Season for Ex-Change
UK-wide cultural programme celebrates the environment & inspires urgent, inclusive climate action
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Published: 26 October 2020
This Article was Written by: Katie Hill - My Green Pod
Main image: Lily Komg
From 26 October–13 November 2020, cultural and environmental professionals and groundbreaking artists will lead a free digital events programme dedicated to inform, inspire and mobilise the arts sector to come together for urgent, inclusive action on the climate and ecological crisis.
The three-week series of workshops, discussions, presentations and performances will explore issues ranging from ethical fundraising to climate justice in arts programming, producing sustainable events, the future of fashion and sustainable cities and current public perceptions of climate change.
The programme will support organisations and individual artists to connect with peers and identify how you can take part in the Season for Change programme in 2021.
‘We’re excited to launch Season for Ex-Change and are looking forward to the conversations we hope it will spark. The variety of events represent the wide-ranging and inclusive approach to talking about climate change and climate justice. Our aim is to help refocus the lens where talking about the environment and sustainability is concerned and hear directly from those groups and
communities who are and will be most adversely affected if we continue as we are.”
Season for Change programme manager
Common Ground commissions
Running until April 2021, the Common Ground initiative supports four UK-based artists and makers to create collaborative works centred around under-represented communities in the climate movement.
Applications were welcomed from Black, Asian and minority ethnic (people of colour), refugee, D/deaf, disabled, neurodivergent, working class and LGBTQI+ creators.
‘Arts and culture, now more than ever, play crucial roles in all of our lives. I believe in their power to bring communities together, create more inclusive societies and ultimately make the world a better place – which includes building a more environmentally sustainable future for everyone.
‘Season for Change’ raises awareness and champions innovation, bringing the cultural sector together to drive real change. I’m very pleased that the Arts Council has been able to support the programme, and congratulate Julie’s Bicycle and Artsadmin in bringing together this thought-provoking digital project, especially during the circumstances of the pandemic.’
Chair of Arts Council England
Ahead of the UK hosting COP26 next year and in the context of Covid-19 – which has disproportionately impacted marginalised communities, mirroring global social and environmental inequalities – Common Ground will challenge imbalances in the climate movement and promote climate justice.
Through games co-created with young people at risk of entering the criminal justice system, to a travelling project with an intergenerational group of people of African heritage and British farmers, the Common Ground projects will explore the impact that climate change is having on
communities often excluded from the climate conversation. Each artist will receive £10,000 towards their project and will be supported throughout with a professional development programme.
The projects and artists are:
JENNIFER FARMER & ZOE PALMER
The Dream (ing) Field Lab
Farmer (theatre-maker and facilitator) and Palmer (writer, maker and human ecologist) will bring together an intergenerational group of people of African heritage and British farmers for three days of rest, rituals and collaboration to create a climate justice manifesto and a practical field kit, culminating in the development of a travelling immersive installation that explores relationships with the British countryside and what happens when we rest and dream in the rural landscape.
‘We use acts of radical self-care and joy to nurture and encourage a time to dream and re-imagine our relationship with land, rural spaces and each other. The Dream(ing) Field Lab will be a meeting place, a sanctuary, a crucible, and an imaginarium. For Zoe, who has long been an environmentalist, the project will be a way to weave together her art and ecological activism on the subject of climate justice. For Jennifer, it’s also an extension of her work in terms of exploring my relationship with land and growing in relation to being the great-great-granddaughter of enslaved people forced into agricultural labour.’
JENNIFER FARMER & ZOE PALMER
Airs of the South Circular
Recording artist, songwriter and producer Ssega will draw on the tragic effects of air pollution in the South Circular and London Boroughs of Lewisham and Southwark to create a four-stranded project bringing the neglected stories and voices of the black community into collective consciousness and public debate. The project will be delivered through the mediums of a recorded EP, visual trailer, pamphlet and comic.
‘My Common Ground commission is focused specifically on the Black community and climate justice. As a son, cousin, nephew and brother of this community, I feel it’s my duty to get the stories and voices that I have both lived with and grown up amongst, into the collective consciousness and wider public debate. I’m looking forward to working alongside the other selected artists.’
With a focus on filling a visible gap in the knowledge and understanding of the Roma community, this work by artist-researcher and activist Cisneros aims to inspire vulnerable young people and their families through a series of educational activities and art workshops in South Yorkshire on the importance of both Roma history and recycling. The project will culminate in a lasting legacy in the form of a children’s book to be shared with services for awareness of the community.
HWA YOUNG JUNG
Bringing the missing voice and viewpoint of young people at risk of entering, and experience within, the criminal justice system to the forefront of environmental discourse, this work by the socially engaged artist Jung will challenge the ideas of a ‘natural state’ for
humans and non-humans. Workshops with the young people using socially engaged, heavily discursive methods, will focus on the loss of biodiversity and rewilding as one solution to the climate crisis. The final co-produced artwork will take the form of a game.