Case Study

Creative Carbon Scotland


Robert Gordon University
University of Strathclyde


Environmental and Forestry


Edinburgh & Lothians


Creative Carbon Scotland (CCS) believes that arts and culture organisations have an essential role in achieving transformational change to a sustainable future.  Their vision is of a Scotland where this role is recognised, developed, and utilised by both the cultural world and others interested in sustainability.

Creative Carbon Scotland provide training and support for arts organisations to reduce their carbon footprint and help nearly 120 key organisations in mandatory carbon reporting to Creative Scotland. Their culture/SHIFT programme builds connections and collaborations between arts and sustainability practitioners to apply their different skills, practices and working methods to address challenging and complex climate change-related issues. 


It is widely recognised that artists across all artforms can offer new insights and alternative perspectives to bring about change in wider society. Creative Carbon Scotland are among several organisations who have worked on projects with embedded artists to address environmental sustainability and climate change. The artists have worked over extended periods, using cultural approaches to address these complex issues within organisations in the private, public and third sectors. Creative Carbon Scotland were keen to promote this type of collaboration, and the development of a library of case studies was a key step in the process of disseminating this approach. It aims to enable new users to discover a range of new ways of working with artists to address sustainability challenges.

The organisation recognised that for the case study library to deliver maximum impact, the evidence from a very wide and diverse range of ’embedded artist’ projects needed to be presented in a unique and engaging way.  Consequently, they sought to collaborate with an academic team to co-design an innovative categorisation and tagging framework to enable rapid and effective searching within the Library.


Funded by a Scottish Funding Council Innovation Voucher, Creative Carbon Scotland collaborated with Gray’s School of Art at Robert Gordon University to prototype the Library of Creative Sustainability hosted on the CCS website: a new digital resource showcasing best practice examples of collaborations between sustainability partners and artists seeking to make the world a better place. The framework was co-designed with end users to ensure that it met the needs of managers and decision makers within the sustainability and regeneration sectors.


The Library of Creative Sustainability has allowed Creative Carbon Scotland to support advocacy and engagement with sustainability leaders in private, public and third sector organisations; presenting an opportunity for artists, designers, and other creative practitioners to share their skills, knowledge, and perspectives to not only address environmental sustainability, but also change the way we interact in society – thus re-imagining culture and embedding sustainability within it.

The prototyping of the Library web page benefitted Creative Carbon Scotland by further positioning it as a vital partner for leaders in the private, public and third sectors at the intersection of arts and culture with sustainability. The research work provided CCS with further examples on which to base new work and the resource itself will help introduce and persuade new partners to take up these opportunities.

The academic partner at RGU benefitted by having their research utilised, specifically through the creation of a suite of user-focused case studies. Both parties will benefit from the development of the framework for categorisation and tagging, generating new ways of engaging users.

Additional Activity

Following the successful delivery of the partnership with RGU, CCS received further support from Dr. Siobhán Jordan, Director, Interface who matched the company with University of Strathclyde Department of Management Science.  Iain Phillips, a student at the Department collaborated with CCS to review the key outcomes of several years of mandatory carbon reporting and reduction across artists, designers and other creative practitioners funded by Creative Scotland.  CCS have a long-standing track record of undertaking research and are also collaborating with University of Stirling Management School.