As a global community we have been dealing with the fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic for more than a year now, and as things start to slowly open up and our lives look like they might one day return to some semblance of normality, individuals, organisations and government and public sector bodies are once again beginning to look to the future.
Despite the devastation caused by Covid-19 to communities across the world there have been some obvious and universal benefits that have come about as a result of how the pandemic has changed our lives, not least when it comes to the health and wellbeing of our planet.
With people working from home, children being home schooled and whole countries encouraged not to travel, even locally, unless absolutely necessary, there has been a remarkable effect on our planet. From a marked increase in the number and variety of birds visiting inner city gardens, to stats stating that the global response to the Covid-19 pandemic has driven the biggest annual fall in CO2 emissions since World War Two (you can read the ESSD – Global Carbon Budget 2020 here) it feels like perhaps, rather than opining to return to normal, we should be redefining what we want that normal to be.
Our partner the British Council is at the forefront of those looking to capitalise on the positive fallout of Covid-19, while also stimulating the creative industries both at home and abroad. As the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities, the British Council works with more than 100 countries across the world in the fields of arts and culture, education and civil society and in 2020 it launched an open call for Creative Commissions as part of the cultural programme in the build up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), which will be hosted in Glasgow in November 2021.
Seeking commissions that bring together art, science and digital technology and offer innovative responses to climate change, successful applicants and commissions were eligible for up to £50,000 to develop their idea, the Council have just announced the 17 successful submissions.
Ranging from a collaboration between Cooperative Innovations (England) and Eden Festival of Action (led by Greenpop, South Africa) aimed at tackling the problem of single use plastic, to a Street Art Opera that tells the story of climate thanks to the partnership between Dumbworld (Northern Ireland), The Art of Music Foundation (Kenya) and White Rhino Films (Kenya) each creative project will span and research key questions of sustainability from a wide variety of angles and disciplines. You can read all about the successful submissions here.
These commissions will receive a total share of between £750,000 – £850,000 and will be developed until November 2021. Throughout the year as projects develop, the partnerships will share their outcomes through a range of digital approaches and platforms, including web-based digital storytelling and virtual reality, digital comic anthology, animation films and 360-degree experiences.
The commissions are being developed alongside a raft of other climate-themed activities the British Council is delivering in the run up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) which takes place from 1-12 November.