As Boris Johnson is reported as saying it is “touch and go” whether Britain can secure deals at this week’s COP26 summit to curb irreversible climate change – and controversially dismissing recycling as “a red herring” – Dorset foundation Cape Farewell and Lighthouse, Poole’s centre for the arts, have come together to make this important issue local.
Their collaboration has resulted in the wAteR climate festival, which runs from 3 November to 4 December and features thought-provoking and engaging new artworks, film, spoken word, music, poetry and debate programmed to Illuminate the current science and thinking around the climate emergency.
While the world’s politicians gather at COP26, wAteR climaTe festival shines a light on the climate challenge case in the South-West with an inspiring and provocative new programme that will bring climate science to life with simplicity and directness.
The centrepiece of the festival is a compelling new gallery exhibition that tells the devastating story of climate change on freshwater habitats in our own backyard.
The programme continues with live performances that creatively re-imagine the environmental crisis through poetry, music and comedy, a series of internationally acclaimed climate-focused film screenings (with Q&As with the directors), workshops for local writers, and a public arts/science debate with eminent climate scientists and commentators.
Using creativity to innovate, Cape Farewell engages artists for their ability to evolve and amplify a creative language, communicating on a human scale the urgency of the global climate challenge. Cape Farewell is committed to the notion that artists can engage the public around pressing ecological issues, through creative insight and vision.
“Climate change is no longer the preserve of the Arctic or Amazon: it is here in our own communities, presenting a cultural challenge for which we are all the solution as well as the problem,” says David Buckland, Founder and International Director, Cape Farewell.
RiverRun, 3 Nov – 4 Dec, Gallery. Working during the period of Covid, a group of four artists – David Buckland, founder/director of Cape Farewell; multidisciplinary artist Anna Frijstein; Helen Moore, an eco-poet and socially engaged artist; and filmmaker James Murray-White – have been in dialogue with Cape Farewell’s scientific partners and local farmers. Together, they have engaged in a creative programme of research and development in and around Poole Bay and its watershed – the network of rivers that feed into the harbour, and in particular the Frome, a chalk river.
Burning Ice, 3 Nov, Cinema. Originally screened on Sundance TV as Burning Ice this film charts the Cape Farewell expedition to the high Arctic voyaging in West Greenland aboard a Russian Ice breaker featuring Jarvis Cocker, KT Tunstall, Feist, Laurie Anderson, Shlomo, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Martha Wainwright, Robyn Hitchcock with the wit and insight of comedian Marcus Brigstocke and poet Lemn Sissay.
The Biggest Little Farm (PG), 4 Nov, Cinema. A testament to the immense complexity of nature, The Biggest Little Farm follows two dreamers and a dog on an odyssey to bring harmony to both their lives and the land.
Sirens (pictured), 5 Nov, Sherling Studio. Spoken word artists Chris White, Liv Torc, Peter Bearder and Shagufta K Iqbal are joined by musicians Hal Kelly and Pete Yelding, for this extraordinary show which inspires a cultural revival on climate activism.
For Earth’s Sake!, 3 Nov, Sherling Studio. Poetry and performance by Helen Moore and Anna Frijstein, artists from the RiverRun Project.
Rivercide, 9 Nov, Cinema. A recording of the world’s first investigative documentary, following George Monbiot as he seeks to uncover who is polluting our rivers and why they’re not being stopped. Followed by a Q&A, via Zoom direct from COP26, with director Franny Armstrong.
High Tide Don’t Hide, 10 Nov, Cinema. Determined to provoke real action, New Zealand teenagers nationwide join the Global School Strike for Climate, but affecting change is a complicated business. Followed by a Q&A direct from New Zealand with director Niva Kay and team.
Wild Writing, 10 Nov, Sherling Studio. Eco-poet Helen Moore presents the fruits of the festival’s Wild Writing workshops.