Download The List here

A set of questions that artists can use to initiate dialogue with art institutions, or for institutions to use when evaluating their activities


 

WHAT CAN ART ORGANISATIONS DO?

 

You don’t need to implement all of these. Start from the easiest chnages for your organisation. 

Not acting is also a decision and a position. Choosing not to take part in ecological transitions weakens future possibilities to make and enjoy art in a peaceful and functional society. 

 

TRAVEL

  • What kind of travel is essential? 

  • Can the meeting be held online instead?

  • When booking tickets for guests, start by asking how they would like to travel. Don’t assume that everyone wants to fly, suggest other more ecological options like train and bus. 

  • Discuss if travelling is necessary—maybe only the artworks need to travel.

  • When planning the project, factor in travelling time (especially for slow travel) into the project (and per diems and other fees that should be paid to the guest).

  • When starting a new project, consider the amount of travelling it requires, and include greener travelling methods in the budget.

  • When driving a car, use shared rides and alternative fuels: electric and biogas. 

  • Could you introduce a rule that your organisation does not pay for flights when other greener travel possibilities are available?

  • Share your green travelling experiences with your staff and guests. 

How to do this? Some examples are Mustarinda’s Travel Blog, and HIAP’s Ecological Travel site and blog

  • Start to build knowledge about alternative travelling options and routes. 

  • Could you plan the project so that the guest could visit other organisations at the same time? Could you collaborate with other organisations when planning the visit?

  • Could the invited guest stay for a more meaningful time period? Could you collaborate with a local artist-in-residency project?

 

STAFF TRAVEL

  • How do staff travel to work? Could the institution support ecological travel, like bikes and public transportation? Are cyclists provided with a convenient place to store bikes and change clothes, if needed? 

  • Can you encourage ecological travel by not offering car deals / free parking etc.

  • Could working hours be flexible to support public transportation connections?

  • Can the work be done online, or from home?




 

VISITORS’ TRAVELS

  • Inform visitors about how to reach the location by public transportation

  • Promote that travelling to the location can enhance the exhibition experience (physical exercise, such as walking/cycling, increases blood circulation, so more oxygen is available for the brain)

  • Could you offer free entry for guests arriving with bikes? 

  • Don’t support free parking—ensure parking is very expensive to discourage to car travel

  • Communicate secure places for bikes 

  • Include information about public transport options on the visitor Info board

 

 

ENERGY

  • Count your emissions / hire a person to count your emissions 

  • Do you know the energy sources for heating /cooling the buildings you use?

  • Could you buy renewable low-carbon electricity? (wind and solar)

  • Can you update your energy systems? Think of implementing renewables like geothermal heating/cooling, heat pumps, solar panels, etc. Often renewables are cheaper in the long run, which can help lower annual energy costs. 

  • Use adjustable LED lights in the exhibition spaces. LED lights are also safer in relation to artwork conservation, since they produce less heat. 

  • Try to adjust to energy consumption according to the production cycles (of wind and solar) and weather. 

  • In cold climates, try to use less heated spaces in wintertime (and a warm climate, the opposite)

  • Implement smart heating and cooling systems. Do not overheat / over cool.  

  • Do not keep doors open all the time when heating/cooling systems are active.

  • Remember that often the biggest emission comes from the transport of humans and items. 

  • 1 artist flying (2500 flight km) creates about 500kg emissions (including säteily päästöt). This is roughly the same amount of emissions if 75 people drive 25 km back and forth to see the event/exhibition. 

  • good local art exhibitions and events can be seen ecological if the audience doesn’t-t need to travel far...

  • When planning the transporting of artworks, use companies that transport another thing at the same time ( no empty trucks)

  • strive to find companies that try to save energy in their transport actions

  • If the artwork has far to travel, could you plan a tour with the artists so that it can be shown—for example—‚in the same continent in a few places? 

(Energy of homepages etc. online materials? How to count?)

 

FOOD (events /cafeteria ..)

  • Don’t assume everyone eats meat/dairy 

  • Try to offer only vegan/vegetarian food, with sustainable or upcycled ingredients (local, in season). You don’t need to make a huge deal about it, most won’t even notice there is no meat /dairy products offered. Strive to hire cooks with a passion for making vegan/vegetarian food

  • Try to use locally made products. Search for vernissage beverages whose country of origin are close to your venue. 

  • When dining out, pre-order vegetarian food for all / choose vegetarian restaurants.

  • Use/offer tap water instead of bottled when possible 

  • Support local farming projects

  • If it’s necessary to purchase meat, search for suppliers that implement agricultural symbiosis (sustainable symbiosis where cattle play an important role in field farming), or organic carbon-neutral farming. 

 

 

BUILDING

  • Is a new and bigger building necessary?

  • Can the organisation use existing buildings that are out of use.

  • When planning new infrastructure, remember that it might result in prolonged high level emissions. 

  • Carefully reconsider your location, if locate somewhere far away - the visits need to be longer.

  • Try to make clear to the building owner that investing in sustainability is important and more cost-effective in the long term. State that ecological solutions are essential to you the user (art organisation and their audiences)

  • Plan space for storing materials and for recycling. Keep them in good condition. 

  • Use ecological products, and use them in the right manner. Could a residency offer all detergents and soaps, but buy them in bulk? 


 

COMMUNICATION / ETHICS

  • Remember that the content of the artworks does not need to be about ecological issues—approaching an eco-culture requires multiple entry points.

  • Try to think of new ways to communicate about the materials used in the artworks, the exhibition project, and the exhibition, to make clear to audiences how resources are used

  • Think of new ways to include the non-human agencies that have taken part in the making of an artwork/project

  • How can you underline all the collaborations and dependencies between humans, and also between humans and non-humans

  • Consider how the way the space is managed affects the way art is experienced. Does it feel different to experience art in a space that is heated with fossil fuels or renewables—especially if some of projects deal with environmental issues? 

  • Don’t think of environmental issues in art as a momentary trend, but a permanent structural change taking place in broader society

  • If making a big project around environmental topics, don’t limit this to invited artists with environmental practices, but rather focus on the whole organisation. The majority of emissions are most likely caused at the institutional level. 

  • How do you communicate the ecological solutions and approaches used in your art space?



 

EXHIBITIONS

 

  • Plan the material aspects of the project together with artists. Consider different options and share ideas about how to save energy/materials

  • How can you plan the exhibition spaces and structures so they’re flexible enough to be reused? 

  • Try not to build new structures that are not reusable.

  • Try to avoid frequent repainting of the spaces (from black to white to black). When painting, try to source ecological paints. 

  • If using paints, don’t pour the washing waters into the sink but let them evaporate in a small jar. Try to use thin layers of paint.

  • Unpack/pack the transported items in a way that allows packing materials to be reused. 

  • Try to use efficient and long-lasting devices

  • Renting and sharing are good alternatives to owning

  • Try to fix broken tools and devices

  • Try to count the emissions—something that is done outside in a distant location (even without technology/energy) can contribute more emissions than a project with good public transportation connections

  • carefully consider making/ printing any catalogues and other material—maybe the material can only be online?

  • Start a network for art professionals where you can donate elements, materials, and gadgets when they are not needed anymore. Many materials can still be useful to others. 

 

OTHER

  • Could there be more plants / green areas around the institution? They also work as a welcoming entrance to a space. Spending time in green areas decreases blood pressure and encourages us to have more empathy towards other species. 

  • Seek sponsors to help with eco changes, and collaborate with producers that have alternative eco products. 

  • Share your findings with others

  • Start and maintain discussions on how the processes of making and exhibiting art could be done better. 


 

 


 

  • Reflect that there’s no other option than to change. Ecological transition is a huge challenge

  • Recognise that more expertise, research, time (and funding) is needed

  • Solutions can’t all be scaled > organisational sensitivity

  • The larger the institution > the bigger the responsibility

  • Individual artists, professionals, and audiences should not be left alone

  • Individual art professionals’ ecological footprints can be massive. Is art a reason to use scarce materials? 


 

WHEN YOU’VE MADE CHANGES FOR THE BETTER, YOU CAN BE MORE RELAXED AND CONCENTRATE ON THE ART. 

 

RECONSIDER AND REFLECT ON THESE GUIDELINES REGULARLY, AND UPDATE THEM