Events line-up to enrich climate conference

A series of innovative cultural events are to be staged to mark COP26.

A 10 metre tall puppet, STORM, will make an appearance in Glasgow and many projects are already well underway in the run up to the climate conference, including the launch of Climate Beacon hubs in seven locations across Scotland,

STORM is a huge sea-goddess puppet made entirely out of recycled materials with oyster shells for eyes and kelp for hair and is created by Vision Mechanics. She is due to walk in Govan on 10 November.

Led by Creative Carbon Scotland, the Climate Beacons project is a collaboration between climate change, environmental, arts, heritage and cultural organisations to stimulate long-term public engagement in climate change. The hubs throughout Scotland, including Argyll, Caithness and East Sutherland, Fife and Inverclyde, will provide information about climate change in each local area.

The hubs will be run as sustainably as possible with many of the projects and activities using recycled materials. For instance the Message in a Bottle project in the Outer Hebrides will send messages to people at COP26 in plastic bottles washed up on the beach and the Midlothian hub at the National Mining Museum Scotland will feature outdoor clay sculpture that will eventually degrade back into the earth.

Creative Carbon Scotland’s film, Climate Action Needs Culture, made in collaboration with national cultural and heritage organisations, will be shown to a variety of cultural leaders and policymakers on November 5 as a virtual event.

Scotland’s five national performing arts companies, each receiving regular support from the Scottish Government, are among the many cultural organisations across Scotland organising events around COP26.

On 31 October, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra will premiere Symbiosis, a new commission for strings in a 20 minute video. The Royal Scottish National Orchestra will give a pop-up performance at ScotRail’s Haymarket Station on 1 November to welcome delegates to COP26 while the RSNO Junior Chorus will perform a selection of specially commissioned Green Songs in the official COP26 Green Zone the following day.

Scottish Opera have launched an intergalactic view of climate change in The Last Aliens, an opera for primary children. Schools can access the production online now with live tours planned next year.

Schools and communities across Scotland and India have created 100 shoes for a digital shoe shop as part of Millipede, the National Theatre of Scotland’s collaboration with ThinkArts, a Kolkata-based children’s organisation. Launching on 1 November, the interactive art installation will explore personal responses to climate change and carbon footprints through a range of creative activities.

Culture Minister Jenny Gilruth said:

“With the world’s spotlight on Scotland, COP26 in Glasgow is a once in a lifetime event and our cultural organisations have risen to the occasion by programming an impressive line-up of live and online activities to engage audiences at home and abroad. 

“The Scottish Government is proud to support the cultural and heritage sectors as they have a major role to play in encouraging debate around environmental issues.

“Climate change affects us all and it’s heartening to see so many communities taking part in these projects to create a lasting legacy for future generations.”


A dedicated website, Culture at COP, for all cultural activities around COP26 has been set up by Museums and Galleries Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland and the Climate Heritage Network.

Vision Mechanic’s Storm puppet was commissioned with funding from Scottish Governments Major Events partly to highlight issues around marine and coastal environment issues during the Year of Coasts and Waters 2020/21. STORM the 10 meter high Giant Puppet - Vision Mechanics

The Climate Beacons for COP26 are funded by the Scottish Government’s Climate Change and Culture Divisions, Creative Scotland and Museums Galleries Scotland. Led by Creative Carbon Scotland the project’s six co-ordinating partners are: Architecture & Design Scotland, Creative Scotland, Edinburgh Climate Change Institute, Museums Galleries Scotland, Scottish Library and Information Council and Sustainable Scotland Network. The seven hubs are in Argyll, Caithness & East Sutherland, Fife, Inverclyde, Midlothian, the Outer Hebrides and Tayside will run their community programmes until July 2022. Climate Beacons for COP26 | Creative Carbon Scotland

The Climate Action Needs Culture film will be followed by a panel discussion and Q&A on 5 November 2021. Register here to see the virtual event online:

Scotland’s five National Performing Companies make a significant contribution to cultural life in Scotland, across the UK and internationally. The five companies are Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO)  Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Scottish Ballet Scottish Opera  National Theatre of Scotland

The Last Aliens | Scottish Opera

National Theatre of Scotland in partnership with Kolkata’s ThinkArts organisation present Millipede by Shona Reppe and Andy Manley, a British Council Creative Commission. Millipede | National Theatre of Scotland 


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