Watershed takes on new role as a leader in creative sector’s action on the climate emergency

February 21, 2023

Bristol media centre and cultural hub Watershed has joined an international training and transformation programme that empowers artists and cultural professionals to take action on the climate and ecological crisis.

Run by pioneering not-for-profit organisation arts and culture group Julie’s Bicycle, the Creative Climate Leadership (CCL) programme will give Watershed, which last year celebrated its 40th birthday, access to training, mentoring, expert advice and support, enabling its creative talent to engage in action that has impact, creativity and resilience. 

The programme also provides an opportunity to learn from experts and collaborate with organisations with similarly radical ambitions.

London-based Julie’s Bicycle was launched in 2006 with a vision that festivals could be solar-powered, cultural venues could be flower covered and go off grid, museums could become community energy providers and artists could unite as beacons for change.

Watershed’s admission on the Creative Climate Leadership (CCL) programme strengthens its commitment to driving change in the way it operates as an iconic Bristol cultural venue.

In 2019 it declared a climate emergency, forming an environment group drawn from staff across the organisation to lead its carbon reduction action by seeking to:

  • Achieve net-zero Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions by 2030, building on the ambitions of Bristol City Council and the Culture Declares Emergency movement. 
  • Consider all aspects of sustainability throughout its business, beyond just emission reductions; to waste, biodiversity, and climate justice.
  • Ensure its net zero ambitions and consequent actions aligned with, and supported, its commitment to inclusion.
  • Share knowledge to enable everyone across the organisation to act.
  • Engage its audiences in conversations around the environment and climate justice.
  • Be transparent, accountable and honest along the way.

Watershed environmental emergencies action researcher Zoe Rasbash said: “I couldn’t be more excited to be joining the Julie’s Bicycle Creative Climate Leadership programme on behalf of Watershed.

“We’ve spent the past two years establishing a bedrock of environmental action and I’m looking forward to asking the harder, more complex questions with the support of the expert team over at Julie’s Bicycle.”

Watershed’s priorities this year are focused on the grounding work necessary to create a solid basis for transformative sustainable action across the organisation, as well as research into areas which will enable it to undertake action in the years going forward.

Watershed on Bristol’s Harbourside is home to three cinema screens, a successful café-bar and the Pervasive Media Studio, a creative-tech collaboration with UWE Bristol and the University of Bristol.

Read more about Watershed’s climate action activity here

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