“… with an increasingly young global population it is the youth who by default are the most vulnerable and directly concerned by the threat of climate change”
– Mary Robinson Foundation for Climate Justice
Each Weather Stations partner and their writer-in-residence have established a school engagement programme called a Substation.
The aim of this dynamic arts and education programme is to discover with young people how our own knowledge, motivation and imaginations can lead us in adapting to the challenges and opportunities that climate change presents. The work created will be shared on this blog alongside that of the writers-in-residence and presented as part of a Youth Summit on Climate Change at the 2015 International Literature Festival Berlin.
Our Substations are:
In Ireland – Colaiste de Hide, Mount Seskin Community College and Firhouse Community College
Tallaght Community Arts and producing partner Collective Action are engaging in an educational arts programme with three second level schools focused on how storytelling can help us re-imagine how we might live our lives in 2050 as a result of climate change. Teachers and students, ages 14 – 17, have been working with a number of science experts and our Weather Stations writer in residence, award-winning Irish children and young adult writer and illustrator, Oisin McGann.
The project addresses learning across Geography, Science Arts, English, Foreign Languages, ICT and personal and social development. The schools taking part include: Colaiste de Hide, Mount Seskin Community College and Firhouse Community College.
In the UK – Islington Arts and Media School
Free Word has been working together with staff and students from Islington Arts and Media School to think about how we might use literature and storytelling to engage ourselves and others with the real, local and global issue of climate change and sustainability.
The workshops take place within an after school enrichment programme and make connections between literature, geography and climate politics. Students are supported by school staff, a Substation Coordinator and five Writers in Residence visiting from the centres in Berlin, Dublin, London, Melbourne and Warsaw.
In Australia – Footscray City College
The Weather Stations project at Footscray City College involves a class of Year Nine students in an innovative program that invites them to engage with climate change and the environment, through art and creativity. They will take writing workshops with Tony Birch, go on excursions – including a city laneway walk, a walk along the Yarra with an Indigenous perspective, and a guided forage for food in Footscray (followed by preparing a meal) – and be engaged by school visits by leading thinkers and artists. The students involved have chosen Weather Stations as one of their elective subjects for 2015. ‘One of the big questions in education, I think, is how do we engage students with thinking and acting on climate change?’ says Sue Dwyer, the teacher running the Weather Stations program at Footscray City College. ‘To most teenagers it’s still a very abstract concept – they can’t grasp the immediacy of the problem and don’t see the point in wasting time and energy on it. Climate change is in the news, but not many teenagers watch or read the news. They’re probably more familiar with the scenarios in post-apocalyptic novels, films and video games, which they see as not real. But teenagers are heading towards a future that will be radically different to anything most of us have imagined. They are the citizens, and even the leaders and policy-makers, of the future. Their generation needs to reimagine, invent, innovate and create new lifestyles, industries, careers and consumer choices. To do this, they need to be analytical and creative thinkers.’
In Poland – The General Education School Complex in Hel
Krytyka Polityczna (Political Critique) is working together with teachers and students from the General Education School Complex in Hel, running workshops and events tackling issues of how we might change ourselves step by step, day by day to become more aware and sustainable in our actions. We use literature and storytelling to engage others and ourselves with the real, local and global issue of climate change and sustainability.
The workshops make connections between literature, geography and climate politics. In autumn 2014 students prepared and performed the theatre piece “Blue Planet” to show the problem of unsustainable redistribution of wealth, which is a great problem in today’s world. The play is based on the story of the blue planet by Andri Snær Magnason. It’s a very important subject in the marine’s city in Hel, where a lot of people make their livings from fishing.
Students are supported by schoolteachers, a Substation Coordinator, five Writers in Residence visiting from the centres in Berlin, Dublin, London, Melbourne and Warsaw and our partner in Hel – The Hel Marine Station. The Hel Marine Station was established in 1992 and is a field station in the organizational structure of the Institute of Oceanography in the Faculty of Oceanography and Geography at the University of Gdańsk. As the only station of its kind in Poland it is open to the research needs of the whole scientific community of the country, and provides field support for all research groups working in this region (academic teams from various higher schools, institutes in this line of work, and the Polish Academy of Sciences).
In Germany – The Sophie Scholl School and Romain-Rolland-School
ilb works with two schools. The five authors of the project visit the students and work with them on the following questions: What does climate change means to us? Is literature a way to sensitize us? Can we use creative writing to access this subject?
The students visit workshops in theatres and museums, and hear discussions and lectures to not only expand their knowledge, but develop their empathy also.
The Sophie-Scholl-School is located in the district Berlin-Schöneberg. We are working together with one class, from 10th grade.
The Romain-Rolland-School is located in the district Berlin-Reinickendorf. It is a Gymnasium with a French focus, but the students speak English as well. Our substation group is a English course with 14 students in the 12th grade.