CULTIVATE is a regional leadership programme for Creative Practitioners and local communities to collaboratively explore new ways of embedding creativity at the core of grassroots collective action for climate justice, across the Tay region.
We introduced the programme and its participants in summer 2021, detailing each collaboration and the ambitions of the Creative Practitioners and Community Partners taking part. We also shared a mid-project reflection in February 2022, sharing some of the highlights and challenges we’ve experienced whist working on this pilot initiative.
This case study collates the work of Creative Practitioner Zoë Swann and her Community Partner, PLANT (People Learning About Nature in Tayport), who are based in Tayport, North East Fife. These case studies act as an archive for each CULTIVATE collaboration, aiming to share the learnings of each participant, demonstrate the impacts of individual projects, and provide concrete examples of the benefits of working with creative practitioners on community-led projects.
Zoë Swann is a multi-disciplinary creator who works in illustration, video and music. Originally from Paisley, she moved to Dundee to study at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, choosing to stay in they city after graduating in 2020. Her ambition is to create uplifting, optimistic work that is accessible to everyone. She loves thinking about the future and all of the possibilities it holds, and is especially interested in the part that creative practitioners could play.
PLANT brings people together to grow, learn and socialise in their community garden, while reducing carbon emissions and enhancing Tayport’s natural environment. They also host Carbon Conversations to support people with cutting personal carbon footprints and raising awareness of climate emergency and action.
Kaska Hempel, PLANT Blog and Carbon Conversation Coordinator, said, “We want to bring people together to create memories of a better future and to come up with specific community projects Tayport can focus on over the next 10 years. Our ambition is to involve as many people and organisations as we can through this process, making it creative, exciting and hopeful, as well as generating a conversation between generations and hearing our young people’s voices.”
Zoë said, “I always try to live as sustainably as possible so PLANT really speaks to me, especially their community focus and desire to make their work as accessible as possible. That’s where I think I can really help bring the community together, hear about their hopes and dreams for Tayport and beyond, and help facilitate the first steps we need to take. We’re particularly keen to engage with new faces, to hear their voices and ensure that everyone is heard.”
Half-way into their commissions, CULTIVATE’s Creative Practitioners, were invited to share their journeys so far; you can read Zoë’s reflections in her mid-project blog.
Zoë reflected on what had spurred her own interest in climate action and justice, noting the need to address problems on a local scale in order to be effective and considerate of communities and their individual needs. She also shared her involvement in the Tayport Climate Festival in September 2021, and the opportunity it provided to ask people their opinion on what a better future in their community could look like.
Using footage of interviews from the festival, Zoë created a short film titled Dreams for the Future–Thoughts from The Tayport Climate Festival. It brought together views from visitors on how the climate crisis affects individuals, our communities, our families, and surroundings. She won her first award for this film from Film Access Scotland’s Climate Challenge: 1.5° Films project, with her work being noted for its sense of community and ability to give people a platform to share their voice.
In November 2021, the local Tayport community were invited to share their hopes and ideas for the future at a Visioning Event, where Zoë documented and collected insights from participants.
In using her skills in illustration and filmmaking, Zoë hoped that she would be able to support the local community in inclusively imagining a sustainable Tayport, and provide them with a platform to share their visions for the future.
At November 2021’s Visioning Event, participants were invited to come up with local solutions that the community could action to help make Tayport a better place to live for all. These collective ideas were captured and visualised by Zoë, and collated as an illustrated map and an audio tour of the town, celebrating the voices of, and suggestions from, the community.
Zoë illustrated several of the map and audio tour’s stops, encompassing suggestions from the community in each image.
In March 2022, Zoë hosted a one-day exhibition showcasing a community vision of what Tayport could look like in 2030, including ideas and illustrations from 175 local pupils.
“What I found is a wonderful and really beautiful exploration of what could be. I think when we look forward into the future because of the problems of climate change, because of the political situation at the moment and the problems going on in the EU, it’s very easy to look at the future and to feel very bleak. To feel sorrowful. And what I found today was a very bright, a very colourful future ahead of us. I thought it was absolutely wonderful. And what I particularly loved about this exhibition was the incorporation of the ideas of the younger generation, of the future generation, of the ideas of kids and what they want.” – feedback from a resident visiting the exhibition.
In this short film, Zoë shares her experience of CULTIVATE, alongside insights and feedback gathered at Tayport in 2030 exhibition and community showcase.
Zoë has also shared project insights and photography on her website.
Led by Creative Dundee over three years, CULTIVATE brings together creative practitioners and community groups across the Tay region to explore climate justice in a practical and meaningful way.
CULTIVATE is part of Culture Collective, a network of 26 participatory arts projects, shaped by local communities alongside artists and creative organisations. Culture Collective is funded by Scottish Government emergency COVID-19 funds through Creative Scotland.
Culture Collective has the potential to place creative practice right at the heart of a just transition and help shape the future of local cultural life, demonstrating the critical impact of community engagement, and the role creativity and culture play within it.
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