Published 19 January 202320 February 2023 · open letter / the arts An open letter to the Adelaide Botanic Gardens from South Australia’s Arts Community Editorial team TO: Susan Close, MP – Minister for Climate, Environment and Water Michael Harvey – Director, Adelaide Botanic Gardens Judy Potter – Chair, Board of the Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium Friends of the Adelaide Botanic Gardens Dear custodians of Adelaide Botanic Gardens and the Museum of Economic Botany, As artists, writers, and workers in the arts and culture sector, we value the unique presence of the Museum of Economic Botany in Adelaide’s Botanic Gardens. We appreciate the Museum for sharing knowledge about nature, craft, and history to inform and delight the public. We value its magnificent architecture and its heritage as the last museum of its kind in the world. We also value the work of the Museum in making space for contemporary art exhibitions, bringing artists into conversation with the collection and sharing our work with visitors to the Gardens. As artists, writers, and workers in the arts and culture sector, we are deeply concerned about the climate emergency. We believe that Santos’ naming-rights sponsorship of the Museum of Economic Botany is inconsistent with the educational, curatorial, and cultural importance of the Museum, and at odds with the sustainability and conservation work of the Adelaide Botanic Gardens. Fossil fuel companies like Santos are major contributors to the emissions that cause global heating. These companies directly contribute to the climate emergency, but continue to derive social licence from sponsoring public events, sporting clubs, and the arts. In its latest report, the Clean Energy Regulator names Santos as one of Australia’s ten highest greenhouse gas emitters. Despite the company’s claims to be reducing these emissions, the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) reports that over the past five years, Santos’s total emissions have risen by 94%. In September 2022, the Federal Court dismissed Santos’ plans to drill the Barossa gas field due to inadequate consultation with traditional owners. The company is the subject of another case before the court, facing accusations of greenwashing and false reporting related to emissions reduction. Despite the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) finding that any new oil and gas expansion will be incompatible with the 1.5 degree target set by the Paris agreement, Santos continues to expand its oil and gas production in Australia and elsewhere. As a result of these concerns, Darwin Festival, Macquarie University and the Science Schools Foundation have all dropped sponsorship agreements with Santos in 2022, and Adelaide Zoo has terminated a previous arrangement with Santos for naming rights sponsorship of its Conservation Centre. The Gardens plays an important role in the cultural life of South Australia, hosting events such as Light Cycles and Shakespeare plays, public panels and Fringe performances, bringing art and nature into dialogue. The Botanic Gardens is also directly impacted by rising temperatures and needs responsible stewardship to ensure its survival. The Botanic Gardens’ stated vision is of ‘a community inspired to actively contribute to the sustainability of our world.’ Santos sponsorship contradicts this vision. In June 2022, South Australia became the first Australian state to declare a climate emergency. We are world leaders in renewable energy. We believe that South Australians can also show leadership by ending fossil fuel sponsorships and advertising in our state. The arts community advocates for change through the work we make and the stories we share. Many of us have or are developing environmental impact policies. We cannot accept sponsorship arrangements that are so out of keeping with our values. The Museum of Economic Botany is an important public museum and gallery, and we want it to remain free and open, to continue to welcome visitors to our state and to delight and inspire everyone long into the future. We call on the Botanic Gardens to end the sponsorship agreement with Santos immediately and to develop a comprehensive policy to ensure that fossil fuel companies will never again benefit from an association with our beautiful Museum or any aspect of the Gardens. We urge the South Australian government to divest from all sponsorship arrangements with fossil fuel companies. Signed, Sandy Ahmed, Art teacher/Artist Kelly Albion, 350.org (VIC) John Alexander, Artist Jessica Alice, Writers SA Ali Baker, First Nations Mirning artist and academic Donald Barnes, Retired Peter Barnes, Photographer Kay Bennetts, Supporter Gabrielle Bond, Sustainable Prosperity Action Group Tom Borgas, Artist Ben Brooker, Writer Dr Andrew Buchanan, Supporter Thom Buchanan, Artist Elizabeth (Liz) Butler, Artist, Laneway Print Studio Ainoa Cabada, The University of Adelaide Elaine Cain, Writer Tarsha Cameron, Artist Catherine Campbell, Singer/Actor/Academic Sarah Cartwright, Supporter Will Cheesman, Artist Alice Clanachan, Curator Danielle Clode, Writer Catherine Cox, Singer Tracy Crisp, Writer and Performer Zena Cumpston, artist/researcher (Vic) Polly Dance, Curator Eileen Darley, Freelance performer Steph Daughtry, Theatre Melissa Lee Delaney, Aust Network for Art & Technology (ANAT) Piri Eddy, Writer/Playwright Marie Falcinella, Arts Administrator Ian Fox, XRSA Pauline Fox, Musician and teacher Honor Freeman, Artist Lauren Fuge, University of South Australia Ian Gibbins, Video artist/Poet Dan Grieve, DOTS: Democracy On The Streets Dominic Guerrera, Poet/Writer Trish Hammond, Supporter Nicole Hanlon, Writer Ray Harris, Artist Stu Hay, 3D radio Sophie Hayat, Supporter Rachel Healy, Rachel Healy & Associates Nix Herriot, Arts worker Michael Hopkins, Writer Beatrice Jeavons, Producer Peter Jones, Performance Hannah Kent, Novelist and screenwriter Heidi Kenyon, Visual artist Alex Kelly, Filmmaker (VIC) Anthony Kelly, Documentary filmmaker (VIC) Kate Larsen, Writer and Consultant Karen Lever, Artist Michael Lickorish, Anthropologist Lina Limosani, Dancer/Choreographer Becci Love, Adelaide Contemporary Experimental Cassie Magin, Vitalstatistix Sue McKinnon, Knitters & Stitchers Cameron McVicar, Museums Margaret Merrilees, Writer Jennifer Mills, Author Barry Mitchell, Radio Adelaide Pete Monaghan, Writer Caitlin Ellen Moore, Producer Sharon Nathani, Arts and philanthropy researcher Toby Nevill, Collage/street artist Heath Nicholson, University of Tasmania (TAS) Justin O’Connor, Professor of Cultural Economy, UniSA Kyle Opie, Musician Monica O’Wheel, Stitchers and Knitters Rosella Paletti, Artist Judy Parham, Artist Richard Parncutt, Centre for Systematic Musicology Deborah Prior, Artist Caroline Reid, Poet/Performer/Writer Elliat Rich, Independent designer (NT) Andrew Roff, Writer Stef Rozitis, Writer Lyn-K Saunders, Extinction Rebellion SA Rebecca Selleck, Artist (ACT) Samantha Sharplin, Filmmaker Tony Shaw, Painter Eva Sifis, By Accident Melanie Smith, Editor Beth Sometimes, Watch This Space (NT) Danielle Stafford, Artist Lisa Stefanoff, Writer/Media producer (NT) Marijana Tadic, Sculptor Penny Tangey, Children’s author (WA) Anne-Marie Te Whiu,Writer/Producer Meme Thorne, Performer Lara Tilbrook, Artist & Designer Kasia Tons, Textile artist Datsun Tran, Artist Irene Tsimiklis, Florist Hen Vaughan, Writer/Artist Tricia Walton, Arts Manager Vivien Warwick, Red Rebels of South Australia Sera Waters, Artist Richard Watts, Writer (VIC) Emma Webb, Director, Vitalstatistix Jessica White, University of South Australia Rosemary Whitehead, Visual artist Samuel Whiting, UniSA Creative Sean Williams, Author & Flinders University Laura Wills, Visual Artist Jo Wilmot, Artist and curator Marc Wilson, Photography Damien Wise, Writer Matthew Wright-Simon, Engage Change Ella York, Independent creative Damon Young, Author (TAS) To add your name to this letter, you can use the form here Editorial team More by Editorial team › Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places. If you like this piece, or support Overland’s work in general, please subscribe or donate. Related articles & Essays First published in Overland Issue 228 20 February 202322 February 2023 · Workers' rights The artist as essential worker Jennifer Mills I am cautiously optimistic about the return of the artist as worker. Legislated fair pay, workplace safety, collective bargaining, public value, and yes, access to unemployment benefits offer a steady way forward for a troubled sector. It’s no surprise that more radical plans for a post-work utopia are not in Labor’s sights: it remains our (essential) work to imagine them. First published in Overland Issue 228 8 September 202220 September 2022 · open letter Authors stand with Readings booksellers for a living wage Editorial team Readings can afford to pay a living wage to its workers. 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