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?
R&D Workshops 2020
Throughout February – March 2020, Magic Me brought together students from Mulberry School for Girls and older adult women 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.
Meeting weekly to pool their skills, knowledge and questions, 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 group were about to begin the next stage of the project but due to the changing situations around the COVID-19 pandemic in-person activity was postponed.
Generation Rebellion Zine 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.
“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, 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 and creative conversations facilitated over the phone. Artworks were brought together in the Generation Rebellion Zine, showcasing older and younger responses – 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
From April – August 2021, older participants reconnected with the project through a series of group phone calls and four in-person workshops. These workshops included a mix of creative, practical and research based activities, such as meeting virtually with MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, Ms Diane Abbott, to help the group prepare for the final phase of the project in September.
“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
Global and Local Activism
Between September – December 2021, Magic Me held weekly workshops with older adult women and a group of students from Mulberry School for Girls. In order to bring people back together safely we worked in two small groups.
Led by Artist, Sue Mayo and Activist, Maz Morris, both groups created artworks and had their journey captured on film by Colloquial Collective. The films document the group’s experiences and perspectives and profile their artwork; redefining how generations can learn from and support each other in the fight for climate justice. Alongside the films, the group’s artworks and provocations were shared with the public through a notebook aiming to be ‘an encouragement to you to get involved‘ – download the notebook here.
Group 1 explored 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. In November, Magic Me hosted a film screening and virtual Q&A at COP26, the United Nations Climate Change Conference – watch the event here.
Group 2 explored climate activism in Tower Hamlets; discovering what’s already happening and finding ways to motivate other people to get involved.
Generation Rebellion was funded by Arts Council England, Foundation for Future London, Garfield Weston Foundation and Mulberry School for Girls