The Green Art Lab Alliance was founded by curator/researcher Yasmine Ostendorf when she was seconded from her job at Trans Artists (NL) to Julie’s Bicycle (UK) in 2012. She was astonished with the incredible knowledge of Julie’s Bicycle on how the cultural sector can reduce its environmental footprint. Trans Artists and Julie’s Bicycle joined forces on writing an application for the European Commission to disseminate that knowledge and develop artistic labs and got another 18 organisations in Europe involved. The application was awarded and gala was born. We started as an international network of 20 arts organisations across Europe with a kick-off meeting at the Jan van Eyck Academie in the Netherlands. For two years gala was coordinated by Trans Artists and was identified as a ‘best practice project’ by the European Commission. However, the discourse on sustainability in Europe was often about innovation, science, technology and our carbon footprint. There was a desire to connect more holistically to the subject; recognizing the plurality of knowledges, and how sustainability is also about ancestrality, interconnectedness and a relationship to non-human life. The alliance grew and diversified its partnerships. gala Asia was established in 2015 with a kick-off meeting in Taipei hosted by Bamboo Curtain Studio and a year later in Bangkok hosted by BACC. gala Latin-America is being cultivated with partnerships in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Perú, Ecuador, Panama and Bolivia.
For the foundational years of gala we are eternally grateful to a bunch of incredible women, namely Maria Tuerlings, Marie Fol, Mareile Zuber, Margaret Shiu, Kadija de Paula and Alison Tickell. The alliance would not have existed without them.