European Network of Cultural Centres (ENCC)

Seeds of Sustainability

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In 2020, we launched a programme looking at how cultural centres are responding to the environmental challenges of our time.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are convinced that we should use this crisis as a push to rethink the way we operate and relate to our surroundings, avoid going back to the pre-COVID status quo and create systemic changes.

The cultural sector has an important role to play in this regard. Culture defines our identity and how we read the world, and cultural centres can contribute to creating a more sustainable society by inspiring, showing the way and making it happen. Cultural organisations - as all organisations - also have a responsibility to respond to the crisis. We decided to focus on the practices of our coordination office and network, hoping to exchange good practices with others on the way.

Our 2020-2021 pilot programme Seeds of Sustainability (SOS) will continue to be developed in the coming years. We want to look at a sustainable future in a broad way, offering events and activities that will create continuity of learning and knowledge within the network and beyond.

The project tackles sustainability on multiple levels, creating connections and synergies with parallel projects, such as our non-urban working group and our diversity, equality and inclusion project.

It is organised in five strands:

  • Social sustainability: developing diversity and inclusion , promoting actions related to equality, inclusion and participation

  • Environmental sustainability: greening the network, its events, and raising awareness about the need for a shift

  • Sustainable mobility: moving towards soft transport and questioning our lifestyles, involving individual and collective reflection on travel needs

  • Circular economy: progressing towards a regenerative approach, eliminating waste and the continual use of resources

  • Ethical digitalization: paying attention to the tools we use when bringing our work online, reducing our digital carbon footprint and moving away from the tools offered by Big Tech

In the framework of SOS, in 2021 we launched the Up Scale call for good practices. If you are looking for inspiration on how cultural organisations can be advocates of sustainability, browse the five winning projects here.