Ocean Organ - Creative Associates 2021 project

Communities across Devon will use online games, animation, murals and other media to visualise how they can effectively address some of our most pressing climate challenges.

The Net-Zero Visions for the Devon Climate Emergency project unites community groups with creative professionals and net-zero transition experts.

Over the coming year, they will work together to produce visions of how villages, towns or cities in the county can meet the challenge of being carbon net-zero by 2050.

Those visions will then be transformed into animations, illustrations, interactive games and public murals based around – or located in – Devon communities.

Individuals from across the county will also be able to submit their own Net-Zero Visions to the project website, where an interactive map will plot the spread of public imaginings across the county.

Net-Zero Visions is designed to raise public awareness of the Devon Carbon Plan, and engage people in the process and possibilities of change.

Being led by the University of Plymouth, with funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council, it builds on previous research by Dr David Sergeant, which explored how recent novels and films have imagined the near future.

Dr Sergeant, Associate Professor in Twentieth and Twenty-First Century Literature and Principal Investigator of Net-Zero Visions, said:

“The imagination goes ahead of action. Picturing in detail how the world around you might be better can be the first step to making it so. However, while climate change affects everyone, different communities and individuals face different challenges in relation to it. Net-Zero Visions aims to support and encourage as many people as possible in exploring how the places where they live might change for the better, as a step towards making real the ambitious but urgently necessary goals of the Devon Carbon Plan.”

David Sergeant
Dr David Sergeant

Net-Zero Visions is being supported by the University’s Low Carbon Devon project, the Devon Climate Emergency Response Group and members of Devon’s Net-Zero Task Force.

It is the latest University project uniting science, the arts and community activities in the hope of inspiring climate action.

For the project, climate experts will work with groups in six Devon communities – Bideford, Exeter, Plymouth, Tiverton, Torbay, and the five-parish alliance of Wembury, Brixton, Holbeton, Yealmpton, Newton Ferrers and Noss Mayo – to get their thoughts on the main climate challenges they face.

Six creative organisations and individuals will then work with them to find ways of highlighting what needs to be done to overcome them. They are: Mutant Labs/Mutant Creative – Mobile Mini Games and Leader board; Dr Kate Crawfurd – Public Murals; Lewis Horsfield – Augmented Reality; Phil Harris – Illustrator; Ashley Potter and team – Animation; Fiona Benson – Poet.

As well as having a physical presence, the finished commissions will feature on a project website and in a special book to be distributed free to public libraries across the county.

Dr Emma Whittaker, Creative Industries Industrial Research Fellow on the Low Carbon Devon project and Co-Investigator on Net-Zero Visions, added:

“For this initiative, we will be working with community groups tackling issues linked to the climate emergency. The arts commissions are visualisations of the communities’ ambitions, a catalyst for positive action and inspiration that manifests as the net-zero near future.”

People living across Devon will be able to find out more about the Net-Zero Visions project from those involved during an online workshop on Thursday 27 January, from 6-8pm. You can register to take part in the workshop here.

Thermal image of Plymouth taken by Matthew Fox, Environmental Building Group - Special Commendation in Visions of Sustainability 2015

Sustainable Earth Institute

The Sustainable Earth Institute is about promoting a new way of thinking about the future of our world.
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