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Acting on climate: Using dance, digital arts and drama in STEM education

This project extends the impact outcomes of an ongoing longitudinal participation in a global, multi-sited ethnographic study led by Professor Kathleen Gallagher (University of Toronto) entitled Global Youth (Digital) Citizen-Artists and their Publics: Performing for Socio-Ecological Justice (SSHRC) along with research partners based in Canada, Greece, India, Colombia and Taiwan.

Over the course of 2022, a team of Warwick researchers, external artists, and young people from schools in Coventry have been working collaboratively and creatively in response to the global climate crisis and the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The diverse network includes locally-based FLUXLink opens in a new window (an education consultancy specialising in STEM public engagement and creative education), digital artist Ashley BrownLink opens in a new window and Luke Newbold, creative director of Lens Change LtdLink opens in a new window.

Led by Dr Rachel Turner-King (Education Studies) and Dr Bobby Smith (Theatre and Performance Studies), the project received funding to focus on the ways the dance, drama and digital arts can enhance Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and STEM/STEAM education. The team worked with local schools and teachers, to better understand the educational and methodological aspects of their collaborative, multi-arts process. The young people (aged around 14 years old) explored their understanding of climate change using playful games, group discussion, embodied performance and they experimented with site-responsive devising using their outdoor environment.

Together, the young people created short live performances that were recorded, edited, and will be shared as part of a documentary and an online teaching resource for schools, youth theatres, climate and environmental activists and educators. Their work has already been presented at an international conference held at Warwick in July 2022 and the digital educational resource will be launched at a sharing symposium in partnership with Warwick arts Centre in February 2023.

This project links to the below Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):