Culture Change: Sustainable Production and Exhibitions


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  • This slide is giving some examples of the kind of opportunities that the cultural sector have for connecting with, using and piloting, new technology, innovation, and material science.

    Prue Lang: Innovating choreographer who uses technology – in November 2013 she worked with Grafitti Research Lab (France) on the Timeproject production, where dancers wore a new prototype of piezoelectric shoes, that harness the dancer’s energy throughout the performance.

    Kacie Hultgren: scenic designer in the theatre. uses her 3D Printer to create scale set models and Sells 3D printed scale furniture. Not necessarily sustainable but certainly presents a lot of opportunities as materials get greener and more innovations are made in material science.

    Powerful Thinking: Powerful Thinking is a not-for-profit industry think-do tank working towards an energy efficient, low carbon and cost effective future for festivals. Lots of resources about efficient power, sourcing, temporary power structures, use of renewables for events – an excellent resource, also see the Power Behind Festivals Guide.

    FanSHEN: Theatre company who place environmental sustainability at the heart of performance-making practice in a way that doesn’t compromise aesthetics, but aims to actively enhance it. Their latest production “Cheese” used electricity generated by people on exercise bikes at a nearby gym, stored in batteries and transported by bicycle to the performance space. While this process caused a greater power restriction on the show, FanSHEN admit that actively integrating these limitations early on in the creative process, also helped unify other elements of the production. The production was shown in a disused office space in Oxford Street, so a lot of the work of the design was re-organising the space so that it felt like a neutral office again.
  • Consortia e.g. Newcastle Gateshead Cultural Venues (NGCV), London Theatre Consortium (LTC)

    Sustainable Production pilots:
    Central School of speech and drama – case study on next slides
    After Miss Julie at the Young Vic - case study on next slides
    Arcola – Talked about them previously, they also used rechargeable batteries to power all of the radio mics in Arcola’s production of Sweet Smell of Success (2012)
    Polka Theatre - educational performance, The Planet and Stuff, aims to inform young people about the problems of climate change and what they can do to help solve it.
  • The Royal Centre School of Speech and Drama (Central) decided to trial a more sustainable approach to theatre production, using their annual musical theatre show as the first step in the process. They staged CABARET in March 2013
    Central had already implemented several sustainable production initiatives, including:
    - LED house lights in the Exchange Theatre auditorium;
    - 100% production waste recycling through Scenery Salvage;
    - A Bristol Water Aqua Service Unit for washing painting equipment which separates the toxic paint residue for responsible disposal and filters and reuses the water used for washing;
    - A waste vegetable oil (WVO) biofuel generator used to power the school’s studio space;
    - Partnerships with lighting suppliers to give students the opportunity to work with new low-energy lighting technology;
    A commitment to use FSC certified timber where possible. 

    They built on this, with Cabaret, and they also:
    Tracked company travel and production deliveries
    Monitored lighting energy draw using FocusTrack software
    Used only house lighting stock to light the show
    Recorded what materials were used and assessed sustainability of each one
    Local sourcing wherever possible across all departments and minimum van delivery used
    FSC certified timber used from construction where possible
    Experimented with alternatives to silicone mould
    Researched paint with lower VOC quantities
    Costumes hired, reused and upcycled from Central and National Theatre stores, and/or constructed from fabric purchased locally
    All set recycled through Scenery Salvage or kept for future productions in the Central store
    Reusable water bottles used by company throughout
    Communicated aims and objectives via policy displayed in working areas
  • After Miss Julie at the Young Vic:
    HVAC- they decided to avoid heating and cooling the space and ventilate with fresh air as much as possible. This was done by keeping the ventilation fans on at a low speed and relaxing the boundaries for the theatre’s optimum environment settings, for example, setting them at 18 – 24 degrees, rather than a fixed optimum temperature of 22 degrees. Audiences were advised to bring extra layers “just in case”.
    Lighting- lighting designer focused on using the lighting stock that the Young Vic already had available in-house, to reduce transport emissions from external hires. This didn’t include any specifically energy efficient bulbs or LEDs, but the Maria studio was fitted with new low energy house lights. Rehearsal hours were shifted from 10-6 to 9-5 to make best use of daylight.
    Set design – second hand
    Costume - Most of the costumes were vintage items sourced within London or the South of England and some items were hired. Props and costumes were mostly put away in storage for future shows, and any remaining materials were recycled and taken to a reclamation centre by Scenery Salvage.
    Paper use - The marketing department took the step of sending press releases electronically and not printing flyers. Posters for display outside the theatre were still printed. Paper use was further reduced by piloting a paperless ticketing system where reusable tokens were given to audience members to gain entry. The audience were also given the option of hiring their programme for a reduced price of 50p (compared to the full price of £3), handing it back after the performance to be reused. Programmes were printed on recycled paper with vegetable inks.
  • After Miss Julie

    Also used their programme to really engage with their audiences.

    The cast and staff biographies included information about their most interesting environmental challenge during the production

    the programme also featured a section on rationing, a list of what was being rationed in the war (the time the play is set) and what resources were rationed in the production of the play.
  • An Infographic was designed by David McCandless (author of Information is Beautiful) to creatively depict the carbon footprint of various products and services and the interventions and actions taken by the Young Vic.

    The Young Vic also created a mural so that at the end of the show audiences exited through a ‘green walkway’ which included the mural painted onto the wall to minimise the environmental impact compared to vinyl stickers or boards.

    Additional material was available on the Young Vic’s website and in blogs
  • Scenery Salvage provides a service that re-uses and recycles scenery and props at no additional cost than you would pay otherwise.
    They remove unwanted scenery and props so that they can be re-used or recycled therefore negating use of landfill and need for other clients to construct new scenery. Clients can buy and hire second-hand set pieces.

    Items are sorted, firstly into their useful pieces which are sold back to the industry at cheaper rates, and the remaining materials are recycled. Timber is chipped and becomes chipboard, animal bedding, insulation products, mulch etc. Plastics are made into pellets and reused for manufacturing all numbers of items in plastic industry. Metal is crushed and sent for smelting to become the raw product for multiple uses.

    Their clients include Britain’s Best Dish on ITV to Eastenders.

  • Pie chart taken from Green Visual Arts Guide. The pie chart on the left summarises the estimated 2009 emissions of the visual arts sector in London – which is around 22,442 tonnes of co2e. If you remove audience travel (as it is not under direct control of the sector) the total is 96,435 tonnes co2e – which you can see on the right-hand side.
  • V&A
    In 2010 V&A decided to revise its environmental guidelines so that a wider band of relative humidity is allowable. The updated guidelines specified a RH of 45 +/- 10%, with less than 10% variation within a 24hr period. This replaced a much stricter range of 50 +/- 5% with a temperature control of 22 degrees +/- 1 degree. By prioritising object conservation over occupant comfort the perimeter heating and ventilations system can be used to provide adequate environmental control.
    •Modified set-points •Optimised free cooling •Passive environmental control Outcomes: •No humidification or refrigeration equipment required •Environmental control achieved through ventilations and heating systems •Up to 30% energy saving possible compared to traditional close controlled mechanical air con system •Reduced running costs •Reduced emissions SOURCE: Arup Museum_and_Gallery_Survival_Strategy_Guide.pdf
  • The BALTIC in Newcastle has created a specific policy document for creating a sustainable exhibition.

    Engage these agents in assessing ways they can reduce their own environmental impact without compromising the safety and care of the artworks.
    Where possible, using trucks rather than planes
    Hiring or re-using crates
    Using sea or rail freight as opposed to air
    Consolidating shipments and managing the geography of exhibitions intelligently so that objects are not transported needlessly

    HVAC controls: BALTIC considers what is appropriate for each exhibition and loan rather than having a standard environmental monitoring policy, to ensure requirements are not unnecessary and unsuitable

    Exhibition build:
    A system of re-usable wall panels has been developed in house to increase the re-cycling of materials
    Where possible, exhibition layout design is developed with an eye to minimizing construction
    Steel work, sheet materials and timber are re-used
    Use of FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified wood
    Avoidance of harsh cleaning products and use of solvent free paints

    The lighting control system allows for timed switching of the lighting in the galleries, as in the rest of the building. Lighting is therefore turned off when the galleries are not occupied and the building is closed to the public.
  • - Blanket conditions should no longer apply. Instead conditions should be determined by the requirements of individual objects or groups of objects and the local climate
    - Care of collections should be achieved in a way that does not assume air-conditioning or any other current solutions. Passive methods, simple technology that is easy to maintain, and lower energy solutions should be considered;
    Natural and sustainable environmental controls should be explored and exploited fully;

    Manchester Art Gallery did some pioneering work on re-negotiating temperature settings/parameters required for arts works. They changed BMS control parameters from a seasonal set point (+/- 5% for RH) to  a deadband (35-70% RH). They will use heating, even in summer, to reduce RH if it exceeds 70% as cost of heating is less than cost of dehumidification. Also, less heating in winter to reduce reliance on humidification during cold days. 

  • The Happy Museum is an action research project testing out the potential to re-define museums as spaces for people to be active, learn new things, look at the world differently, make friends and give something back. It proposes viewing people not as audiences but as collaborators, not as beneficiaries but citizens and stewards, seeing museums as participative institutions in which individuals are co-creators of their own space. The Happy Museum Project has commissioned 22 projects so far.
    They have also commissioned London School of Economics, to create the paper shown on the slide which is looking at valuing well-being in response to cultural activities.

    The following initiatives provide tailored support to the visual arts sector: 
    Visual Arts and Galleries Association
    Museums Association - - which has a carbon footprinting section for members
    Greener Museums - - a consultancy focusing on museums and galleries.
    Sustainable Exhibitions for Museums Group – which runs a yahoo forum to share efficiencies and best practice
    Museum and Art Gallery Survival Strategies: a guide for reducing operating costs and improving sustainability –
  • Culture Change: Sustainable Production and Exhibitions

    1. 1. #CreateShareSustain Sustainable Production and Exhibitions WEBINAR Starting at 10:30am
    2. 2. #CreateShareSustain Lucy Latham Environmental Sustainability Co-ordinator
    3. 3. #CreateShareSustain Housekeeping 3
    4. 4. #CreateShareSustain Agenda • Introduction to Julie’s Bicycle and Culture Change • Drivers for change • Sustainable exhibitions • Sustainable production • IG Tools – Production tab • Further Resources • Discussion
    5. 5. #CreateShareSustain Julie’s Bicycle We make environmental sustainability intrinsic to the business, art and ethics of the creative industries. Research Practical tools & resources Collaborative projects Networks & events
    6. 6. #CreateShareSustain How we work Research Practical Tools and Resources Bespoke Support and Projects Data Gathering Sharing knowledge Networks and Events Together we can be bigger than the sum of our parts. Artists Audiences Leaders Businesses Creatives Freelancers Suppliers
    7. 7. #CreateShareSustain UNTIL MARCH 2015 PARTNERS:
    8. 8. #CreateShareSustain Who is it for? • SMEs & micro businesses • Creative industries • East of England What’s on offer? • One to one expert support • Events, workshops and webinars • Tools and resources • Networking opportunities Support with: • Developing your business case for environmental action • Implementing action plans and achieving carbon reductions • Access to finance • Employment law and apprenticeships
    9. 9. #CreateShareSustain Why we ‘should’ care • UK Gov: – 80% reduction by 2050 on 1990 levels • Arctic sea ice: – Melting twice as quickly as predicted • Rate of species extinction: – 100-1,000x higher than historically ‘normal’ • Temperature rise: – 5/6ºC warming =>  5-10% off global GDP 9
    10. 10. #CreateShareSustain Why act? • It’s a business issue, not just an ethical one • It can save you money, time and effort • It’s not going to go away Arts and Culture: • Have an impact far beyond their own footprint • Enable us to understand complex issues • Have a role to play in social change 10
    11. 11. #CreateShareSustain Opportunities! • Be an industry leader – be ahead of the curve – future-proof! • Save costs / improve cost management • Increase efficiency business operations • Meet the existing client demand • Win new clients and generate new business • Apply creativity to sustainability • Comply with legislation • Building reputation – use as marketing tool • A great way to engage with clients, staff, suppliers etc. • Engaged employees try: harder, perform better, are happier and are less likely to leave an organisation
    12. 12. #CreateShareSustain Sector/Arts response 12 • Overwhelmingly positive response to Arts Council Reporting Initiative after 1st year – 90% engaged (635 orgs) – 86% agree/strongly agree can make a positive difference to Arts Sector as a whole • Network approaches – Manchester Arts Sustainability Team (MAST), Manchester City Council (events), Creu Cymru (venues), Creative Carbon Scotland, Newcastle Gateshead Cultural Venues, London Theatre Consortium, Culture Change • International – Australian Arts Council, European Music Venues, Canadian Arts Council, IFACCA
    13. 13. #CreateShareSustain Goal Environmental sustainability is embedded in all decision making and activity equally alongside artistic and financial considerations.
    14. 14. #CreateShareSustain Sustainable Production and Exhibitions
    15. 15. #CreateShareSustain Production compared to other impacts Production impacts = 19% = 9,500 tonnes CO2e a year Including rehearsal = 47% NOT including audience or business travel. Important to focus on auditorium and FoH energy use too.
    16. 16. #CreateShareSustain Environmental impacts of production Embodied carbon emissions Sourcing Design Constructio n Material s Stage lighting Automation Sound Projection Energy Equipment hire Equipment procuremen t and delivery Materials/pr ops/costum e procuremen t Cast, crew and creative team Travel Set and props disposal Waste
    17. 17. #CreateShareSustain Towards a circular economy
    18. 18. #CreateShareSustain guides/production
    19. 19. #CreateShareSustain Production Management • Build sustainability into planning from day one • Involve everyone from the outset – director, producer, designer, PM, TM etc. • Create a sustainable production policy • Keep sustainability on the agenda • Think about how to manage waste early on • Monitor your environmental impacts • Evaluate and share learning
    20. 20. #CreateShareSustain Lighting What do we know? • 9% of energy use in a venue (conservative) • Royal Opera House – 15%
    21. 21. #CreateShareSustain Top Tips • Maintain equipment – it’s worth the investment • Use existing stock efficiently • Hire locally • Use alternatives to PVC tap – Velcro, bungee chords, fabric ties • Design efficiently – use the right luminaire for the job • Consider LED where it is fit for purpose • Dim where possible • Conduct rehearsals under working lights • Switch off after the rig check until the half Further reading • Sustainable Production Guide • White Light Green Guide • BBC Low Energy Lighting Guide
    22. 22. #CreateShareSustain Sound, AV and Automation What do we know? • Rechargeable batteries – 32 times less harmful • Automation in larger venues can exceed energy supply capacity • Early stages – we need more data
    23. 23. #CreateShareSustain Top Tips Sound and AV • Switch off when not in use • Choose the most energy efficient equipment available • Use rechargeable batteries • Hire locally Automation • Update inverters • Voltage Power Optimisation • Manage Peak Demand • Explore renewables
    24. 24. #CreateShareSustain Set Materials What do we know? • Calculating emissions for each production • Timber and steel emissions fluctuated between 19-68 tonnes CO2e – equivalent of 2% and 10% of overall emissions • Banned tropical hardwood ply • Disposing of waste materials responsibly Beyond carbon • Sourcing issues • Treatments • Disposal
    25. 25. #CreateShareSustain Top Tips • Avoid tropical hardwood ply (lauan) • Buy from FSC certified sources with a chain of custody • Use materials you know can be recycled • Build with disassembly in mind • Use nails and glue sparingly • Minimise toxic treatments and seek natural alternatives • Work with a disposal company that recycles • Explore other reuse options – Community Paint • Connect with local communities, schools, and Freecycle initiatives
    26. 26. #CreateShareSustain Materials: Green Theatre Choices
    27. 27. #CreateShareSustain Challenging Aesthetics Paule Constable Soutra Gilmour Arcola Theatre
    28. 28. #CreateShareSustain Developing and Testing Technology Prue Lang fanSHEN Theatre Company Kacie Hultgren Powerful Thinking
    29. 29. #CreateShareSustain • Venue consortia • Touring consortia • Sustainable production/exhibition pilots • Cross-industry initiatives • New technology trials • Audience engagement Sustainable production responses
    30. 30. #CreateShareSustain Case study: Central School of Speech and Drama GREEN CABARET
    31. 31. #CreateShareSustain Case study: Young Vic, After Miss Julie • 34% reduction in relative energy emissions per audience member • A reduction of 68% in transport emissions • Overall 99% reduction in absolute emissions from paper use compared to previous shows
    32. 32. #CreateShareSustain Young Vic: engagement
    33. 33. #CreateShareSustain
    34. 34. #CreateShareSustain Case study: Scenery Salvage • On average 80% of props and 40% of scenery is saleable
    35. 35. #CreateShareSustain Sustainable Exhibitions Current impact of exhibitions: 10,184 tonnes CO2e per year
    36. 36. #CreateShareSustain Case study: Victoria and Albert Museum • Modified set-points • Optimised free cooling • Passive environmental control Outcomes • No humidification or refrigeration equipment required • Environmental control achieved through ventilations and heating systems • Up to 30% energy saving possible compared to traditional close controlled mechanical air con system • Reduced running costs • Reduced emissions Source: Arup, Museums & art galleries survival strategies
    37. 37. #CreateShareSustain Case study: Baltic • Travel – engaging with transport agents Flexible HVAC controls – decided on a case-by-case basis • Sustainable exhibition build • Timed switching
    38. 38. #CreateShareSustain Top tips Transport: • Avoid air freight – switch to road where possible if fully loaded • Avoid couriers • Investigate rail and sea freight • Look for shipping transport collaborations with other galleries/local organisations • Improve load utilisation and logistics – full loads, intelligent route planning, no empty journeys Display: • Design exhibitions to minimise use of temporary walls • Design walls of standard dimensions to accord with the dimensions of timber and plasterboard • Reuse timber and plaster where possible Buildings: • Set thermostats to lower temperatures in workshops and storage areas • Introduce zonal control and times • Relax temperature and humidity controls • Switch to LED lighting and light sensors • Switch off exterior lighting during the day
    39. 39. #CreateShareSustain Organisations and networks • The Happy Museum • Sustainable Exhibitions for Museums • Operation Green Museums • Visual Arts and Galleries Association Museums Association • Greener Museums • Sustainable Exhibitions for Museums Group • Museum and Art Gallery Survival Strategies
    40. 40. #CreateShareSustain IG DEMO Production tab
    41. 41. #CreateShareSustain
    42. 42. #CreateShareSustain
    43. 43. #CreateShareSustain
    44. 44. #CreateShareSustain
    45. 45. #CreateShareSustain45 What does my data tell me?
    46. 46. #CreateShareSustain What does my data tell me? • IG Tool pie chart – Prioritising impacts – Using different metrics e.g. per m2
    47. 47. #CreateShareSustain • Good for drawing comparisons between different productions What does my data tell me?
    48. 48. #CreateShareSustain Next steps • Book your one-to-one support with Julie’s Bicycle to complete your bespoke policy and action plan • Complete the template for Environmental Policies and Action Plans • Sign up for our upcoming webinars: Behaviour Change (15th October) • Attend upcoming networking events - see for more information...
    49. 49. #CreateShareSustain Thank you Your feedback is very welcome! #CreateShareSustain @JuliesBicycle