Tania's Story

Tania Banotti / 5 min read

Collaborating to tackle climate change creatively.

I took the Common Purpose (Ireland) programme in 2004 and benefited enormously from the opportunity to develop myself through peer-to-peer experiential learning with a very diverse group of people from whom I learned a lot. I remained connected with Common Purpose and a few of my fellow participants since and contributed as a guest speaker on several occasions.

Recently, I participated as a 'Challenge Holder' on a Common Purpose Senior Leaders' Programme, during which I had the chance to present a real-life work challenge to a group of +30 leaders from across the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. I'm currently working as Director of the Creative Ireland Programme. It's an all-of-government programme to inspire and transform people, places and communities through creativity. The challenge I posed to participants was around threading creativity through the Irish education system.

Not only was this exercise useful in helping me address my challenge; it was the catalyst for meeting John O'Neill, who I would go on to collaborate with to achieve progress in another work area – using the talents of the creative sector to address climate change. John was a senior government official working in the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment at that time, with responsibility for policy relating to Climate Adaptation. During this session, we saw synergies in our work and exchanged details.

A couple of coffees and a few introductions later, a plan was developed. Creative Ireland partnered with the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment to create the Creative Climate Action Fund. This €2 million fund focuses on bringing a creative approach to illustrating and making the changes needed to fight climate change. Featuring coastal light installations, pollinator walking routes, renewable energy-generating artworks and more; our 15 innovative projects are bringing together artists, academics and communities from across Ireland to creatively mitigate the climate crisis. This would not have happened without the Common Purpose programme.

The reason I continue to engage with Common Purpose is that the people who do a Common Purpose course are change-makers.

Tania Banotti is the Director at Creative Ireland. She took part in the Common Purpose Matrix programme in 2004.

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