Climate Beacons across Scotland light the way to Cop26 - Museums Association

Climate Beacons across Scotland light the way to Cop26

More than 30 environmental, cultural and heritage organisations are coming together to inspire action ahead of the conference
Climate Crisis
Francesca Collins
The National Mining Museum Scotland has joined the British Geological Survey to create the Midlothian Beacon
The National Mining Museum Scotland has joined the British Geological Survey to create the Midlothian Beacon National Mining Museum Scotland

Organisations in regions across Scotland are uniting to encourage public engagement and action in the run-up to the Cop26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow this November.

With funding from the Scottish Government’s Climate Change and Culture Divisions, Creative Scotland and Museums Galleries Scotland, seven hubs dubbed as Climate Beacons will bring together shared resources and knowledge from cultural and climate organisations.

The Climate Beacons will also provide a space for the public, artists and cultural sector professionals, environmental NGOs, scientists and policymakers to discuss and debate Cop26 themes and local climate action – from moving beyond fossil fuels in Fife to looking at Scottish rainforests in Argyll.

The seven Climate Beacons

Argyll, a collaboration between Cove Park residency centre and Argyll and the Isles Coast & Countryside Trust, focusing on Scotland’s temperate rainforests, reforestation and biodiversity.

Caithness & East Sutherland, a collaboration between Timespan, Lyth Arts Centre and the University of the Highlands and Islands Environmental Research Institute, among others, focusing on climate colonialism, land justice and redistribution as well as the role of the area for peatland restoration.

Fife, the Leven Programme, ONFife and Levenmouth Academy are coming together with others to channel the arts and build on climate action in the area, sharing stories of Fife’s industrial heritage and showing the world how it can transform to a low carbon community of the future.

Inverclyde, a collaboration between The Beacon arts centre, Belville Community Garden Trust, RIG Arts and Inverclyde Libraries, focusing on the roles of climate change mitigation and adaption as part of Scotland’s most deprived area’s recovery from Covid-19.

Midlothian, a collaboration between the National Mining Museum Scotland and the British Geological Survey, will create a journey following the flow of water, from Scotland’s past legacy of fossil fuels towards a future of decarbonisation, connecting local and international cultures through art and science.

Outer Hebrides, a partnership between An Lanntair arts centre, Taigh Chearsabhagh museum and arts centre, Ceòlas, Community Energy Scotland, Western Isles Libraries, TSI Western Isles, NatureScot, Adaptation Scotland and the wider Outer Hebrides Community Planning Partnership Climate Change Working Group, the Outer Hebrides Climate Beacon will focus on how the islands can adapt to the worsening impacts of climate change while celebrating their natural and cultural heritage.

Tayside, a partnership between Dundee Rep and Scottish Dance Theatre, the James Hutton Institute, V&A Dundee, Dundee Museum of Transport and other partners in Dundee, Perthshire, Angus and Aberdeen, will use design-led thinking to explore a range of issues across the Tayside bio-region encompassing urban and rural areas as a microcosm of Scotland.

Scottish Government culture minister Jenny Gilruth said of the project: “This pioneering work from Creative Carbon Scotland ahead of Cop26 makes a powerful link between culture and climate action.

“Climate Beacons will play an important role in ensuring that the history-making Cop26 negotiations are not only felt in Glasgow but across the country, helping everyone in Scotland to better understand climate change and how to contribute to becoming a net-zero society.”


The project is being overseen by Creative Carbon Scotland, an arts and sustainability charity. The charity will connect the seven beacons and offer support alongside partners including Creative Scotland, Scottish Library and Information Council and Museums Galleries Scotland (MGS).

MGS is the national development body for museums and galleries in Scotland, offering strategic development support to the sector.

MGS CEO Lucy Casot said: “We are committed to supporting museums and galleries to be at the forefront of climate conversations and action in culture and heritage. We are pleased to partner with the Climate Beacons, which will be important places for people to come together across Scotland to reflect, be inspired and take action in the lead-up to Cop26 and beyond.

“Cross-sector collaboration is key to the Climate Beacons and museums and galleries will work with a range of arts, cultural, and environmental organisations to create long-lasting relationships to take action against the climate emergency.”

One of the beacons is a collaboration between the National Mining Museum Scotland, Newtongrange, and the British Geological Survey, a project that aims to take a journey from Scotland’s past legacy of fossil fuels towards a future of decarbonisation.

Mhairi Cross, the CEO of the National Mining Museum Scotland, said: “National Mining Museum Scotland is thrilled to be part of a Scotland-wide collaboration that highlights the need to learn from our industrial past.

“The experience of utilising fossil fuels should contribute to our ongoing venture to look at new solutions, address the impact of climate change, and play an active role in shaping climate action in the future.”

The Climate Beacons will run through Cop26, 1-12 November, and continue until mid-2022.

Comments (1)

  1. Alexander Goodger says:

    Dundee Museum of Transport is also hosting an exhibition at Glasgow Science Centre about the design of a carbon neutral Future of Transport Museum complete with electric cars. The exhibition will run from June 25th until November during the United Nations COP26 conference. Come and visit our Museum now to see our Future of Transport Exhibition!

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