UpDate May 2014

Strange days indeed...

Esso Advertisment circa 1980's                                                                                                                    Liberate Tate 2014

The issue of sponsorship for the arts can be a vexed one (e.g. The Tate in London, The Biennale in Sydney) but one that nevertheless requires some frank discussion. In 2014 we probably all agree that tobacco sponsorship is unwelcome, but it was not that long ago that big tobacco was a major sponsor of the arts in Australia.

People look up to arts institutions, so it is important that they not only foster debate but also act in accordance with principles that stand up to scrutiny. At the very least it should be incumbent on arts institutions to have and disclose policies on accepting or rejecting sponsorship. What factors are considered? How does the institution weigh its artistic, financial and moral imperatives? And where do major arts institutions invest their not inconsiderable endowment funds?

Consideration needs to be given to both the social and environmental implications of sponsorship arrangements. Would the arts community be comfortable receiving funding from coal companies, such as those mining in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria? These coal mines and their associated infrastructure threaten farmlands, forests, coral reefs and communities, and also contribute massively to the carbon emissions that are causing climate change.

These are all hard questions, and acting on principle might cause arts organisations and sponsors some pain. CLIMARTE has even heard stories of arts organisations being refused sponsorship and grants because their program proposals deal with climate change. Strange days indeed.

No longer can we claim ignorance of the implications of our actions. Providing a cultural fig leaf to companies whose business plan involves destroying the planet is just plain wrong. It’s our job to hold arts institutions accountable to the principles that we should, as an arts community, hold dear.

"To know and not act is to not know." Tao Te Ching,  by the Chinese sage Lao Tzu, C6th century BC

Meet Al Gore?

Get trained by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore on how to communicate the urgency of the climate crisis and the solutions we need to adopt. Learn how to combine climate science and compelling storytelling to inspire audiences to act. Interested?
Applications are now open for training in Melbourne from June 25-27. See Climate Reality for more information.

Weather Stations

Weather Stations is a groundbreaking global project that puts storytelling at the heart of conversations around climate change – and the Wheeler Centre is one of five international partners.
It all starts this week, with Audstralian writer Tony Birch joining Xiaolu Guo (UK) (pictured above), Mirko Bonné (Germany), Jaś Kapela (Poland) and Oisín McGann (Ireland) for a three-week Australian residency in which they'll explore, research and discuss the question of our threatened environment – and attempt to break through the politics and public inertia by responding to it creatively in their writing.

Be Prepared

Earn a badge, learn a song, make a friend, tie a knot, start a fire and salute a chicken. Become a warrior for climate change and learn how to make a beautiful difference.

Immersive theatre makers Torque Show and the 6th Melbourne Scout Group invite you to come along from 15 to 24 May.

Going Bush

Climate of Briagolong is an exhibition of prints by 16 artists from the Briagolong area of Gippsland that address the fears and feelings of living in a bushfire-prone area in a time of climate change.
Opening on Saturday 10 May at Stephen McLaughlan Gallery, Melbourne. Exhibition runs to 24 May.

Dangerous Days

Years of Living Dangerously is a star-studded, high-quality US Showtime production that tells the biggest story of our time -- and shines a light on people around the world rising up to take on this global crisis.

Featuring Harrison Ford, Don Cheadle, Arnold Scwarzenegger, and Thomas Friedman. Produced by James Cameron.

On Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th of May and the Australian Youth Climate Coalition are getting people in living rooms and pubs around the country to watch the show together.

See the trailer, register to watch, or watch the whole first episode at home.


Psychotherapist Rachelle Isaac has created a concept for a TV series that aims to bring together life, love, relationships and our connection with nature to communicate the physical and psychological realities surrounding climate change. Are you script writer and TV/film producer interested in developing the concept further? Contact
Our postal address is
PO Box 2429 Richmond South
Victoria 3121 AUSTRALIA

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