After a summer of drought and a winter set to be plagued by a fossil-fuel crisis, conversations around climate change seem suddenly everywhere. The scale and urgency of the need to rethink and remodel everything from energy to transport to housing is daunting, and substantive change will call on every sector if it is to have a chance to take root.
This year at BEYOND we are asking if there is a role for the Creative in all this change, and if so, what form is this taking, and should take next?
We start by thinking about tidying up our own backyard with a look at the work being done to decarbonise screen industry production. We will hear from sustainability expert Tilly Ashdown who is changing practices on the “factory floor” of film and TV sets where everything from power supplies to what’s on the crew’s daily menu can make a difference to the production’s footprint. Tilly will be joined by experts from BAFTA’s ‘albert’ to explore if the wider system of film production is ready to make sustainable practices a quotidien part of the process, what changes will make the biggest difference, and what is holding back change.
Pulling the focus wider, BEYOND will look at the stories playing out on screen. Is it hubristic or realistic to think they have the power to drive the adoption of more sustainable lifestyles, and in an age of anxiety and apathy, what are the narratives that will change minds?
We will be speaking with writer Owen Sheers alongside Lisa Merrick-Lawless from advertising industry campaigners Purpose Disruptors, and environmental psychologist Lorraine Whitmarsh, and we will hear from researchers looking into the ways immersive screen experiences can positively inform and influence audiences.
A story that draws together many of our themes this year is GALWAD, a multiplatform story from Unboxed. Set in Wales in 2052, the project explores the consequences of climate change action, and inaction. We will hear from GALWAD’s creative director Claire Doherty and production designer and world-builder Professor Alex McDowell on how a young, diverse team of writers and performers has been at the heart of imagining alternative futures.
GALWAD was in part inspired by the Well-being of Future Generations Act, a unique piece of legislation that parks short-term thinking and sets public bodies the task of considering the long-term impact of their decisions on those who have not yet even been born. We are delighted that Future Generations Commissioner, Sophie Howe, will be joining us, to tell us about a simple but radical idea countering short-term thinking, and to speak with actor and campaigner Michael Sheen about creative futures in Wales.
Professor Andrew Chitty (Chair, BEYOND Conference) shares his thoughts on the big questions that will be addressed in Cardiff:
“This year BEYOND shifts focus from the seemingly never-ending crisis of the here and now to the prospects of our younger creatives and the climate transition. What is the role of Creative R&D in building a world fit for future generations? And what can the Creative industries contribute to shifting our mindset to that of a zero-carbon world?
The creative industries might have a bigger role in the transition than just decarbonising our industry, urgent though that is. Design is needed in all its forms, and so are narratives that imagine, optimistically and realistically, the world we are heading into. Critically so are the voices of the generations that will live in that world.
Can researchers and creatives push, pull, entice or cajole us towards a workable zero carbon society? This year’s BEYOND will be asking if Creative R&D is poised to articulate the changes we need, or if we need to hand it over to a younger generation to get the job done.”
A unique gathering of current and future innovators, BEYOND is a rare space for businesses in and supporting the creative sector, as well as academics and researchers across the Creative Industries.
Now in its 5th year, the conference is heading to Cardiff, where more than 15% of the Welsh capital’s enterprises are in the creative industries and South Wales is home to the UK’s 3rd largest film and TV industry employer (after London and Manchester).
There is plenty on the table to discuss and you can join the conversation. From how the sector is cleaning up its own act, to telling stories that might change our ways, to imagining a future worth working towards.
BEYOND takes place in Cardiff on 18 – 19 October 2022 and online on 20 October 2022. For more information and tickets (in person and online) visit: https://beyondconference.org