The Accelerator Programme is a partnership between Julies Bicycle and Arts Council England to inspire environmental action across the arts and cultural sector. LADA is delighted to announce that our proposal on behalf of LADA & Live Art UK and Gasworks & Triangle Network has been accepted into the second cohort. This is a great opportunity for us all of to think strategically about, and continue to act on issues of Climate Justice. The programme runs until September 2021.
The Live Art Development Agency (LADA) and Gasworks will address the challenges of Climate Justice within the context of both organisations’ creative field, and the large networks of organisations that we host both nationally and internationally.
The project will respond to individuals and organisations that are hardest hit by climate catastrophe and social injustice, research how organisations across international networks can better communicate, readdress past harms and strive to move from an extractive framework to a regenerative one. LADA and Gasworks intend to look at the cultural sector through an intersectional lens, understanding how Class, Race, Sexuality, Age and Gender informs artists and organisations’ opportunities, resources and structures within the arts sector and society as a whole.
We hope this work will empower our partners in Live Art UK and the Triangle Network to influence others around them, whether this be staff, artists or audiences local to their organisations who are either the most affected, displaced and/or oppressed. The impact we will strive to achieve is the transference of knowledge, and power, from those least affected, to those who are the most.
The ultimate aim of this collaboration is to ensure the values of Climate Justice can be put to use more effectively for the benefit of those disproportionality affected by climate catastrophe and social injustice.
We will be providing regular updates about the programme, if you have any immediate questions about the Accelerator Programme please do contact Ben.
To be a truly Just, critical and accountable project, we needed to invite an external, critical and expert voice with lived experience of climate catastrophe and social injustice to help provide support, give genuine and immediate feedback, and to ultimately tell us where we are going wrong.
Ama Josephine Budge is a Speculative Writer, Artist, Curator and Pleasure Activist whose work navigates intimate explorations of race, art, ecology and feminism, working to activate movements that catalyse human rights, environmental evolutions and troublesomely queered identities. Ama is a PhD candidate in Psychosocial Studies with Dr Gail Lewis at Birkbeck. Her research takes a queer, decolonial approach to challenging climate colonialism in Sub-Saharan Africa with a particular focus on inherently environmentalist pleasure practices in Ghana. Ama is a member of Queer Ecologies 2020, founder of The Apocalypse Reading Room installation and Lead Artist on the MycoLective project with Chisenhale Studios and Feral Practice.
Ama’s responsibilities include critiquing, responding to, and directly feeding into the project. Such as providing mentorship and assistance to LADA & Gasworks; Contributing to the outcomes and legacies of the project; To research, write and collaborate on a LADA Study Room Guide.
As part of the Accelerator Programme, all organisations will share 4 ‘insights’ from our work over the course of the programme. Here you will find the first LADA, Gasworks and Ama’s ongoing thoughts and learnings.
When LADA and Gasworks first approached me to work with them on the formation of their Accelerator Programme, it was with a vague series of feelings and hopes for the project. I have been invited to provide mentorship and assistance as both organisations enter conversations with Live Art UK and Triangle Network around the strategic role UK-based arts organisations should be playing in the fight for climate justice. My participation in this project is, I believe, predominantly built upon a backlog of them learning about me/my work from a range of different sources. So that when I first e-met Ben and Natalie on Zoom and we spoke about intersectionality, about getting out of the way, about decolonial arts praxis, about urgency, strategy, and about care, (for me, for them and for the project’s partners) the conversation was lubricated by a wonderful level of trust and belief that I would bring something vital and valuable to the project.
As a (still fairly) young Black woman artist/curator/researcher, such faith in my ability is rarely so forthcoming at the start of a project, and it drew me towards this collaborative process with excitement and anticipation. I remain somewhat nervous around not my ability to contribute an informed, critical eye to the project (although imposter syndrome still comes knocking on the regular), but rather around the amorphous nature of my role – still evolving, still being fine-tuned – and I reflect here, in this first insight, on just how deeply generations of racialised and gendered precarity have engrained a lived-experience of not feeling safe. Not feeling safe at work, or in the wider world. So with eagerness, joy and a little trepidation I enter this reflexive process with LADA and Gasworks, working to move away from the reactionary and towards the strategic, to reclaim some agency over what change might look and feel and sound like for climate justice, for all of us.
The framework devised for this project gained inspiration within the many ongoing activist discussions happening within London, such as groups ‘Global Justice Now’ and ‘BP or not BP?’ The tools and methodology came from the wonderful words gifted to us all by Adrienne Marie Brown within her book Emergent Strategy.
The freedom afforded by LADA’s director Lois Keidan has allowed for me (Ben Harris, Events & Operations) to divert time and working hours to this project. Having previously worked at Gasworks, I’m enabled to understand the amazing work that both the Triangle Network and Gasworks’ global residency structure engages with Climate Justice, which I believe is a perspective not fully understood or realised by the public, artists and staff members alike.
Although some time has been gifted, the absence of funding and further material recourses to undertake this project is already pinpointed as a debilitating position, however, the work must be done!
The key things that we wanted to achieve from the off:
– To keep pushing Climate Justice as a vital challenge that is currently lacking within the arts (and society as a whole).
– In building a new partnership between LADA and Gasworks, to be able to truly reach out and understand the wide-ranging effects felt by climate catastrophe and social injustice.
– Communicate, learn and engage with climate justice in a Just Transition, ultimately trying to give power from those who have it to those who don’t.
At the start, I travelled to Gasworks in order to speak in person, in detail, about what the project could be and the ideas/themes behind my thinking. My main point of contact became Natalie Mitchell, the Triangle Network Administrator, who works 2 days a week. It became helpful to have 2 main points of contact, myself and Natalie, to work on this project, however, if we are to be truly united in this work all employees need to be introduced, aware of and input into this process.
To be a truly Just, critical and accountable project, we needed to invite an external, critical and expert voice with lived experience of climate catastrophe and social injustice to help provide support, give genuine and immediate feedback, and to ultimately tell us where we are going wrong. The person selected, Ama Josephine Budge, was approached having seen being a leader in her field and having an ongoing working relationship with the arts. On reflection the person selected could have been through an open call to remain as unbiased as possible.
The impact of this global virus has had an effect on every single individual, sector and country on our planet. Our involvement with the Accelerator Programme has dramatically shifted due to this devastating virus, as the aims to undertake this work by putting those most effected first means we have all had to be extremely sensitive and flexible to the needs of our partner organisations (particularly not adding any additional labour) – with full recognition that at this time these questions, hopes and actions may not be appropriate whatsoever.
We began our initial meetings with our consortium partner, Live Art Development Agency, to discuss the vision for the Accelerator programme in March 2020, agreeing to investigate the needs of our partners, both UK based & global. Gasworks and LADA also came to agreement to bring on Ama Josephine Budge as a consultant for the project. We have been having regular meetings with Ama to discuss the bounds of our working relationship, formulating methodologies and questions to approach our partners, and to develop the legacy of the Accelerator Programme. On our part, we will be having a more formal session to discuss these methods in August.
At Gasworks, we have decided to host a series of conversations with our Triangle Network partners as a way to exchange ideas and discuss ways their organisations have adapted their practices to tackle the climate emergency. We began initial conversations with our partner Khoj International Artists Association in July to discuss their participation in the first recorded conversation. This conversation will take place in August, particularly focusing on their upcoming project ‘Does the Blue Sky Lie’, which is a 3-year project partially supported by The Prince Claus Fund to explore the troubled ecology of Delhi’s air. Our hope is to expand this series with more partners from the network, displaying a diverse range of strategies used to address the climate emergency.
LADA is the coordinator of Live Art UK, a national network of 30 venues, festivals and organisations that regularly provides information, collaborations, bursaries and opportunities across the Live Art sector. All of the members work with radical artists who face pressing environmental and social injustices. LADA is concerned with how we work to best support those individuals, spaces and the network/sector as a whole.
Gasworks is the hub of the Triangle Network, an international network of over 30 arts organisations, in Latin America, Africa and South Asia, where access to resources is more limited in comparison to the Global North. The Triangle Network regularly develops and facilitates artists’ residencies and workshops as well as peer-to-peer exchanges, both between the UK and the rest of the world or within a specific region. As a Network who supports and shares knowledge with their partners, Gasworks wishes to develop awareness, re-distributed across the Network, that arts organisations can integrate a fairer Climate Justice into their structural and creative working process.
Banner image credit:
Two different mosses- five clumps of which three have slender stalked sporophytes. Colour nature print by A. Auer, c. 1853