Green Art Lab Alliance

The Green Art Lab Alliance (GALA) is a partnership between 19 European cultural organisations which…

What is the Green Art Lab Alliance?

The Green Art Lab Alliance (GALA) was a partnership between 18 European cultural organisations which aimed to explore what environmental sustainability means for the visual arts and design. All partners were united by the belief that culture and the arts should take responsibility for the environment in their own innovative and artistic ways, an ambition also acknowledged by the European Commission, which co-financed the GALA project in the framework of the EU Culture programme 2007-2013. During the two years of collaboration (April 2013-May 2015) the partners aimed to find out what the arts can do to promote sustainability. Together with designers, artists and scientists, the GALA partners investigated the challenges and opportunities that environmental sustainability implies for artists and art institutions. The overall aim was to share knowledge and raise awareness among artists, citizens and policy makers.

The participating organisations have a variety of different profiles. This, and the different geographical backgrounds of the participants, gives a diverse approach to the various aspects of sustainability. The artist residencies offer a space for experimentation and the exploration of the role of sustainability within the arts. Other partners are European cultural networks and government related institutes that have impact on (national) policy. Lastly, educational institutes and organisations are involved, stimulating the exchange of scientific knowledge with the creativity of artists. The exchange of ideas with the local (artists) community takes place in the framework of eight workshops and eight seminars, each tailor-made and organised by the GALA partners.

Green Art Lab Alliance activities

The artist labs addresses key components of environmental sustainability through artistic work, research and debates. The aim is to come up with methodologies and innovative, experimental and artistic approaches to address sustainability in the visual arts and design. How do artists engage in the discourse of sustainability?

The workshops aim to disseminate tools, guidelines, resources and shared knowledge across the wider EU cultural community. How can artists and cultural organisations work in a more sustainable way? The workshops are about environmental impact measurement, reduction, technology and innovations for cultural organizations and artists. Each workshop will be adjusted to fit local requirements. Julie’s Bicycle is the core partner in the organisation of the workshops, because of their long-term experience and huge expertise around these issues. They provide support and guidance to the GALA partners and are interpreting environmental sustainability specifically in the context of the various arts and cultural communities.

Next to the GALA partners organising events, the project also includes three media partners, Trans Europe Halles, Asia Europe Foundation/ and Imagine2020. The media partners are in place to share the outcomes and results from the project activities to their networks and members, by way of their media channels and platforms. They are chosen strategically as they are networks that are experienced in environmental sustainability and the arts.

To share and exchange experiences, resources and knowledge three GALA partner meetings are organised in the Netherlands, Sweden and Scotland, UK. All partners gather at these meetings to monitor the project, discuss the budget and planning of the activities, and also to create a better understanding of the differences in culture and approach to environmental sustainability. These meetings are essential to build up a strong, yet informal network.