Adaptation to Climate Change
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The adaptation planning in the cultural field means finding creative, innovative and place-based responses to climate change impacts and equipping cultural organisations and cities with the knowledge and skills they need. There is necessary to design new models for the creative and cultural sector to tackle climate change issues.

Description of the tool

Adaptation is local and every community needs to be part of it. Cultural organisations are meeting and reflection places and can play an active role in climate change action. Scottish Climate Change Adaptation Programme defines adaptation as: ‘The adjustment in economic, social or natural systems in response to actual or expected climatic change, to limit harmful consequences and exploit beneficial opportunities’ (SCCAP 2014, page 5). Adaptation is two-sided: • adapting to present climate or weather; • adapting to future climate change. According to Scottish Climate Change Adaptation Programme, adaptation actions include either Building the Adaptive Capacity (BAC) of an organisation (raising awareness of adaptation through training programmes), or Delivering Adaptation Actions (building a new flood protection scheme or implementing a process for reducing the impacts of climate change). Climate change and how cultural organisations adapt to it (physical, social, economic and legislative changes) challenge the current goals of those organisations. This planning tool helps cultural organisations to develop their own adaptation plans, working through a ‘risk-based’ approach to adaptation.

Steps of application

The ‘risk-based’ approach to adaptation seeks to identify the main risks (or opportunities) to an organisation (building or community, etc.) affected by climate change and then to identify ways of reducing the risks/maximising the opportunities through action in advance or planning. Originally being a business model, the tool had been adapted during the workshop delivered to cultural and creative organisations in the framework of Cultural Adaptations projects, to suit the civic, social and influencing role of cultural organisations. Thus, ‘customers’ and ‘markets’ concepts had been replaced with ‘audiences’ or ‘attenders’ to define more accurate the socially- and culturally-focused identity of the cultural organisations. Instead of ‘competitive advantage’, cultural sector is based on collaborative networks. Finally, the advice on finance had also been adapted for organisations which work with short term budgets. The planning process includes the following dimensions: impacts of weather and climate change, people, premises, audiences, finance, processes and logistics. Impacts of weather and climate change- understanding how extreme weather and climate change impacts could affect the organisation and plan ahead rather than respond reactively. People- climate change and extreme weather may disrupt the lives of staff and attenders. If their homes or travel routes are likely to be affected by extreme weather, the organisation could think about what procedures they can put in place to handle this. Moreover, the organisation should provide training to staff on the impacts of extreme temperatures in the workplace and encourage appropriate safety procedures. For emergency situations, it is advisable to keep up to date contact details for staff. The organisation needs to know its legal obligations and understand its liabilities with respect to working conditions. Premises- adapt buildings and outdoor spaces in the incoming years. This could mean retrofitting existing buildings as well as designing new buildings to be more resilient. Audiences- managing climate change communication with the audience. Finance- insurance cover, risk management plans, monitoring climate trends and impacts, and revising operating and maintenance procedures. Processes- identify which equipment is potentially vulnerable to flooding, think ahead about what you will be able to move, how quickly and to where, and if it is possible to permanently raise equipment from the floor level. Logistics- management of the supply chains, utilities and transport arrangements that can be disrupted by extreme weather events.


Cultural Adaptations is a co-operation project funded by the European Union’s Creative Europe programme, running from October 2018 to March 2021, and led by Creative Carbon Scotland. The project focuses on culture’s role in society’s adaptation to climate change, and the Adaptation issues that cultural organisations themselves need to think about. The four cultural organisations, working on the project with a local Adaptation Partner are: • Creative Carbon Scotland, working with Sniffer and the Climate Ready Clyde Project; • Axis (Ireland), working with Codema, Dublin’s regional energy agency; • Greentrack Gent (Belgium) with the City of Ghent local authority; and • TILLT (Sweden) with the City of Gothenburg local authority.

Context of origin

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Is your business Climate Ready?, climate Ready Business Guidance, through culture. Podcast: In conversation with Ben Twist and John O’Brien cultural business models for climate change Blog: How can we adapt culture to climate change?