European Music Council
July 13, 2021
SHIFT Website
Taking the Lead in Climate Action
SHIFT – Sharing Initiatives for Training is an Erasmus+ funded strategic partnership project, bringing together several cultural networks with the ambition to contribute to a better and more sustainable future as recognised in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). SHIFT aims to develop training for cultural leaders on the topics of environmental sustainability, gender and power relations, inclusion, and cultural leadership.
Through thematic newsletters, we hope to inspire you to join us in imagining a sustainable future for the arts and culture sector.
Climate action has many facets. In our last SHIFT newsletter on environmental sustainability (newsletter June 2020), we focused on climate mitigation and shared with you many best practices for the reduction of carbon emissions in the cultural sector. This time, we will be looking into some other aspects that cultural professionals are confronted with when diving into the topic of environmental sustainability. We will take you on a journey of what it means to be a cultural leader in climate action and explore the urgency and possibilities of climate mitigation, highlighting two inspiring projects along the way: Creative Climate Leadership and Cultural Adaptations. Of course, we have also collected a number of great ideas and best practice examples to inspire you.
This newsletter has been produced by ELIA, leading SHIFT partner on the topic of environmental sustainability, and in collaboration with EMC, SHIFT project leader. More information about SHIFT can be found on
Do you want to share your own greening initiative with us?
Contact Irene Garofalo at
Stories of Shifts in Arts and Environmental Sustainability
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My Unexpected Neurological Shift
By Maria Hansen, Executive Director ELIA
"As we move beyond pandemic times, my agenda is beginning to fill up again with actual—physical—meetings. Is it business as usual? I can sense that my mind has shifted. As Executive Director of ELIA, a globally connected European network for higher arts education institutions, I have been part of the SHIFT project for more than a year now, leading the delivery of work concerning the climate crisis. This has allowed me to delve deeper into the topic, learning about greenhouse gas emissions, carbon footprints, and ways to adapt the work of cultural organisations to achieve a better balance for the climate. A critical aspect in this is leadership. [...]"
Cultural Adaptations logo
Culture for Climate Adaptation
By Irene Garofalo, Advocacy Officer ELIA
"New cultural and artistic initiatives related to climate change are launched almost every day. They raise awareness about environmental sustainability, encourage and create climate action, and develop tools and strategies for the reduction of carbon emissions within the arts and culture ecosystems. However, one could argue that there is one aspect to climate change that has been a little underrepresented in the cultural sector: climate adaptation. [...]"
Latest SHIFT publications
SHIFT publications out

Annotated Bilbliography

The SHIFT Environmental Sustainability and the Arts Annotated Bibliography serves cultural networks and their members by providing key resources, literature, and inspiring examples for the development of environmentally sustainable practices. The bibliography is meant as a supporting tool for cultural organisations and professionals from all arts disciplines and cultural fields.
The publication has been created by ELIA and supported by all SHIFT partners.

Culture Knowledge Base

The partners of the SHIFT project have compiled some of the most current resources on cultural leadership, environmental sustainability, gender and power relations, and inclusion. More than 200 resources are available on Artsmetric Knowledge Base, a digital platform developed by Trans Europe Halles.
You will find the resources on environmental sustainability

Carbon Calculator Fact Sheet

During the course of the SHIFT project, ELIA conducted research into which carbon calculators are available for networks to use in order to reduce CO2 emissions and to efficiently keep track of their efforts. Get an overview in our:

Green Certification Fact Sheet

ELIA has also gathered relevant information on the existing green certifications for sustainable buildings, hospitality, offsetting programmes etc. You will find all the gathered resources in the:

Beethoven Orchestra – First UN Climate Change Goodwill Ambassador

Earlier this year, the Beethoven Orchestra Bonn was designated as a UN Climate Change Goodwill Ambassador. The designation is a first for UN Climate Change, the largest of the more than 20 United Nations organisations in Bonn. United Nations Goodwill Ambassadors advocate on behalf of UN entities on a variety of priority issues. Their widely recognised talents in the fields of art, film, literature, music, and sports enable them to raise worldwide awareness of the organisation’s ideals and activities. ‘The work of the Beethoven Orchestra Bonn is testimony to the power of music to break down barriers and to build bridges between communities’, said UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa. ‘I am delighted that the Orchestra has committed to help us in our work towards creating a more peaceful, inclusive, and united world’. 
‘If we are to address the climate change challenge in time, we need to use every opportunity to build public awareness and support for what needs to be done, and to mobilise every sector in doing its part to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement’, she said. ‘This includes the world of culture and music, engaging artists and musicians around the world, who will inspire and empower political leaders to be as ambitious as possible in driving forward the implementation of the Paris Agreement and thereby safeguarding our planet, our only home, for future generations’, she added.
‘Music is a language that can transcend political and social boundaries and connect people in an extraordinary way: it transports ideas and thoughts towards open hearts. We need to tackle the big issues of this day and age together—and music helps us! This is the deep conviction that guides us on our musical path’, said Dirk Kaftan, General Music Director of the Beethoven Orchestra Bonn and Bonn Opera House.
A special recording of a performance by the Beethoven Orchestra Bonn under the direction of Dirk Kaftan was made, a special ‘pandemic version’ of Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony No. 6, the ‘Pastoral’. This new orchestration of the Pastoral was arranged according to social distancing guidelines aimed at slowing the spread of Covid-19 and produced by Deutsche Welle. This piece of music celebrating the love of nature is setting intentions to achieve the UN SDGs. The concert was recorded on 5 June 2020, World Environment Day, on which the EMC European Forum on Music also took place last year.
Recommended reading
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Reducing the Environmental Impact of Your Online Meetings

Everything we do has a footprint of some sort, and that is also true for our online meetings. We found this article by MIT News interesting, which also has some practical tips on how to reduce the impact of your next Zoom meeting on the climate.

What Can Music Do During Climate Collapse?

This wonderfully detailed article by Jayson Green is about musicians integrating integrating the climate crisis into their music and what this might mean in the coming years as global ecosystems face massive changes.

Inaugural Speech by Jan van Boeckel: ‘I Would Still Plant My Apple Tree’

As of June 2020, Dr Jan van Boeckel took up a position as professor of Art & Sustainability at Research Centre Art & Sustainability at the Hanze University of Applied Sciences (ELIA member Minerva Art Academy). Having worked in several Northern European countries in the past years, Jan has ample experience in research involving the intersection of art and sustainability, specialising in art-based environmental education. In his new position at Hanze UAS in Groningen, he researches how art can aid us in facing issues as dire as the current ecological crisis. We loved Jan’s inaugural speech and recommend it to you warmly.
Recommended watching
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Art on the Move

WEBINAR Recording (2020)
Travel and touring is one of the cornerstones of audience engagement with arts and culture around the world. Towards Greener Touring explores how travel and touring can negatively impact the environment and looks for a solution to this issue. This webinar examines the impact of travel and touring, both on a general and an individual level, and considers the value of carbon offsetting.

Speaking Green: How to Share Your Environmental Story

WEBINAR Recording (2019)
One of the key steps when working on an important environmental project is communicating your findings to the greater public in an engaging manner. This webinar can help you turn your research into a story that people cannot stop talking about.

How to Inspire Green Transformation in Art Making

ONLINE EVENT Recording (2021)
In advance of World Environment Day, together with students and teachers from St. Joost School of Art & Design (Netherlands), ELIA prepared a ‘how to’ session focusing on the importance of developing transdisciplinary programmes which advocate for ecological sustainability. Attendees heard real-world examples of case studies from higher arts education institutions and external partners, who came together with the aim of creating an ecocentric paradigm that will tackle the environmental crisis and encourage a green shift.
Recommended listening
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COVID-19, Climate Change, and the Forces Shaping Our Future

This episode of the MIT Sloan Management Review’s Three Big Points podcast features Andrew Winston, author of The Big Pivot: Radically Practical Strategies for a Hotter, Scarcer, and More Open World. Together with host Paul Michelman he discusses the impact of COVID-19 on climate change and how this relates to ongoing long-term global developments. According to Winston, a new type of leadership and business is key to a sustainable future.

Costing the Earth – Art and the Environment

Climate change can oftentimes feel intangible and invisible, as most of us do not quite yet feel its immediate impacts. In this BBC Radio 4 podcast episode, Tom Heap explores how arts can help us better visualise and concretise the problem facing our planet. Perhaps the arts are the key to influencing the public’s behaviour towards climate change!
SHIFT is co-funded by the programme Erasmus+ of the European Union
The SHIFT Project is co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union.
The EMC is a regional group of the
The EMC is supported by
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