top of page

Workshop: What sustainable visions for the cultural sector by 2050?

Workshop offline or online, 1.30 to 4 hours, 8 to 25 participants

Kanton Aargau: Kultur macht Schule Netzwerktreffen Lenzburg 15.06.22 (Part 1, 1.15 h), m2act Lausanne 12.11.22 (Parts 1 + 2, 3 h), ZHdK Alumni Netzwerk Zurich, 10.02.23 (Parts 1 + 2, 3.30 h)

Follow up : Open Futures x KlimaKontor, 4.04.23 (Part 3, 2h)


In a cultural sector characterised by high economic insecurity - further reinforced by the pandemic - ecological sustainability can only be achieved together with social and economic sustainability. Without socio-economic sustainability, cultural actors are simply not in a position to commit (fully) to ecological sustainability (for further information, see e.g. Kate Raworth's Doughnut Theory (eng/fr-Oxfam).

This participatory workshop therefore aims to raise participants' awareness of the different aspects of sustainability (ecological, social, cultural, economic) and to offer them a space to co-design transformative proposals and measures rooted in an intersectional vision of sustainability. And dream together about a socially sustainable and environmentally friendly arts ecosystem by 2050.


The workshop begins by inviting participants to share their visions of the future via a floor map of the future. This ice-breaker exercise allows us to get to know each other while discovering the diversity of visions of the future present in the group.

Part 1 : « State of the arts: culture and sustainability today »

We then start by identifying together the most common sustainability measures in the cultural sector, and analyse their advantages and disadvantages for different cultural actors (artists, institutions).

Here it is useful to introduce a distinction between sustainability measures addressing the consequences (e.g. mitigation of CO2 emissions) or the causes (e.g. organisational forms, cultural economy, values, ...) of the ecological and climate crisis.

The former correspond to an incremental mitigation and adaptation to the effects of the climate and ecological crisis; the latter to a deeper socio-ecological adaptation and transformation of the cultural ecosystem.

For instance, instead of asking: "How can we fly less?", we then ask: "Why do we fly?" (what organisational forms, cultural economy, values, etc. lie behind our mobility practices).

Working on these root causes help us reconsider and expand our understanding of unsustainable practices in the arts, some of which have been revealed and reinforced by the pandemic (i.e. socio-economic sustainability).

Part 2 « The cultural sector in 2050: imagining transformative proposals »

In order to translate these reflections into concrete proposals, participants are invited to imagine in small groups cultural formats/intervention, practices, and forms of organisation that are transformative in their perspective. Finally, we exchange and dream together about a sustainable and environmental-friendly arts ecosystem by 2050.

Artificial Intelligence generated art:

from text prompts." (See wikipedia,

"Forest" by pytti5, © Commons CC0 1.0)

Related Posts

See All

Sustainable futures for the arts

In the arts the discourse around sustainability most often revolves around reducing CO2 emissions. Aware practices offer another direction.


bottom of page