Young people at the European Climate Change Adaptation conference

Being part of the Organising Committee of the European Climate Change Adaptation Conference 2019, which took place 28-30 May in Lisbon, one of my tasks was to involve youth in the conference. I organised an art exhibition with young artists and produced a video together with my sister Johanna Bentz.

The idea was to meaningfully and creatively engage young people and give them a voice to express themselves about climate change and possible responses. The video was co-produced with and about young people and their views on climate change. Students of Antonio Arroio Art High School and St. Julian’s School, Lisbon were interviewed about their perceptions of climate change responses. The film project aims to raise awareness and climate change​ engagement. The video was displayed for the first time in the Closing Plenary of ECCA and is currently being distributed in social media.

Worldwide, there are few young people participating in public decisions around climate change. These same young people are disproportionately affected by disasters and climate change hazards: they have limited voices in the decisions and policies related to disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation, and community resilience despite calls for their empowerment as important stakeholders in these issues. In addition, young people will grow to fill leadership roles in decision-making organisations, while inheriting the consequences of climate change, policies and actions that are co-constructed today. Actively engaging and empowering children and young people to address the complex problems of climate change is a critical step to achieving resilience at local, regional, and national levels.

Art at the European Climate Change Adaptation conference

For the 4th European Climate Change Adaptation conference which took place in Lisbon between 28 and 30 May 2019, I curated and organised an art program. It consisted of a live performance, two exhibitions, and a children’s choir concert.

The conference opened with a live music and video performance by Tone Bjordam and Marten Scheffer. They performed a new work specially composed for the conference, built upon a recent article co-authored by Scheffer entitled Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene. This art and science collaboration aimed to provide the audience with a multi-sensory experience showcasing a transdisciplinary approach to the climate challenge.

 

 

 

 

An exhibition of Tone Bjordam’s paintings, inspired by different biotopes, was hosted at the conference. The drive behind the Norwegian artist’s practice is to create a space for reflection around processes in nature, and to achieve an in-depth understanding and a sense of feeling connected with nature around us. Bjordam has a Master’s Degree in Fine Arts from Oslo National Academy of the Arts and her work has been on display in numerous countries around the world. Bjordam is particularly interested in finding ways to communicate science through art, especially the wonder that drives science.

 

 

 

 

ECCA also hosted an exhibition of work from young artists. Entitled Art for Change, it is the result of a collaboration between Artistic Secondary School Antonio Arroio, Lisbon and the Art for Adaptation project. More than 80 students of grades 11 and 12 engaged with climate change through transformative learning approaches, by approaching change as an experiment, and through climate fiction.

 

 

 

 

Their artworks reflect their newly gained insights and critical thinking about the subject (Check out the supporting website created by the students to read about the rational behind the artworks). The exhibition integrated posters produced with silk print and stencil techniques, and objects which aim to question, highlight and reflect different aspects of climate change. Art for Change aims to empower young people to explore new climate narratives and solutions, help to visualise the connection between global climate change and our daily actions, and reflect on the implications of individual and collective change towards more sustainable forms of living.

 

 

 

 

Finally, the conference closed with a musical performance by the children’s choir of Santo Amaro de Oeiras, Lisbon. This choir participated in 2012 in the Global Rockstar competition, promoted by the United Nations, winning the first place with the song “My blue planet” and representing Portugal at the Rio+20 Summit in Rio de Janeiro. The choir has taken part in recordings and performances with several international artists, including Mara Abrantes, Suzy Paula, Secret Lie, and Lemm Project.

 

 

 

 

 

ART FOR ADAPTATION @ ECCA2019

I am excited to curate the art program at this year’s European Climate Change Adaptation conference (ECCA) to be hosted in Lisbon from 28–31 May 2019. A program of thought-provoking art, including visual art and music is being developed exploring alternative ways of communicating and engaging people in the complexities of climate change.

Some highlights of the Art Program:

The conference will open with a live music and video performance by Tone Bjordam and Marten Scheffer. They will perform a new work specially composed for the conference, built upon a recent article co-authored by Scheffer entitled Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene. This art and science collaboration aims to provide the audience with a multi-sensory experience showcasing a transdisciplinary approach to the climate challenge.

An exhibition of Tone Bjordam’s paintings, inspired by different biotopes, will be hosted at the conference. The drive behind the Norwegian artist’s practice is to create a space for reflection around processes in nature, and to achieve an in-depth understanding and a sense of feeling connected with nature around us. Bjordam has a Master’s Degree in Fine Arts from Oslo National Academy of the Arts and her work has been on display in numerous countries around the world. Bjordam is particularly interested in finding ways to communicate science through art, especially the wonder that drives science.

Marten Scheffer is interested in unraveling the mechanisms that determine the stability and resilience of complex systems. Although much of his work has focused on ecosystems, he also worked with a range of scientists from other disciplines to address issues of stability and shifts in natural and social systems. With the help of a Spinoza award and an ERC advanced grant he founded SparcS and now works on finding generic early warning signals for critical transitions. He also co-founded the South American Institute for Resilience and Sustainability Studies (SARAS) and is currently a distinguished professor in ecology and mathematical biology at Wageningen University.

ECCA will also host an exhibition of work from young artists. Entitled Art For Change, it is the result of a collaboration between Artistic Secondary School Antonio Arroio, Lisbon and project Art for Adaptation. 80 eleventh and twelvth-grade students engaged with climate change through transformative learning approaches, by approaching change as an experiment, and through climate fiction. Their artworks reflect their newly gained insights and critical thinking about the subject. The exhibition integrates posters produced with silk print and stencil techniques, and objects which aim to question, highlight and reflect different aspects of climate change. Art For Change aims to empower young people to explore new climate narratives and solutions, help to visualise the connection between global climate change and our daily actions, and reflect on the implications of individual and collective change towards more sustainable forms of living.

Parallel to the scientific program, conference participants are invited to the Art Room, where short films and videos on climate change will be shown.

Finally, the conference will close with a musical performance by the children’s choir of Santo Amaro de Oeiras, Lisbon. This choir participated in 2012 in the Global Rockstar competition, promoted by the United Nations, winning the first place with the song “My blue planet” and representing Portugal at the Rio+20 Summit in Rio de Janeiro. The choir has taken part in recordings and performances with several international artists, including Mara Abrantes, Suzy Paula, Michael Jackson, Secret Lie, and Lemm Project.

The ART of CHANGE exhibition 8-19 May

30 days for the climate

An exhibition about an experiment of collective change

What if we really changed? What does changing a habit imply for me and for those around me? 

24 students of the Antonio Arroio Art High School decided to change and to adopt one more sustainable habit for 30 days. Some became vegetarians, others saved water and electricity and others changed their consumer patterns. Between 12 January and 10 February 2018, the students of 11th grade (class L) of the Communication Design course explored what it means to change, analyzed the obstacles, reflected on the carbon footprint, and about social norms, structures as well as on individual and collective values. After completing the 30 days, each of the students developed an ART project about their experience with change: a poster and a booklet.

This exhibition shows the outcomes of a collective experience that resulted from a collaboration between the project Art For Adaptation (CE3C, Faculty of Sciences, University of Lisbon), the Antonio Arroio Art High School in Lisbon and cChange (Norway). The idea of this collaboration was to visualize the connection between a global problem and our everyday behaviors. The experiential setup of the project aimed to facilitate a process of reflection on behavior change including its challenges, learnings and to inspire and empower others.

Location: Lagar da Quinta de S. Vicente, Telheiras, Lisbon, Portugal.

More information here:

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How to empower young people in climate change solutions?

ART FOR CHANGE Update

How can we pass on climate change knowledge to young people in a way that they become responsible and empowered agents of change? According to the Brazilian writer, thinker and educationalist, Paulo Freire (1974) “responsibility cannot be acquired intellectually, but only through experience” (pp. 13). He advocates for an education that enables people to reflect on themselves, their responsibility and their role in society. Such education intends to develop a critical awareness (conscientização) and conscious action to transform the world.

The project ART FOR ADAPTATION aims to challenge habits and empower youth for new climate narratives and solutions through transformative learning and art.

Recently, 25 students of the António Arroio Art High School in Lisbon were engaged in an experiment with change: to choose a sustainable behavior (such as to eat less meat/be vegetarian, use pubic transportation, don´t use plastic water bottles, buy only national products) and adopt it for 30 days.

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Day 1

The 30 day experiment with change took place from the 12 January until 16 February 2018. During this period, the students reflected in regular posts on habits, social norms, structures, systems and values. They engaged in group dialogues sharing their difficulties and lessons learned and their relationships to the many facets of change. They learned that their experiment was more than just about behavioral change, or making a small reduction in the global carbon budget. Instead it was about understanding how change happens, and recognizing why people are the most powerful solution to climate change.

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Day 29 – Carnaval

Being art students, they started developing art works that reflect their personal and collective experience with change. Each student is creating a poster and a brochure that will be combined in an exhibition to the shared with national and international audiences.

 

 

Works in progress