ESB wanted to support creative ideas to engage the public in a positive way artists and arts organisations to deliver creative projects that will promote awareness of climate change and inspire positive action around sustainability and the energy transition. By looking towards a Brighter Future, and considering the steps necessary to get there, art and cultural projects can help to engage the public with climate change.
Our approach was informed by our work with other large-scale Arts Funds, coupled with scoping discussions with ESB to identify how they could best approach the Brighter Future Arts Fund to support their goals.
The decision was made to split the Fund into two separate calls. The first was an open-call process seeking climate-focused arts projects that would receive grants of between €20,000 and €40,000 to deliver long-term, ambitious, and impactful projects. The second was a limited call process to invited arts organisations to propose a cultural project or installation that would respond directly to the public space in ESB's new headquarters at 27 Fitzwilliam Street.
Both calls ran during Summer 2021, with judging taking place in Autumn 2021 and projects awarded in early 2022. We worked with our sister organisation in Northern Ireland, Arts & Business Northern Ireland to support the judging process and provide key insights into the landscape north of the border.
Four exceptional projects were chosen across the country:
- 'All the World's a Climate Stage' a sustainable willow sculpture by Elaine McDonough and biodiversity garden at Theatre Royal, Waterford - completed September 2022
- 'Future Light from Distant Stars' a greenhouse art installation by David Beattie at VISUAL Carlow - launched June 2022
- Future Limerick, a climate-arts festival in Limerick city developed by Sunday's Child Theatre, Lime Tree Theatre | Belltable - May 2022
- Almanac for a Walled City by artist Christopher Steenson and Nerve Centre - due September 2023 in Derry
In addition to these four primary recipients, a portion of the Brighter Future Arts Fund was also used to provide seed funding to axis Ballymun, to develop a climate-informed public participation project.
The limited call resulted in the commission of KINDRED, a large-scale, flagship performance and installation piece to mark the launch of ESB’s new premises at F27. The project by Liz Roche Company and Lightscape visuals was commissioned as part of Dublin Dance Festival 2023.
- 4 projects funded across the island of Ireland in Carlow, Waterford, Limerick, and Derry were selected from over 85 submissions across the island of Ireland.
- €250,000 disbursed to the creative community
- Over 78 million impressions across paid social, and 1.91m views of Irish Times native content alone.
- Over 96 workshops have been delivered to intergenerational groups from diverse backgrounds in the communities across Waterford, Limerick, Derry, Carlow, and Dublin since May 2022.
- Increase in ESB’s brand affinity
- Alignment with regional cultural strategies and decarbonisation strategies
- 8% increase in “the role of the arts in helping communities adapt to a low carbon future" (Amarach).