Work experience

The Art of Sustainability…

We have once again opened applications for the Green Steps @ Warwick sustainability programme. We are often inundated by applications from engineering, law, psychology and business students, which is great as these students bring a range of experiences, skills and approaches and make a really valuable contribution. But we do have just one question: where are the arts students?  

Sustainability is an issue for all sectors and communities and the arts sector is no different.

In 2012, in a world first, the Arts Council introduced environmental reporting, policy and action plan requirements for its major revenue funded organisations. Just before Christmas they published the report “Sustaining Great Art”. This reported that 86% thought that environmental reporting has made or can make a positive difference to the arts sector and 79% directly for their organisation. You might be interested to read more about the Arts Council and their approach to sustainability, as it clearly occupies an important spot in their current strategy.

A golden opportunity to develop your skills

The Green steps @ Warwick Programme will train you in some of the skills that can help you contribute to this agenda. Not only will you develop more technical skills such as conducting audits, but you will also consolidate and enhance those all-important employability skills, that really stand out at application and interview. You’ll get the opportunity to work collaboratively in group projects on campus, providing a rich seam of examples and experience to help nail those team work questions. In addition, there is real scope to develop your organisational and time management skills as you work to agreed timescales set by an external organisation. Finally, consider yourself an agent of change as you influence others to more sustainable behaviours – a fantastic way to hone those communication and leadership skills.

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Green Steps has already contributed to the arts sector with a Green Steps student working on a sustainability project with Warwickshire museums in 2013. Why don’t you follow in their footsteps?

Sustainability extends beyond politics

Sustainability is often viewed as being confined to technology or politics but as the Sustaining Great Art report affirms, “We are also seeing increasing numbers addressing environmental sustainability through their content and art such as: The Writer’s Centre Norwich event, ‘Writing & Climate Change: the story so far…’, in partnership with the University of East Anglia; Just Jones & ‘An Enemy of the People’, looking at sustainability arguments against the backdrop of a Cornish small town community; and Spin Cycle, Emergency Exit Arts’ outdoor arts piece on the sustainability of a consumerist lifestyle. Organisations are recognising that profound opportunities exist in connecting artistic, ethical and business considerations to environmental ones. Bringing people to engage with ideas in different ways is just one of the strengths that students with an arts background can bring.

The report goes on to point out that

The most recent public opinion polls suggest that climate change is returning as an issue of broad public concern. If this trend continues arts and cultural organisations would be well advised to position themselves in relation to their public sustainability profile.

The report shows that millions of pounds could be saved and in a time of squeezed funding for the arts this can be important, skills in this area could give you that competitive advantage in the arts job market place. So why not consider applying for the Green Steps @ Warwick Sustainability programme, bringing the arts perspective to sustainability and then sustainability to the arts?

The effect that Arts Council England reporting requirements has had on the wider arts and creative sector is a model of how effective interventions can be forces of wider change.

We like to think that Green Steps also contributes in a similar way and this is your chance to be part of the process.

The Green Steps programme is open to all Warwick students (except) finalists and the deadline for applications has been extended Monday 3rd March. Apply here.


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