Knitting exhibition shows climate change to be ‘Up in the Air’

Download the press release as a pdf

Knitting exhibition shows climate change to be ‘Up in the Air’

Embargoed until Tuesday 7th July 2015

An innovative art installation goes on show this week to bring alive the greenhouse gases that are causing climate change [1]. Local artist Clare Bryden has been knitting larger than life versions of the particles and making card games. The exhibition [2], which will be on display from 11-24 July at the Glorious Art House in Fore Street Exeter, is designed to be a playful way of sparking people’s interest in the science and issue of climate change.

Clare said: “This year is vital, as governments are meeting in Paris in December, and hopefully they will come to a ground-breaking agreement on the climate [3].

“Exeter is home to two world-class climate research centres at the Met Office and the University. They are advising the government on how human activity is changing the climate, and what reductions in greenhouse gas emissions we need to make to avoid dangerous climate change.

“The government also needs to hear the concerns of the ordinary person in the street. But because the climate is changing over such a long time-scale and the potential impacts are so huge, it’s difficult to talk or even think about it [4].

“Climate change is happening up in the air, and the outcome of the negotiations in Paris is up in the air too. Knitting and making card games are my ways of bringing it all back down to earth.

“I wanted to appeal to the different ways that different people take in information, both through words and numbers, and through the senses of sight and touch.

“This exhibition is a creative way of getting a serious message across. I have knitted carbon dioxide and methane amongst others and I urge people to come along and have a play! We will even be holding a workshop [2] where you can knit your own carbon dioxide.”

‘Up in the Air’ is supported by a Small Arts Grant from Exeter City Council and sponsorship from the Diocese of Exeter.

ENDS

Notes

[1] The Met Office has produced an infographic exploring the difference between weather and climate, what drives our climate and how our climate is changing – see http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/news/in-depth/climate-infographic

[2] ‘Up in the Air’ is running in the gallery on the 2nd floor of the Glorious Art House in Fore Street, Exeter from Saturday 11th to Friday 24th July. There will also be a knitting workshop run by Diana Moore of Knit Stop from 10am-12noon on Saturday 18th July. For more information and booking, please see http://particulart.org.uk/up-in-the-air/.

[3] “Everything you need to know about the Paris climate summit and UN talks” at http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jun/02/everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-paris-climate-summit-and-un-talks

[4] “Why your climate conversations always go wrong, and how to make them better” http://www.1010uk.org/articles/why-your-climate-conversations-always-go-wrong-and-how-make-them-better

Contact

Clare Bryden
07794 505707
brydenclare@gmail.com
@ClareBryden

http://particulart.org.uk/
@ParticulartExe

Co-founder Clare is ‘Up in the Air’

On 3rd July, Clare jumped out of an aeroplane in aid of Hospiscare, Exeter. Fellow co-founder Diana made the link between the skydive and Clare’s forthcoming Particulart exhibition ‘Up in the Air’.

Clare writes: “It was touch and go, as my doctor’s form didn’t have the proper stamp, which meant panicked form-refilling and scanning and emailing and stamping and signing and scanning and emailing and printing and stapling. But anticipation gradually took over from stress, and then there was the spiral up to the jump height, the shuffling forward on the benches towards the gaping door, and the moment of sheer panic as I knelt on the edge and was tipped forward into oblivion… and then we levelled out and I could enjoy the sense of freefall for an all-too-short minute.”

If you would like to, it is still possible to sponsor Clare at https://www.justgiving.com/Clare-Bryden.

“Particulart: Up in the Air” opens on 11 July!

GloriousBuy a coffee and cake from the Glorious café on the ground floor, and wander up to the second floor gallery for 3D knitted molecules floating in the Earth’s atmosphere! Interactive card games! Cushions! Data about greenhouse gases! Something for everyone, in fact, including your inner or not-so-inner geek.

The Glorious Art House is at 120 Fore St, Exeter EX4 3JQ. The opening hours are currently Mon-Sat 8am-6pm and Sun 10am-4pm. For the latest information, please see their Facebook page.

Article in Third Way magazine

Clare’s article about Particulart and the wider craftivism movement has now been published in May’s issue of Third Way magazine with the title “Knitting and other revolutionary acts”:

As competing political voices reach election crescendo, could it be that artistic, home-spun forms of activism are more positive and quietly persuasive? Clare Bryden hails the rise of ‘Craftivism’ and explains how knitting can change the world.

It’s available on Third Way website, unfortunately behind a paywall. Update: it’s now also available on this site.

Pint of Science

On Monday, I took Particulart into the unfamiliar territory – The Ship Inn in the middle of Exeter – as part of the annual worldwide Pint of Science festival.

The talk was one of three on the theme of Sustainable Science, to a goodly crowd squeezed into the Ship’s upstairs room. The pub claims to have been Sir Francis Drake’s favourite watering hole, but I’m not sure what Drake would have made of our talks on solar energy, knitting and cellulose. Maybe he’d have related them to navigation, and the Golden Hind’s rigging and timbers.

Particulart also provided one of the interval activities, as the audience were challenged to assemble molecules from piles of coloured disks nobly cut out by a volunteer. That was followed by a nigh-on impossible quiz about the three subjects.

A key feature of the evening was of course the trip to the bar beforehand, during the interval, and afterwards, which enabled some good discussions. This is one of the main points of Pint of Science, of course.

The Pint of Science festival aims to deliver interesting, fun, relevant talks on the latest science research in an accessible format to the public – all in the pub! We want to provide a platform which allows people to discuss research with the people who carry it out. The main festival takes place annually over three days in the month of May simultaneously in pubs across the world.

Next year’s festival will be on 23-25 May 2016.

It’s all go!

Clare got some excellent news this morning. Exeter City Council have approved a small arts grant towards a Particulart exhibition.

The exhibition will be entitled “Up in the Air”, and will take place at the Glorious Art House from 11-24 July 2015. It will have a number of aspects:

  1. 3D knitted representations of a series of the greenhouse gases that are most implicated in climate change. The particles will be hung in the main gallery space, with their positions determined by three pieces of data: concentration in the atmosphere (width); lifetime in the atmosphere (depth); and Global Warming Potential compared with carbon dioxide (height). The public will be welcome to touch and interact with the particles.
  2. Variants of the games ‘Top Trumps’ and ‘Happy Families’, using data and information about greenhouse gases and their constituent atoms, giving the public another opportunity to participate and interact with the installation, ‘learning through play’.
  3. An inflatable globe showing the physical geography, as a reminder of the fragility of our one planet and its atmosphere, which can also be used in play.
  4. A free knitting workshop, date to be confirmed, open to the general public.
  5. Posters providing the data and more information about each knitted greenhouse gas, and interpretation of the installation, including some guidance on “So what can I do?”.
  6. A book collecting responses to the installation.
  7. A website, which will be both a source of information during the exhibition, and a legacy. It will include: more information about climate change and the data presented in the exhibition; downloads of the posters and games; and after the exhibition, publication of the feedback gathered from the book and an online survey.

The Diocese of Exeter has also confirmed £100 sponsorship of “Up in the Air”. The particles will make a guest appearance at a meeting of the six Dioceses in the Southwest in September.

Exeter City Council Diocese of Exeter

In other news…

The “A Stitch in Time” exhibition in Bristol Cathedral has ended. Clare is speaking at Exeter Pint of Science on 18 May, and has an article on Craftivism in Third Way Magazine in May. She may also be making an appearance at the Small is Beautiful festival in September.

Timings of “A Stitch in Time”

“A Stitch in Time” will be exhibited at Bristol Cathedral from 6th March to 6th April as part of its Lent carbon challenge. The Cathedral says:

Each Lent churches in the Diocese of Bristol set themselves an environmental challenge. This year the challenge is all about saving and conserving water and we have developed a free exhibition to explore the issues further. Bishop Mike and BIshop Lee recently went on a trip to Uganda, which is linked with the Diocese of Bristol, and saw at first hand the issues communities face with gathering and managing their water supplies. Local priest, Rev Chris Dobson, who was travelling with Bishop Mike took photographs of the local community and we are also featuring photographs which show the beauty of water as a natural resource. Alongside that we also have a ‘Particulart’ exhibition entitled ‘A stitch in time’ which helps people visualise the carbon particles in our environment through a display of knitted particles, which has been developed by Clare Bryden. We are very grateful to both Chris and Clare for helping us with this exhibition. Admission is free – come and visit the south choir aisle.

To download the Carbon Challenge click here. To find out more about ‘Particulart’ click here.

Reflections on Particulart

Clare has written a blog post reflecting on the development of Particulart, from the initial spark of an idea in conversation with Diana to the exhibition in Real Food, and the responses it provoked both in her and the visitors to the exhibition. We hope you enjoy the read.

Last night, at somewhat short notice, Clare also gave a St Michael’s Lecture, entitled “Particulart, or the art of knitting, chemistry, meditation and gentle protest”. She liked the title so much, she changed the strapline of this website.

Further communications with Devon CC

Diana followed up Devon County Council’s response to our initial letter about Particulart on 21 December 2014 by email:

Just a note to thank you for taking the time to give a thorough response to our letter.

I remain concerned that the long term health impacts aren’t being assessed and I will feed that into the low emissions strategy plan feedback for ECC.

The Government document on the guidance in relation to reducing contractor costs did seem to me to include PPP contracts and I hope the Council can follow that up. How much is the value of the contract with Viridor?

I do hope that DCC will look to introduce a zero waste strategy over the coming years, rather than continuing with these incineration plans.

Perhaps just before Christmas wasn’t the best time to write, and a bit of prodding was required. It elicited the following response on 13 February 2015:

The value of the Exeter Efw contract is around £210 million over the contract term. As you can imagine the investment to build these plants is significant – approx £46 million for the Exeter facility. Hence the contracts for their operation have to be for a longer term duration in order to cover the capital and operational costs.

The County Council working in partnership with its Districts are committed through our Waste & Resource Management Strategy (http://www.devon.gov.uk/dcc_waste_strategy_review.pdf) to manage waste at the top of the waste hierarchy promoting waste reduction, re-use and recycling before recovery and we have high targets to aim for. Devon is still among the top performers nationally for recycling and the opening of the Exeter and Plymouth plants will not affect that. The Efw plants are being used to divert waste away from landfill and recover value from it, not to impact on waste reduction, re-use and recycling.

Lent Carbon Fast 2015

You’ve probably heard of Lent fasts: giving up chocolate or biscuits or swearing for the 40 days before Easter. But did you know that in 2014, the Church of England in the south west ran a Carbon Fast? And they’re going to be running another one again this year.

During Lent 2015, which starts on 18 February, the particular focus for the Fast is on the link between our use of water, which needs to be pumped, cleaned and stored; our energy use; and the things we consume. For example, it takes 11,000 litres to make a pair of jeans and 140 litres of water to make a single cup of coffee. For each day of Lent, everyone who signs up will receive a daily email with an action to consider (except Sundays) and a specially written reflection. The Carbon Fast 2015 will also consider broader climate issues, in the run up to the Paris negotiations in December. You can find out more on the EcoChurch Southwest website.

“Particulart” is going to be involved in the Carbon Fast through a new exhibition in Bristol Cathedral called “A Stitch in Time”. Watch this space for timings.

Anyone can undertake the Carbon Fast Challenge at any time of the year. The 40 days need not be the 40 days of Lent. You see, carbon fasting doesn’t need to cost anything. Every step you take counts for something. You will be surprised at how much difference even the smallest steps will make. And then you can keep taking them.