Future Calling ~ a new digital arts-based climate change project

“If you can read this then it’s not too late”

The year is 2050. We’ve failed to address the ecological and climate crises of the past. Lives are harder than we could have ever imagined. But humble hope exists in the hands of a small group of school pupils in 2020… if only we could get a message back to them to show them how…

With climate change becoming an increasingly urgent issue, and Glasgow set to host the next international climate talks, it is vital that people of all ages can engage in the issues and share ideas about positive ways forward. That’s why Eco Drama have created ‘Future Calling’, a 4 week digital climate change and arts project specially for S1 pupils at Boclair Academy, taking place during May-June 2020 under lockdown conditions. Drawing from diverse forms including environmental education, storytelling, futurecasting and climate science, pupils will have the opportunity to creatively develop their understanding, respect and care for the natural world, and create short media pieces which will be shared at a Glasgow-wide celebration event ahead of the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference to be held in Glasgow in 2021.

Future Calling was originally scheduled as a creative outdoor learning project on the grounds of Boclair Academy, which was to be Eco Drama’s first outdoor project with a secondary school, building on the foundations of Out to Play and tailoring delivery to engage 11-13 year old’s. However, in light of the virus and school closures, the project has now been restructured as an online creative learning programme, and will be offered as a combination of pre-recorded videos, live audio, worksheets and solo/group activities, some of which can be undertaken outdoors.

Children and young people have a huge amount to deal with at the moment, with recent reports of young people suffering from ‘climate anxiety’ and now with the corona virus anxiety on top of this, there is a strong need for creative outlets to support young people to explore their thoughts and feelings on the climate emergency and to nurture and develop their creativity, confidence and emotional resilience.

Future Calling will address the theme of climate change by telling the story of a future world in 2050, where humans have not made the necessary changes to avert climate destruction. Although initially presenting a dystopian future, the aim is to engage and empower young people to realise that they have the autonomy and power to create an alternative, and that change can be made now in 2020. By engaging imaginations and exploring ‘What if…’ the project aims to inspire young people to re-imagine a future full of hope, possibility and environmental harmony.

A Message from 2050 – Dystopian Provocation

The following film is a provocation that participants will watch at the beginning of the project.  It was created in just a few hours with basic filming equipment as an example of an imagined future story which anyone could make easily. This resource is designed to encourage a response and sets the scene for pupils to explore more about the climate crisis, and build towards creating their own alternative vision for the future that is hopeful and imaginative, with the guidance of Ben Mali, an artist and environmental educator. These films will be presented at a public event in Glasgow, hosted ahead of COP26, details to be confirmed.

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If your school would like to participate in the Future Calling project, please get in touch.

The Future Calling project is gratefully supported by Education Scotland’s Creative Curriculum Fund and the Glasgow Centre for Population Health.