River Taw - Rowan, 1998 | Susan Derges

Arts and the Environment Network

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.

Correspondence with Arts Council England: Inspiring Arts for Earth's Sake

In November 2018, Clive Adams wrote on behalf of the AEN to Sir Nick Serota, Chair, Arts Council England to raise the importance of support for artists to engage with issues of climate change and wider environmental threats. The letter, together with Sir Nick's response, may be found below:

Letter to Sir Nick Serota

Response by Sir Nick Serota

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.

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’.

Below are some 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.

Sutton saltmarsh defence – A low impact erosion control solution

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

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.

Find out more

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 arts@ciwem.org. In July 2018 the AEN convened a meeting held at CIWEM to instigate a national discussion on the evolving frontiers of arts-led responses to the ecological issues of our time. Read notes of the meeting here.

Related Groups and Networks

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Whether you are studying, actively looking to progress your career, or already extensively experienced, our membership will add value and recognition to your achievements. We can actively help you progress throughout your career.

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We organise a wide portfolio of UK and international thought leading events, providing an industry recognised forum for debate, CPD and sector networking. These events also support our policy work and inform key initiatives.

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