Arts & The Environment

Putting creativity at the heart of environmental policy and action

In 2007, CIWEM launched a major new strategic programme on Arts and the Environment with the formation of the Arts and Environment Network (AEN).

The programme includes leading and influencing national policy dialogues on the subject, and building strong new alliances for an increasingly shared agenda. Key advocacy messages and recommended actions are directed at broadening these efforts, and at seeking greater cross-sectoral coherence of policy thinking. For a rationale of the network please see the Network’s Policy Position Statement on Arts and the Environment.


We Assert! A Manifesto

The AEN and its associates has for some time wished to declare its diverse interests, beliefs and intentions. This has now been realised in the production of  WE ASSERT! A Manifesto

Taking its inspiration from historic manifestos of political and artistic intent, this collection of texts and images presents the intensely personal, the deeply philosophical, and the clearly articulated ideas, frustration, anger, love, pain and hope for our futures.


Reflections on Water

An Anthology of Essays, Articles, Speeches, Prose and Poetry Celebrating Water in all its Aspects. Published by the Worshipful Company of Water Conservators, supported by CIWEM.

Edited by Nick Reeves OBE, Dr David Johnstone, David Lloyd Owen and Laura Grant.

For an electronic copy of the book please email Laura Grant


The Nick Reeves Award for Arts and the Environment

The AEN has also launched a high-profile Arts and the Environment Award, in association with the Centre for Contemporary Art and the Natural World (CCANW), to recognise innovation and excellence in work by arts practitioners or environmentalists engaging with arts practices. The award was previously named the AWEinspiring! Award. For further details and past winners, please see the Nick Reeves Award page.


Collaborative examples

The Network is particularly keen to help spread the word about interesting case experiences of using the arts to address environmental issues in the UK and overseas. We will feature work from all arts disciplines, in order to help promote creative approaches to the environmental challenges we all face. Please let us know of examples of projects and initiatives you have come across, or been involved in, which offer useful experiences and inspiration for others, including ‘lessons learned’.

Case studies and experiences of using the arts to address environmental issues in the UK and overseas.

Artistic licence – A review of the Forestry Commission’s involvements in the arts, and options for the future

Cartoons for conservation  by Alan J. Hesse

Environmental resources for the arts by Julie’s Bicycle – An overview of the approaches, standards, awards, certifications and resources available to help arts organisations become more environmentally sustainable.

Environment Agency – Public art on Cockshaw barn

High Tide –  A major inter-disciplinary art/science climate change project, taking place during Liverpool’s ‘Year of the Environment 2009’ and beyond into 2010

Reflecting on water – Article in CIWEM’s magazine on the Reflecting on Water workshop by Amanda Ravetz, Paul Simkins, Laura Harrington and David Haley.

Reflections on water and interdiciplinary practice – Notes from the Reflecting on Water Exeter Workshop, held on 27-28 September 2009 and organised by CIWEM, CCANW and Arup.

Society for Ecological Restoration – Creative Resistance? Resilient Futures?  An audio recording of the SER 2015 Arts public international panel discussion, The Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, UK – listen here

Sutton saltmarsh defence – A low impact erosion control solution

Textus – A Collaboration between Arup Director Mark Fletcher and Artist Peter Coates


The Steering Group

The Arts and Environment Network Steering Group meet every few months to discuss how CIWEM can bring creativity into the heart of environmental practices and actions. We wish to include all CIWEM members and stakeholders in this process, so if you would like to get involved please email The current steering group includes:

  • Dave Pritchard
  • David Haley
  • Alastair Moseley
  • Daro Montag
  • Clive Adams
  • Roger Key
  • Richard Povall
  • James Brady

The Arts & Environment Network Steering Group has devised a rationale for guiding decisions on supporting projects, and on the depth of any individual engagement. A summary of this rationale is provided in the documents panel, since it may help those considering a collaboration with CIWEM to see the approach being taken. Anyone wishing to discuss potential collaborations within this framework is invited to contact