Later this year we will be holding a major two day event in the historic Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford. It will build on the series of events that we have held worldwide over past years, attended by over 2,000 people.
The focus this year will be energy, in the context of climate change. We are working in very close partnership with the major new AHRC funded Stories of Change project, which will draw on a combination of academic research and the arts to encourage a more fluid approach to current and future energy choices; this is in response to the view that the current popular and political debate is ‘stuck’.
We have taken stories as our focus because they offer a popular and engaging route into thinking about the past and present and imagining possible futures, and also because stories, narratives and narration are concepts that everybody can gather around. Our concept of stories is broad – performance in various forms, visual representations – there are many ways of telling a story.
To energise the process of thinking creatively about this our event will bring together a unique mix of skills and experience, including expertise on: energy policy, at a national and local level; business, both large and small, renewable, community-oriented and conventional; on activism, campaigning, and movements like transition towns; the media’s insights into the subject.
These and more will be matched by an equivalent number of artists. Our approach to this sort of gathering has been refined over many years, and uses a broad range of plenary and small group activity, with a minimum of being talked at, and a maximum of engagement and dialogue. Our events have been described as ‘a seedbed of unexpected conversations’, and the comments shown here illustrate some of the reactions of people who have attended them.
The purpose of this event is to kick this ambitious project off, and start the process of exploring avenues for the creation of new stories on the subject. To animate this we will be able to support new commissions to a total of £20,000 each; application will be strictly limited to those who have attended the event.
This is a major opportunity for a wide variety of artists to bring new content and challenges into their work – and to spend an enormously stimulating couple of days.
This event is part of the GALA project – a European wide program dedicated to promoting environmental sustainability and how that can be challenged in practical, ethical, and artistic ways across cultural communities in Europe. For more information see here.
This project is co-funded by the European Union
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