Meet the Accelerator cohort 2 participants

Lily pads and flowers on a still body of water

We’re pleased to announce the second cohort for the Arts Council England Accelerator Programme, a strand of work launched in 2018 to foster enterprise, innovation, future thinking and creative perspectives on climate and the environment.

The Accelerator Programme aims to support arts and cultural organisations to develop innovative approaches to their environmental practice and explore sustainable models. This is the second of two cohorts – made up of ten projects each – who will work together to advance their sustainable practice, foster collaboration and encourage organisations to share insights with their peers and the wider sector. These organisations will receive expert mentoring from Julie’s Bicycle as well as other industry leaders and will attend a residential training programme adapted from Julie’s Bicycle’s Creative Climate Leadership course.

We are pleased to announce the organisations and consortia in the second Accelerator cohort are:

  • Fast Familiar, Abandon Normal Devices and Arts Catalyst, have joined together to explore the environmental impacts and highlight the ecological pros and cons of digital arts.
  • SS Great Britain, will be carrying out an optimisation exercise on their dry dock to reduce their carbon footprint by improving the energy efficiency of climate control across the whole site.
  • Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance, will be collaborating on a hospital-based project supporting innovative practice in acute care, addressing stakeholders’ travel footprints, and supporting the spread and development of new economic models.
  • The Courtyard Trust and Watts Gallery: Artists’ Village, have formed a new collaboration which will consider more environmentally sustainable travel schemes for rural arts organisations for both staff and audience members.
  • Horniman Museum and Gardens, aim to accelerate an action-focused step-change in environmental visitor engagement and communications within the cultural sector, around the topics of climate change, biodiversity, pollution and migration.
  • D6 Culture, And Other Stories and BALTIC, a newly formed Northern-based consortium will explore the environmental sustainability challenges within mobility, travel and transnational connectivity that artists, exhibitions and audiences are faced with.
  • Knowle West Media Centre, will aim to bring environmental issues to the forefront of their community, through using the local ‘make do and mend’ culture, reigniting an existing passion for locally available resources and skills to benefit the community.
  • Live Art Development Agency and Gasworks, have joined together to address the challenges of Climate Justice within the context of both organisations’ creative fields, and the large networks of organisations that they host both nationally and internationally.
  • Barbican, Artillery and London Borough of Waltham Forest, have created a consortium organisation named ‘Local Futures’, to address the impact of festivals on the environment – including travelling impacts to the locations they take place in, and the relationship between rural and increasingly popular city-based events.
  • Norfolk and Norwich Festival, will be redesigning how the power and infrastructure of the festival is delivered and resourced.

In addition to participating in the programme, two of our Accelerator organisations will take an active role collaborating with and mentoring two Accelerator Associates. New Art Exchange will be supported by the Culture, Health & Wellbeing Alliance, and Canterbury Cathedral Trust will be supported by Horniman Museum and Gardens.

Due to the number of submissions received and the phenomenal quality of their proposals, three more organisations have been invited into the cohort as Accelerator Peers: the National Space Centre, Complicité and Arvon. The Accelerator Peers will be working alongside the cohort to exchange ideas and develop new skills, broadening and strengthening this evolving community of creative climate practice.

The success of the programme in fostering collaborations and driving momentum in the creative sector’s environmental action is already visible through the application process – four new consortiums were forged through the Accelerator development workshops, which actively encouraged collaboration.

The first cohort of the Accelerator Programme have been progressing similar projects including developing sustainable touring models, zero-carbon roadmaps, digital outreach programmes, renewable energy initiatives and circular products and services across the sector. Cohort 1 have already been demonstrating new sustainable cultural models, for example, Bow Arts and Arts Admin’s collaboration focused on artistic practice and materials. London Theatre Consortium and Manchester Arts Sustainability Team (MAST) have both been engaging with their local city governments. New international relationships have also emerged, such as New Adventures, Sadler’s Wells and Norwich Theatre Royal collaborating and learning from Hawaii-based singer Jack Johnson’s green touring activities. East Street Arts has been focused on training its staff and becoming Carbon Literacy certified and is also one of the ten commissions partners chosen to participate in Season for Change 2020.

Funded by Arts Council England, the programme provides space, resources, time and expertise that hopes to stretch organisations’ ambitions and develop their ideas into tangible projects. The insights and learning from the Accelerator Programme will be circulated with the wider arts and cultural sector and will become a critical part of a roadmap for a shared vision for change.