Toolkit: Embedded Artists for Climate Adaptation

Toolkit: Embedded Artists for Climate Adaptation

By Cultural Adaptations


From 2018 to 2021 Cultural Adaptations worked together with international partners, and with funding from the Creative Europe programme of the European Union and co-funding from the Scottish Government, to explore how creativity and creative practice can help our society to adapt. This toolkit is for adaptation practitioners, researchers, policy makers, artists and cultural organisations – as well as potential future embedded artists.

What is an embedded artist project?

An embedded artist project (EAP) is a process-oriented project which mixes the skills and competencies of artistic and non-arts partners to address key societal issues.

The foundation of every EAP is a strong, collaborative partnership between organisations and individuals with different skills and a shared commitment to work together. There are typically three primary roles within every partnership: the adaptation partner, the cultural partner, and the creative practitioner.

It is important to note that the purpose of an EAP is not to create a physical artistic output (such as a performance, exhibition or art piece) but instead to apply the creative process and skills of artists to a complex problem.

How can they support adaptation?

How our society adapts to the impacts of climate change is a complex problem, with many possible approaches, many intersecting stakeholders and priorities, and many financial, technical and social challenges. We need novel, creative and transformational ways to ensure our transition to an adapted future is successful. EAPs are particularly suited to understanding and working positively with this complexity, and to working within the cross-sector, cross-society engagement and collaboration needed.

EAPs use creative thinking to tackle society’s ‘wicked problems’, for which there is no one solution. Some examples of these approaches might be:

  • Developing new ways to inspire and engage people to act to adapt to climate change.
  • Developing products or services that help organisations, groups or businesses address climate change risks or seize opportunities.
  • Challenging existing paradigms and perceptions that act as barriers to adaptation.
  • Helping to involve new actors and audiences in adapting to climate change.

How can this toolkit help you?

This toolkit supports the development and delivery of new EAPs – supporting people and partnerships at each stage of the process:

  • It describes the four stages of such project: initiation, development, delivery and evaluation.
  • It expands on this step-by-step process with further ideas, questions to ask yourself and your partners, and definitions to help cross disciplinary boundaries.
  • We’ve also included inspirational stories and examples – from our own experiences in Cultural Adaptations, but also from other projects and creative ways of working happening elsewhere – on adaptation or related concepts.
  • Finally, because we know that working in ambitious, innovative and collaborative projects can bring great reward, but also some unexpected challenges, we’ve captured all our best advice to help things run smoothly.

How to use the toolkit

We want to ensure that as many people and organisations as possible can benefit from this toolkit, and succeed in a climate changed world.

The 'Embedded Artist Projects for climate change adaptation' toolkit is free to access, licensed as a Creative Commons resource and available for download as an interactive pdf. We know that some people prefer to work on paper, or that some exercises might be best undertaken with your wider team, so we’ve made it suitable for those who might want to print sections (although of course, we encourage you to be mindful of the environment if doing this!)

Download the Toolkit

Throughout the project Cultural Adaptations curated and created resources, blogs, links and videos to supplement the toolkit – ensuring that you have easy access to the materials that will help you adaptation action plan succeed. Take a look at their resources area for this additional support. 

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Resource type: Guide/tools | Published: 2021