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Green Leaders Q&A #3: Doug Francisco – maker, creator, story teller and artivist

Doug Francisco is Director of Narrative for Boomtown Fair, and devised the RED REBEL BRIGADE, a now global performance activist troupe affiliated with XR and other environmental movements. He is co-founder and a Creative Director with The Invisible Circus, founder member and trustee of Artspace Lifespace, an artist’s charity that ‘recycles under-used properties into creative havens’ operating four significant projects across Bristol. He is a visual and performing artist with over 30 years of experience, and has a passion for storytelling in all its forms and the power of art to change the world.

1. What is the proudest achievement or moment of your career?

Invisible Circus – Carny Ville at The Island that signalled the opening of the project after a year of site works. 

2.  What was your worst ever decision, project or initiative and why?

Taking on a role with north Somerset council to reinvent Tropicana post-Banksy.

3.  What are you (or were you) excited about implementing this year/in the future?

The Plastik Paradiso art project, recycling sea plastic into sculptures and installations at events to raise awareness of the pollution crisis of our oceans.

4. Which environmental issue do you most care about?

All of them 

5.  What change have made in your personal life that you are most proud of?

Starting a process of relational psycho therapy

6.  What do you read to stay in touch with green issues?

I don’t 

7.  What is the most memorable live performance in your life?

The infamous Carny Ville at The Island in Bristol with Invisible Circus, 2008 – 2010

8. Was there a moment you committed to taking action on climate change?

Inventing the Red Rebel Brigades for Extinction Rebellion is definitely one of the big ones. I have always supported action since the nuclear disarmament campaign aged 11 years.

9.  What is most important issue to tackle at your event(s)?

Plastic cups

10. What do you think is the most significant challenge for the events industry becoming more sustainable?

Profit margins dictating action, it’s often cheaper to be unsustainable.

11. Can you share something about/from another event or company that inspired you to make a change?

Joining XR with the Red Rebel Brigade made me unwilling to work for unsustainable companies and events.

12. What is the secret to your sustainable success?

Using available resources to maximum effect, starting with nothing and making something incredible.

13. Tell us something you feel positive about right now

The corona virus changing peoples mentality to the slave state norm we have been living under.

14. Tell us a book, film or recent article you feel others should watch/read and why?

Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari. It explains how stories are at the core of our species’ supremacy and potential demise

15. Can you give people new to sustainability in event a top tip?

Don’t be dictated to by money, think of our future.

16. What is the favourite festival moment of your career?

Starting the Sunday show with no performers on our first stage at lost vagueness Glastonbury in 2002.

17. What habit or practice has helped you most in your personal journey in life?

Not being intimidated by authority or the opinions of others.

18. Is there anything new you are planning for the future that you can tell us about? Even a hint!

Other than completely reimagining everything we do, not so much! Taking it to the streets again! That’s on the cards.

19. Will we save the world?

Will the world save us is the more pertinent question.

20. What would your sustainable super power be?

Turning waste plastic into art? Or maybe into food would be better.

Follow Doug on Facebook – doug francisco and instagram @dfranciscoart

Read previous Industry Leaders Q&A: #1 with Mary Corfield, Event Director at Greenbelt Festival and #2 with Jenny Hamada, Director of Events for European Festivals at AEG Presents.

This Q&A originally appeared in our July 2020 newsletter. Sign up receive monthly event sustainability news, case studies and guest blogs direct to your inbox using the form below.