EMBracing the Ocean

European Marine Board

EMBracing the Ocean

EMBracing the Ocean 1280 720 Ocean Decade

EMB’s artist-in-residence programme ‘EMBracing the Ocean’ provides grants for creative individuals to inspire wide reaching societal change for ocean sustainability by expanding societies’ understanding of the ocean’s value, as well as the urgency of ensuring its health and resilience now and into the future.

The ocean, covering 70% of the surface of our planet and forming 95% of the biosphere, is indispensable for supporting life on our planet. The ocean plays a huge role in regulating global climate systems and has absorbed one third of carbon dioxide emitted into our atmosphere, as well as the majority of Earth’s excess heat. It provides potential for a huge source of renewable energy, coastal protection, recreation and cultural well-being, as well as being an importance source of food and medicine. These benefits that the ocean provides are dependent on the maintenance of ocean physical, chemical, geological, and biological processes, healthy and resilient marine ecosystems, and a shift in human activities towards sustainability.

The ocean is too often out of sight and out of mind, and is increasingly under threat from human activities including global population growth, pollution (including atmospheric pollution, nutrients, plastics, noise), climate change, and over-fishing, causing the widespread loss and degradation of marine ecosystems and biodiversity. The next ten years will be crucial for ensuring a sustainable future for the ocean and the benefits it provides for humanity, and to do this we must change the way that we interact with the ocean. We must embrace and scale-up the many solutions that the ocean provides to overcome global sustainability challenges. This includes the conservation and restoration of key marine ecosystems such as mangroves, coral reefs, and seagrass; reducing marine pollution; sustainably managing our fisheries and other resource use and much more.

The United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) is a global movement bringing together scientists, governments, business, philanthropists, and non-governmental organizations to mobilize the science we need for the future we want. If we are to ensure the effectiveness of scientific solutions developed within the Ocean Decade, society’s relationship with the ocean must change. Creative communication and the arts are powerful ways to impact society and achieve societal change due to their role in conveying human values, ideas, and visions; developing social, cultural, and individual identities; offering innovative approaches to communication and dialogue around complex issues; distilling information; and producing new knowledge and insights. This programme is part of EMB’s support for the Ocean Decade, and contributes to the Ocean Decade societal challenge of an inspiring and engaging ocean where society understands and values the ocean in relation to human wellbeing and sustainable development.

For the 2022 – 2023 programme, EMB will provide grants of 10,000 EURO to two awardees from any creative discipline including creative communications, visual arts, literary arts, performing arts, and installation art. During a 12-month residency, the awardees will produce and disseminate a new piece of work, or series of work, through a two-way co-design process with ocean scientists. The work should focus on any ocean science topic relevant for sustainable development, including but not limited to those covered by the marine science-policy work of the EMB, and/or wider activities within the framework of the Ocean Decade, and should aim to raise societal awareness of the chosen topic and inspire behavioural change for a sustainable future. The residency will run from spring 2022 to spring 2023.

Applications are being accepted from 10th January – 21 February 2022. More details on the EMBracing the Ocean programme, including how to apply, can be downloaded here. You can apply via the application form and download a template for submitting the application materials here.

EMBracing the Ocean Committee

The EMBracing the Ocean Committee are responsible for evaluating applications and selecting the awardees. Committee members also work together to develop the EMBracing the Ocean programme and advise awardees on the development of their work. The Committee members for 2022 – 2023 are:

Carlos Garcia Soto – Carlos Garcia Soto is a Vice-Chair of the EMB Executive Committee, Coordinator of the UN World Ocean Assessment (WOA, 2021-2025), Senior Researcher of the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO-CSIC) and Associate Professor of Satellite Oceanography in the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU). His last key publication analyses the current state of marine citizen science in Europe and the new technological developments (doi:10.3389/fmars.2021.621472).

Britt Alexander – Britt Alexander is a Science Officer at the EMB Secreteriat in Belgium. Her work involves facilitation of EMB’s science-policy expert working groups, including editing and communication activities. She also participates in EU projects including the EU’s International Ocean Governance Forum and BRIDGE Black Sea. She previously worked at the the open-access journal Frontiers in Marine Science and has a PhD in marine sponge physiology and ecology.

Mette Mila – Mette Mila is a Senior Advisor at the Research Council of Norway’s Ocean Secretariat, member of European Marine Board Communication Panel, and member of Ocean Decade Communication Advisory Board. She is experienced within communication and science communication in the fields of ocean, climate and polar research, and has experience evaluating similar calls nationally.

Chris Fremantle – Chris Fremantle is a researcher and producer focused on the roles of artists in public life, in particular in health and environment. He lectures at Gray’s School of Art, Robert Gordon Univerity, Aberdeen, Scotland. He chairs the Ramsar Culture Networks’ Arts Focus Group and is advising a number of research-led arts projects including Ocean ARTic and AALERT. He established ecoartscotland in 2010 as a node in the ecoart community.


Originally published by EMB.


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