CCL Alumni in Focus: Rie Alkemade

headshot of Rie Alkemade

Julie’s Bicycle’s Creative Climate Leadership (CCL) programme aims to build an international network of diverse and influential cultural climate leaders who will work with their communities to make change happen.

Rie Alkemade took part in the CCL Benelux 2023 programme. She is a project and relations manager and a cultural producer with a keen interest in the creative artistic and cultural fields.

How has your journey unfolded since CCL, and what creative climate projects are you currently working on?

Since I took part in CCL Benelux almost exactly a year ago, in my work as a Project Officer for the Cultural Relations Platform, I was involved in the coordination of a week-long learning programme called the Global Cultural Relations Programme (GCRP), with the 2023 edition being a special one with a thematic focus on climate change and environmental issues. We had a cohort of 40 participants from either the cultural and creative sectors or from the fields of climate change and environmental professions. It was such an inspiring experience bringing these two different sectors together, many who have not worked with each other’s disciplines, and hearing all the stimulating discussions. I’m currently (unfortunately!) not working on dedicated creative climate projects at the moment, but I hope the near future will bring some more opportunities.

What is a key piece of learning or inspiration you took away from CCL that you’d like to share with others?

To approach climate work with empathy. Across the world, the climate crisis is affecting different people in different ways. Many people are doing climate work in the best ways possible with the resources they have on hand, and these resources are different: financial resources, time resources, health and energy resources. The climate crisis is urgent, yes, and action is needed: we also need to be aware and empathetic of differences in the available resources, accesses, and privileges we all have and not approach climate work with singularity.

Two people chatting together indoors
Rie (right) at CCL Benelux March 2023. Photo by Moa Karlberg

What does Creative Climate Leadership mean to you? What is most exciting about working in the arts/creative community on climate transformations?

Before CCL, I would have answered creative climate leadership is about the power and value of culture and creativity in climate action, that culture has the tools and means of thinking outside of the box in tackling climate issues and is indispensable. This is true, but I actually like to think of creative climate leadership as more of a two-way process: it’s not only about the value of culture in more data and science-based climate action but incorporating the vice-versa as well. I think the power of the creative community is its fluidity in ways of working and its innovative nature, and we as the cultural and creative community should just as readily take in and learn from other disciplines and sectors as well as continue to advocate for the role of culture in climate action. The relationship should be symbiotic. I think that’s what makes this work so incredibly interesting and valuable, because there is still so much to give and so much to learn.

What is your project looking to achieve and your ambitions for it? What transformations or visions of a liveable future are you working towards in your community or organisation?

In future, I hope to work in more collaborations bringing together cultural practitioners and organisations with those working in completely different fields. Why not work with environmental scientists? Circular economists? Sustainable investment analysts? A liveable future is a larger societal concern, and we cannot really work towards it just amongst ourselves as cultural practitioners.

What is one piece of advice you would give to someone working on climate-related projects right now?

Connect with people outside your bubble! For better or for worse, we tend to get stuck within our own community bubbles, whether it be other cultural practitioners or people in our own cultures or nations. Climate action is a global, societal phenomenon and we need to speak to people working in other fields and connect with people in different cultures – it will be eye-opening.

Circle with people sharing knowledge
Rie (right) speaking at a workshop

Any upcoming programmes / webinars / events to mention?

We have an upcoming events page on the website of the Cultural Relations Platform which is always interesting to keep an eye on.
While this is not immediately upcoming, the next world EXPO will be taking place in Osaka in 2025 with programming curated around thematic weeks: in the spring, two weeks will be focused on culture (co-creation, diversity, and mobility) and in the fall there will be two weeks focusing on biodiversity and the SDGs. Might be interesting to see what that programme looks like!

If you were to imagine a world that is well on its way to solving the climate emergency, what kinds of changes would be expressed within the creative field you are a part of? (asked by previous CCL Spotlight interviewee Donna Grantis)

More conscientious attention given to climate justice from ‘Global North’ cultural policymakers. Greening the sectors being more of a well-supported and well-funded action that is a default, as opposed to being a difficulty.


Click Here


Click Here