On Friday 20 September our Palace Court pre-degree campus for 16 to 19-year-olds will be closed in support of the Global Climate Strike and UK Student Climate Network, following joint requests from staff and pre-degree students, a unanimous vote by student representatives, and academic staff consultation.
Thousands of people across the world will be joining Greta Thunberg and Student Climate activists on Friday 20 September in a general strike in support of the global student climate strike movement. The UK Student Climate Network is organising demonstrations across dozens of UK cities, including a Plymouth strike at Drake Circus at 12pm.
“Climate breakdown and the destruction of the natural world is the greatest challenge humanity has ever faced. Such a challenge requires a solution equally great to meet it head on. To emerge from the climate crisis requires bold thinking that moves beyond what has been previously thought possible and into what is necessary.”
– UK Student Climate Network Statement, September 2019
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 Palace Court who chose to discuss the climate emergency within their lessons, looking at how to make a difference in their own artistic practices.
Some Graphics, Illustration & Game Arts students have created protest placards in their free time, documented by Photography students, while new Performing & Production Arts students have 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.
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 intend to honour 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.”
Addressing sustainability in making
On the same day at our main campus for Higher Education, academics and creative practitioners from around the world will attend Making Futures, the biennial college-led international conference and research platform exploring global sustainability and the future of small-scale creative production.
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). Millica plans to attend the Climate Strike in Plymouth before addressing international academics at Making Futures to talk about why she supports the strikes and how young people can tackle the climate emergency.
Speaking ahead of the strike, 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.”
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.