Climate Emergency campaign draws support from UK culture sector
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Climate Emergency campaign draws support from UK culture sector

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More than 190 UK institutions and individuals from the arts and culture sectors have pledged their support to Culture Declares Emergency (CDE), which is part of the Climate Emergency Declaration campaign.

The Museums Association, Somerset House, Battersea Arts Centre, Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, London National Park City and Royal Court Theatre are among the first organisations to back the initiative, which launched on 3 April, and has already held a symbolic procession in London, including stopping to make announcements and hold short performances at venues such as the Tate Modern and Shakespeare’s Globe.

The campaign says it is inspired by and allied to, but separate from, the Extinction Rebellion movement, which is currently demonstrating in London.

A media release from CDE expressed the view that culture is "essential to help guide us in making the transformational change necessary to address the emergency of the combined catastrophes of climate change, a mass extinction of vital biodiversity and a degradation of ecosystems everywhere".

It added that "culture has the power to bring people together, disrupt the status quo and spark change".

"The Museums Association is signing up to Culture Declares Emergency because we recognise the significant role that museums can play in alerting the public to the threat to our natural environment and all of our futures," said Sharon Heal, director of the Museums Association.

Heal said that museums could contribute in three ways: by using their collections to highlight the impact of climate change; by using their spaces to involve and activate their communities; and by operating in greener ways themselves. The association’s annual conference this year is titled Sustainable and Ethical Museums in a Globalised World.

Somerset House said it has two programmes coming up which address the role of language and voice in tackling these issues. "We really believe that it is not just politicians and scientists that need to be engaged in galvanising the public, but actually artists and the creative sector together play a really important role," said Karishma Rafferty, a curator at Somerset House.

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