Culture Declares Emergency
by Helen Willmott, Made in Corby
Last month I visited Peterborough Cathedral to see an installation called Gaia by artist Luke Jerram. Gaia is a large, rotating globe suspended from the ceiling of the cathedral, illuminated from the inside and with an accompanying soundtrack. Measuring seven metres in diameter, it features detailed NASA imagery of the Earth’s surface. It’s a spectacularly surreal experience, being able to stand (or lie down) under the earth, watching it spin slowly. It made me realise just how beautiful the world is, how small I am in comparison and just how fragile we all are.
We’ve been thinking quite a bit recently about how fragile the world is, both inspired and worried by the campaigns of Greta Thunberg and Extinction Rebellion. In the office we’ve been discussing how precarious the declining health of our planet is, and how small changes to how we live can contribute to slowing down that process.
We’re already taking steps to ensure that our activities do as little harm to the planet as possible. The Community Feast at this year’s Grow Festival was a great example of this; where a 3-course menu of locally grown veg and surplus food from supermarkets was served on fully compostable plates and cutlery. But we feel like we should be doing more.
That’s why we’re joining with hundreds of other individual artists and arts organisations across the UK by joining the Culture Declares Emergency movement. We are declaring a Climate and Ecological Emergency and pledging to work with and support our community in tackling this Emergency. We’ll be starting with our office; minimising use of paper, increasing recycling and using public transport wherever feasible. We’ll be working with our partners to reduce the impact that our events have on the environment. And we’ll be exploring how, just like Gaia, art can make us reflect, reconsider and change.