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The earth is in a cry for help.
Our skin burns like never before
as cracks cannot be filled in, as if the earth’s crust
was like glass.
Rita Paz, Arts and Media School, Islington, London
Weather Stations was an 18-month long international project placing literature and storytelling at the heart of discussions about climate change. It brought together 5 partners from across the world – internationales literaturfestival berlin, Krytyka Polityczna in Warsaw, Tallaght Community Arts in Dublin, The Wheeler Centre in Melbourne and Free Word Centre in London. Each organisation established a Weather Station at their cultural institution and a Sub-Station at a local school facilitating writing workshops and activities that engaged students in key questions about living with our changing climate.
On 11 September 2015 students from Berlin, Dublin, London and Warsaw came together at internationales literaturfestival berlin to present the creative writing they have produced throughout the Weather Stations project and to speak about their experiences working with a writer in residence in their school. 5 students from Melbourne who had been involved in the project joined the conversation via film link up. During the festival, the students took part in Stop the Silence! Weather Stations International Youth Summit, a creative piece demonstrating their personal commitment to tackling climate change and a result of their involvement in the project.
During the Q&A that followed our evening event at internationales literaturfestival berlin on 11 September, an audience member asked our Australian Writer in Residence, Tony Birch:
“I have a question. How do you retain optimism for the future?”
“I’ve found optimism in the voices of the young people I’ve worked with on this project.”
Our powerful event Stop the Silence, named by students on the project, brought young people and professional writers together to talk about the role creativity can play in the issue of climate change. The 25 young people involved in the project brought optimism and urgency into environmental discussions this weekend as they performed some of their poetry, plays and films to international audiences, in partnership with the 5 Weather Station Writers in Residence. As Tony writes in our anthology:
“The teenagers I met, from across the world, sparkled both with anger and enthusiasm”
This project finale saw the performance of work by young people from Germany, Poland, Australia, Ireland and the UK, and their powerful final question “What will you do?” challenged the audience to get involved. “We don’t have the power to start a revolution,” London student Rita Paz told the festival crowds, “but we do have the tools to start a conversation.”
Click below to watch a video from Stop the Silence! Weather Stations Youth Summit in Berlin.
A selection of additional videos are also available, including:
Free Word Centre, along with our partners, would like to bring you into this conversation. We are proud to launch our anthology of creative work from the project, Weather Stations: Writing Climate Change.
Click on the link below to download the PDF of stories, poetry and commentary by writers Tony Birch (Australia), Xiaolu Guo (UK), Mirko Bonne (Germany), Jas Kapela (Poland) and Oisin McGann (Ireland) along with 5 students from each of the 5 countries, and see for yourself the engagement and rousing writing as all writers sparkle with anger, enthusiasm and creativity.
Weather Stations was run in partnership with Free Word Centre in London; internationales literaturfestival berlin; Krytyka Polityczna in Warsaw; Tallaght Community Arts in Dublin and The Wheeler Centre in Melbourne and was made possible with support from the EU Culture Programme.
The sun wants to tell me something,
now that I have been thinking about her.
Lukas Hoffman, Sophie-Scholl-Schule, Berlin
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