Harewood House Trust: radical acts towards a sustainable future

Posted Case study, News

We caught up with Harewood House Trust ahead of their 2022 Biennial, Radical Acts: Why Craft Matters, which places sustainability at the heart of it, encouraging makers to respond to ‘radical acts’, addressing urgent crises in life and society today such as the climate crisis. As one of our SAIL’s newest members, we’re looking forward to working collaboratively with Harewood to embed sustainability across their projects and exhibitions now and in the future.

Harewood House Trust is delighted be join SAIL, standing with the partner Members and re-asserting our joint commitments to tackling climate change and ensuring a sustainable and responsible future for us all.

In 2021, Harewood marked 250 years since the completion of the Grade 1 listed Palladian mansion. Now, as an educational charity and an accredited museum, Harewood is a place for everyone and the Trust not only charges itself with the conservation and care of the stunning site, but as somewhere that can be a platform for the challenges facing society today, including health and wellbeing, combatting racism, and building a sustainable future.

As part of our sustainability commitments, the Trust are joining forces with the Harewood Estate; committing to plans to discourage the use of high-carbon travel to the estate, offering new car park facilities with electric charging points and better cycle facilities, and encouraging the use of public transport and walking to the estate by offering significant discounts for those that do.

Just 7 miles outside Leeds city centre and set amongst 150-acres of Capability Brown parkland and landscape, we’re considering sustainability in our landscape by using pioneering gardens and grounds care such as no dig methodology, making our own compost, no longer using peat-based products and encouraging greater biodiversity. We’re resourcing our energy in a sustainable way through the Harewood Biomass, and eliminating waste and recycling as much as possible and providing environmentally friendly packaging across our food and retail outlets.

We’re also including sustainability in our exhibition plans, with the 2022 Harewood Biennial, Radical Acts: Why Craft Matters, launching on the 26 March with environment as a key theme. The 2022 Biennial explores why craft is a ‘radical act’, helping us to address urgent crises in life and society today, and looking to a future where we might live in a more environmentally and socially-responsible way.

The Biennial recognises that many of us had become increasingly disconnected with nature and thereby miss the opportunity to: connect and benefit our health and well-being; recognise the need for more regenerative approach to our energy and resource need in the future; and the chance to learn from the past in order to inform the future.

Radical Acts launches with a series of short films featuring some of the exhibitors involved, including Patrick Grant who launched Community Clothing, bringing sustainable clothing manufacture back to one of the textile capitals of this country – Blackburn. Furniture designer and maker Mac Collins visited Harewood in his film, opening up conversations about Harewood’s history and its colonial past, in order to help society understand issues today in The Radical Act of Respect. And finally, Sebastian Cox discusses his passion for using wood as a sustainable resource, ‘locking up carbon’ in his furniture and sustainable homeware products. Watch the films below.


From hosting enlightening workshops to rehoming unused resources, from equipping individuals with Carbon Literacy Training to partnering with local organisations for greener events, SAIL is taking the lead in West Yorkshire’s creative and cultural scene. But we’re not doing it alone. Our strength lies in our community, in the passionate and dedicated individuals and organisations committed to fostering a more sustainable future.

We’ve made a significant impact, but there’s still much to be done. We need you to join us on this journey. As a member of SAIL, you’ll not only gain access to our network and resources, but you’ll also play a vital role in driving the sustainability movement in our local creative and cultural industries.