Key Change: The Role of the Creative Industries in Climate Change Action

57 Pages Posted: 12 Dec 2015

Date Written: June 10, 2014


The role of the creative industries – arts and artists – in helping to drive the changes in laws and behaviours that are necessary to tackle climate change, while not superficially obvious, is a deep one. Arts and artists of all kinds, as cultural practitioners, have been closely entwined with social change and social control since time immemorial, in large part because they help shape our understanding of the world, framing ideas, prefiguring change, and opening hearts and minds to new ways of thinking. They have played a major role in campaigns for law reform on many issues, and climate change should be no exception.

Indeed, with climate change increasingly being seen as a deeply cultural issue, and its solutions as cultural ones to do with changing the way we understand our world and our place in it, the role of cultural practitioners in helping to address it should also increasingly be seen as central.

It is curious, then, how comparatively little artistic engagement with climate change has taken place, how little engagement with the arts the climate movement has attempted, and how little theoretical and critical analysis has been undertaken on the role of the creative arts in climate change action.

Through a literature review and a series of interviews with individuals working in relevant fields in Australia, this study examines and evaluates the role of the creative industries in climate change action and places it in a historical and theoretical context. It covers examples of the kind of artistic and activist collaborations that have been undertaken, the different roles in communication, campaigning for law reform, and deep culture change that arts and artists can play, and the risks and dangers inherent in the involvement of artists, both to climate change action and to the artist.

It concludes that, despite the risks, a deeper and more thoughtful engagement of and by the creative industries in climate action would not only be useful but is perhaps vital to the success of the endeavours.

Keywords: Creative Industries, Copyright Law, Climate Change, Music, Politics

Suggested Citation

Hollo, Tim, Key Change: The Role of the Creative Industries in Climate Change Action (June 10, 2014). Available at SSRN: or

Tim Hollo (Contact Author)

Green Music Australia ( email )

United States

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