Julie’s Bicycle and Arts Council England have worked together for over a decade to support cultural organisations in becoming more environmentally sustainable. This collaboration led to policy intervention in 2012 when the Arts Council became the first cultural body in the world to make environmental action part of its funding agreement with National Portfolio Organisations (NPOS).

Julie’s Bicycle, which was founded in 2007 to respond to the climate crisis, is working globally across the creative sector to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and catalyse the green creative economy.

Working with over 2,000 organisations, NGOs and governments worldwide, Julie’s Bicycle has developed an approach which harnesses the power of the creative sector to communicate the reality of the climate crisis. Julie’s Bicycle advocates for science-based solutions and bold practical action, supporting and advising those who share their vision.

The team blends environmental expertise with arts and cultural sector experience, and the freely available resources constitute the most comprehensive library of good environmental practice developed specifically for the arts and culture sectors anywhere in the world. Designed and developed by Julie’s Bicycle, the Creative Green Tools – a suite of carbon calculators and a certification scheme – are the recognised benchmarks for sustainability achievement within the creative industries.

Since 2012, Julie’s Bicycle has been the Arts Council England’s contracted delivery partner, supporting its funded organisations to report their carbon footprints and develop environmental policies and action plans.

Arts Council England is the national development body for arts and culture across England, working to enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to visual art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2018 and 2022, we will invest £1.45 billion of public money from government and an estimated £860 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.

To read about the Accelerator Programme the webpage is:

To learn more about the first cohort of the Programme the webpage is here:

To learn more about the second cohort of the Programme the webpage is here:

Contact information

Nisha Emich – National Communications Officer

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