Communicating Climate Change – what matters, what works? That’s the driving question behind a new commission from the British Council, involving comic creators in the Philippines and the United Kingdom aimed at 18–24-year-olds, that will demonstrate how the comics medium can stimulate climate change action through the creation of a comic digital anthology.
The Lakes International Comic Art Festival (LICAF), the Philippine International Comics Festival (PICOF) and Manchester-based Creative Concern are asking those questions too, as part of an opening salvo for the “10 Years to Save the World” international comics project, which is supported by the British Council as part of its Time for Action initiative.
The British comic creators involved are Sayra Begum, whose first graphic novel Mongrel, was published by Knockabout Comics and is soon to be published in France; artist, comic artist and activist Darren Cullen; award-winning political cartoonist Zoom Rockman, whose work features in Private Eye; self-published comic creator Jack Teagle, whose eye-catching work has also been published in Polish and Russian; and Clarice Tudor, whose work enjoys a huge following on social media site Instagram.
Creators from the Philippines involved are writer Budjette Tan and artists Kajo Baldisimo, creators of the action comic Trese; Manuel “Manix” Abrera, whose comic strip “Kikomachine” runs from Monday to Saturday in the Philippine Daily Inquirer; web comic creator Kevin Raymundo aka Tarantadong Kalbo ; writer and comic book creator Emiliana Kampilan, best known for the critically-acclaimed graphic novel Dead Balagtas; and Jerico Marte and Paolo Herras of Strange Natives. Paolo is one of the co-founders of Komiket.
“Climate change is the biggest challenge of our time and getting the message right is vital to encourage everyone to take action,” say the team behind the 10 Years to Save the World project. “We’re running online discussions with young people to find out what messages motivate change.
“We’ll take these findings to inform a new project that brings comic artists and the climate change challenge together to create new artwork that will encourage more people to take action.”
The comics-focused 10 Years to Save the World is one of at least 14 creative commissions that are part of Time for Action, exploring climate change through art, science and digital technology, supported by the British Council.
The commissions were awarded through a competitive open call process, and over 480 proposals were received from all over the world. Funded by British Council, the commissions will be developed by individuals and organisations in the UK working with partners in 28 countries.
The aspiration for these commissions is to stimulate global conversations about climate change, and to inspire transformational change. The creative commissions will bring people together from the UK and 28 countries in varied cultures, from indigenous communities and rural areas to bustling metropolises to understand each other’s perspectives and collaborate on creative responses and solutions towards climate change.
10 Years to Save the World uses comics to stimulate climate change action in young people aged 18 – 24. This partnership will produce a 10-part digital comic anthology, using a variety of styles from comic strips to longer designed story-telling and graphic novels, which will be brought to life with animations, provocations and interactions, based on Creative Concern Manchester and C40 toolkit methodology.
Each of the ten narratives – some comic strips, some illustrated stories – will represent one of the remaining 10 years we have to save the world, and the final comic anthology will be made available online and to download and share in the UK, the Philippines and globally alongside the Lakes International Comic Art Festival (presented by Lakes Arts Festivals) and the Philippine International Comics Festival (presented by Komiket) through an immersive and interactive website.
It’s the aim of the partner organisations behind that the project and its underpinning methodology will challenge young people’s everyday actions and attitudes.
Other projects include an online Museum of Plastic, the creation of Cooperative Innovations (England) and Eden Festival of Action (led by Greenpop, South Africa), looking back from a future where single-use plastics have been banned and climate destruction has been averted; and Nine Earths, a new collaborative and interdisciplinary project that explores the relationship between our carbon footprint, the global consumption of day-to-day life and the differences within global cities and cultures. The project p, delivered by D-Fuse (England), Metal (Liverpool), RMIT University (Vietnam), Maya Chami (digital and visual artist), Sembilan Matahari (Indonesia), AguaForte (Brazil), Multiplicidade (Brazil), brings together independent artists, climate activists and local communities in the UK, Indonesia, Lebanon, Brazil and Vietnam.
Also in the works is Street Art Opera, an active programme inviting young participants to write, develop and perform an opera in response to climate change from a human and social perspective; and the Green Spaces Atlas, which will work with young people to conceptualise, visualise and develop urban green space models for abandoned and neglected spaces in urban neighbourhoods.
“These creative commission projects shine a light on climate ideas and action around the world and the desire for greater collaboration around these shared challenges,” says Tania Mahmoud, Cities Programmes Lead, British Council.
“We have been amazed by the quality and breadth of ideas through this open call – it was an incredibly tough decision, but we are delighted with the diverse and rich selection of final projects that have come through this commission. They are proof that climate action isn’t only possible, it’s innovative, it’s exciting and it makes a difference.”
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