I’m delighted to share that The Hollywood Forest Story is now showcased in the online Creative Carbon Scotland Library of Creative Sustainability.

Creative Carbon Scotland, through the Creative Scotland Arts Council, has pioneered arts and sustainability initiatives since 2011. It supports the development of artistic practices in relation to sustainability and climate change through residencies, events and commissions, and supports cultural organisations through reporting, carbon reduction and communicating their green work with audiences and has successfully advocated for the role of the arts in the transition to a more sustainable society and embedding sustainable practices at a strategic level.

Ireland has just begun its journey to explore and support cultural sustainability programmes. So its an honour to have The Hollywood Forest Story be part of Creative Carbon Scotland’s extensive programme. Thanks to the team at Creative Carbon Scotland for inviting me to summarise The Hollywood Forest Story for their local and international audiences.

Creative Carbon Scotlands: Library of Creative Sustainability

The Library of Creative Sustainability is a digital resource for individuals and organisations working to address environmental sustainability and climate change, demonstrating the benefits of collaborating with embedded artists and using cultural approaches to address complex issues.

The Library presents detailed case studies highlighting the range of skills, expertise and practices that embedded artists have contributed to bringing about positive change as part of broader projects or organisations, addressing social, environmental, economic and cultural sustainability.

The Library of Creative Sustainability aims to:

  • Provide a practical resource for organisations working in research, advocacy, governance, business and elsewhere to understand how to effectively work with embedded artists.
  • Showcase inspiring and innovative examples that show the potential of working with artists to achieve sustainability aims.
  • Demonstrate to commissioners and funders the types of outcomes and likely costs that can result from integrating artistic roles into sustainability projects.

Each article includes detailed information on partners and stakeholders, sustainability outcomes and funding, as well as tips and links to further resources.

In developing this resource we have spoken with users working in diverse fields including energy, local government, natural heritage, and forestry to help us develop content that is relevant and applicable to the interests and needs of non-arts sectors, and have researched case studies with the aid of many of the featured artists and organisations.

The Hollywood Forest Story: a case study for a more sustainable direction for Irish forests

Whilst the cultural shift toward more sustainable forestry in Ireland is ongoing and evolving over recent decades, with many challenges still ahead for the Irish forest sector, I’m pleased to have recognition of the value of ’embedded-in-place’ creative multidisciplinary practices, including my ongoing Hollywood Forest Story (begun in 2008).

Integrated and engaging creative practices can inspire people to think and tend forests in expansive ways – helping them consider the broader environmental and social values that ensure flourishing, beautiful and resilient forests and meaningful livelihoods. Dedicated foresters, forest organisations, NGOs, educators, researchers and some politicians in Ireland are currently working hard to reimagine forestry and forest policy in Ireland. However, with a dominant industrial forestry model, economic interests are more easily considered than the environmental benefits, and often the broader social benefit of thriving permanent forests to communities’ wellbeing is less considered. Creative projects can inspire a wider public which can ignite support for new practices and policies too. I’ve witnessed this in a small way, with people being inspired to adopt new permanent forestry management from my small project.

See The Hollywood Forest Story showcased in the Creative Library of Sustainability here along with many other examples of creativity employed to engage communities in more sustainable living.


My deep thanks to Lewis Coenen-Rowe, culture/SHIFT officer of Creative Carbon Scotland who interviewed me in late 2021. Compiling an overview of a multi-dimensional contemporary ecosocial art practice like the Hollywood Forest Story, that has evolved over many years is no easy thing – even I find it difficult to summarise. Thank you so much Lewis for the care and dedication you have shown for the little Irish wood that could!

Lewis Coenen-Rowe, culture/SHIFT officer

Lewis joined Creative Carbon Scotland in July 2019. His background is in classical music, working as a composer of chamber music and opera as well as teaching music in universities. Prior to joining Creative Carbon Scotland, he worked as a teaching assistant at Glasgow University after completing a PhD in music composition at King’s College London.

He also has a background in environmental campaigning with groups including Fossil Free, Divest Parliament, Friends of the Earth, and BP or not BP and has experience of lobbying decision makers, writing briefings, organising gatherings, and building networks.

His role at Creative Carbon Scotland involves running the project Climate Beacons for COP26, managing the Green Tease events series and network, researching and writing articles for the Library of Creative Sustainability, advising and supporting artistic and sustainability practitioners, and developing collaborative projects between the arts and environmental sectors.

I’d also like to acknowledge that my work is inspired by the people and organisations in Ireland who have been pioneering broadleaf native tree planting and permanent ‘Close-to-Nature’ continuous cover forestry management over many years.

My thanks to Jan Alexander, forester Noel Kiernan and those involved in Crann who I worked with in the late 1990s. They ignited a call and work on the ground to prove the viability of native Irish tree species planting in the mid-1980s (and an early call to protect our hedgerows too). Also to the pioneering foresters, landowners, tree harvesters, researchers, and ecologists of Pro Silva Ireland and the European/International Pro Silva NGO championing permanent continuous cover forestry (CCF) in Ireland since 2000, and to people in the Irish Green Party, particularly Minister Malcolm Noonan and former leader of the Green Party, Rev. Trevor Sargent who were supportive of a new direction for Irish forest policy in 2012.

Also, thanks to the followers The Hollywood Forest Story, some who have copied my small efforts and in turn began to practice a new type of ecological, integrated forestry -they have transplanted a flourishing vision and new story for Irish forests and communities.

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