Catherine Martin, Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, has set out her vision for the cultural sector to become a leader on climate action in Ireland. At the core of this vision will be the preparation of a new national policy framework on culture, creativity and climate action.
The new policy marks a world first in bringing together national climate and cultural policy. It will set out the key ways in which cultural organisations can play their part in combatting climate change in the context of the national carbon emissions reduction targets. Actions will include initiatives to support cultural organisations in auditing and reducing their energy use, improvements to building infrastructure, programmes that engage audiences in climate action as well as guidance on how to embed energy and waste reduction considerations into all aspects of cultural programming and operations. A key pillar of the framework will be the Arts Council’s forthcoming Climate Action Policy, which will provide climate action resources for arts workers and organisations, including training, funding and other supports.
The consultation phase for the framework was launched by the Minister at an event on 14 June at Dunamaise Arts Centre, a historic cultural space recently upgraded to a B1 energy rating. The event featured participation from cultural leaders with experience in reducing energy use who shared insights into how the sector can meet the urgent challenges of the climate emergency. Participants included the National Cultural Institutions, the Arts Council, local authority representatives as well as the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland. The day also marks the launch of a survey on the role of culture in delivering climate action, ensuring that a diversity of views are incorporated into the final policy framework.
Minister Martin’s roadmap includes a new capital funding scheme which will make available €1.4m to support not-for-profit cultural organisations with the cost of reducing their carbon footprint, improving accessibility and providing additional workspaces for artists. This new capital investment scheme will provide immediate supports for all eligible arts and cultural centres across the country to enhance their energy efficiency and sustainability measures.
Speaking about the plan, Minister Martin, said, “culture is a powerful force in engaging the public and I want to support the sector in inspiring Irish people to address the climate crisis. I believe that cultural organisations can lead the way, by reducing their emissions and embedding climate considerations in all aspects of their operations. That is why I continue to introduce new investment schemes to support the transition of cultural organisations to new, more sustainable operations. It is vital that we hear more from the sector about their needs when it comes to climate change, so I am looking forward greatly to working with stakeholders during the consultation phase for this new policy.”