Climate change is happening and we know it. Many recommend immediate and far reaching social, economic and technological responses and yet this isn’t happening. Campaigns for change have had marginal effect on our political leaders. So what, if anything, can the arts do?

In 2014, CLIMARTE hosted a forum at Deakin Edge, Art Climate Ethics: What Role for the Arts? Joining the discussion was Walkley award winning journalist Rafael Epstein and a panel of speakers who include University of Melbourne Philosopher Dr Damon Young, leading Australian Artists, Mandy Martin and Fiona Hall (representing Australia at the 56thVenice Biennale in 2015) and University of Melbourne Climate Policy expert Dr Peter Christoff (Four Degrees of Global Warming, Australia in a hot world).

The forum was attended by an overflowing crowd of 450+ people and jointly won the Sustainable Living Festival’s ‘Best Forum Award’ with US artist Chris Jordan. Media coverage of the forum included interviews on ABC Drive 774 with Rafael Epstein, Alex McCulloch: The Arts Show, and Hilary Harper on 774 Mornings. An article was published in Crikey’s Daily Review and the Melbourne Review.

The overwhelming attendance at the forum and subsequent enormous positive feedback demonstrated the high level of community interest in considering and encouraging the arts’ engagement with these issues.