Environmental activists criticise Arts Council England strategy

Activist group Culture Declares Emergency (CDE) has sent an open letter to Arts Council England (ACE), stating that it needs to do more to combat climate change. CDE is made up of over 600 individuals and cultural organisations, including Akram Khan Company, artist Antony Gormley and Manchester venue HOME.

The letter is a response to ACE’s 10-year strategy. CDE says the strategy, currently in its draft stage, does not place enough emphasis on combatting climate change.

“Our hearts lifted when we read the 2020-30 draft strategy’s opening statements acknowledging how much the world has changed – economically, technologically, socially and environmentally,” begins the CDE letter, before asking why climate change, “does not inform and shape the vision and strategy itself?”

It continues: “The strategy neither addresses the urgency of the climate and ecological emergency nor grasps the chance to trumpet boldly the pivotal role arts and culture play in bringing about societal changes needed to avert disaster.”

The letter was read during a Global Climate Strike protest in London on 27 September. CDE member Lucy Neal encouraged people to send it to their local ACE representatives.

ACE’s 10-year strategy was distributed in July, the with the deadline for feedback passing on 23 September. No date has been published for when ACE will respond to the feedback it has received.