Coventry pupils Navigate the city’s blue spaces

Imagineer have launched a new project, FLOW – Future Life of our Ocean’s Wealth – as part of Coventry City of Culture 2021. A project in three parts – Navigate, Activate, Create.

FLOW has begun with pupils in Coventry navigating the city’s blue spaces and runs until April 2022.

FLOW aims to engage children, communities and artists with Ocean recovery through a creative arts framework, inspiring and developing awareness, nurturing care and challenging everyone to consider both their own personal and our collective environmental responsibility.

Kathi Leahy, Artistic Director for Imagineer’s FLOW said: “Ocean recovery is so important, we hope through FLOW that we can engage, enthuse and inspire the next generation to think about meaningful ways they can play a part in Ocean recovery.  We want to encourage young people and communities to respond to their local environment, share knowledge and encourage conversations and ultimately inspire though spectacular performance.”

Over the last 6 weeks, Imagineer have been working with schools in Coventry to reconnect with local blue spaces to increase wellbeing and develop environmental awareness. Working with primary schools across Coventry the project started with an outdoor performance as Captain Cordelia, her crew and a tricycle powered ship arrived in school playgrounds. The ship had lost its way and the crew were carrying an important environmental message about how our Oceans are being affected and damaged through climate change, pollution and other issues.

In partnership with Warwickshire Wildlife Trust and the Canal & Rivers Trust, the pupils then embarked on a series of water safaris visiting local rivers and waterways litter picking, testing the health of the water, and discovering the wildlife it supports before spending time at the Imagineerium at the Daimler Powerhouse trying out a range of creative activities from soundscape and recording sessions to collage work, movement and performance.

The schools are currently imagining and co-creating their own inspiring performances and artworks aimed at engaging the wider community with Ocean recovery. As part of this, the children prepared their own messages of hope to send to the world leaders at COP26.

Teachers and children of Christ the King Catholic Primary School, Coventry commented: “A fantastic WOW event to launch the FLOW project at Christ the King. The drama, dancing and music had all of the children engaged (and adults alike!). Hands on activities, a lot of which were child led. All of the learning experiences could be extended to future development inside and outside of the classroom.”

“Learning outside of the classroom at its best. The children were able to explore outside spaces that are local to them, giving them context in their learning. Investigations related to science, geography and also built on team work skills, communication and collaboration with others.”

“An amazing experience for all the children allowing them to participate in a range of new activities. Learning how we can protect our oceans and environment and how we can spread our message in an array of different ways. The children were so enthused and excited they were passionate about what they were doing.”

The artworks created by pupils as part of the Navigate phase of FLOW will form part of the Activate programme, an Ocean’s Fair titled ‘Turning the Tide’ which will take place in April 2022. Imagineer and partners Media Mania are encouraging young environmentalists aged 18 – 25 years to get involved and help curate the programme for the Turning the Tide event. Turning the Tide will be a place to ask questions, have conversations and find out how to get involved in ocean recovery, take action and participate in the #30×30 campaign.

Dave Mills, Media Mania said: “Featuring the work created by pupils through the Navigate project and with a programme developed and created by young people, Turning the Tide will be a family-friendly event where audiences can experience the beauty, wealth and power of the ocean through VR, film, touch and hands-on experiences.  We look forward to working with young people to make this event happen.”

FLOW is already, and will continue to, engage people with blue spaces and ocean recovery through community engagement, social activism and performance art and engineering. The project culminates in April 2022 with the Create element, a large-scale spectacle performance Milesians – The Coming of the Gaels, which will combine art, engineering, circus, aerial performers, live music, theatre and projection to tell this ancient Celtic origin myth of the last invaders of Ireland.

Imagineer is working with a range of partners to deliver this Coventry City of Culture 2021 project including: Coventry City of Culture 2021; Johnny Donnelly, ARCANA (Ireland); The Canal and River Trust; Warwickshire Wildlife Trust; Circolumbia; Rebel; Manifesto Aerial and Media Mania.

FLOW is funded by Coventry City of Culture 2021, Arts Council England Cultural Recovery Fund 2, Medwell Hyde, and Coventry City Council and the European Social Fund.