Press releases

Press release 1pm Friday 12th April

Letters To The Earth teams up with Youth Strike 4 Climate at Oxford Circus

  • The Letters To The Earth day of action kicks off in 52 venues around the world this Friday 12 April - showcasing the more than 1000 letters written by the public, writers and celebrities in response to the Climate and Ecological Emergency
  • At 1pm, Oxford Circus, Letters to the Earth will team up with Youth Strike 4 Climate, for a specially curated performance of some of the letters
  • Letters To The Earth is the first project of the newly launched Culture Declares Emergency, which brings the arts and cultural community together for an appropriate response to the climate emergency
  • Letters received include submissions from artist and peace activist Yoko Ono, American author Rebecca Solnit, award-winning poet Kate Tempest, British playwrights April De Angelis, Steve Waters and Nick Drake amongst others

As thousands of children and young people take part in this month’s Youth Strike 4 Climate in London, the Letters To The Earth team will join them at the march’s conclusion for a special performance of a selection of over 1,000 letters written by celebrities, writers and members of the general public in response to the Climate and Ecological Emergency.

The event will take place at 1pm at Oxford Circus, with letters being performed by members of Youth Strike 4 Climate, followed by interviews with them and the team behind Letters To The Earth.

Cyrus Jarvis, Youth Strike 4 Climate activist says ‘I think one of the most important things when fighting for change is creativity and becoming the people who create culture rather than consume it. It plays a huge part in changing the tide and has a very powerful impact.’

Kay Michael, one of the Letters to the Earth organisers and director, said, “Ours is a cultural response to the Climate and Ecological emergency that we invite others to be a part of. Culture Declares Emergency exists to inspire and inform with urgency and vision the need to rise to this momentous moment in history. We have seen the campaign grow exponentially in only one week since its launch, and we’ve been heartened by the public’s response.”

The Letters To The Earth text being presented at the Youth Strike is an excerpt of a longer 20 minute piece that will be released to the public on Monday 15 April for performance anywhere in the world for 2 weeks, coinciding with the School Strike For Climate and Extinction Rebellion’s International Rebellion. It includes many of the voices from the hundreds of submissions received. The public are invited to take part in readings of Letters To The Earth during the Rebellion in London from Monday 15 April.

Notable submissions include letters from artist and peace activist Yoko Ono, American author and leading feminist thinker Rebecca Solnit, Jackie Morris, writer and illustrator of The Lost Words, award-winning poet Kate Tempest, Director of Julie’s Bicycle Alison Tickell, writers Jay Griffiths, Jo Baker and Rob Cowen, TV Presenter and Vicar of Firle Peter Owen-Jones, award-winning writer, journalist and LGBT activist Matthew Todd and playwrights April De Angelis, Steve Waters, Nick Drake and Nina Segal.

Following the launch of Letters to the Earth on Friday 12 April, 52 arts venues [1 - full list below], theatres and community spaces across the world, from Zambia to Canada, from Latvia to New Zealand, will host readings of these Letters to the Earth, to coincide with the Global Youth Strike for Climate and as part of the lead up to Extinction Rebellion’s International Rebellion which begins Monday 15 April. Letters to the Earth is the first project of the newly launched Culture Declares Emergency, which brings the arts and cultural community together for an appropriate response to the climate emergency.[2]

On Friday 12 April venues will also be hosting post-show conversations and activities to generate a discussion that can drive further action. Theatre 503 are hosting a conversation with environmental activists and climate scientists; young actors from Young Everyman Playhouse company will be performing and running an event at the Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse; and National Theatre Wales will be inviting their local Welsh community to write responses together on the day.


Coming up:

  • 14 April – Earth March: the Last Leg – Hyde Park, London. Members of Extinction Rebellion are walking from as far away as Land’s End to join International Rebellion UK - Shut Down London! which begins on 15th April. They’ve braved hard weather and hard roads to join us. Let’s give them the welcome they deserve by joining in the last leg of the journey, and coming together in Hyde Park for a celebration on the eve of our Rebellion.
  • 15 April – International Rebellion – Global. Extinction Rebellion activists in the UK and around the world are calling for a full-scale international rebellion: to demand decisive action on the climate and ecological collapse from governments around the world. Come to stay and book time off work.

This will be a full-scale festival of collective action and creative resistance, with people’s assemblies, art actions, stage performances, talks, workshops, food and family spaces.

Actor and writer Dame Emma Thompson: video invitation to rebellion “It is time to stand up and Save Our Home. On Monday 15 April of this year, the International Rebellion will begin … It’s gonna be a lot of fun, but be prepared to stay. Because now’s the time to save the planet, as we all know there is no planet B. Be there.”

Notes for Editors:

[1] The 50 Venues hosting presentations of Letters To The Earth throughout the day on Friday 12 April are:

Aberdeen Performing Arts

Angora Poets, Paris

Arcola Theatre, London

Arts Admin, London

As It Is Theatre Company

Ashburton Arts Centre

Auburn University, Alabama USA

Baltic Climate Chain, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia

Battersea Arts Centre, London

Bunker Theatre, London

Cambridge Junction

Canada, via Zoom, hosted by Pegi Eyers in Otonabee Ontario

Centre for Alternative Technology, Wales

Centre for Contemporary Art and The Natural World, Dartington

FarnhamLoveYogaStudio

Freedom Theatre, Palestine

Friends Meeting House, Canterbury

Fruits and Roots, Johannesburg, South Africa

The Harlow, Hallowell, Maine USA

Huddersfield Ukrainian Club

Kaleider, Exeter

Kanyama compound, Mumbwa road, Zambia

Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse

Lucit, Pretoria, South Africa

Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, London

Metal Culture, Liverpool

Metal, South End

Museum of Liverpool

National Theatre Wales

North Wall, Oxford

Northwich Town Centre

ONCA Gallery, Brighton

Paddington Conservative Club, London

Pleasance Theatre London

Queen's Gardens, Nelson, New Zealand

Royal Court Theatre, London

Royal Exchange and Take Back Theatre, Manchester

Shakespeare's Globe, London

Shop Front Margate

St Augustines Parish Centre, Darlington

The Blue House, Mullumbimby, Australia

The Gate Theatre, London

The George Inn, Newnham

The Space, Isle of Dogs, London

Theatre503, London

Theatr Clwyd, Mold

Trowbridge Town Hall

Unit Four: The Cornucopia Room, Hawick Scottish Borders

University of St Andrews

UpStage (online platform)

Walcot Chapel, Bath

Young Vic Theatre, London

[2] International Rebellion

[3] About ‘Letters to the Earth’

We are facing an unprecedented global emergency, the planet is in crisis and we are in the midst of a mass extinction event. Scientists believe we have entered a period of abrupt climate breakdown.Carbon emissions and temperatures keep rising; ecological collapse has begun. On this course we are likely to see abrupt and irreversible devastation. The time for denial is over – we know the truth about climate change. It is time to act.

Letters to the Earth urged people to write a letter of response to this crisis. These could be a letter to or from the Earth, future or past generations, those who hold positions of power and influence, other species. The idea was open to interpretation: it could come from a personal place, be dramatic in form, be a call to action. The invitation was open to all - to think beyond the human narrative and to bear witness to the scale and horror of this crisis. It’s an opportunity to ask how this existential threat affects the way we wish to live our lives and the action we take.

All submitted letters will be released today for presentation across theatres, arts venues and community spaces. Some venues are opening their doors free of charge to the public, others are live-streaming. High profile readers alongside young people and local communities are involved in the presentation of these letters. Some venues are holding open conversation as part of the day's activity to bring people together in the face of this crisis.

One 20 minute piece for performance, that brings together a selection of the voices, will then be made rights free and available for anyone to download and present anywhere in the world from 15th – 28th April, coinciding with the International Extinction Rebellion and School Strike For Climate. This piece could be taken up to be presented and performed globally, when hundreds of thousands of people will be taking to the streets worldwide to demand that governments tell the truth about climate collapse and act accordingly.

[3] About Culture Declares Emergency

Culture Declares Emergency, created by a group of concerned individuals and institutions from the arts and culture sector, launched 3rd April, with more than 190 leading UK arts and culture institutions and individuals having declared a Climate and Ecological Emergency. The first wave of Declarers include some of London’s best known arts and cultural venues including The Royal Court, The Lyric Hammersmith, The Gate Theatre and Battersea Arts Centre as well as actor Tamaryn Payne from Hollyoaks and Peter Kosminsky, director of Wolf Hall and Secret State.

[4] About Extinction Rebellion

Time has almost entirely run out to address the ecological crisis which is upon us, including the 6th mass species extinction and abrupt, runaway climate change. Societal collapse and mass death are seen as inevitable by scientists and other credible voices, with human extinction also a possibility, if rapid action is not taken.

Extinction Rebellion believes it is a citizen’s duty to rebel, using peaceful civil disobedience, when faced with criminal inactivity by its Government. Extinction Rebellion’s topline demands:

  • Government must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.
  • Government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
  • Government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.

Declaration of Rebellion: https://rebellion.earth/declaration/

The Extinction Rebellion Climate Factsheet for Rebels https://rebellion.earth/the-climate-factsheet-for-rebels/

Get involved in Extinction Rebellion’s other events

And while your time and energy are the most important things, if you are financially able to donate money, see our Fundrazr crowdfunder.

Press release 3rd April

Phone: +44(07802865819) / +44(0)7760280443 / +44(0)7986671716 / +44(0)7944894190 / +44(0)7722007566 / +44(0)7479234522

Email: culturedeclaresmedia@gmail.com

Website: https://sites.google.com/view/culturedeclaresemergency/home?authuser=0

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/culturedeclaresemergency/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CultureDeclares; #CultureDeclaresEmergency

Photos/videos: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1m1v7Cs8JFkDM1gHp45OF-NwwhLzPZJO8

  • More than 190 UK arts and culture institutions and individuals have declared a climate and ecological emergency
  • A beautifully-curated and disruptive procession, stopping at institutions along the River Thames set off from Somerset House with more than 150 people this morning
  • Declarers include Somerset House, Battersea Arts Centre, Cardboard Citizens, HOME in Manchester, Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, London National Park City, Royal Court Theatre, Jerwood Arts, The Junction (Cambridge), Invisible Dust, writer Jay Griffiths, director Peter Kosminsky and actor Tamaryn Payne

Culture Declares Emergency launched today, with more than 190 leading UK arts and culture institutions and individuals having today declared a Climate and Ecological Emergency. The first wave of Declarers include some of London’s best known arts and cultural venues including The Royal Court, The Lyric Hammersmith, The Gate Theatre and Battersea Arts Centre as well as actor Tamaryn Payne from Hollyoaks and Peter Kosminsky, director of Wolf Hall and Secret State. Full list of the first wave of Declarers is below [1].

Created by by a group of concerned individuals and institutions from the arts and culture sector, the Culture Declares Emergency launch has been stopping traffic at Somerset House going on to back up traffic across Waterloo Bridge this morning, with a beautifully curated and disruptive nonviolent horse led procession through London to mark the occasion. More than 150 people are present including Executive Director of The Royal Court Theatre Lucy Davies and Director of Somerset House Jonathan Reekie CBE. A real horse was deliberately chosen to lead the procession to symbolically show the need for culture to align with nature, alongside the grave truth that all living species are in peril, with large mammals being most at risk of extinction.

Walking with the procession are ‘Heralds’ wearing living grass coats grown by visual artists Ackroyd & Harvey and carrying banners with names of declarers listed. A newly composed soundscape by Mira Calix features in the ceremony of declarations of Planetary Emergency, as well as readings from selected ‘Letters To The Earth’, writings submitted by the general public for a nationwide cultural action – the first project of Culture Declares which will take place on Friday 12 April [2].

Inspired by Extinction Rebellion and School Strike For Climate, Culture Declares Emergency is organising a range of events in the run up to Extinction Rebellion’s International Rebellion, which begins Monday 15 April.

Bridget McKenzie, cultural consultant and one of the organisers of Culture Declares Emergency, said: “Culture Declares Emergency is about revelation of truth and declaration of our intentions. It is coming together in one sound with and for many voices, in solidarity with all those affected by the Climate and Ecological Emergency. It is the first of many waves of artists and cultural organisations announcing their intentions. It begins in London, a place implicated with the extractive and colonial histories that have led us to this Emergency but it is also a place rich with culture that can be turned towards the task of reimagining how we relate to one another and the living planet.”

Karishma Rafferty, a curator at Somerset House, said: “Somerset House is a historical site with over two and a half thousand creative residents based here, our cultural programme is all about engaging with the critical issues of our times, which includes, obviously, the current Climate and Ecological Emergency, so this is completely in keeping with our values in terms of galvanizing the sector in terms of acting on the Emergency at hand.

“It just seems like the right thing to be doing. We address the environment as a very strong theme within our programme, we have two programmes coming up later in the month which specifically address the role of language and voice in tackling the issues at hand and we really believe that it is not just politicians and scientists that need to be engaged in galvanising the public, but actually artists and the creative sector together play a really important role.

“It requires not just one organisation or institution or even a very large community like ours, it requires all kinds of different groups within society taking this up.”

Cathy Eastburn, a Musician and Therapeutic Sound Worker at Sarasa Sound, said: “The continuing denial by the UK government that climate breakdown is now unfolding and their failure to do anything meaningful about are terrifying and unacceptable. It’s criminal negligence.”

“So I’m Declaring Climate Emergency as a musician and therapeutic sound worker to encourage more people to take positive action and to hopefully inspire the UK government to accept the truth of climate change and act in accordance with the facts. We can’t squander any more time on denial or pretending it’s not happening. I think artists have an important role to play in speaking the truth and leading by positive example. We owe it to ourselves and our children to be honest, generous, loving and brave.”

“Stories are political. As culture makers we are all engaged in telling stories, in building narratives about ourselves and the world. As long as we operate only as individuals and fail to understand ourselves as intrinsically connected, we will not meet the scale of the challenge. But we can tell a different story and shift the narrative. We can tell the story of a global community, each part affecting the other. We can understand that community is the answer to climate change. That we all need to work together because we all have a stake in the health of the planet. It will take all of us to achieve climate justice. Now is the time for change” Anthony Simpson-Pyke from the Gate Theatre who are declaring.

Pledges

Those declaring will make a series of pledges, and follow up with a range of actions to respond to the emergency. For example:

  • “The Royal Court is declaring because we have a long-standing commitment to sustainability and producing climate plays and we want to be part of ramping up the urgency. We are committed to using our spaces and our platform to doing so.” Lucy Davies, Executive Producer.
  • Amongst 7 pledges, ONCA gallery based in Brighton, pledge to “Work towards reducing ONCA’s CO2 emissions to net zero by 2025 by continuously reviewing and developing our environmental policies in dialogue with our suppliers” Persephone Pearl, Director
  • Invisible Dust (London and Scarborough), who work with leading artists and scientists to produce unique and exciting works of contemporary art, will commit to making the emergency visible through visual arts, working hard to reach more audiences with a range of work through the lens of climate change

If you are an organisation or cultural practitioner and would like to declare in future announcements, please do so here. [3]

Why culture?

Through their prodigious convening powers, the arts and culture bring people together across differences to find commonality.

At a time of emergency culture gives space to articulate our place and survival in the web of life: creating the conditions for change, transforming and renewing our stories and visions of a liveable world. We can shape new ways of being human on Earth. The human imagination is infinite: we are all creators, makers and alchemists of change.

Culture explores the fierce poetry of the heart; the pain of what we are losing and a yearning for the restoration and celebration of life.

Culture energises people’s courage and capacities for action to respond collectively to the challenges being faced.

Being bold, active players in this great re-imagining is why and how culture matters.

The declaration movement has been gaining pace internationally. It started with Climate Mobilization in the US and Australia, and is now promoted by Extinction Rebellion, Sunrise Movement and School Strike for Climate amongst others. The number of UK councils declaring is increasing all the time – including the Greater London Authority – with councils committing resources to tackling this emergency. Their declarations state they will work with civic partners, so this is where culture comes in. [4]

Judy Ling-Wong CBE, Black Environment Network, commented: “It is really important that individuals feel powerful. They need to know that how they choose to live and what they think and say shapes the world.”

“To do this effectively they need the right information. Our future cannot be left to a few passionate specialist organisations or to governments that shape actions based on economics and not on the real threat to our future. We need everyone to play their part.”

If organisations and practitioners have creative or civic resources to contribute, such as meeting space, biodiverse places, skilled people, community partners, or innovative ideas and programmes, then declaration allows them to explain the contribution they can make. There is no more important way to express the value of arts and culture at this time.

In areas or councils where an emergency has been declared, organisations and people may be called upon by local people, politicians or funders to respond. But making your own declaration, as an organisation or as an individual, is a good place to start. If an area or council has not declared, culture can lead by example, using the power of declarations to inspire others to do the same.

Notes to editors

  1. List of declarers:


Ackroyd & Harvey, Adam Weymouth, Alan Boldon, Alison Tickell, Amanda Brown, Amelia Amos Jacob, Anisha Grover, Anna Hope, Anne-Marie Culhane, Anthony Simpson-Pike, Art.Earth, Arts Admin, Asya Robins, Azul Valerie Thome, Barbara Anne Bull, Battersea Arts Centre, Becky Burchell, Begüm Bitir, Belarus Free Theatre, Biljana, Biodanza Time, Bram Thomas Arnold, Breaking Convention, Brian McKenzie, C Space, Cardboard Citizens, Caroline Pedler, Caroline Ross, Caroline Royds, Carryl Sorene, Cate Chapman, Cathy Eastburn, Centre for Contemporary Art and the Natural World, CHANGE Festival, Christian de Sousa, Claire Carter, Claire MacDonald, Clare Lovett, Clare Whistler, Climate Healers, Climate Museum UK, ClimateKeys, COAL art & environment, Cocoloco, Common Unity, Corelate, Creative Carbon Scotland, Culture Unstained, Damian Hebron, Dancing Tao, Darren Pryce, Deirdre O’Mahony, Di Robson, Do the Green Thing, Dorinda Talbot, Dr. Cathy Fitzgerald, Earth Nut, Edwina Fitzpatrick, Ella Crowley, Ella Duffy, Emilio Mula, Emily Critchley, Emma Burleigh, Emma Pavans de Ceccatty, Farnham Eco Cinema, Fashion Revolution, Felicitas Aga, Feral Theatre, Fiona Cunningham-Reid, Fiona Massari, Fish Factory Arts, Friction Arts, Gate Theatre, Giulia, Happy Museum Project, Heleen Elizabeth, Helen Wyatt, Hilary Jennings, HOME, In Defense of Animals, Incognito Art Space, Invisible Dust, Isis Usborne, Isley Lynn, Jackie Yeomans, Jack Harries, James Aldridge, James Murray-White, James Roberts, Jane Mather, Jay Griffiths, Jelly Green, Jenn Richter, Jenny Jones, Jerwood Arts, Jessica Caudery, Jiggy Bhore, Jo Reuben, Jodi Le Bigre, John Dunbar Kilburn, Jude Allen, Jude Rogers, Judy Ling Wong CBE, Julie Alice Chappell, Kay Michael, Katharine Burke, Kathleen Jones, Kilter Theatre, Lewisham Unity, Library of Change, Lies Van Hee, Lisa Autogena, London National Park City, London National Park City Foundation, Lorelei Lodestar, Lost Species Day, Louise Mor, Lucy Davies, Lucy Hopkins, Lucy Kerr, Lucy Neal, Lyric Theatre, Magda Oldziejewska, Maria Armanda Goncalves, Marion Leeper, Mark Eminger, Mark Goldthorpe, Mat Osmond, Matt Hocking, Meg McKenzie, Meike Brunkhorst, Miracle Productions, Miss L Barbagallo, Natalie King, Natalie Taylor, Nathalie S, New Futures Academy, New Weather Institute, Nikki Tomlinson, ONCA Gallery, Orlaith Treacy, Ottilie Neser, Penny Florence, Peter Kosminsky, Petia Tzanova, Philip Webb Gregg, Phineas Vidkun Knesal Olafssen, Pisanfil73, Precious Earth Art Collective, Pulse Arts Rebecca Clark, Refugi and Company – Sanctuary, Richard Evans, Rose Fenton, Royal Court Theatre, Ruth Ben-Tovim, SAIL (Sustainable Arts In Leeds), Sara Zaltash, Sarah Ellen Lundy, Sarah Woods, Scott Marsden, Shelley Castle, Simple Gifts, Slow Dans, Small Earth Institute, Smashfest, Somerset House, Sonia Hammond, Sophie Morrish, Staging Change, Station House Opera, Steven Starr, Sue Davies, Susan Benn, Susan Richardson, Sustainable Museums, Talking Birds, Tamaryn Payne, The Climate Save Movement, The Green Room, The Junction, The Sun Exchange, Theatre of Awakening, Tina Lawlor Mottram, Tom Henderson Smith, Tom Scott, Tony Wheeler, World Saving Hustle, Yael Filipovic, Zoe Lafferty, Zoe Young

  1. Letters to the Earth

https://www.letterstotheearth.com/

2. The Culture Declares Emergency toolkithttps://sites.google.com/view/culturedeclaresemergency/

The Culture Declares Emergency toolkit offers a template text and many resources to help with declaring, responding to the emergency and then sustaining change. Those declaring believe that culture is essential to help guide us in making the transformational change necessary to address the emergency of the combined catastrophes of climate change, a mass extinction of vital biodiversity and a degradation of ecosystems everywhere. Culture has the power to bring people together, disrupt the status quo and spark change.

3. Councils declaring climate emergencyhttps://www.campaigncc.org/councils_climate_emergency

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/newsbeat-47570654


Press release 1st April

Media invitation: 9am Wed 3 April, London - Culture to Declare a Climate and Ecological Emergency

Hi there!

More than 180 leading UK arts and culture institutions and individuals will declare a Climate and Ecological Emergency

Culture Declares Emergency - a group of concerned individuals and institutions of the arts, culture and creative organisations - invites you to join them at 9am on Wednesday 3 April at Somerset House for a beautifully curated and disruptive horse-led procession, with words and declarations to be made at cultural locations along the river Thames.

More than 170 institutions and individuals are declaring a Climate and Ecological Emergency, including The Royal Court, writer Jay Griffiths, director Peter Kosminsky, Jerwood Arts and Invisible Dust. The full list of institutions and individuals will be revealed on the day.

Living grass coats grown by Visual Artists Ackroyd and Harvey and a newly composed soundscape by Mira Calix, feature in this ceremony of declarations of Planetary Emergency as well as previews of Letters To The Earth, writing submitted by the general public for a nationwide cultural action taking place on 12 April.

Inspired by Extinction Rebellion and the global School Strike For Climate, Culture Declares Emergency is organising a range of events in the run up to International Rebellion, which begins Monday 15 April.

The procession will stop at different cultural locations along the route including Somerset House, Waterloo Bridge, the National Theatre and the horse-led procession will enter Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall before concluding at the Globe Theatre

Order of the event

Ceremony begins at 9:15am

  • Procession starts at 9:30am and will stop traffic to make its way over Waterloo Bridge
  • 10:00am Southbank Centre
  • 10:15 National Theatre
  • 11:00 Tate Modern
  • 11:30 Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre
  • 12:00 Ends

Looking forward to hearing from you. RSVP to culturedeclaresmedia@gmail.com with ‘Culture Declares Launch’ in the subject line.

For background information, do check out the Culture Declares Emergency website at https://sites.google.com/view/culturedeclaresemergency/

See you soon!

Culture Declares Emergency media team

+44(07802865819) / +44 (0) 7760280443 / +44 (0) 7986671716 / +44 (0) 7944894190 / +44 (0) 7722007566 / +44 (0) 7479234522


Press release 27th March

Website: https://sites.google.com/view/culturedeclaresemergency

Email: culturedeclaresmedia@gmail.com

Phone: +44(0) 7802865819 / +44(0)7986671716 / +44(0)7561098449 / +44(0)7479234522

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/culturedeclaresemergency/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CultureDeclares #CultureDeclaresEmergency #InternationalRebellion

CDE 3 April launch event: https://www.facebook.com/events/444424099433828/

UK Culture set to Declare Climate Emergency - last call to join first wave

  • Leading UK arts and cultural institutions set to declare a Climate and Ecological Emergency - deadline to be part of the first wave is this Friday 29 March
  • 48 individuals and 28 organisations are already pledging to declare including the Royal Court, ONCA (Brighton) and Invisible Dust (London and Scarborough)
  • Media launch of Culture Declares Emergency will be on Wednesday 3 April, with a beautifully curated and disruptive artist-led procession, with declarations to be made at institutions along the river Thames
  • Inspired by Extinction Rebellion and the global School Strike For Climate, Culture Declares Emergency is organising a range of events in the run up to International Rebellion, which begins Monday 15 April.

The deadline to join a growing wave of arts and cultural institutions in declaring a Climate and Ecological Emergency is this Friday. More than 28 institutions and 48 individuals from the arts and culture sectors have already pledged. [1] More information about becoming a declarer here.

“Humanity faces the combined catastrophes of climate change, a mass extinction of vital biodiversity and a degradation of ecosystems health everywhere,” said Lucy Neal, spokesperson for Culture Declares Emergency.

“This has now become an emergency situation because governments and industry have not shown the necessary leadership, and, so far, have not acted fast enough. Fortunately, humans are capable of responding in a remarkable variety of ways to accelerate climate solutions and adaptations, and culture can help stir up human response as well as creating new stories and visions for our world.”

Inspired by dozens of UK councils declaring Climate Emergencies - from Cornwall to Hull, from Mendip to London - members of the arts, culture and creative industries have decided to ask how their sector might respond collectively. [2] They are now calling on the arts and cultural community to do its part in telling the truth about the climate and ecological crisis, and to take necessary action.

Those declaring will make a series of pledges, and follow up with a range of actions to respond to the emergency. For example:

  • Amongst 7 pledges, ONCA gallery based in Brighton, pledge to “Work towards reducing ONCA’s CO2 emissions to net zero by 2025 by continuously reviewing and developing our environmental policies in dialogue with our suppliers” Persephone Pearl, Director
  • Invisible Dust (London and Scarborough), who work with leading artists and scientists to produce unique and exciting works of contemporary art, will commit to making the emergency visible through visual arts, working hard to reach more audiences with a range of work through the lens of climate change
  • “The Royal Court is declaring because we have a long-standing commitment to sustainability and producing climate plays and we want to be part of ramping up the urgency. We are committed to using our spaces and our platform to doing so.” Lucy Davies, Executive Producer.

Why culture?

The declaration movement has been gaining pace internationally. It started with Climate Mobilization in the US and Australia, and is now promoted by Extinction Rebellion, Sunrise Movement and School Strike for Climate amongst others. The number of UK councils declaring is increasing all the time - including the Greater London Authority - with councils committing resources to tackling this emergency. Their declarations state they will work with civic partners, so this is where culture comes in.

Judy Ling-Wong CBE, Black Environment Network, commented: “It is really important that individuals feel powerful. They need to know that how they choose to live and what they think and say shapes the world.”

“To do this effectively they need the right information. Our future cannot be left to a few passionate specialist organisations or to governments that shape actions based on economics and not on the real threat to our future. We need everyone to play their part.”

If organisations and practitioners have creative or civic resources to contribute, such as meeting space, biodiverse places, skilled people, community partners, or innovative ideas and programmes, then declaration allows them to explain the contribution they can make. There is no more important way to express the value of arts and culture at this time.

In areas or councils where an emergency has been declared, organisations and people may be called upon by local people, politicians or funders to respond. But making your own declaration, as an organisation or as an individual, is a good place to start. If an area or council has not declared, culture can lead by example, using the power of declarations to inspire others to do the same.

Organisations and cultural practitioners can confirm their wish to declare here.

Media invite 9am Wednesday 3 April - Culture Declares Emergency launch:

  • Culture Declares Emergency will formally launch Wednesday 3 April with an artist-led ceremony and procession
  • This will begin at 9am Somerset House, cross Waterloo Bridge, and move on to other arts institutions on the South bank of the Thames
  • At each location, a variety of Declarations of Emergency and a preview of Letters to the Earth - a campaign of Culture Declares Emergency - will be read. All venues participating in the first joint action, Letters To The Earth on Friday 12 April, will be announced. More details about Letters to the Earth at https://www.letterstotheearth.com/
  • At around 11.30am near the Globe Theatre there will be an opportunity to hear the context and different voices behind Culture Declares Emergency.

Press who would like to be part of this event are asked to rsvp at culturedeclaresmedia@gmail.com.

Further upcoming events

On Friday 12 April, Shakespeare’s Globe, National Theatre Wales and Royal Court Theatre will be some of a range of theatres and arts venues across the UK hosting events with nationwide readings of 100s of Letters To The Earth invited from the public.

Notes to editors

1. The Culture Declares Emergency toolkit https://sites.google.com/view/culturedeclaresemergency/

The Culture Declares Emergency toolkit offers a template text and many resources to help with declaring, responding to the emergency and then sustaining change. Those declaring believe that culture is essential to help guide us in making the transformational change necessary to address the emergency of the combined catastrophes of climate change, a mass extinction of vital biodiversity and a degradation of ecosystems everywhere. Culture has the power to bring people together, disrupt the status quo and spark change.

2. Councils declaring climate emergency https://www.campaigncc.org/councils_climate_emergency

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/newsbeat-47570654