Arts sector declares climate emergency

London’s Roundhouse and Royal Court Theatre, along with HOME Manchester, Complicté, Akram Khan Dance Company and Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra are among 200 arts organisations that gathered to declare a climate emergency.

Over 400 cultural organisations joined together as part of London Climate Action Week (1-8 July) at the Roundhouse in Camden to consider how artists, makers, curators, writers, performers and creators can respond to the significant impact of climate change.

Marcus Davey, Roundhouse’s artistic director and chief executive, said: “We are proud to house this event and stand alongside Culture Declares and the many organisations in our sector who are trying to make a change as we must act now.”

Culture Declares Emergency was launched in April by climate action group Extinction Rebellion. Initially 200 organisations signed up, including Somerset House and Battersea Arts Centre. The recent event at Roundhouse aimed to explore how the cultural sector can join the fight against a climate emergency and play a part in shifting public attitudes.

English actor, writer and director, Simon McBurney, commented: “The world is on fire. Culture now must give voice to those at the heart of the flames. Declaring an emergency is only the beginning. Now we need to act.”

The arts have a tradition of sparking cultural change, disrupting the status quo and creating emergent space for a new idea to engage people. Extinction Rebellion has also held demonstrations outside art organisations taking sponsorship money by fossil fuel companies.