Climate Connections – campaigning for climate justice through creativity in autumn 2021

Climate Connections was a new arts project to develop greater awareness about climate change and enabling Oldham’s diverse, working-class communities to have a louder voice in the environmental movement.

The project connected Oldham’s communities with people in Bremen, Germany through Oldham Libraries’ participation in the Building Bridges programme linking libraries in Europe.

Led by Crossing Footprints, in partnership with Oldham Library Service, Oldham Lifelong Learning and CAN, the project delivered a series of online and in-person creative workshops between April and July 2021. People taking part explored the issues of environmental destruction and injustice going on to develop writing and digital skills to create content for social media posts and videos.

The project worked with Oldham Lifelong Learning groups and the town’s Fatima Women’s Association and Arabischer Frauenbund social group in Bremen.

Content made through participatory workshops, an online competition, and artist commissions generated work for online exhibitions and featured on screens in Bremen and Oldham’s libraries.

The project launched in 2021’s Big Green Week (18 – 26 September) with simultaneous screenings in Oldham, Manchester, Bremen and Hamburg libraries.

A special screening event with live online streaming on Saturday 25 September at Oldham Library launched events in Oldham.

This multi-format and multi-location exhibition, which was also part of Oldham’s Libraries of Sanctuary programme, empowered local, seldom heard people to share their views and take action on climate change in the lead-up to November 2021’s COP26.

Activists across the globe campaigned for COP26 to makes the requirements of the world’s governments much more stringent and that they implement changes more quickly to de-carbonise the planet.

We are already seeing the impact of global warming and climate change – droughts, freak and unseasonal weather conditions including flooding, previously unseen high temperatures and storms, glacial melt and rising sea levels.

Campaigners are demanding action now.

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