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Caroline Lucas at Lancaster Litfest 2024

Last night I met Caroline Lucas. 

I learnt a lot about the action needed to help our world, which I had anticipated. 

But something she said about the arts had an impact too.

She told me (and the few hundred other people at the Litfest Environment Lecture at Lancaster University I was photographing) that we are often presented with a romanticised view of the English countryside, evidenced in 18th century poetry for example. We often see nature as something ‘out there’ and our current lack of access to much of the land in the UK, perpetuates that experience.

During the audience questions, someone asked if we have time to sit around and talk about art and poetry when there is a climate crisis going on.

Caroline’s answer was an emphatic “yes”! 

She believes that the arts enable us to explore important issues in new ways, and give us language where we struggle to convey concepts. She said that now is a vital time as ever to use the arts in this way.

Coincidentally earlier in the day, I heard physician and musician Brian Cox, talk to Lauren Laverne on Radio 6 about his new project with a 90-piece orchestra. From what I could gather, it’s a lecture and classical concert all rolled into one. 

He explained that music is a different language and sometimes we need this to help us grapple with gigantic concepts like space. 

Brian and Caroline were conveyed the same ideas…

The arts are vital.

The arts help us engage with tricky subjects in new ways.

The arts can galvanise!

And if nothing else, they can be good for the soul (something else Caroline added) and we all need some of that.

So this is exactly why Litfest and other arts festivals are so crucial to our communities and wider society.


Support your local festivals, arts events, and independent music venues!

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