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Moths to a Flame – Microsite launch

Moths to a Flame will turn your calls for urgent action on the Climate Emergency into a magnificent mass-participation art installation at COP26, Glasgow 2021.

EVERYONE is invited to join this NATIONWIDE creative response to the Climate Emergency.

We’re asking people to help us make 20,000 moths and record their messages for the Moths to a Flame installation at COP26. The artwork allows us all to make a mark, have our say, show our willingness for action and bring a bit of beauty to COP26.

Chloë Uden, artist and founder of The Art and Energy Collective. 

Please visit our new Moths to a Flame website to find out more.

2021 is a really important year for action on climate change. Later this year, the UK is hosting the United Nations Climate Conference in Glasgow – also known as COP26. What gets decided by World Leaders there will define the future that today’s young people inherit. The time is now to drive action on climate change, and show people that by coming together we can make a difference.

The Art and Energy Collective and Plymouth Energy Community have been planning this momentous artwork since 2019 and EVERYONE is invited to get involved.

Moths have something to tell us about our relationship with energy; there are over 2,500 species of moth in the UK and most of them live in a mysterious nocturnal world so we don’t notice them much. They are secret pollinators and a vital part of our ecosystem. The UK has seen a drastic drop in the number of moths in recent years owing to pollution, farming methods, reduction in habitats and light pollution. This indicator species tells us a lot about the health of our planet.

This project raised over £40k through Plymouth City Council Climate Challenge Crowdfunder to work with people across the UK to build the artwork.

You can access the resources for all ages on the www.mothstoaflame.art website and over the next few months. The team will be running free events, including making sessions, augmented reality activities, poetry writing, live moth-watching events and schools workshops so there are all sorts of ways people can get involved.

PLEASE HELP SPREAD THE WORD!

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#MothsToAFlame will turn your calls for urgent action on the Climate Emergency into a magnificent mass-participation art installation at #COP26, Glasgow 2021. EVERYONE is invited to join this NATIONWIDE creative response to the Climate Emergency. Visit www.mothstoaflame.art 

Suggested text for your newsletter:
Moths to a Flame will turn your calls for urgent action on the Climate Emergency into a magnificent mass-participation art installation at COP26, Glasgow 2021. EVERYONE is invited to join this NATIONWIDE creative response to the Climate Emergency. 

We’re asking people to help us make 20,000 moths and record their messages for the Moths to a Flame installation at COP26. The artwork allows us all to make a mark, have our say, show our willingness for action and bring a bit of beauty to COP26.

Chloë Uden, artist and founder of The Art and Energy Collective

You can access the FREE resources for all ages on the www.mothstoaflame.art website and over the next few months. The team will be running free events, including making sessions, augmented reality activities, poetry writing, live moth-watching events and schools workshops so there are all sorts of ways people can get involved.

“I think that the Moths to a Flame project has a huge potential to inspire community led action on climate change. This artwork will be an amazing, immersive experience. You will be surrounded by the moths shining all over the space, and know that they have been created by people from all over the region; that will be absolutely powerful.” Eli Zahoui, Smart Citizens – Fab Lab Plymouth

The power of this project is that it is not technical. It isn’t just playing to the energy and climate change geek like me, it’s for everybody. In the few years pre COVID, we saw a massive growth and swelling in awareness around climate change and the importance of action. Now people need to know where to direct that awareness and what to do next.” Alastair Macpherson, CEO Plymouth Energy Community

 

 www.mothstoaflame.art

 

“I absolutely believe in the power and the force of creativity to make change. That’s why I backed this project; it makes change feel possible. When the challenge is something as daunting as the climate emergency, it can feel so inaccessible to people, but this artwork says the power is literally in our hands to make one little piece of the jigsaw of change that will make a difference globally”. Hannah Harris, Plymouth Culture

“The Moths to a Flame Project promises to provide a year of challenges and activities in 2021, to promote energy saving practices and green lifestyle choices. Values and practices that we at Sovereign Housing support wholeheartedly. We are looking forward to being part of this ongoing strategy to limit our impact on our planet and provide a greener future for our customers.” Kate Sheppard, Sovereign Housing

 

There are so many ways to get involved with this project. Take a look at all the resources on our website www.mothstoaflame.art or get in touch to talk moths, art and energy.

 

 

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Crowdfunder Success!

In November 2020 Plymouth Energy Community and Art and Energy CIC launched a Crowdfunder campaign to hold free Moths to a Flame creative activities in Plymouth throughout 2021. Ours was one of seven within the Plymouth Climate Challenge hosted by Plymouth City Council. We not only raided our £25,000 target, but also completed our stretch target, raising an amazing £45,189!

These funds will enable workshops in schools and community groups, online events, solar artwork making sessions and more… We’ll post further details on our website and social media in the New Year.

A huge thank you to everyone who supported, pledged, and shared this with their networks. The rewards are on the way to pledgers!

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Time to evaluate!

CIF partner logo

As a small and relatively new organisation we at Art and Energy can be guilty of rushing from project to project… a bit like our Marny the Moth in ‘A Moth’s Whisper’.  (One element of our Moths To A Flame project).

When we think about the pressing need for change in the light of climate change, urgency can seem like the only way forward… and yet slowing down to evaluate is a vital part of any project or organisation – how else can we optimise our message and plan future projects to have a positive outcome? 

Plymouth Culture host a Cultural Investment Fund, a collection of NPO’s based in Plymouth. They’re supporting us to undertake a series of activities to look back on our work to date. In particular, we’re interested in how creativity can give participants the opportunity to pause, think and find solutions – to encourage collaboration towards a greener, cleaner, fairer society.

We began by creating a questionnaire that we emailed out and shared on social media. Thank you to the 62 respondents who gave us fantastic feedback and recommendations. If you have feedback on your interactions with us to date, or ideas for future actions then please don’t hesitate to email us at hello@artandenergy.org.  We are always interested to hear your thoughts.

Our next step is to have conversations with some of the organisations that we are working with and aspire to work with. We are particularly interested in the idea of using creativity to talk more, make ideas happen or take action about our energy systems and other environmental issues.

Questionnaire Results

Here are just a few of the results that we collected….

We asked for three words to describe Art and Energy. We are thrilled with these beautiful words. They are displayed here in a wordcloud showing terms used 2 or more times across the results and the size of font set by frequency of use.

Creative : 14 

Inspiring/inspirational : 13

Innovative : 10

Energetic : 4

We asked respondents to describe their relationship with Art and Energy. ‘Friend’ was overwhelmingly used the most. We like to think of the Art and Energy Collective as being friendly!

We asked people to tell us whether we’ve made a difference to them. In particular people reported

  • an increase in interest and understanding of renewable energy, the climate crisis & COP26, and moths.
  • Being inspired to be creative.
  • Feeling better and more hopeful
  • and connecting people in conversation.

We’ve also encouraged people to make tangible changes such as changing to LED lightbulbs, and repairing instead of buying new.

The majority of respondents recognised Eco-anxiety as being a problem for people they knew.  More than half said that they suffered from Eco-anxiety themselves.

We asked what people liked about Moths to a Flame.  Nearly everyone mentioned participation, collaboration and involvement. The ‘Wow’ factor and the aesthetic of the project were also important, as was the climate theme.

We were overwhelmed by how many respondents generously offered their time, support and expertise. 

The Art and Energy Collective is just what it says on the tin… a collective! If you would like to get involved then please drop us an email at hello@artandenergy.orgWe’d love to work with you!

This project has created as part of the Cultural Investment Fund, with the support of:

CIF partner logo
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Light Up Stonehouse – with Cliik!

Light up stonehouse banner

We’re working with the Plymouth community group Cliik on an exciting project in North Stonehouse. Throughout December members of the community are decorating perspex rectangles with designs to celebrate the area that they call home.  These will be added one-per-day to three wooden tower frames in the window of the Cliik space, ‘The Talk Shop’ on Wyndham Place… a sort of alternative advent calendar!

In January the Art and Energy team will spend a day adding solar cells to the artworks (hopefully with open doors so that the community can join us in hands on creativity… but we’ll see what the Covid restrictions allow!).

The towers will each form a solar charger, generating electricity to charge batteries that will be used in future projects including illuminated parades! 

These are just a few of the beautiful artworks that have been created… to see more why not visit the Talk Shop, or check out @Cliik  on Facebook!

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The Power of Craft!

Solar Cell Photo by Matt Austin

Back in September the Crafts Council invited Art and Energy director Jenny to speak at an online event titled ‘The Future of Craft Education’. All of the days inspirational speakers are available to watch on the Crafts Council’s Vimeo account.

Jenny spoke during the final session of the day which focused on the potential for craft as a cross curricular bridge. This is something that many in the Art and Energy Collective have experienced outside of a traditional school setting; with creative members discovering a new interest in the science and engineering behind solar, whilst those with a more technical background have experienced the joy of getting creative,

In April 2020 Jenny was due to go into two secondary schools in Cornwall to run solar artwork making workshops… these workshops have now been postponed to March 2021 due to Covid.

If you would be interested in inviting the Art and Energy team to run an event in your school or community group then please contact us!

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Peg Moths – Creative fun!

One of the makes you’ll find in our #MothsToAFlame activity pack is clothes peg moths. They’re pretty simple, using materials that you will find in most homes. Here Zoe is to show you how much fun they are!

Zoe particularly enjoyed playing with her moth next to a lamp to cast shadows. This lead to a great conversation about how moths are attracted to light, and the many benefits of turning our household lights off when we leave a room.

Download your FREE activity pack here.  We would love to see your peg creations… share them with us at hello@artandenergy.org or via social media using #MothsToAFlame.

 

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Watch Moths some more?

Watch Moths (to a Flame) with us!

Early on in the face of the Pandemic, when we couldn’t sit side by side to contemplate all that Moths To A Flame could mean we were given funds from The Arts Council and Plymouth Energy Community to support a series of broadcasts about moths and energy.  We called these broadcasts Watch Moths. 

We didn’t know for sure how successful it would be, but we knew we wanted to reach out and show how the natural world, our energy system, the future of this planet is all connected.  We wanted to engage more people, perhaps some that we wouldn’t reach otherwise, to have conversations about moths and energy.  We knew that, although the Virus wasn’t going away, neither was the Climate Emergency.  We wanted to do something positive and creative that would help people feel less powerless and keep their own energy up in the face of change. 

Chloe Uden has been enjoying making moths from homemade Oak gall ink prints.

We have been amazed at the interest in moths.  We have found some watchers who haven’t even noticed moths much before, others that want to record more and be useful in doing so.  We have found artists and poets who have been caught up and inspired by Moths.  And we have encouraged amateurs to notice what moths might fly into the bathroom at night or settle under a cardboard box till morning.  Dave, from Lazercutz of our Art and Energy collective moth-team has even designed a flatpack Moth trap! 

Moth-ers and infinity 

Moth-ers come from a wide range of origins.  Some have been interested in nature since they were 5, others love the outdoors and have been identifying moths for a few years.   There are even artist Moth-ers who are curious about the infinite variety and evolution that has taken place on the planet to create a very specific life cycle of a species of moth. 

This Buff Tip is by Sarah Gillespie, an artist Moth-er who specialises in mezzotints – see more on her website: www.sarahgillespie.co.uk You can see Sarah explaining some of her work in our August Watch Moths

Our amazing Moth-ers include Devon Moth Group members Amy Walkden, Barry Henwood, all round entomologist and artist John Walters, Butterfly Conservation specialist Richard Fox, nature lover Simon Bates and birder as well as Moth-er, Will Scott  and Wilding Ecologist, Dave Barker. 

Treble Lines – a delicate moth found in Richard Fox’s garden.

Our last 2020 Watch Moths

During our last Watch Moths we flew across the country to Glasgow, where the delayed COP26 is due to be held next November. 

Moth-ers from around the country joined us while we experimented with the technology. To connect us all together.  The energy in the  chat on zoom seemed enough to power a whole new series! 

There was Dan Forman from Swansea University, who entertainingly philosophised about inter-relationships between all living things Dave Hodgson in Cornwall with his dog, Director of Exeter University Centre for Ecology and Conservation, he has been moth trapping and writing music during lockdown – check out Antipodeans . There was a wide spread of RSPB moth-ers and representation  Rutland, the smallest county in England, Rob Cooke as well as Sarah Shuttleworth from Somerset (Mighty Moth Girl). 

The night was wet and cold, but we still had a few jewels who were attracted by the light.

 

The star of the show with several Merveille du jour (this one found by Viv in Bedfordshire.)

The youngsters from the Baltic Adventure Playground, Glasgow made their own moth trap with Ella Wright, but didn’t catch any moths where the rabbits were kept – better luck next time! 

Next time, next year, in 2021, we hope to come back for more broadcasts like Watch Moths, with new and renewable energy.  See you then!

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Solar Stars : unveiled!

In August we wrote about an exciting project we were working on in partnership with Knowle West Media Centre and the wider Filwood community…. well we’re thrilled to announce that the resulting solar stars are now installed at Filwood Community Centre!

They were revealed at a fantastic Walk of Hearts and Stars event, complete with socially-distanced lantern parade and brass band!

 

We ran a workshop  through Zoom, where members of the community painted their own designs onto perspex stars. We then added solar cells and LEDs to create solar-powered illuminated artworks. During the day the solar cells charge a battery. At night they twinkle with colour changing LEDs.

The names at the centre of each star are community members who were nominated for going above and beyond during the Covid lockdown this summer.

 

We were particularly impressed by the variety, vibrancy and love that had clearly been put into each of the 28 painted star designs. Lush!

 

This year has been very tricky in terms of running creative workshops, so we would like to say a huge thank you to Fiona and her team at The Factory at Knowle West Media Centre who gave us this chance to further develop our socially distanced offering. 

If you are interested in running a similar project then do get in touch. Alternatively check-out the ‘Make your mark’ and ‘solar art workshop’ rewards in our crowdfunder www.crowdfunder.co.uk/moths-to-a-flame-pec

Testimonial

‘Collaborating with Art & Energy has been fantastic, resulting in a really engaging and informative online workshop session with accompanying workshop packs that were very well received by the participants, and the finished decorated Stars with their solar-powered lights look AMAZING! They have been so flexible and easy to work with throughout the whole process, and really got on board with the community co-design element that was so integral to the project.’ (Fiona @ KWMC)

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Plymouth Art Weekender

On the 25th to 27th September 2020 Art and Energy took part in Plymouth Art Weekender. We exhibited a range of our work to-date including solar artworks.

We particularly focused on #MothsToAFlame, with an installation of UV moths in the aptly named ‘caterpillar room’. The community-decorated moths were accompanied by a soundscape created by Art and Energy Collective’s Ali Pym. She combined poetry by Matt Harvey and Thom Boulton along with music by Dan Morgan to create an immersive atmospheric experience.

We had planned a makers table for visitors to get creative, but were unable to do this due to the Covid situation. Instead, visitors were able to chose a moth to bring to life using the Quiver Vision AR app, and to takeaway a free  MTAF activity packs to explore at home.  Download your free activity pack here and create an AR moth here. 

In this year or social distancing leading to increased isolation, we particularly loved meeting so many  people who were enthusiastic to add their voice to the whisper heading to COP26!

Find more ways to get involved through our crowdfunder here.

Our participation in the weekend was made possible by funding and support from Arts Council England and Plymouth Energy Community.

We were thrilled to be awarded soup funding by Plymouth Art Weekender, enabling us to giveaway lots of Moths to a Flame goodies. The pollinator-plants were particularly popular, thank you to Sarah for  generously donating them.  

We are grateful to Plymouth Octopus Project whose funding enabled us to adapt our offering to the Covid-situation.

Last, but certainly not least, we couldn’t have done it without the support of our amazing hosts for the weekend, Nudge Community Builders.

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Moth’y weekender!

After month’s developing within our Covid-enforced cocoon, this coming weekend our ‘Moths to a Flame’ project will emerge in splendid glory. There are many ways to get involved….

Watch Moths (to a flame)

Join us via Zoom for our monthly double-bill ‘Watch Moths’ event. 

Friday 25th 8-9pm & Saturday 26th 8-9am

This month we will visit Plymouth Energy Communities solar array at Ernesettle, finding out more about the technology and ecological diversity. We will also visit our moth experts across Devon as they set up their traps, and return on the Saturday morning to see their stunning mothy visitors!

Plymouth Art Weekender

Visit us at The Plot on Union Street, 11am – 4pm.

We will have an installation of UV lit moths and AR Moths, solar artworks, and free activity packs and moth-friendly plants to take home with you.

We’re collaborating with Pollenize CIC and Plymouth Scrapstore to promote the importance of pollinators, and with Plymouth Energy Community to generate conversations about our relationships with energy. Pop along to find out more!

Our hosts, Nudge Community Builders, will be carefully controlling numbers in the venue to ensure safe social distancing. Please wear a mask or face shield.

Plymouth Art Weekender is a city-wide event with lots of venues to visit. Find out more at www.plymouthartweekender.com

Plymouth Art Weekender 2020. 25th-27th September

Other ways to get involved with the #MothsToAFlame project include:

  • Writing a moth or energy themed poem and submitting it to our poetry slam…. there are some rather lovely prizes! Deadline 16th October. More info here.
  • Decorating your AR moth colouring sheet, bringing it to life using the app, then sharing your recording with us. More info here.
  • Ordering your copy of ‘The Moth’s Whisper’ illustrated story book, here.