How Culture and Art Contribute to the Green Transition?

October 31, 2023

The international event on the role of culture and art in the green transition “Climate Art Hub”, organised by the Green Art Incubator in cooperation with the Belgrade Faculty of Dramatic Arts (FDU) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) within the European Green Diplomacy Week, was held at the FDU on Friday and Saturday, October 27 and 28. Leading foreign and local experts in the fields of performance, audio-visual arts, and policies spent the two days discussing how culture and art can contribute to the green transition.

Professor Vladimir Djurdjevic


UNDP set up a panel called "Green Agenda - A New Social Development Paradigm” on the first day of the event to familiarise FDU students with climate change challenges and the corresponding response from the European Green Deal.

“The concept of the Green Agenda involves changes in business models, changes in technology, high environmental standards, but also behavioural changes—both in production and in consumption and needs fulfilment, and this is one of the crucial spheres where the role of culture art can be found in the context of the green transition." Radovan Nikčević, “EU for the Green Agenda in Serbia” project manager, said in his opening address.

The panellists agreed that joint action from all policymaking sectors, including the sectors of culture and creative industries, is needed to provide an adequate response to the climate crisis in Serbia. The discussion highlighted that the role of culture and art in this process needs to be viewed from two perspectives:  how cultural and artistic production practices can be more sustainable and how culture and art can contribute to raising citizens' awareness regarding the necessity of the green transition.

Speaking about the possibilities of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions generated by the film and theatre industry through transportation, professor Marijana Petrović from the Belgrade-based Faculty of Transport and Traffic Engineering mentioned the establishment of a system that caters to transportation needs beyond traditional models and provides financial incentives for them. “For example, it becomes necessary to overcome our infatuation with the passenger car. An automobile is not the solution, regardless of its driving force,” Petrović stated. “Young people are environmentally aware; they do not wait for institutions to offer solutions; they would rather create them themselves. For example, they share rides and use alternative means of transportation like bicycles and scooters because, beyond mere functionality, they find it important that their travel also has added environmental value and that they enjoy it,” Petrović added.

Nedim Begović from the Transport community also pointed to the role of art in raising citizens’ awareness and quoted the example of galleries in malls that could also exist in train stations, on border crossing points, and in airports, thereby rendering important messages accessible to the greatest possible population.

"A new way of storytelling should lead individuals to experience the climate crisis topic as their own, to be aware of their own responsibility for its causes and consequences," believes Ognjan Pantić, the programme manager at the Belgrade Open School (BOŠ). "Stories are told not only through culture but also through politics and other activities that can incorporate performance. For example, a government session of an island nation was recently held in the sea, in shallow waters, with ministers wearing diving suits, drawing attention to the climate crisis," Pantić stated.

Aleksandar Rodić, professor at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering in Belgrade and the head of the Robotics Centre at the "Mihajlo Pupin" Institute, highlighted the example of scientific innovation inspired by film. "Robotics has found ideas for many of its inventions in film. We need visionary ideas, and technology continuously develops until a moment when there is a civilization-altering leap at the level of ideas. This is how industrial revolutions happened," Rodić emphasised.

The discussion on this topic continued into the second day of the event. During a panel titled "Culture and Climate Change: Transformative Policies as a Response to New Challenges," Nina Cvetanović, a project coordination associate from UNDP, presented in more detail how the "EU for the Green Agenda in Serbia" initiative addresses challenges caused by the climate crisis in Serbia.

To accelerate the green transition, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Serbia, with the support of the European Union (EU), Sweden, and Switzerland, in partnership with the Ministry of Environmental Protection and in collaboration with the European Investment Bank (EIB), launched a public call within this initiative, looking for innovative business solutions for the green transition of the Serbian economy. You can read more information on this call here.