Generation Rebellion is an intergenerational women’s project exploring the climate emergency and what it means to be a climate change activist.
As we enter the 2020s the Earth seems to be shouting at us about climate change, but how can we really make a difference? What could we do together as a group of intergenerational women that would get our voices heard?
We must keep connection with young people. They are our atoms, they are our genes
Older Generation Rebellion participant
R&D Workshops, February – March 2020
Throughout February and March 2020, Magic Me brought together students from Mulberry School for Girls and older women from the local community to explore the climate emergency. Led by artists Sue Mayo and Elsa James, the group used art, writing, and voice to find out how to be a rebel, in quiet and noisy ways.
…offering a platform through creativity has proved to be an enjoyable and empowering experience for both women and girls. The creative process has allowed them the space to be activists together (before lockdown) and as individuals (during lockdown).
Elsa James Generation Rebellion artist
Meeting regularly to pool their skills, knowledge and questions on the climate emergency, the group created four collages capturing their sentiments on the current state of the environment; hopeful, angry, hopeless and activism. This initial stage of the project ended with a public workshop at Toynbee Hall Wellbeing Centre, where the group invited other women to contribute their ideas to the conversation.
The core group were about to begin the next stage of Generation Rebellion building upon their ideas to produce a film and live performance. Due to the changing situations around COVID-19 this part of the project was postponed.
Generation Rebellion Zine, April – June 2020
In April 2020, Magic Me created new ways for older and younger people to stay connected during the pandemic. Our At Home Together programme focused on continuing intergenerational conversations via remote projects.
Sue Mayo Generation Rebellion artist
It was so important to find ways to stay in touch with people some of whom were very isolated in their homes. This gave them a window on the world and us a window into their lives.
Sue Mayo Generation Rebellion artist
Artists Sue and Elsa designed creative activities to help the group continue thinking about the climate emergency, with activity packs posted and emailed to participants taking part at home. Responses were returned to Magic Me in the form of drawings, paintings or poetry via post, text, email as well as telephone conversations which were documented.
Artworks were brought together in the Generation Rebellion Zine, showcasing older and younger responses to the question ‘how does the Earth feel now?’
Read and download the Generation Rebellion Zine here.
Magic Me’ Community Arts Trainee, Nazifa Yazmin, created a short film bringing together responses and artworks from both in-person workshops and remote activities.
Generation Rebellion 2021
Generation Rebellion resumed in April 2021, aiming to provide a platform for the voices of underrepresented groups within the climate justice movement and to provide a space for intergenerational dialogue and action in response to the climate emergency.
Creative Group Discussions (April – May 2021)
Magic Me ran a series of creative group discussions with older participants (50+) via telephone throughout April and May. Conversations focused on reconnecting with the project theme and participants feeding into plans for the summer workshops.
“I will take the water in my beak to extinguish the fire in the jungle; I will take the water in my beak to sprinkle the desert to make it green…”
Excerpt from a poem by Amarjit Kochhar, written during a creative writing exercise delivered via telephone (May 2021)
Summer Workshops (July – August 2021)
In July and August, we ran a series of in-person workshops with older participants. Workshops included a mix of creative, practical and research based activities to help the group continue their exploration of the climate emergency and prepare for the final phase of the project in September.
During creative group discussions in May, the group decided they wanted to meet with someone in a position of power, so we invited MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, Ms Diane Abbott to meet with us virtually and answer questions from the group. These included: how can we challenge visible, hidden and invisible power wherever it operates in order to reduce discrimination against the under-represented? How do you stay strong? As an opposition MP, how much power do you have to influence decisions made on climate change and what can we do to help?
Autumn Workshops (September – December 2021)
Between September – December, we will hold weekly workshops with older adult participants and a group of students from Mulberry School for Girls. In order to bring people back together as safely we will be working in two small groups.
Led by artists, Sue Mayo and Maz Morrris, both groups will create artworks sharing their experiences and perspectives, redefining how generations can learn from and support each other.
Group 1 will explore what it means to be a team of activists, what skills they have as a group and what types of climate change action their skills lend themselves to.
Group 2 will take a physical and digital tour of climate activism in Tower Hamlets; discover what’s already happening and find out how to motivate other people to get involved.
Generation Rebellion is funded by Arts Council England, Garfield Weston and Mulberry School for Girls
The Generation Rebellion Zine was funded by Foundation for Future London