Green Art Lab Alliance

Green Art Lab Alliance

The Green Art Lab Alliance (GALA) is a partnership between 18 European cultural organisations which aims to explore what environmental sustainability means for the visual arts and design. All partners believe that it’s time for culture and the arts to take responsibility in their own innovative and artistic ways.

This ambition has been acknowledged by the European Commission, which co-finances 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 want to find out what the arts can do to promote sustainability. Together with designers, artists and scientists, the GALA partners investigate the challenges and opportunities that environmental sustainability implies for artists and art institutions. The overall aim is to share knowledge and raise awareness amongst 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?

Artist Lab at Pollinaria

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.

GALA- the Knowledge Alliance on sustainability and the arts

Through knowledge exchange in the form of workshops, labs and partner meetings, the GALA project aims to create a Europe-wide network of individuals and organisations engaged in linking the arts with environmental sustainability. The European Knowledge Alliance will advocate for legacy and standards within the arts and the cultural sector on environmental sustainability in the longer term.

The knowledge alliance is open to artists and cultural organisations that want to get engaged and want to share their experiences and knowledge with a wider group. For more information please get in touch with Marie Fol at DutchCulture or contact one of the GALA partners.

The website offers a platform to share information, related projects, calls and opportunities. Additionally the GALA facebook page gives regular updates and interesting links to partners and related projects/activities. So if you have any news to share or interesting reading or reports, then please contact On the Move editor at mobility[@]

Tools for the future

Within the GALA project we are currently working on a few concrete tools to pass on our experiences to a wider group and help to build up long term projects and activities related to sustainability in the arts.

  • On the Move is currently working on a funding repertory to gather information on funding for projects related to art and sustainability. This overview will be published soon on the GALA website.
  • We also prepare an in-depth evaluation of the GALA project to define best practice and good ways for future collaborations on the theme of sustainability and the arts. This analysis will be done by Judith Staines and focuses on the nature of the project, concentrating around the question what the arts can do in the context of sustainability. Her report will also give an overview of the various spin-offs of the project.
  • ArtCop21 in November/December 2015 will be a moment for the GALA knowledge alliance to get together and concretize plans and collaborations for the future. The programme for the ArtCop21 is available here:

With the support of the Culture Programme of the European Union

The project Green Art Lab Alliance has been funded with support from the European Commission. This communication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.