LIVING ON THE EDGE
We are living on the edge of a global climate crisis, but its effects are not evenly felt around the world. For some, the impacts are still lurking under the surface, while for others the consequences are felt right now. In a deep travesty of justice, the countries and communities that are currently most affected by climate change are the ones who bear little or no responsibility for causing it.
Back in 2020, the IETM Satellite Galway meeting explored the relationship between artists, the arts ecosystem and the planet. Together we identified that climate change is a cultural problem as much as it is a technical one.
In June, the IETM Aarhus Plenary Meeting 2023 invited participants to discuss and digest the ethical and practical role of the performing arts – and of the artist – in the face of climate emergency.
To what extent could - and should - the arts be instrumental in the green transition? What measures can we take as a global network to include questions around ethics and justice in the debate around environmental sustainability? How can the performing arts provide opportunities for less-heard voices in order to reach new audiences? Where do we turn for knowledge that will support us in taking immediate steps to lower the environmental impact of our work?
The IETM Aarhus Plenary Meeting 2023 presented a programme that aimed to provoke new thoughts and inspire action, awareness and positive impact. Together we dove into existing arts practices, discussed production methods and exchanged artistic strategies that walk the talk. Alongside the Plenary Meeting we presented an artistic programme of thematically relevant performances.
In all this, we partnered with voices from Greenland and the Faroe Islands with whom Denmark shares a colonial history - a complicated relationship that may resonate in many parts of the world. Climate change is not only an environmental problem; it also interacts with concepts of power, injustice and resources. If ignored, these underlying structures may very well keep us re-enacting the same patterns time and again.
The meeting was a four day exploration of the arts as a game changer, an experience simulator, an influencer; or simply a kick in the butt.
Four parallel pre-meetings
We invited our participants to kick off the Plenary Meeting by participating in one of four pre-meeting trips to Earthwise Residency, Sisters Hope Home, White Hole Theater, or Nordisk Teaterlaboratorium. These parallel visits cultivated the connection between participants and feed into the discussion of the role of the arts today.
We placed the IETM Plenary Meeting in between two recurring performing arts festivals in Denmark, and an international theatre conference at the University of Aarhus. Through acknowledging the impact of international travels on the environment, we encouraged those of you who had the opportunity to extend your stay in Denmark to get the most out of your journey.
Save the dates
8-10 June : CPH Stage International Days
11-12 June: Pre-meetings
12-15 June: IETM Aarhus Plenary Meeting 2023
The IETM Aarhus Plenary Meeting 2023 happened as part of our Creative Europe project The New International in the Performing Arts (NIPA): Bridging local and global.
Picture in the banner © Christoffer Brekne