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Report from Julie’s Bicycle’s Culture Change Conference

Submitted by Studios on Wed, 04/03/2015 - 12:34


Last week I accompanied Lydia from the education team to the Culture Change conference run by the Royal Opera House and Julie’s Bicycle.

With talks on sustainability from businessmen and women from such a wide variety of backgrounds it was truly inspiring to experience them come together to focus on one thing in the context of their individual goals and practices.

The main message I took home in terms of organisations was a quote from Alison Tickell, Director of Julie’s Bicycle, on measuring success. She explained that to value work in financial terms only does not equate to an outcome of longevity. The arts therefore play a huge role in the step up to addressing and incorporating sustainability in their practices and approaches because they already measure value using alternative metrics to finance, i.e. social justice or expression. It is this reason that the arts potentially have the largest capacity to affect and stitch together audiences and communities to create the essential ‘culture change’ that places sustainability into the core values of both organisations and individuals.

I attended workshop #4 'It’s a material world,' at the end of the day. The speakers were an artist and maker; a super high profile fashion designer and a media worker. Most inspiring in relation to Bow Arts was probably Lynn McFarlane who set up Dresd, a company that clears set material from all kinds of shoots in the UK, and archives it for future low-cost use by set builders, artists and anyone else who wants to make use. With the move out of our SE1 studios and all the furniture and things that people can’t take with them despite them being useful, intact items such as desks, heaters, even plants the philosophy of Dresd is something we are trying to tap into to stop this waste of resource. When time is an issue it is easy to go for the quickest option, even when it is perhaps not the most cost effective. They work on sites that would regularly need tens of skips to clear the once-used items from these carefully constructed sets! We are trying to follow their example in our up-coming move and pass on these objects for future use.

As well as this we are proposing a wood recycling and re-use area near our bins at the Bow Road site. A small step we hope will reduce the waste that we produce and also provide an opportunity for reuse before recycling. Updates on this to come soon!


Rebecca Sainsot-Reynolds, Studios Assistant