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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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Chloe graduates from Dartington School of Social Entrepreneurs Start-up programme

The School for Social Entrepreneurs was founded in 1997 by Michael Young. Since 2009 SSE Dartington has produced tailor-made courses to provide an complete package for the new social entrepreneur.

The start-up course is a year long and provides training, mentoring, action-learning and access to a growing network of other people with share values and experiences. (Why not have a go?)

 

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Inspire Talk at KWMC The Factory

12:30 – 13:00 Tuesday 3rd September

Please come along to KWMC’s The Factory and hear Chloe talk about Art and Energy and the invention of solar panel artworks.

The Factory is an innovation space for making, digital fabrication and product design in the heart of South Bristol.

Further Details:

Date: Tuesday 3rd September 2019
Time: 12.30-1.30pm Please bring along your lunch

Venue: KWMC: The Factory, Unit 24, 1 Filwood Park Lane, Bristol, BS4 1ET

Directions: info: https://kwmc.org.uk/thefactory/visitingthefactory/ Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/aMTJVUXxphr 

NOTE: Parking on-site is quite limited! Other local parking available at Hengrove Leisure Park, Hengrove Way, Bristol, BS14 0HR (charges may apply), about 5 minutes walk away.

RSVP: Please RSVP to sarah.barnes@kwmc.org.uk so we can have an idea of numbers. 

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Dartington School of Social Entrepreneurs – Graduation day

Art and Energy is a collective of people that want to use their skills to respond to the climate emergency through art and craft. We want to open doors of hope and imagination.  

Through our work, we’ve re-imagined solar PV as an art material, we’ve made beautiful solar panel artworks for special places, and we’ve taught people new skills to help them connect with energy through craft.

Art and Energy CIC is what happens when artists decide to join the energy debate.

In our journey to make our work ‘work’, Chloe has been exploring a whole host of organisations that support the growth of social entrepreneurs.  One of which is Dartington School of Social Entrepreneurs.

DSSE has a range of programmes that help you take your idea and take the next steps in turning it into a reality.

“going along this journey with other people who are experiencing similar challenges in bringing their visions for a better future into reality is motivating, comforting and helpful. I want everyone to have the chance to live their dream…” Chloe Uden

Over the course of the year, we explored, business models, financial planning and management, legal and organisational structures, time management, action learning, stakeholder analysis, social impact strategies and a whole host of other stuff.

Each business is so different and all of them have been inspiring to see how they’ve evolved over the last 12 months.

With help from 1 to 1 coaching, as well as a mentor from Lloyds, it has been possible to evolve our plans quite fast.

 

Are you a creative thinking about how your work can have greater social or environmental impact?

Do you have an idea for a business that will make a difference, but don’t know where to start?

If so, then maybe you should come along to the Dartington SSE Graduation at Devonport Guildhall on Thursday the 17th October, where you’ll see 20 new start-ups from across the South West outlining how they took the plunge, and showing off their new services and products.

Chloe will be there with some of Art and Energy’s solar panel artworks.

“I really want to talk to people about their ideas for putting art and craft at the heart of how we create a better society and systems for our well-being and the health of the planet.” Chloe Uden

If you would like a free ticket to this event – Please contact Chloe

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Art and Energy at home in Kaleider Studios

Today we spent the day setting up camp in Kaleider Studios where we plan to be for the rest of the year  allowing us to really evolve; researching new processes, working on new pieces, and delivering workshops.

We are extremely grateful to the Kaleider team and the wider Kaleider residents network who’ve supported our work from day one. 

 

We are so pleased to be able to support Art and Energy and see the creation of their amazing photovoltaic artworks at workshops within Kaleider Studios. It is amazing to think that the seeds for this project were planted at a Lunchtime Talk at Kaleider back in 2018 and see what it has developed into. 

 We have a wide range of Resident artists, designers, technologists and academics at Kaleider but hosting Chloe, Naomi and the rest of the Art and Energy Collective means that we regularly see people making artwork which is both beautiful and asks big questions about our approach to climate crisis.” Peter Vanderford, General Manager

Kaleider’s studios at 45 Preston street are situated in one of the most interesting areas in the city. South and North of the river meet in this vibrant part of the city which is becoming increasingly known for its pioneering spirit. We work with a wide variety of people across the city and Kaleider’s new studios make it easier to bring people together.

 

 

We value being based at Kaleider because it challenges us, lifts our sights, helps us make better work, stimulates our imaginations, provides us with opportunities, new thinking, access to people we need and inspires us to keep working better.

The rich history of the place reverberates throughout the space and has been given new life by the Kaleider team. 45 Preston Street has been opened up, reimagined and extensively improved already. The variety and flexibility of the spaces available now mean that the building serves a huge set of purposes, is easy to work in and is a pleasure to invite our visitors and participants to share.

Being a resident at Kaleider has helped us overcome many of the hurdles of setting up a new creative venture, the access to space to trial work, test ideas, gain advice from those with other skills and experience, access expertise, share and participate, store things and do the daily admin. 

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We are unstoppable! We are UnLtd

Setting up a social enterprise isn’t without it’s challenges! But it’s also very exciting and rewarding. Some of the rewarding moments come when someone else validates your ideas and decides to get on board with the journey.

So, we are feeling really excited today as we’ve just found our that UnLtd have decided to support our work with some mentoring, training and funds to help us develop our work further.

UnLtd is a charity which supports social entrepreneurs – people with vision, drive, commitment and passion who want to change the world for the better. Their mission is to reach out and unleash the energies of people who can transform the world in which they live. 

Check out their website! www.unltd.org.uk 

 

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Art and Energy will participate in PitchFest at the Like Minds Ideas Festival

In January this year, Naomi and I started a conversation with Gos from the Velocities programme at Exeter City Futures about an idea we had for re-imagining solar pv as an art material for the future. What if solar panels could be a canvas for artists of the future? we wondered.

The thing is, that’s a really big idea, and Gos made a start on helping us turn that idea into a business that attempts to straddle the sustainable energy and art sectors. 

We’ve spend the last 9 months running workshops and holding consultations, pitching our idea in different contexts, finding delivery partners and testing the technical aspects of this challenge (which we will of course continue to do!) and we’ve learned a bit more about what the beast Art and Energy might look like, what it might do and how.

We have by no means figured it all out exactly and this is why we are grateful for all the opportunities we can find to discuss, test, learn and evolve this project.

We hope (because we dream big!) our work will change the face of green energy infrastructure in the UK and create unique and beautiful installations that we want to live with.

So, the next port of call is Pitch Fest at the IDEAS FESTIVAL at the end of this month. We look forward to welcoming questions and will keep our fingers crossed that perhaps we will find an investor who wants to partner with us to create some  eco-bling that will meet the challenge of climate change in a beautiful way.

I hope you can make it!

Tickets available here

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School of Social Entrepreneurs supporting Art and Energy

School for Social Entrepreneurs brings together people who want to change things for the better. People tackling urgent issues like poverty, education, inequality, health, climate change and much more.

Following a rigorous application and 2 stage interview process, we were absolutely delighted to be accepted on to one of SSE’s courses and join the fellows network of incredible pioneers across the world working towards fixing some of society’s problems.

Art and Energy is still such a new company and we have so much to learn that we are really grateful to Lloyds and Big Lottery for supporting SSE to deliver this support.

We will start meeting up for training and peer support activities in September this year and the course will run for a year helping us to face all the challenges that come with being a start-up and helping us achieve our vision for city regions to have beautiful green technology that generates energy and also represents the unique culture of the place and designers working with solar PV to enhance our spaces with sustainable energy installations that local people want to live with.