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Cop26: Arts projects to connect young people with climate change announced

A play co-written across continents by young people in South Wales and the Amazon rainforest in Brazil is among several climate engagement projects supported by UK Government funding which have been announced ahead of Cop26.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) have announced a £120,000 investment in a series of projects to encourage 14-18-year-olds to engage with, and contribute to, important climate research.

The projects will take place between September and December to coincide with the Cop26 United Nations climate change summit which will take place in Glasgow this autumn.

They include the Climate in Your Hands project which will invite 14-18-year-olds based in Glasgow to explore climate change issues by making magazines, while in Edinburgh young people from the city’s Caribbean communities will be encouraged to explore climate change through their food heritage.

READ MORE: Edinburgh lawyer heads COP26 legal services

Another initiative will involve six online creative workshops bringing together 10 young people from South Wales with 10 young indigenous people from the Upper Xingu Territory in the Amazon basin, Brazil, to generate a collective, multimedia performance that captures their responses to climate change in drastically different environments.

Professor Christopher Smith, AHRC Executive Chair, said: “If we are going to come together as a global community to address the climate crisis, we need to ensure that people from all ages and walks of life are engaged with this crucial issue.

“These investments are a testament to the ability of the creative arts, theatre and storytelling to bring complex issues to life, and to bring people together.

“Young people have a particular stake in this because it is their future that is at risk.

“Their engagement in, and creative contribution to, these activities will lead to a deeper, more meaningful understanding of the need to work towards a more sustainable future.”

Other projects include a series of workshops in Exeter which aim to support young LGBTQ+ people to develop their own perspectives on climate change and another where 14-18-year-olds in Wigan and Leigh will work with academics, songwriters and the Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside (LWT) to co-create songs.

READ MORE: Scotland’s sustainable future to come under the spotlight as COP26 looms

Tom Saunders, UKRI Head of Public Engagement, said: “UKRI is keen to support researchers and innovators to engage with young people on crucial issues like climate change.

“These investments will establish a dialogue between the research and innovation community and the public that will bring underrepresented voices into the climate debate and provide valuable insights into young people’s views on climate change.

“They will help to ensure that the future of climate research is informed by a diverse range of people and foster a more inclusive research and innovation system.”

Energy and Climate Change Minister, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, said: “Tackling climate change is an endeavour which must include all age groups across society and connect communities around the world.

“I look forward to seeing the fruition of this inspiring Cop26 initiative that will channel the fresh ideas, energy and creativity of teenagers across the globe into our fight against climate change”.



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