Creative Climate Leadership Program

A transformative 5-day climate leadership program for artists and arts professionals, delivered in-person at Bundanon, NSW.

Julie’s Bicycle’s Creative Climate Leadership Benelux 2023 programme, photo by Moa Karlberg

Creative Climate Leadership (CCL) empowers artists and cultural professionals to take action on the climate and ecological crisis with impact, creativity, and resilience. It was designed to mobilise and connect a creative climate movement.

CCL offers:

  • An inspiring 5 day program of learning and peer-to-peer exchange for 24 talented and motivated participants living and working in Australia.
  • A powerful opportunity to collaborate and develop creative ideas in a serene environment.
  • A space to develop and/or scale up cultural leadership on climate action and justice.
  • A supportive network of national and international CCL alumni.

Participants will:

  1. Deepen their understanding of the climate and ecological crises as an intersectional issue.
  2. Understand and develop the role of culture and creativity in responding to these challenges.
  3. Emerge with a toolbox of approaches and practical solutions for transformative action, including:
    • approaches to action and collaboration that are equitable and inclusive
    • methods for designing solutions to complex problems
    • strategies for rethinking and reorienting the cultural ecosystem towards a thriving future that prioritises the well-being of people and nature
  4. Develop insights into climate ‘leadership’ at individual and collective levels, bottom up and top down
  5. Emerge ready to translate their learning into a CCL Action project

The Australia Council is committed to increasing the diversity of leaders in our industry and encourages applications from people who identify as First Nations, from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, people with disability, and people living in regional and remote areas.

We actively work with individuals to support access needs – including childcare, cultural practices, financial and/or learning access needs as required.

Find out more information about this program in a one-hour Zoom information session with Mikala Tai and Adam McGowan from the Australia Council; Farah Ahmed and Chiara Badiali (Music Lead) from Julie’s Bicycle, and Australian Facilitator Ruth Langford. Watch the recording here.


Course Facilitator Farah Ahmed, Climate Justice Lead, Julie’s Bicycle

This program delivery is supported by the British Council.

Ruth has a diverse background in cultural arts, environmental, social justice, youth work and Indigenous Medicines Therapy and divides her time on projects that reflect her passion for uniting ancient traditions and contemporary innovations for optimistic action and healing for all.

As a Songwoman and Storyteller, Ruth draws upon the cultural knowledge of her Yorta Yorta lineage and the Tasmanian Aboriginal community where she was born and continues to live.

Combining over twenty years traveling the world sitting with Indigenous Elders, Senior Knowledge Keepers and World Wisdom Teachers with conscious research, Ruth Langford’s vision is to connect people to the ancient wisdom of Indigenous teachings in a contemporary and relevant context through the expression of cultural arts, ceremony and ritual.

Establishing Nayri Niara Centre for the Arts of Healing and Nayri Niara Good Spirit Festival, Ruth has gained a reputation as an expert facilitator and coordinator of effective capacity building programs, which have as their guiding principles Connection to Country, Culture, the Self and the Sacred.

Alison established Julie’s Bicycle in 2007 as a non-profit company helping the music industry reduce its environmental impacts and develop new thinking in tune with global environmental challenges. JB has since extended its remit to the full performing and visual arts communities, heritage and wider creative and cultural policy communities. JB is acknowledged as a leading organisation bridging sustainability with the arts and culture.

Originally trained as a cellist, Alison worked with seminal jazz improviser and teacher John Stevens. She worked for many years at Community Music and at Creative and Cultural Skills where she established the National Skills Academy. She has been on many advisory and awarding bodies including Observer Ethical Awards, RCA Sustainable Design Awards, D&AD White Pencil Awards. She has been on the boards of the Music Business Forum, Live Music and Sound Connections, and is on the board of Energy Revolution.

Farah Ahmed (she/they) is the Climate Justice Lead at Julie’s Bicycle. She supports the delivery of events and the Creative Climate Justice programme, developing resources, training and advocacy, connecting environmental, racial and social justice, and creative activism. Their interests lie in how art can centre stories and solutions from the frontlines of climate impacts, and how we can imagine and enact decolonial and anti-capitalist ways of being.

Farah is also co-founder and facilitator of Diaspora Futures, a reflective space for people of colour to centre collective care in the face of the climate crisis. She was on the sounding board for Arvae, a site-specific experiment in collaborative work between artists, scientists and regional environmental experts in Arosa, Switzerland, and was on the oversight board for Art For The People, a citizen’s assembly on arts and culture in Coventry. She is an alumni of the peer-led accelerator programme Huddlecraft and is also an Arts Emergency mentor, supporting young people into careers in the arts.

Thiago Jesus is a creative producer and researcher that joined JB in 2022 to work on the Creative and Climate Leadership programme. For over ten years, he has managed wide-ranging international creative projects and interdisciplinary research at People’s Palace Projects (Queen Mary University of London) in collaboration with artists, academics, activists, and local communities in ten countries.

Since 2014, as the head of PPP’s Indigenous Exchange and Climate Action projects, Thiago has been working closely with Indigenous peoples from the Xingu Territory—in the Brazilian Amazon’s ‘arc of deforestation’—leading an exchange programme for the preservation of indigenous cultural practices as a key factor in safeguarding these communities from the climate crisis.

Thiago is doing doctoral research at Queen Mary University of London, funded by the AHRC (LAHP Collaborative Doctoral Awards). The study, ‘The Art of Creating Climates’, investigates how third-sector organisations with arts and environment at the heart of their programmes approach climate change and respond to environmental issues in distinct North and South contexts, in partnership with the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and Inhotim Institute in Brazil.

Thiago holds a MA in Visual Culture (University of Westminster) and a BA in Media and Communications (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

This opportunity is open to:  

  • Practising artists and creative/cultural/arts professionals. 
  • Australian citizens or permanent residents. 
  • Individuals who are available to travel to Bundanon NSW to attend the program in full and in person from 11 – 16 September 2023. 

You can’t apply if: 

  • You have an overdue grant report. 
  • You owe money to the Australia Council. 
  • You are applying as a group or organisation. 

You can submit your application via our online application system 

If you have access requirements, please let us know how we can support you. Please see FAQs below for information on submitting a video application. 

Selection criteria:  

  • Nuanced understanding and reflection on what creative climate leadership means. 
  • Engagement with and awareness of climate change, environmental and/or social justice themes, issues and connections in your work to date. 
  • Ability and capacity to take action and lead change. 
  • Demonstrated ability and willingness to work collaboratively and contribute to a group. 

Applications will be reviewed by staff and industry advisors. Your application will be based on quality, response to the selection criteria above, and in line with Australia Council’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. 

Please note:   

To apply you must be registered in our application management system a minimum of two business days prior to the closing date.  

Applicants will be notified of the outcome of their application approximately four weeks after the closing date.

Learn more about how we assess your application.

Applicants may choose to supply up to 3 links or attachments to support your application (optional).  

Examples include: 

  • online links to documentation (blogs, news articles, other multimedia content) 
  • past projects and reports 
  • links to video files should be between one to ten minutes in .mp3, .mp4, .mov or .wmv formats 

The CCL Australia programme includes: 

A five-day residential course for arts and cultural professionals who want to take a lead on climate change. Participants will arrive on Monday and leave the following Saturday, with full days of workshops, discussions and talks in between. 

The training sessions will: 

• Explore the role of culture and creativity in responding to climate change and environmental challenges. 

• Share case studies, research, approaches and practical solutions for environmental sustainability in the cultural sector. 

• Enable each participant to develop their leadership and ideas. 

• Prepare participants to apply their learning and new skills when they return home. 

• Support ongoing learning and exchange through an alumni network. 

Themes will include: 

• Approaches to organisational change. 

• Engaging people with new narratives and shifting values through art and design. 

• Encouraging behaviour change through communications and advocacy. 

•  Collaborative ways of working to maximise impact in civic society and policy making. 

A full programme will be released to participants in advance of the course. 

After the course, participants will become members of the CCL Alumni network, which will facilitate ongoing communications. 

CCL Australia is open to practising artists and creative/cultural/arts professionals based in and/or working in Australia. We encourage creatives and leaders that want to challenge the status quo and conventional ways of thinking. 

Previous applicants and/or alumni from Australia Council leadership programs are eligible to apply.

The CCL Australia will take place between 11 – 16 September 2023, at Bundanon NSW, therefore you need to ensure you are available to participate fully, in person, for the full duration. 


Monday 11 September 2023 – Participants arrive at Bundanon 

Monday 11 to Saturday 16 September 2023 – Training course 

Saturday 16 September 2023 – Participants depart Bundanon. 

The new Bridge and Art Museum are wheelchair accessible. There are designated accessible parking spaces available outside the Bridge and Art Museum. Guide dogs and assistance animals are allowed on Bundanon properties. 

Arthur Boyd’s Studio and the ground floor of the Homestead are wheelchair accessible. There is a staircase inside the Homestead and uneven ground in the visitor carpark and throughout the site. 

We are committed to ensure to remove all possible barriers to participation. If you have any access requirements please let us know in advance so we can make the necessary adjustments. Please contact

Participants do not need to do any work prior to attending the course. However, an important part of this CCL is active participation. All participants will be given space to share their skills, knowledge or experience with the other participants. All participants will become members of the CCL Alumni network, which will facilitate ongoing communications. 

Yes, CCL Australia will be held in person at Bundanon, NSW. Applicants must be able to travel and participate in person for the full duration of the course. 

Yes, if you would prefer to submit a video application instead of a written application, please record a video of max 5 minutes addressing the questions in the application form. For further information on how to submit a video application, or if you would like to discuss submitting an application in another format, please email

The Australia Council will cover the costs of accommodation and all meals at Bundanon, NSW during the course. 

Bus travel between Sydney and Bundanon will be provided by the Australia Council. Successful applicants can make their own preferred travel arrangements to Bundanon from other locations at their own cost.

There is an optional question for those seeking to apply for a stipend to support costs. Australia Council will pay a stipend to successful applicants who are self-employed and/or freelancers, and need support to cover costs such as interstate travel, course participation and other expenses. We suggest applicants include a breakdown of the costs you anticipate needing to cover when answering this question.

We are closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation, and the appropriate protocols will be put in place. We will remain in close communication with all successful applicants to chart the best course of action. 

We ask all participants to take a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) within 24 hours before the programme starts and recommend wearing wear masks when travelling to the event on public transport. Masks and RAT tests will be made available on-site. 

Spaces will be ventilated with regular opening of windows where possible (please bring layers in case of cooler temperatures), and some sessions will be held outside weather permitting. 

All participants who, prior to the event, have symptoms of a respiratory infection, have a high temperature or do not feel well enough to carry out normal activities will be asked to stay at home. Any participants and facilitators who present symptoms during the programme will be asked to self-isolate until they have had a negative RAT test and will be asked to wear masks and maintain a distance to other participants if re-joining the group. 

Creative Climate Leadership Program Information Session

Download the transcript.