Culture and Decarbonisation

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in workshop, seminar, course


Can culture serve as a catalyst for decarbonisation? In the scramble for carbon neutrality and a post-carbon future, the question of culture is often side-lined even within discussions of behaviour and lifestyle changes. However, culture shapes our desires, habits and expectations, which have direct bearings on the carbon intensity of our society. If our past obsession with an energy-intensive lifestyle was grounded in a high-carbon culture—such as petroculture—societal decarbonisation would then entail some form of culture change. We may also argue that ambitious decarbonisation goals, expressed by diverse bodies including commercial organisations, national and municipal governments, are premised on drastic lifestyle changes in which cultural change would be implicit. Does the implied link between culture and decarbonisation mean that culture can lead our journey to a post-carbon future? What evidence do we have for culturally driven decarbonisation on the personal, social and global scales? In this workshop, we will discuss culture’s role in accelerating—and in some cases hindering—societal decarbonisation by bringing together researchers and practitioners that are equally concerned with the future of culture and our planet.

This one-day workshop is exploratory in nature; therefore, we will employ the term culture in a broad sense, including culture as a conceptual framework (e.g., a capitalistic culture), as a form of practice (cultural activities and artistic production) and as shared values or behaviours (e.g., food or travel culture). While our focus will be to discuss culture as a driver for decarbonisation, we will also contemplate the way the ongoing decarbonisation is (re-)defining our culture. To what extent do today’s cultural activity, production and consumption depend upon the high-carbon regime, and how is the ongoing decarbonisation changing the contours of our cultural landscape?
Period26 May 2022
Event typeWorkshop
LocationBelfast, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionRegional


  • cultural economy
  • sustainability
  • arts management
  • cultural recovery
  • ethics