The Government has announced it will spend €2 million in funding creative art projects to highlight climate change.
Among the 14 successful recipients of the Creative Climate Action fund are coastal light installations, “reimagined” Bord na Móna villages, city-wide decarbonisation projects and a pop-up energy store.
The fund is a joint initiative from Minister Catherine Martin’s Department of Culture and Arts, in collaboration with Minister Eamon Ryan’s Department of the Environment and Climate.
Minister Martin said Ireland’s creative community “has a vital role to play in bringing the urgency of climate change to the forefront” and the country was the first in the European Union to launch such a creative climate fund.
“These projects confirm that creative approaches to community engagement, backed up by academic science, have the imagination and impact to demonstrate that a sustainable future is possible,” she said.
Minister Ryan defended the funding on RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland, saying there was a need to inspire a new generation of Irish people to tackle climate change.
‘Tell the story of climate change’
“It’s working with communities, it’s starting from the ground up in local communities about how can we make the leap we need to make to address this climate challenge we face,” Minister Ryan told.
“This summer, more than any previous one, we have a sense of that, we see the kind of events, the catastrophic heat events happening in North America, the catastrophic flooding happening in central Europe, right across the world.
“We’re seeing events now happening, which we worried about and predicted and were concerned about. But they’re happening in real time in real life.”
Mr Ryan said that there was a need to get artistic communities back working and this was an opportunity to tell the story of climate change.
“This is hugely important for us to make the scale of the changes we need to make and how we tell this story is starting by being creative and by working with community and by listening to local farmers, local builders, local towns as to what does it mean for us, what do we do, what can we do, how do we approach it?
“Like how Olympic rowers inspire people, we need to inspire a new generation of Irish people to actually go into the very trades we need to become the plumbers and the carpenters and the foresters and the builders of the future.”
Farm events, creative roadshow and lights
The 14 projects from around the country were selected from 166 applications.
One titled ‘Field Exchange’ will run a series of farm-based creative events that will “support farmers to implement agricultural practices that combat climate change both in and above the soil” in Tipperary.
Another, ‘Repair Acts Ireland’, will highlight the care, repair and reuse of objects in a 16-month pilot in Westmeath.
In ‘Worker’s Villages,’ the Irish Architecture Foundation will work with residents of three Bord na Móna villages in the Midlands on “the changing future for locals and on reimagining a more sustainable future for their communities.”
In ‘ACT Waterford,’ a county-wide project will work with five communities to promote energy saving, wildlife diversification, increased use of public transport, the development of carbon sinks and to challenge current consumption habits.
The ‘Callan Energy Store’ will meanwhile see a pop-up store in the heart of the Kilkenny town as part of a community engagement project that will “radically reimagine their town’s energy supply”.
‘Stories of Change’, an “intergenerational creative roadshow” travelling to four counties, will showcase local solutions to the climate crisis through the visual medium of photography, storytelling and food.
‘Línte na Farraige’ will meanwhile see “a set of striking visual light installations” designed by Finnish artists placed across six Irish coastal sites in Co Dublin, Wexford and Galway, representing future sea levels and storm surges.
Work on all the projects will begin immediately and all will be completed by December 2022, the Government said. More information about the projects can be found at www.creativeireland.gov.ie.
—Additional reporting by Vivienne Clarke.