Our approach to environmental engagement is both practical and creative. On the practical side, we are constantly working to reduce our environmental impact and make our touring practices as environmentally responsible as possible. On the artistic side, we provide opportunities for musicians to seek inspiration from nature and creatively respond to issues such as climate change and biodiversity loss.
Musicians and nature
We think that musicians can play a strong role in inspiring reverence and engagement with the natural world. Our residencies give musicians freedom - in a thought-provoking and inspiring location - to seek inspiration from nature, and process and creatively respond to different environmental topics. Annual nature themes (the inaugural theme in 2022 was Birds) provide further creative parameters. Making Tracks' UK residency takes place at Cove Park - one of the UK's leading artist residency centres, nestled into a hillside overlooking Loch Long and the Firth of Clyde, and surrounded by forest. Listening is a core theme behind our approach to collaboration, and this theme extends to going on sound walks and tuning into the surrounding environment in different ways. We also initiate wider discussions with Making Tracks fellows, both to increase their awareness of existing strategies for environmental engagement among musicians and to develop new ones.
Making Tracks by Train
Since the relaunch of Making Tracks in 2019, we have been working on reducing our environmental impact, with a particular focus on developing more sustainable touring practices by switching from plane to rail travel. Projects like Making Tracks typically fly artists in from all corners of the globe, but we recognise that this model is no longer sustainable, and that carbon offset schemes are not a viable solution. Rail travel has a much smaller carbon footprint, allowing us to significantly reduce project emissions at source. All musicians selected for Making Tracks from mainland Europe are now supported to travel to the Making Tracks residency by train. As part of this, we pay a daily stipend for each day they spend en route, and use the journeys to start conversations about music and the environment. We now also limit the number of artists selected from outside Europe to a maximum of one per year. These changes have helped us to reduce our transport-related emissions by 79% since 2019.
The practical changes we’ve made don’t stop with trains. Making Tracks' delicious residency menu is fully vegetarian and vegan, while we also provide partner venues with 'green riders', route our tours as efficiently as possible, and are working towards eradicating single-use plastics.