Ancient Knowledge and Modern Thinking: Climate Perspectives in Folk Art

How can art and science come together to inform the future of climate action? How can we utilise learnings from Indigenous communities to inspire nature-based solutions?

In a fascinating event, Indigenous artists and experts from The Open University and Glasgow Life will explore the connections between culture, citizens, and climate by examining three works of art from Glasgow Museums’ World Cultures collection.

Indigenous artists will discuss the meaning behind these artworks in a series of three short films, which bring to life some of the cultural and creative practices in India, Ecuador and the Arctic. The in-person academic panel will examine the local climate adaptation actions championed by communities in these locations and invite participants to consider how the resilience they show can inspire a more sustainable way of life.

In a unique session which intersects the worlds of culture, science and technology, attendees will have the opportunity to speak directly with experts and to understand the bold actions we can all take locally to support global climate adaptation.

Leading researchers will share the technological innovations which citizens can use to record and protect local nature and explain how everyone can be empowered to play their role in combatting the climate emergency.


Dr Heather Reid, Meteorologist and Science Education Consultant

Our contributors:

Advaith Siddharthan, Professor of Computer Science and Society, The Open University

Duncan Dornan, Head of Museums and Collections at Glasgow Life

Janice Ansine, Senior Project Manager Citizen Science, The Open University

Mark Brandon MBE, Professor in Polar Oceanography, The Open University

Susan Stewart, Director of The Open University in Scotland

Featuring film contributions from:

Gustavo Toaquiza Ugsha, Kichwa artist, Ecuador

Dr Carol Brown-Leonardi, Associate Lecturer and (Hon) Researcher, Faulty of Arts and Social Sciences, The Open University

Patricia Allan, Curator of World Cultures at Glasgow Museums, Glasgow Life

Rajesh Chaitya Vangad, Warli artist, India


“Into the Amazon” (Musical production)

Founder and trustee of the charitable trust “Indigenous People’s Cultural Support Trust” and internationally acclaimed virtuoso cellist and composer, Emily Burridge will perform her solo cello composition “Into the Amazon”.

With her extraordinary ability to incorporate looping technology whilst performing, she recreates her multi tracked compositions and accompanies her field recordings of the natural environment and traditional singing of the Xavante tribe of the Mato Grosso, Brazil.

Through the vehicle of this concert she aims to inspire both young and old alike as she transmits to the audience an experience of a day from dawn to dusk in an Indian village in the Amazon. Hailed as a spell binding performance. (“Into the Amazon” is twenty- five minutes long)

“Sisters in the Forest” is a new work and single release originally composed in response to the current plight of uncontacted tribes in the Amazon forest, Brazil. This composition is accompanied by stunning visual projections of tribal “sisters” by photographer Sue Cunningham and co-creator of the award winning book “Spirit of the Amazon” by Sue and Patrick Cunningham.

Reviews: In 2019 a reviewer wrote ‘Emily Burridge lifts the subtle art of cello to new dimensions with her inspirational, moody, soulful and joyous musicianship. This is cello to lift the spirit, harmonise with the emotions and take you on a journey’

Tribes Alive charitable trust

Emily Burridge website

“Into the Amazon” production on Emily’s website

“Into the Amazon” on Apple Music

“Into the Amazon” on Spotify


‘Just Climate Energy’ – Indigenous Renewable Energy Microgrids for Energy Transition

This COP26 Indigenous Renewable Energy Microgrids for Just Energy Transition session is focused on strengthening global networking to accelerate energy transition through Renewable Energy Microgrids (REMs) in Indigenous communities through an all-encompassing approach. The session will be inclusive of civil society and community leadership to exemplify how a people’s agenda can be brought to REMs allowing for local capacity and empowerment. All forms of leadership (community, governance, policy, utility, business) are needed to build just, sustainable energy futures and thus, this session will reflect that.

The session shall profile how Indigenous REM’s can integrate and advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), put forth by the United Nations notably SDG 13, Climate Action and SDG 7, Affordable and Clean Energy, as well as those SDGs related to the conservation and restoration of Nature. The session embodies the concept of ‘Just Climate Energy’ which represents a climate protective clean energy future that also respects the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.


Indigenous peoples of the Amazon and climate change: new solutions for energy from the indigenous territories

Classified as “clean energy”, large hydropower plants located in tropical forested regions may lead to significant carbon dioxide and methane. Running over human rights, profound impacts on biodiversity and traditional communities, violation of international laws and agreements and allegations of widespread corruption are some of the examples that have been observed about the construction of hydroelectric plants in the region. In addition to all these problems, Hydroelectric power plants installed in tropical forest areas emit considerable amounts of greenhouse gases as a result of the degradation of flooded vegetation and soil. With all these impacts on the scale, it is impossible to classify hydroelectric as clean energy. The Brazilian Indigenous people have denounced the impacts and risks in their areas, yet these same communities are often generating innovative, just, and scalable clean energy solutions.

This session is an invitation to hear from the front lines about the social, environmental and economic impacts of hydropower dams, that are being falsely portrayed as “clean and renewable” energy and a solution to the climate crisis. Indigenous leaders whose ancestral lands and lifeways are impacted by hydropower development in Brazil will tell their stories. Hear about how the Amazonian indigenous people are developing their own clean energy solutions contributing to the community development and at the same time tackling the needed energy transition. Hear how they are developing their own clean energy solutions contributing to the community development and at the same time tackling the needed energy transition.


Inuit Knowledge, Innovation and Infrastructure – Inuit youth perspectives on infrastructure for adaptation and resilience

The Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC) will host a panel discussion with Inuit youth from across Inuit Nunaat, Inuit homelands and territory, to explore answers to the question of how existing Inuit knowledge and Inuit innovation and technologies might help better inform climate-resilient infrastructure. Most of Inuit Nunaat already has an infrastructure deficit that connects to climate resilience and adaptive capacity. For example:

• Education: Most Inuit must travel far from home for post-secondary education.
• Power: Many Inuit communities are reliant on diesel generators to provide power.
• Housing: Lack of sufficient housing is chronic in Inuit communities. In 2017, there were almost 900 people in Greenland with no permanent housing.
• Marine infrastructure: Inuit are coastal people and rely on marine resources. With an Arctic Ocean open for more of the year, the seas present opportunities for traditional harvesting pursuits, and other opportunities from increased shipping access. But this require appropriate infrastructure that is currently sparse in Inuit Nunaat.

Climate change is a challenge to the integrity of various aspects of our community infrastructure. In Alaska, whole Inuit communities are threatened, as big storms are no longer buffered by protective shore ice. In other communities, there are concerns about the integrity of roads, pipelines, water and sewer pipes, and runways. The whole connective tissue of Inuit Nunaat is being challenged by climate change. This event will engage Inuit youth in thinking about and describing the sorts of infrastructure that will be necessary to withstand the changes already occurring in their home communities.


Role of indigenous peoples and their communities and nature-based solutions

The event seeks to generate a space for dialogue and analysis to highlight the importance of the role of indigenous peoples and their territories in the achievement of government´s climate commitments in a context of green, fair and resilient recovery, post COVID 19.

For this, solutions based on communities and nature will be socialized, emphasizing the importance of the territory´s defense strategies and taking into account a context of extractive industries, infrastructures and “exclusive conservation”.

In this sense, the session will show the route that indigenous peoples are taking, as well as their actions in order to give recommendations to guide and articulate with the States for a green, fair and resilient recovery, conserving the territories through practices and traditional and ancient knowledge. These recommendations will be key inputs both for the region and for each of the Amazon countries’ institutions.

In addition, key issues for indigenous peoples that contribute to inclusive conservation will be addressed, such as climate financing, the implementation of the Leticia Pact in indigenous territories, increasing climate ambition through NDCs and Territorial Governance. There will be a space to present indigenous peoples’ own initiatives such as Tambores de la Selva, a community training program in Communication and leadership for young Amazonians, whose purpose is to strengthen professional capacities for the benefit of their community.


  • José Gregorio Díaz Mirabal -General Coordinator – COICA
  • Tabea Cacique – Education, Science and Technology Coordinator -COICA, and part of Aidesep Board (Perú).
  • Other indigenous and institutional representatives to be confirmed


Fixing finance from the ground up – making Indigenous voices count in the fight to stop deforestation

An event bringing together Indigenous communities, financial leaders, and policy makers to find solutions to the deforestation epidemic.

There is no end to the climate crisis without stopping tropical deforestation. Our forests are our key ally if we’re to keep to our climate goals. In 2020 the tropics lost 12.2 million hectares of forest cover. Of that 4.2 million hectares, an area the size of the Netherlands, occurred within humid tropical primary forests, which are hotspots for biodiversity, home to indigenous communities and vital in halting climate breakdown.

For many years Global Witness and Global Canopy have exposed the international demand for commodities – soy, beef, palm oil and timber – that are driving this destruction and the human and environmental abuses that go alongside it. The financial sector plays a key role in this global trade and must now work closely with the guardians for the forest who are Indigenous Peoples.

Our event will put policy makers, financial leaders, and Indigenous communities in one room, exploring the problem and coming up with solutions. What can policymakers do to address the accountability gap for finance on deforestation? How can responsible financiers benefit from tackling the problem? What do Indigenous Peoples need from financial institutions to protect their homes?

There is a growing global call to end the financing behind the abusive environmental and human rights practices in forest-risk commodities. By highlighting the crucial role Indigenous Peoples and local communities play in preserving forests, the event aims at creating a space for discussing solutions that would best protect the world’s forests and the people who depend on them.


The Need to Be Cold

A conversation and artistic intervention on the effects of global warming that threaten the livelihood of Indigenous peoples in the arctic region. For this panel the Goethe-Institut invites experts to discuss ‘Green Colonialism’ and Indigenous self-determination in the North.

The hybrid event is part of the cross-border, interdisciplinary project focusing on the Arctic and Boreal regions “The Right to Be Cold”*: It negotiates questions of Indigenous rights, ecology, climate justice and culture. The project brings together the voices of those who stand up for self-determination and climate-justice and connects artists and institutions from Nunavik, Sápmi and Yakutia and other places in the Arctic region. Besides the multilingual online platform https://www.goethe.de/prj/eco/en/rbc.html , the residency relay and other activities contribute to share knowledge and connect discourses in the global North with those in the South.

* The title of the project comes from the long battle of Inuit to have their rights linked to climate change. The book of the same name by Sheila Watt-Cloutier (2015, Allen Lane Publication), testifies of her pioneering work in connecting climate change to human rights. Okalik Eegeesiak, Former Chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC) used the expression in her discourse at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change COP 21 December 3, 2015 in Paris, France.


The Farewell Glacier by Nick Drake

Join us for a journey into the mysteries, wonders and climate emergencies of the high Arctic.

Scottish Composers, Emma Donald and Isbel Pendlebury, in collaboration with poet and playwright Nick Drake, have created a compelling, informing and emotionally powerful event of music and poetry for COP26. Award-winning Scottish actor, Peter Mullan will read the poems inspired by Nick’s voyage around the Svalbard archipelago. ‘The Farewell Glacier’ gathers together voices both human and non-human from across the Arctic’s past, present and future to tell a story of exploration, exploitation and imagination. From the first European explorers and whalers to ice-cores, mercury and even the Future herself, this is a story of the power and beauty of ice, the calamity of its loss, and a call to the imagination of every one of us to change the future for the better.

The Company

Peter Mullan – Reader

Nick Drake – Poet/Playwright

Emma Donald – Composer/Fiddle

Isbel Pendlebury – Composer/Clarsach

Serena Hill – Creative Associate

Edel Rae – Producer

The Farewell Glacier’ is performed by kind permission of the publishers Bloodaxe Books Ltd. Music copyright Emma Donald and Isbel Pendlebury We gratefully acknowledge the support and generosity of: The Pebble Trust The Highland Museum of Childhood The individual supporters who, for the sake of the climate, invested their trust and money in our story.


An Inter-generational Conversation Among Women and Youth in the Climate Change & Agriculture Arena

The event will bring together climate, agriculture gender experts and youth representatives both at the policy and grassroots levels.
The session will be an interactive discussion featuring female agricultural experts who are training to become UNFCCC negotiators and youth activists and contributors that, through their shared examples, aim at preserving the planet while increasing their resilience towards climate change.
It will be introduced by a high-profile expert and a moderator will then ask a rapid-fire series of questions to the female agricultural experts/scientists in agriculture about their realities as women advocates for the climate, the good practices they have experienced in their areas of expertise, hopes for the future and challenges they face. It is also foreseen to include an interview with women representing different generations who will share their experiences as female experts from LDC’s and youth explaining what obstacles women in their countries face and recommendations for young women.
The audience will be engaged through a virtual icebreaker using menti-meter polls and leaving time to ask questions to panel members, with final discussion on main challenges to access climate services and last-mile application in the agriculture sector.