Holding people to account over the choices they make, and helping them make better choices, works!

Today, in a Comment is Free piece in The Guardian, to coincide with the release of the ‘Sustaining Great Art & Culture‘ report, Nicholas Serota Chair of Arts Council England lists some of the headline achievements of ACE’s 10 year partnership with Julie’s Bicycle (a charity that supports the creative community to act on climate change and environmental sustainability.).

Over a 6 year period, Julie’s Bicycle has supported, cajoled and gently badgered ACE’s National Portfolio Organisations to report on their environmental sustainability against certain criteria. For small organisations such as Talking Birds, this is a slightly blunt tool: as one of many small companies renting a temporary office in a building we don’t own, untangling our energy or water use from that of the entire building – let alone exerting influence over others’ energy or water use is nigh on impossible) but the important thing is that the existence of this reporting programme starts the conversation, and it is conversations that prompt behaviour change.

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We all know that climate change is a massive issue – and we now know we have (probably) 12 years to plateau the mess – but it’s still true that individuals and companies find the scale of the problem just too big to even try to contemplate – yet alone do anything about. However, what today’s report highlights for me is that (a) holding people to account over the choices they make, and (b) helping them make better choices, works!

The report headlines that in the last 6 years there has been a 23% reduction in energy use, and a 35% reduction in carbon emissions across Arts Council’s National Portfolio. These are astonishing figures! If the arts, with our meagre funds, in our draughty old buildings and/or traipsing around the country to take our work out to you, can make these kinds of changes in behaviour and these kinds of impacts – then surely it’s possible for every other sector (and individual) to step up too?

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As I mentioned, the energy reduction is hard for Talking Birds at the moment because of our current office circumstances, but we’re working on that – and we are also doing lots of other things which don’t yet get reported on, but are just as important. We thought it might be useful to list some of our top ‘quick wins’ of things we do (at work and/or at home). If you don’t already do these, maybe they might be useful suggestions for you, or at least give you something to consider. If you have some actions that aren’t on the list please let us know via the comments – we’ll add them in – always good to use the hive-mind to crowdsource a list of practical ideas 😉

  • Always carry a refillable water bottle, coffee cup, fork/spoon and reusable carrier bags with you.
  • If you have to grab lunch on the go, choose something with no/minimal/paper packaging (in Coventry, a falafel wrap is a good option for this – but take your own cup if you want juice).
  • Use Ecosia as your search engine, because they will plant a tree for every 45 of your internet searches.
  • Switch your electricity and gas supplier to a renewable energy provider like Good Energy.
  • When food shopping, take your own containers/bags/tubs with you and choose loose produce when you can – in Coventry, try the market, or further afield, support the Zero Waste Shop (popping up across Warwickshire) and The Clean Kilo (in Digbeth in Birmingham)
  • If you are not already vegetarian or vegan, try to eat plant-based foods more often – if you need convincing how tasty and filling this can be, take yourself to The Pod for lunch sometime.
  • Get your (organic!) milk delivered in glass bottles – in Coventry, try Luckett’s Dairy.
  • If you can’t live without carbonated water, invest in a carbonating machine (like a Soda Stream) where the gas canisters are recycled.
  • Don’t fly. If you have to travel abroad, go by train.
  • Actively choose recycled/sustainable options on office paper, toilet roll etc
  • Use eco-friendly cleaning materials such as Ecover (then get refills), Bio D and Method (who use recycled plastic bottles).
  • If you regularly cater for small events (board meetings, networking etc) invest in some washable (ie crockery!) plates, cups and cutlery. Think about changing the balance in favour of vegetarian/vegan options rather than these being considered a ‘special dietary requirement’.
  • Try to spend some time outdoors to keep connected to nature, stay well, and observe the changes of the seasons (both expected and unexpected).
  • Look for zero waste or plastic-free toiletries, like Ben&Anna’s deodorant, toothpaste in a jar and shampoo in a bar.
  • Try to buy less stuff, but think carefully about what and where you buy. Buy local if you can, as every local (rather than chain shop or internet) purchase helps your town – if you don’t have a local bookshop and haven’t been put off ordering online by Dr Who, try hive.co.uk (yes, it is still internet shopping, but your purchase also gives a donation to an independent book shop of your choice, and I understand that they also pay tax).

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Let us have any of your ‘quick wins’ in the comments!

Janet

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News from the Nest

Hello! We’re writing to you from our cosy 4th floor vantage point overlooking Coventry, the UK’s City of Culture 2021, with some titbits about forthcoming Birds activity:

Spon Spun Festival 2018 (Coventry)

Spon-Tryptich-1Sat Sept 8th – Walk With Me…

Come and tune in to some of the secrets of Spon End in the company of our guide, radio enthusiast and inventor, Herbert Cleaver. Expect a trail of the unexpected – and help us develop this work-in-progress walking tour by giving your feedback afterwards over tea & cake.

At Spon Spun 2018 we’re piloting this, the first of our city trails commissioned as part of Coventry City of Culture’s Great Place project, supported by Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England.

Tours at 1pm & 2.30pm from outside the Oasis Community Cafe, Spon End CV1 3BL. Free and suitable for all ages, and route is ramp accessible, but pre-booking essential by e-mailing access@talkingbirds.co.uk (please state how many places you would like to reserve and any access requirements you’d like to let us know about). Please note that the route lasts about an hour and we will be walking pretty continuously, so please wear comfortable shoes and dress appropriately for the weather!

Screenshot 2018-09-06 09.38.58.pngSat Sept 15th – The Female Warrior

As part of the Spon Spun Art Trail https://www.sponspun.co.uk/artists/, and honouring the 2018 Heritage Open Day theme of Extraordinary Women, we will be giving the Coventry Premiere of our outdoor performance telling the extraordinary true story of Hannah Snell who, in 1746, joined the army in Coventry in the guise of a man and whose life as soldier, marine, mother, stage performer & publican defied the conventions of the time. “Captivating” (Audience Member)

Performance times: 1pm & 4pm In the garden behind Langar Aid House on Doe Bank Lane (next to historic Spon Bridge) CV1 3AR

The performance is FREE and lasts 40 minutes and is suitable for all ages. CAPTIONS [subtitles] will be broadcast to Mobile Devices via THE DIFFERENCE ENGINE app. More details: https://www.talkingbirds.co.uk/DE

Also coming up:

Screenshot 2018-09-06 09.34.13The Whale…
at Llawn Festival, Llandudno Promenade 15th-16th Sept 10am – 1pm and 2pm – 5pm both days https://www.llawn.org/

at Kenilworth Arts Festival 29th Sept 11am – 4pm https://www.kenilworthartsfestival.co.uk/whats-on/

We’re recruiting Board Members!
Would you be interested in joining our dynamic board to help steer the company’s exciting flight towards 2021 and beyond? Please contact us by e-mail so we can arrange an informal chat!

And finally…

A chance to win a Talking Birds’ exclusive Artist-Designed Prize bundle!
Have you been to one of our shows this year? If so we’d love to hear how you found it (and help us report to our funders!) – you’ll get the chance to enter the prize draw once you’ve completed this 5 minute survey:
https://goo.gl/forms/RzALv31vQHea24pr2

That’s all the news from the TBs Nest for now – if you’d like to join our mailing list and get all the news from the nest direct to your inbox, you can sign up here: http://www.talkingbirds.co.uk/pages/mailing_list.asp

Open Cast – Call for Performers

o-c-imageApplications are invited for an open workshop for performers with Talking Birds Theatre Company in Coventry. This is an opportunity to meet and work with the company in a relaxed and sociable group setting over the course of a day (11am-4pm), at the Shopfront Theatre in Coventry. The workshop will be led by Richard Hayhow, friend of Talking Birds and Director of Open Theatre Company.

The aim of the workshop is to identify talented and versatile performers the company can draw on for future projects (see www.talkingbirds.co.uk for examples of our previous work), particularly in the run up to Coventry’s year as UK City of Culture in 2021. We will also be inviting Artistic Directors from other regional companies to join us in the afternoon.

Travel expenses and lunch will be provided, along with any additional support you need to participate fully in the workshop.

Open Cast is aimed at expanding the casting pool for Midlands-based companies and priority will be given to D/deaf, disabled and learning disabled artists, artists from black and minority ethnic backgrounds and those based in the region.

Application is by submitting a video that lasts between 90 and 120 seconds (phone camera is fine) giving us an introduction to you, your work and why you want to come and do the workshop.

In addition to this, we encourage you to include any information that will help us consider your application. You can also attach a resumé/CV if you wish.

Please e-mail birdmail@talkingbirds.co.uk (Subject: Open Cast) with the link to the video or the video attached.

Applicants of any age over 18 welcome. The workshop is aimed at both emerging
and established artists. Full-time students are not eligible to apply.

Please note revised dates:

Date of Workshop: Friday 4th May (Coventry)

Deadline for applications: Sunday 22nd April

We will inform successful applicants by: Wednesday 25th April

Telephone number for any queries: 024 7615 8330 (please leave your name and number clearly) or e-mail access@talkingbirds.co.uk

 

Royal Mint Minds its Ps and Queues with new 10p coin

The Royal Mint has issued a new 10p coin which celebrates the pursuit of Queuing.

The move was welcomed by The Q Corporation, a Coventry-based organisation formed in 2011 to promote Queuing in all is forms.

A spokesperson for The Q Corp said: “We’re delighted that the Royal Mint has recognised Queuing as one of the UK’s great cultural traditions with this new coin. We’ve no doubt people will be lining up in a courteous and orderly fashion to collect one.”

In the run up to London 2012 Queuing formed part of the UK’s Cultural Olympiad. The spokesperson said: “We narrowly missed getting Elite Queuing included as an Olympic event, as it was deemed by the IOC that UK athletes would have an unfair advantage over the rest of the world.”

However it is believed that post-Brexit there will be an unprecedented increase in Queuing at airports and other UK borders. “Without Brussels prescribing the length and shape of our Queues, it could become a major growth area for the creative economy.” It’s even been suggested that Queuing could be added to UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage assets, alongside Belgium Beer Culture and Poetic Duelling in Cyprus.

The Q Corporation will be helping launch the programme for Coventry UK City of Culture 2021 later this month at the Shop Front Festival on 23-24 March 2018. “In 2021 people will be queuing up for cultural events across Coventry. It’s our intention that the experience of these Queues will be so good that people won’t actually feel the need to go to the events they have been waiting for.”

Follow on twitter: @Q_mob

Call the Q-line: 0800 012 2401

Ornage clad queuers wave flags in shopping arcade
The Q_Mob lining up for the Shop Front Festival (Pic: Andy Moore)

Come Queue With Us!

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Talking Birds needs volunteers to join its street performance The Q on Friday 23rd & Saturday 24th March in Coventry, as part of the Shop Front Festival (the first event in the build up to Coventry UK City of Culture 2021).

The Q is a celebration of the Art of Queuing. In 2011 the Q Corporation was formed in Coventry to campaign for Queuing to be included in the Olympics (therefore ensuring a string of Golds for the UK). Now they return – still dressed in orange – to show why Coventry has the most cultured Queues in the UK, and that it’s high time for our foremost past-time to be recognised as an Artform in its own right.

What do I have to do?

The @Q_Mob is like a Flash-Mob, but slightly more orderly. To join Q_Mob you need to sign up for a 4 hour slot (with ample breaks!) during the Shop Front Festival on Friday 23rd or Saturday 24th March, during which time you will be helping form queues around the City Centre, led by our Q Corp Captains (the elite SAS of queuing).

You will also need to come to a short (1 hour) Q_mob workshop where you can find out more, meet the team and… practice queuing. There are two workshop times to choose from:

Weds 14th March 6.30pm

Friday 16th March 1pm

Both workshops are at Shop Front Theatre 38 City Arcade CV1 3HW (just opposite Argos)

Age requirements: Q_Mob volunteers need to be 18+, younger Q’ers are welcome but need to be accompanied at all times by an also Queuing Parent/Guardian.

There will be FREE CAKE (and other foodstuffs) for volunteers.

How do I sign up / find out more?

Please e-mail us:  theQmobs@gmail.com

Via Facebook

Or call: 0800 012 2401 and leave a message with your name, mobile number and email address (please spell out anything tricky to be sure we can get in touch with you!)

Follow us on Twitter: @Q_mob / @birdmail

I can’t make it to the workshops but I still want to join in. Can I?

Yes! Come along and join The Q in and around Coventry City Centre on Fri 23rd & Sat 24th March.

ICYMI: A roundup of our tweets, pics & links in support of @Coventry2021’s bid to be #UKCityOfCulture2021 @DCMS

[THREAD #1] Apologies in advance to non-Coventrian followers, but today is going to involve a large volume of tweeting in support of @coventry2021 #ukcityofculture2021 #thisiscoventry #2021blue /1

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So, if you’re wondering what #ukcityofculture is (where have you been for the last year?), it’s a nationwide competition & the winner will be announced in the next couple of weeks, so this twitter frenzy is part of the final push in support of #Coventry’s bid. #2021blue #thisiscoventry /2

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If you think #ukcityofculture is about just putting on lots of performances “& anyway #Coventry *has* no culture”, then we hope our tweets today will help make you think a little differently about that… *cough* also make sure you follow @coventry2021 *cough* #2021blue /3

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We’ve been supporting #Coventry’s bid for #ukcityofculture2021 from the word go because we think culture is about more than trips to galleries & opera. We think it is about *all* the creativity people have (even when they don’t think they have it)… #2021blue /4

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…and about all the creative things we enjoy. The things that we do (mostly) outside of work – the gardening, baking, conversations and activities we share…essentially we think culture is about being human. #2021blue #thisiscoventry /5

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The City of Culture competition isn’t only about the arts and culture though. Whoever wins #ukcityofculture2021 will see a massive increase in people talking about, visiting and investing in their city. #2021blue #thisiscoventry /6

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There will be many more things to see, places to go, things to be learned, people to meet, places to eat, places to stay, jobs to be filled… & wouldn’t that just be *so good* for #Coventry? Just what it needs. What *we* need! #2021blue #thisiscoventry /7

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We know the people in #Coventry like to moan about the place. We all do it from time to time. And we know what it feels like to hear the Blitz, Lady Godiva and Sent to Coventry jokes AGAIN…but we also know the fierce pride that everyone who lives & works here holds in their souls… #2021blue /8

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…& we have a hunch that winning #ukcityofculture2021 would be the perfect opportunity to show the world, the UK (and even Birmingham) why we are so right to feel that fierce pride here in #Coventry! #thisiscoventry #2021blue /9

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If winning #ukcityofculture2021 means increased investment, jobs and tourism – that’s great – because #Coventry really needs that, right? And, happily, it happens through culture! Culture is the content. The glue. #2021blue /10

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This city already has a wealth of creative people making amazing things happen – & winning #ukcityofculture2021 will multiply that exponentially! #thisiscoventry /END

Blogpost > https://birdmail.wordpress.com/2017/04/19/we-belong-to-the-city-and-it-belongs-to-us/

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[THREAD #2]

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💙 👉 To show our support for @coventry2021 and our city’s awesome bid for #ukcityofculture2021… #2021blue #thisiscoventry

💙 …we’ve come up with 21** reasons why #Coventry should win, showcasing some of the inventive independent art, culture & creativity from the city we call home! #thisiscoventry

💙 **21 because there are not enough hours in the day to tweet 2021 reasons, although we’re pretty sure we could find that many, given long enough 😉 #thisiscoventry

 

💙 1/21 #Coventry boasts the UK’s first professional Shop Front Theatre, the wonderfully welcoming @shopfrontcov, home to intimate & experimental performance. #thisiscoventry https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Di7K5i8Uf2IIMG_5998

💙 2/21 #Coventry is a hotbed of inventive and surprising street theatre which is in demand from festivals across the UK, like @highlysprung’s Urban Astronaut #thisiscoventry https://www.highlysprungperformance.co.uk/urban-astronaut IMG_6768

💙 3/21 #Coventry’s national award winning mental health service The Pod, cultivates social change through culture with the fabulous vegan @the_pod_cafe,  @STSfestivalCov @timeunion & Food Union  #thisiscoventry https://vimeo.com/168582361

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💙 4/21 #Coventry is diverse, yes, but importantly it is also inclusive. Everyone can find their cultural home, see a show or bank a meal for the homeless in the fab vegan cafe @egoperformance http://covculture.com/blog/big-ego/

💙 5/21 #Coventry values its young people and emerging talent (and there’s a lot of that) and they are constantly inventing cool stuff, like the amazing @positiveyouth96’s #PYFProms, @belgradeyouth’s #Rise and the brilliant @shootfestival https://youtu.be/jdZacuSH9to

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💙 6/21 In #Coventry, any empty building is an opportunity. And at the moment, an empty newspaper office and print room is a massive shared opportunity for pop up art and culture in the city https://www.visitcoventry.net/cet IMG_0629

💙 7/21 #Coventry’s home for local, national & international eclectic, experimental and surprising live music is  the awesome @thetin venue & its sister record label @tinangelrecords https://soundcloud.com/thetinmusicandarts

💙 8/21 #Coventry’s @birdmail creates opportunities for unexpected encounters: in unused or unloved buildings, in a big metal whale, over a cuppa, or by starting a game of cricket on the high street; & have also invented the #DifferenceEngine to make performances more accessible. IMG_7094

💙 9/21 #Coventry’s @WarwickArts is our venue for all the best touring theatre, music, dance, comedy, fine art and arthouse cinema the world has to offer; The @belgradetheatre invented TIE in the 1960s & continues to make work with children and yp that allows them to explore the world & their place within it https://youtu.be/g8d8ZBC4HLo

💙 10/21 Making #Coventry more playable, @LudicRooms’ fantastic #OpenCitizens project gave up giggling bins & added us all to a never-ending can-can dance projected onto the ring road http://cancan.ludicrooms.com/IMG_6220

💙 11/21 As well as being a stunning, art-filled building, #Coventry’s @CovCathedral is also a fabulous & atmospheric venue. This year alone it’s hosted musical bees, an electronic tribute to Delia Derbyshire, the Museum of the Moon & #Masterji projections with @photominers #thisiscoventry IMG_5750

💙 12/21 #Coventry Music Museum @CovMusicM proudly tells the story of the city’s musical heritage from the Roman occupation to the present day with a healthy dose of Two Tone thrown in #thisiscoventry https://youtu.be/GBhpCByCTQo

💙 13/21 #Coventry has a vibrant network of independent artists and small companies (known collectively as #F13) who make all sorts of interesting stuff happen, like festivals inc. #RandomString, #FestivalOfImagineers, #ShootFestival, #ShopFrontFestival & @sponspun Festival https://vimeo.com/talkingbirds/backstageatthealbany

💙 14/21 #Coventry has 2 brilliant independent galleries @classroomcov and @cityarcadia. For artists’ support and affordable studio spaces, there’s @CovArtspace or https://www.facebook.com/holyheadstudios/ & for buying from creative businesses & the general vibe, there’s @fargovillage #thisiscoventry IMG_6172

💙 15/21 #Coventry’s @MercurialD makes dance with and for all sorts of people, including this piece made with a neuroscientist exploring where ideas and movements come from in the brain and body https://player.vimeo.com/video/80383258

💙 16/21 #Coventry’s annual Embracing Africa festival grew out of @HighLife001’s exhibition of African art put together to encourage cross-cultural dialogue in the city. https://vimeo.com/159586551

💙 17/21 #Coventry is a city that enables people to make their ideas happen & offers them the support to pull off a massively successful inaugural Biennial with aplomb! @Cov_Biennial @miracalix https://vimeo.com/miracalix/bb2at1IMG_5883

💙 18/21 From the first purpose-built car factory in the UK @imagineerUK meld creativity & engineering to bring us the #FestivalOfImagineers and they can also often be seen around giants… http://www.imagineer-productions.co.uk/IMG_6914

💙 19/21 As well as being a brilliant museum and art gallery, #Coventry’s The Herbert hosts #HerbertLates – including this Hallowe’en a new collaboration with space transformers @VortexCreates https://vimeo.com/243305417

💙 20/21 @covcampus’ Edible Campus garden in #Coventry demonstrates how sustainability, food security & environmental quality can be achieved in creative, functional corners of the community. http://www.coventry.ac.uk/primary-news/universitys-edible-campus-gets-special-recognition-from-national-scheme/

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💙 21/21 @Open_Theatre_Co challenges all of us to think differently about our arts provision for young people with learning disabilities & makes fab, fun & thought-provoking work with ypwld in #Coventry & beyond. https://youtu.be/XmXk1Laj5Ac

💙 And finally, apologies to all the other 2000 reasons we couldn’t mention today. You’ll just have to wait 4 years until #Coventry is #ukcityofculture2021 to hear about all of them 😉 #thisiscoventry

More of our thoughts about Cov here [blog] >> http://www.talkingbirds.co.uk/pages/Coventry.asp

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Volunteer Singers Needed!

image1We’re looking for volunteer singers to join our Backstage Choir, to perform on Sunday 10th September in ‘Backstage at the Albany Theatre’ as part of Spon Spun Festival and Heritage Open Days in Coventry.

Rehearsal schedule is as follows:
Tues 29th Aug 6-7.30pm (initial get-together/find out about the project)
Sun 3rd Sept 2-4pm
Tues 5th 6-7.30pm
Sat 9th 12.30-2.30pm [*note time change*]
Sun 10th Performance day 9.30 – 5pm

(Singers must be aged 18+ and be able to attend at least 2 rehearsals before the day of the performance).

If you are interested in joining the choir please contact Jodie Dickson on 07342 882 665 or jodie.dickson@albanytheatre.co.uk

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