“We are all actors: Being a citizen is not living in society, it is changing it.” Augusto Boal, Theater Director and political activist
This is the first of our Culture Forum North podcasts. It was recorded alongside our symposium ‘Climate + Culture + Collaboration’ back in February 2020; which now feels like another era when the enormity of Covid-19 was yet to be fully realised.
Our event focused on how collaborations between education and the cultural sector could be used strategically and creatively in response to the climate change emergency.
Through an exploratory conversation our participants, Lizzie Haughton, Clare Gannaway and Jez Hall, consider the role of public space in relation to social change – reflecting on models of participation, ways of organising, co-producing and supporting action – framed in response to the climate change crisis.
Whilst the ability to create, reflect and debate in physical public space has for a time been removed and will need to be re-thought, cultural engagement and creative action in response to current pivotal social, political and economic debates has not diminished and online formats have extended reach. The concepts of co-production and active participation discussed in this recording offer some thoughts on actual and aspirational models for democratising public space and how these may be used to re-imagine society and our engagement with our planet – whether this dialogue is online or in a physical space, it will continue to be an important part of climate change action.
Clare Jackson – Host and Programme Lead, Culture Forum North
Lizzie Haughton – Activities and Development Officer, Manchester Student Union & Extinction Rebellion member
Clare Garraway – Curator, Contemporary Art, Manchester Art Gallery
Jez Hall – Director, Shared Future
Karyan Au-Yeung – Cultural Institute Intern, Technical Support
Lizzie Haughton – Given the drastic lack of time we have in the climate crisis, to what extent do you see the education system’s responsibility being in teaching and encouraging civil disobedience to challenge the system, as well as prioritising research into climate solutions, and teaching adaptation?
Clare Gannaway – There’s sometimes an assumption that art is a ‘nice to have’, rather than something fundamental to society and that can also help to change society…? What would help or encourage you to work more with the cultural sector in future?
Jez Hall – The Climate Emergency means we must act quickly. What role can the cultural sector have in making sure that policy makers hear citizens voice?