Abertay partners with Tayside institutions to tackle climate emergency

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Abertay University has joined forces with some of Dundee’s best-known institutions to enhance public engagement around the COP26 climate conference being held in Scotland this year.

Led by Dundee Rep and the Scottish Dance Theatre, Abertay University has partnered with the James Hutton Institute, V&A Dundee, Dundee Museum of Transport, Dundee Science Centre, Dundee Heritage Trust and others to become one of seven “Climate Beacons” being formed across Scotland.

The project is part of an effort in the run up to the COP26 UN Climate Change conference in Glasgow in November to inspire positive climate action across Tayside.

The Climate Beacons will provide a physical and virtual space for scientific and cultural institutions to collaborate with environmental NGOs and the wider public to discuss and debate COP26 themes and climate actions specific to Tayside.

Abertay University’s School of Applied Sciences embodies a range of expertise (including environmental science and engineering, sustainability, food, health, sport, forensics, and psychology), and has a track record of mixing scientific knowledge with practical applications to benefit communities and environments locally and across the world.

Six other Beacons are taking form in Argyll, Caithness & East Sutherland, Fife, Inverclyde, Midlothian, and the Outer Hebrides.

The Tayside Beacon will use design-led thinking to explore a range of issues across the Tayside bioregion encompassing urban and rural areas as a microcosm of Scotland.

The seven Climate Beacons will operate in the lead-up to, during, and after COP26, each utilising their own expertise and responding to the needs of their local area and communities.

Planned themes to be addressed include Scotland’s temperate rainforests, water, adaptation to climate change, land use, biodiversity, green jobs, and the recovery from COVID-19.

Creative Carbon Scotland, an arts and sustainability charity, is overseeing the project.

They are connecting the seven Beacons and offering support throughout, alongside co-ordinating partners Architecture & Design Scotland, Creative Scotland, Edinburgh Climate Change Institute, Museums Galleries Scotland, Scottish Library and Information Council, and Sustainable Scotland Network.

Dr Rebecca Wade, Senior Lecturer from the School of Applied Sciences Engineering and Food Sciences Division said: “We’re thrilled Tayside has been selected as one of Scotland’s Climate Beacons.

“Complex problems, such as the climate emergency, are best tackled by collaborative teams. Within Dundee City and the wider Tayside area we are lucky to have some amazing institutions to partner with. Collectively we are ambitious and imaginative, and we will harness that ambition to address urgent climate issues.

“I hope Tayside’s Climate Beacon will lead to long term positive change in the environment within the region, and I’m excited to explore how this partnership can co-produce ways to deliver a better, more sustainable future for generations to come.”

Scottish Government Culture Minister Jenny Gilruth said of the project: “This pioneering work from Creative Carbon Scotland ahead of COP26 makes a powerful link between culture and climate action.

“Climate Beacons will play an important role in ensuring that the history-making COP26 negotiations are not only felt in Glasgow but across the country, helping everyone in Scotland to better understand climate change and how to contribute to becoming a net-zero society.”

Ben Twist, Director at Creative Carbon Scotland, said: “Tackling climate change requires us to find imaginative solutions to complex problems.

“Cultural buildings and events can provide an open and welcoming space for these challenging conversations, bringing people together to collectively think, imagine, feel and develop lasting connections that will strengthen future climate action creative industries to improve sustainability, using art and creativity to influence and inspire action.

“The Climate Beacons will see art and cultural organisations across the country collaborate with environmental organisations to develop a range of creative activities focused on addressing the climate emergency and stimulating our understanding of the role of art in climate action.

“We look forward to working with the Beacons in this crucial year for climate action in Scotland.”