When I was then

The sun beamed onto the crystallised grass,

Although bright, the air was frosty.

The wind slid through the door leading to my garden which chilled our bodies as if we had been plunged into winter.

The grass cunched like autumn leaves. Our night clothes practically set in stone and our bare feet were as cold as a witch’s heart.

Our quick footsteps pounded across the lawn as our feet numbed.

We soon realised that going on a trampoline in polar-like temperatures was not the best of ideas.imagesCAAKVBAB

Late Summer Afternoon – Lukas Hoffman, Sophie-Scholl-Schule

Berlin, 20 September 2014

Berlin, 20 September 2014


I look up.
The ocean that we call sky is clear.
The burning light of the sun hurts my eyes.
Instinctively I turn my head in another direction.
What I see is the reflecting after-glow on the other side of the big mirror.
My brain tells me it’s a good day,
but it’s been a cold day.
The sun wants to tell me something,
now that I have been thinking about her.
But she doesn’t like what I have been thinking,
so she goes and her place takes a red and orange cloud.
This beautiful blue ocean turned into a dark unclear cover.
All that happened within a few minutes.

Lukas Hoffman, Sophie-Scholl-Schule, Berlin


Berlin, 18 September, 2014.

Berlin, 18 September, 2014.

I have been spoilt this week in Berlin. The weather is clear and sunny, and I have been to a remarkable writers’ festival where the emphasis is on ideas and exchange rather than celebrities and book sales. My hosts have been remarkably generous. I feel blessed and energised, rather than drained of effort.

As part of the Global Weather Stations project, I have had the chance to meet with high school students here. Today, I conducted a creative writing workshop with the students, discussing the power of poetry, locality and the effects of climate change on each of us. Rather than ask them to contemplate a global ‘crisis’, or attempt to decipher the extent of the scientific information available about the issue of global warming, I suggested that they go home from school today and take a photograph of the sky directly above their own street or home. I asked that they then study the photograph, live with it a while, before writing a piece of prose or poetry about their own little piece of sky.

I let them know that I too have a piece of sky above my own home. I showed them an image I made the day before I left for Europe, just to prove it. We each have a piece of sky, joined to the next piece, and so on and so on, reaching from Melbourne to Berlin and all points beyond. Where would I draw a dividing line, a wall, between my piece of sky and the roof above the heads of these wonderful young people? There is no line. We are in and under this together.

Tony Birch

Dublin Substation interactive schools workshops

IMG_3003 IMG_3004 IMG_3020 IMG_3057 IMG_3067 IMG_3088

Above a selection of images taken during the workshops of Students from Coláiste de hÍde, Firhouse Community College, and Mount Seskin Community College participating in a series of workshops with author Oisin McGann


DUBLIN SUBSTATION: a youth engagement programme of Weather Stations with Tallaght Community Arts begins this August

‘ … 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
Coláiste de hÍde, Firhouse Community College, and Mount Seskin Community College
From August 2014 – September 2015, 200 second-level students and 60 teachers from are members of a dynamic arts and science learning substation that places literature and storytelling at the heart of conversations around climate change.

The project is an arts and education initiative that addresses learning across senior cycle key skills as well as Geography, Arts, English, Foreign Languages, SPHE and ICT.

Working with Tallaght Community Arts and producing partner Collective Action, this substation will collaborate with illustrator and author Oisín McGann. Together, they will explore their responses to existing climate change science and public opinion, by writing and illustrating stories that imagine the future and shape conversations about climate change.

Their work is part of a wider, 18-month long international exchange project called Weather Stations.

In addition to Tallaght Community Arts (Dublin), Weather Stations are based at Free Word (London); internationals literaturfestival berlin (Berlin); Krytyka Polityczna (Warsaw) and The Wheeler Centre (Melbourne).

Like Dublin, each Weather Station has a writer-in-residence that will work with a substation based at a local second-level school. Substations will host visits from the other international writers in residence, connecting them to the creative responses emerging from the work the young people are developing in each city.

Young people and writers from each city will share their emerging creative work over the 18 months via the project blog:www.globalweatherstations.com.

While writers in residence will be producing a body of their own work that reflects how they view our relationship with the environment, young people within each substation will be taking different approaches to how the scientific evidence for climate change might translate into stories that help us imagine How We Might Live In 2050.

The project, which will include a series of public events along with the Substation work, is made possible through support of the Culture Programme of the European Union.

Substation Activity Features
The project involves talks and workshops for teachers and students with leading scientists from Trinity College Dublin’s (TCD) Geography Department and The Irish Climate Analysis and Research UnitS (ICARUS) NUI Maynooth as well as artists and experts from The Science Gallery based at TCD. There will also be podcasting workshops with Contact Studio (South Dublin County Council Arts Office) with the work created shared on international platforms at ABC, Australia’s public broadcaster and RTE Jr. Students from each school will create stories, films, podcasts, illlustrations and more in response to the challenges and opportunities presented by climate change. Firhouse Community College will host its own Weather Station to measure changes in the climate over the duration of the project. Photographer Jonathan Stokes will document the project.

Berlin Summit 2015
In September 2015, five young people from each EU project country will represent their peers at an International Summit in Berlin hosted by project partners, internationales literaturfestival berlin. This event will be led by the young people involved in the Dublin substation.

Young people from Melbourne and our EU partners will join us via the Internet for a wide-ranging debate in which their ‘findings and writings’ will be presented to the public.

Once the school year is complete, members of Dublin Substation will be selected / volunteer for participation in an intensive 2-week summer arts camp to prepare for leading this event in September.

An online anthology of the creative responses of the young people involved along with a photographic narrative of the project will compliment the online anthology of the writer in residence responses to the overall Weather Stations project.

The project is also supported by the Arts Council, South Dublin County Council, Poetry Ireland and the Glashaus Hotel.