Building on the experience of Manchester’s Good Practice, Mantova has established ARC3A a new group for arts and culture sector collaboration on climate working closely with the city, designed and implemented climate-themed cultural activities to raise awareness about climate emergency and act to mitigate its effects and a range of sector support and policy measures to frame and drive sector action on climate
The small town of Mantova is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with fine architecture, which has a thriving creative scene and hosts hundreds of cultural events, including Italy’s most important literature festival. At the same time, addressing climate change is a key political priority for the city.
The municipality wanted to encourage more cross-departmental projects and integrated policy-making within the municipality. Having worked with a group of cultural stakeholders in a previous URBACT network, they discovered a strong interest in the links between art and culture and the environment, corresponding with the aims of C-CHANGE.
The cross-sectoral approach sparked a wealth of ideas and actions to reduce CO2 emissions, including small-scale activities - from reusable cups to bio-gas buses - at cultural events. The group also directly contributed to a new ‘plastic-free’ city strategy, environmental criteria in the city’s UNESCO management plan, and green public procurement processes for cultural events. Meanwhile, inspired by Manchester, small groups of stakeholders delivered carbon literacy training to their own communities.
The focus of the practice is the adaptation, if not mitigation, to climate change with the inclusion of the Art sector: art as a means and as an end. As such, it covers many areas of the work of municipalities, from social to economy, via heritage and education.
The work of the ULG (see below) has also ensure active cross-departmental approach within the administration.
Environmental experts joined city hall staff and councillors involved in environmental policy, cultural events, venues and heritage in Mantova’s new URBACT Local Group (ULG) - a twist on the MAST model. They conducted a survey on environmental practice in local cultural venues and provided support such as training on sustainable events and an online tool to track audience travel impacts.
Whilst encouraging the local group to be independent, the municipality took on two roles: as sector ambassadors, pushing for sustainable solutions for cultural events and venues; and as fundraisers, securing over EUR 50 000 for additional C-CHANGE activities in the first year.
Mantua enjoyed a C-CHANGE season of COVID-adapted events in summer 2020, including: children’s workshops; an installation on greenhouse gas emissions; a photography exhibition; an amateur photography competition; and children’s radio programmes. These events also reduced their own environmental impact, for example Festival Letteratura rethought the food it serves to its volunteers, and Woodstock MusicAcustica reduced waste and energy use, even changing its name to the C-Change Carbon Free Acoustic Music Festival.
Mantova enjoyed a C-CHANGE season of COVID-adapted events in summer 2020, including: children’s workshops; an installation on greenhouse gas emissions; a photography exhibition; an amateur photography competition; and children’s radio programmes. These events also reduced their own environmental impact, for example Festivalletteratura rethought the food it serves to its volunteers, and Woodstock MusicAcustica reduced waste and energy use, even changing its name to the C-Change Carbon Free Acoustic Music Festival.
An “inspirational” trip to Manchester introduced Mantova to members of MAST. They discovered examples of climate awareness raising, from a live energy display in a studio lobby, to sustainable food-sourcing on menus, and Carbon Literacy certificates.
Already looking beyond C-Change, the URBACT Local Group took on a new identity as ARC3A in summer 2020. ARC3A’s journey as a unifying force for supporting the crucial role the arts and culture sector has for improving climate resilience has only just begun.
In addition, Mantova is now set to transfer its adaptation of the C-CHANGE Good Practice to up to seven more Italian cities, thanks to the 2021-2022 URBACT National Practice Transfer Initiative.