University of Winchester students sing out for action ahead of COP26 in collaborative project by The Grange Festival and WWF

30 Sep 2021
Two female students looking through a fence covered in foliage

Undergraduate students from the University of Winchester express their hopes about a sustainable future for the planet in a film which is set to be shown at COP26, the United Nations Climate Conference in Glasgow in November.

The film is part of the Future Visions challenge, a project led by Learning@TheGrange in collaboration with WWF. The creative project has amplified the voices of nearly 250 young people aged seven to 23 years in response to the global climate emergency. The films are intended to be shown at a number of global conferences, including COP26, to drive conversations about how to sustain life on Earth.

Last May, through interactive workshops guided by creative professionals, groups from nine schools and educational institutions, including the University of Winchester, discussed and debated different global landscapes from the Amazon rainforest to our ancient woodlands here in the UK. They examined WWF’s scientific truths, explored the steps that countries and individuals need to take to drive transformative change and developed a vision for the future.

The creative workshops at the University were led by composer Jessica Maryon Davies and director Karen Gillingham on the theme of concrete urban life.

Students were encouraged to dig deep into their imaginations and wrote text, composed music and choreographed dance to represent how they want life to be on our living planet. Their songs were filmed and illustrated with WWF footage.

The collection of films were launched yesterday (Wednesday 29 September) at a special screening at The Grange Festival theatre to an audience of young people, teachers, educationalists and environmentalists.

Susan Hamilton, Director of Learning, The Grange Festival comments: “Our collaboration with WWF aims to encourage young people to look at our damaged world through new lenses. By discovering and developing these kinds of life skills, the next generation will be better equipped to plan for a positive future – a future which requires them to work alongside nature – and influence decision makers so that collectively, we respect the needs of the planet. We hope Future Visions will demonstrate that through innovative creative activity, young people can devise original ways of tackling big challenges, expressing their opinions, conclusions and proposals persuasively.”

Simon Boxley, Convener of the University’s Centre for Climate Change Action and Education argues: “Universities should be providing many more opportunities of the kind offered here. Students across every discipline need to find ways to engage their heart and soul as well as their intellect with the challenges that climate change poses.”

Winchester is the only university involved in the project, alongside schools including: Preston Candover Primary School; The Vyne Secondary School in Basingstoke; Everest Community Academy; Perins School, and Cheriton Primary School.

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