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Posted 20.09.19

Plymouth College of Art supports the Global Climate Strikes

By Phillip Buchan

Staff and students from Plymouth College of Art

Today millions of people from around the world, from Sydney to Manila, Dhaka to London and New York are marching together for urgent action in response to the climate emergency. 

Staff and student council members here voted to close our Palace Court pre-degree campus for 16 to 19-year-olds for the day, in support of the Global Climate Strike and UK Student Climate Network, following joint requests from staff and pre-degree students at the college.

The Plymouth event was incredibly well attended, with staff from across the college protesting side by side with students of all ages in a show of support for the climate movement. Today’s strike is the biggest yet since environmental activist Greta Thunberg started the Global Climate Strikes in March this year, campaigning for global governments to take action.

Students from our Palace Court campus were joined at the protests by Plymouth City Council Leader, Tudor Evans OBE, and Luke Pollard MP.

“Well done to all the young people, parents and teachers here today. We are part of the Global Climate Strike protest and I’m proud to be backing action to fight climate change.”

– Luke Pollard MP

In preparation for the Global Climate Strike, Chris Smith, Plymouth College of Art’s Pre-Degree Sustainability Lead, coordinated students and other members of staff at our Palace Court campus, supporting students who chose to discuss the climate emergency within their lessons and examining how individuals could make a difference in their own artistic practices.

Some Graphics, Illustration & Game Arts students created protest placards in their free time, documented by Photography students, while Performing & Production Arts students learned and rehearsed the song ‘Emergency’ by Blythe Pepino, which was selected by the Extinction Rebellion Choir as a protest song that could be sung at events across the UK.

17-year-old Tris Olner is in the second year of her UAL Level 3 Extended Diploma in Art & Design. Speaking at the strike, Tris said: “Coming from an institution like Plymouth College of Art, I feel like it’s important that we have the freedom to respond to the topics that directly affect us. The Global Climate Strikes have given us a voice and I’m happy that our teachers at Palace Court are supporting us to express our concerns over climate change in creative, impactful ways.”

Matias Shortcook, Dean of Pre-Degree at Plymouth College of Art, said: “At Plymouth College of Art we believe in the importance of social action for positive change. We also believe that climate change is a challenge that will affect the future of all our students in dramatic and important ways. After numerous requests from staff and students to join the day of action this week, student representatives met and unanimously voted to support this. We honoured their wishes by closing our Palace Court campus for the day to show support for the young climate strikers, encouraging students to engage with the climate strike movement or other forms of positive social action.”

On the same day at our main undergraduate campus for Higher Education, academics and creative practitioners from around the world were attending Making Futures, our biennial international conference and research platform exploring global sustainability and the future of small-scale creative production.

Making Futures 2019 is titled People, Place, Meaning: Crafting Social Worlds & Social Making. Convinced of the transformative potential of small-scale making and its capacity to contribute to new progressive futures, Making Futures seeks to situate these material cultures at the centre of some of the critical issues facing global society: how to move beyond mass consumption and towards economies that value humanity’s need for wellbeing whilst working to respect other forms of nature.

17-year-old Millica Bishop-Morris from Turnchapel, Plymouth, is in the second year of her UAL Level 3 Extended Diploma in Art & Design (Fashion & Textiles). After attending the Global Climate Strike, Millica addressed international academics at Making Futures to talk about why she supports the strikes and how young people can tackle the climate emergency.

Millica said: “Climate change is the biggest problem that our planet is facing. We are running out of time to fix the mess that previous generations have caused. It is my generation that will have to go through what could be a climate apocalypse. I want to have a future and live an incredible life, but at the moment I may not have that chance.”

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