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MAST Good Practice Explained

Edited on

17 June 2020
Read time: 1 minute

Arts and culture sector collaboration on climate action and engagement in a city which recognises the value of culture and is itself demonstrating climate change leadership, linked to two of the key local challenges that run through the city’s climate change strategy;

  • mobilising business action on climate change through a sector specific approach
  • engaging and mobilising citizens to act on climate change

MAST – Manchester Arts and Sustainability Team

  • Manchester’s cultural community has been working together through MAST since 2011, to understand, share, solve and scale climate action.
  • MAST brings together diverse arts and culture organisations, about 37 in total from community based arts centres and iconic cultural venues to an internationally renowned festival and national broadcasters in a participatory and non-prescriptive way.
  • MAST’s role in climate change policy
  • MAST grew from the Manchester Cultural Partnership’s desire to explore how arts and cultural organisations could contribute to the city’s first climate change strategy 2010-2020
  • In 2013, MAST set a target of an annual 7% emissions reduction in line with the city’s target of a 41% reduction by 2020 – over three years it achieved an annual 5% reduction
  • MAST supported development of the city’s 2017-2050 climate change strategy
  • MAST’s chair is now a member of the Manchester Climate Change Board, a stakeholder group which oversees and champions delivery of the 2017-2050 climate change strategy
  • MAST is now working with the climate change agency and board to establish how the arts and culture in the city can make its fair contribution to the Paris agreement, and align with Greater Manchester’s 2038 carbon neutrality ambition

Citizen engagement

Practical action and creative responses – productions, exhibitions, events etc which engage audiences and communities on environmental and climate change themes, now go hand in hand

Examples include:

  • HOME Manchester and Whitworth Gallery’s wide-ranging environmental programmes across buildings, procurement, transport, public engagement and programming
  • Manchester International Festival’s urban organic farming partnership with the Biospheric Foundation, engaging thousands of community volunteers
  • Contact Young Company’s ‘Climate Of Fear’, a show exploring the emotion of anger through themes of climate justice, social inequality, memory and the body
  • ITV’s inclusion of climate change in Coronation Street’s storyline, the UK’s most popular soap opera
  • Arts & culture based activities proved particularly effective and popular in 2016’s Climate Lab, an experimental programme, run by the Manchester Climate Change Agency, to test different ways of engaging citizens, attended by over 90,000 people, exploring what kind of future people hope for and how to make it reality

“MAST has demonstrated the range and diversity of creative responses to the sustainability challenge, a fine example of Manchester’s deep commitment to cultural and community values”

Nick Nuttall, Head of Communications & Outreach and Spokesperson for the UN Convention Framework on Climate Change 2014-2017