Imagineer have been working with schools across Coventry as part of FLOW – Future Life of our Ocean’s Wealth – in order to reconnect pupils with local blue spaces to increase wellbeing and develop environmental awareness. FLOW is part of Coventry City of Culture 2021.
In response to a performance day which kick started the project in September and saw a ship arrive in school playgrounds, and to a series of water safaris visiting local rivers and waterways, the pupils spent some time in the Imagineerium at the Daimler Powerhouse exploring creative ideas in order to develop their own performances aimed at engaging the wider community with ocean recovery.
The children were also given the challenge to dream up an art installation to be displayed at ‘Turning the Tide’ an Oceans Fair in April 2022. Throughout November and early December, the participating schools are presenting their performances and proposals to the Imagineer team. These will be filmed for an online sharing day in December which will bring all 240 pupils together.
Kathi Leahy, Artistic Director for Imagineer’s FLOW said: “We have been hugely inspired by the enthusiasm, commitment and passion the pupils have shown to participating in the project and more importantly to ocean recovery. We are excited to see the performances they have devised in response to their experiences as part of the project but also to hear their ideas and proposals for the Turning the Tide, an Ocean Fair, planned for April 2022. It will be amazing to see their proposals become a reality over the coming months and all with the shared focus of making a real difference to ocean recovery both now and in the future.”
Marina Kelly, Senior Executive Leader of the Holy Cross Catholic MAC added: “We are delighted that our pupils in Years 4 and 5 at Holy Cross Catholic MAC schools have had the opportunity to participate in this exciting project. The FLOW project has raised awareness about our local blue spaces as well as helping our young people understand the important role they have to play as future stewards of our planet.
“The children have really enjoyed participating in the project and the opportunity to work with a variety of artists to produce a performance piece and sound scape or art installation. We are all looking forward to seeing the final pieces at the ‘Turning the Tide’ an Oceans Fair in April 2022 hosted by Bishop Ullathorne. A huge thank you to everyone involved in the project and for the opportunity to be involved.”
The following outlines the performances and proposals for Turning the Tide – an Ocean’s Fair, from each of the participating schools.
St John Vianney, Coventry
The performance by St John Vianney focuses on the rising sea levels and how this would affect a group of people living on a small island. As the storms get worse, destroying their plants and washing up rubbish onto their beach, they write a letter to send across the ocean asking us to change the way we live before it is too late.
The children’s idea for Turning the Tide is an installation in the shape of a big wave made of recycled plastic. Together they will make a 1:8 scale cut out of this wave; they have been thinking about the shape, the construction, the materials and colours that could be used.
Christ the King School, Coventry
At Christ the King, the performances are centred on an imaginary community living on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and the journey of two different plastic bottles and where they end up.
For Turning the Tide, one class have devised a binaural sound installation called Storm exploring how they can take the listener on a journey from a beautiful ocean though to extreme weather caused by global warming. The other class have devised a binaural sound installation called Water cycle. Their immersive experience uses visuals to complement their soundscape; educating the audience on our water cycle and how important this is in saving our planet.
St. Elizabeth’s School, Coventry
St. Elizabeth’s pupils performance explores all the amazing things our oceans provide, including the oxygen we breathe, marine life, a means of transporting goods and people around the world. Pupils also tell the story of how the Coventry Canal was built and what it is used for today.
By looking at famous examples of street art the children have created their own individual design exploring the idea of water and ocean recovery. Using different painting techniques, the children have added their ideas to a collective drawing ready to be transformed into a large permanent outdoor mural in 2022.
St. Augustine’s School, Coventry
At St Augustine, one class has been looking at how electricity is created through the use of fossil fuels and the impending threat of them running out. The other class has been exploring the impact of water pollution on communities who live by and depend on rivers.
For Turning the Tide, the pupils are compiling a storyboard for a short film on ways to aid Ocean recovery. Working in small groups to take on the role of camera operator, interviewer and interviewee to compile a video message on the small measures each child could make to do their part in minimising ocean pollution.
St. Thomas More School, Coventry
At St. Thomas More one class looked at how to protect our oceans and the impact it has on our sea creatures. A beautiful fish guides the audience through the story the children devised. The second piece is about how much we are polluting our planet and what we can do to resolve this. Through movement and text, a young girl shares what her grandfather once told her would happen to our ocean and planet if we don’t act now.
For Turning the Tide, one class will create an immersive, binaural sound experience listened to on headphones taking the audience to a peaceful sea. Focusing on sound design to create the sounds of waves, pebbles in water and seagulls flying above. Their soundscape will feature voices raising ocean awareness. The second class will create binaural sound experience telling the story of a child living on an island in the South Pacific and teaches how to respect the ocean.
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; The Canal and River Trust; Warwickshire Wildlife Trust; Circolumbia; Rebel Manifesto Aerial and Media Mania.
FLOW is funded by Coventry City of Culture Trust, Arts Council England Cultural Recovery Fund 2, Medwell Hyde, and Coventry City Council and the European Social Fund.