Alumni Working Session: Festivals & the Climate Crisis

08 March 21

The alumni community of The Festival Academy organises sessions with experts to share best practices and thought-provoking ideas that aim to inspire and promote discussion about festival-related topics.

The climate crisis drastically alters our ways of living and consuming. Consequently, it also changes the ways in which we experience and organize cultural projects such as festivals. It does so from multiple angles: Fluctuating weather conditions or changed modes of mobility affect the festivals themselves. Festivals as ephemeral projects can, in turn, have an outsized impact on the environment. Yet, they’re also uniquely positioned to start and change conversations on a local and global scale by injecting impulses into the cultural and political sphere. With this in mind, we aimed to explore the climate crisis as a context. Global warming doesn’t affect everyone similarly and thus deepens already existing economic inequalities. How can international festivals foster a connected arts scene, and thus pay artists from different areas, while reducing travel? What forms of artistic responses to climate change already exist and which ones do we need to create? In a second step, we discussed the specifics of sustainable festival production by engaging with different best practice cases. Different approaches might focus on the behavior of the individual festival attendee or look at the festival as a whole; they might emphasize topics such as renewable energies, waste reduction or green mobility.

Moderated by our Alumnus Christoffer Horlitz together with Julia Gause (both working at the Fuchsbau Festival - DE), this session was split in two rounds, and had as guest speakers:

  • Anna Mülter (Festival Theaterformen - Germany)
  • Artur Mendes (BOOM Festival - Portugal)
  • Emily Johnson (Dancer, Choreographer - Yup'ik Nation [United States of America])
  • Fine Stammnitz (Green Touring - Germany)
  • Julia Gause (Fuchsbau Festival - Germany)
  • Lázaro Rodríguez (Lagartijas Tiradas al Sol - Mexico)
  • Polly Gifford (Theatre Complicité, Culture Declares Emergency - United Kingdom)