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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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International Day of Cooperatives

Did you know that Saturday 4th July 2020 is the International Day of Cooperatives? We think that our Moths To A Flame project is a great example of a cooperative in action, one which has grown significantly over the last few months as we’ve nudged the project to include more digital content.

The Art and Energy business model is a fairly informal collective. We have members and partners with knowledge and experience in all sorts of areas: from Plymouth Energy Community who are proactively seeking change in our domestic energy situations, to Dave and Jo at Lasercutz who are helping us cut solar cells to re-imagine solar panels as beautiful solar artworks, and Miranda who has written and illustrated a beautiful children’s book for Moths to a Flame. One thing that we have in common is a growing concern about the climate crisis, and a desire to see change to benefit our environment. Together we hope to make a difference.

Over the last few months Covid-19 has meant that our meetings have all been held through a computer screen. We have become increasingly confident and fluent in conversing by email and Zoom, but we’ve really missed being able to get together to create and catch up over a solar artwork project and cup of tea! When our partners at PEC told us that the International Co-operative Alliance had chosen the theme of ‘Climate Action’ for 2020, we wanted to do something fun to celebrate and join in… the International Day of Cooperatives has given us the perfect opportunity to get creative  again!

Jenny put together little creative packs that went out in the post to eight of our collective. We then met up one evening via Zoom for a project update and a bit of a tutorial. Each participant painted a moth onto a square of glass, then returned them.

The next stage is to add solar cells nestled within the moth paintings, then combine them to create a single large interactive solar artwork. In the next week or so Jenny will send creative packs out to more of our collective… if there’s one thing it’s made us realise it’s quite how many amazing people we’re working with, this cooperative artwork is set to grow!

As with most of our projects the final piece is already evolving, but that’s the joy of having lots of lovely people cooperating together creatively!

This mini-project was inspired by a conversation with Plymouth Energy Community, who have funded the short film to be released on International Day of Cooperatives, 4th July 2020.

 

Development of the project has been funded by Arts Council England through Jenny’s individual grant. We have found a way to work at a distance, plus Jenny’s using this opportunity to experiment further with the electronics powered by our cooperative solar artwork… keep an eye out here for further progress reports!

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Cutting solar cells is like cutting eggshell

Did we ever tell you what a total nightmare it was learning how to cut solar cells?

We tried a whole variety of laser cutters and glass cutters before we met Dave and Jo at LaserCutz in Honiton. (Who knew that just the person you need, could be right on your doorstep!)

Dave and Jo really share our ethos of research through play, and an enthusiasm for experimentation and trying new ways of working, and they have helped shape the Art and Energy Collective enormously.

Needless to say, we would not have made the works that we have without their help, and I hope they will be able to help you too if you decide to start working with solar cells to make art.

www.lasercutz.co.uk 

Before we worked with Dave from LaserCutz
And after!