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Art competition to create a positive vision of a zero carbon future


Zombies, aliens, meteor strikes, intergalactic space travel and world wars are banned in a  new public art competition seeking plausible, optimistic and positive portrayals of a zero carbon future.

The competition is the culmination of the Royal Academy of Engineering INGENIOUS project, Low Carbon Technologies: The Art of a Sustainable Future,  which commenced in March 2018.

The project, led by James Mckay of Energy Leeds with support from the Priestley International Centre for Climate, commenced with a series of conversations about climate change by engineering researchers from the University of Leeds with people across Yorkshire.

The “climate chats” – which have taken place in schools, with community groups and at public events from Hull to Harrogate – have helped to inform a “vision” of a sustainable future that is the basis of the art competition.

The vision was also informed by a one-day workshop in September in Leeds that brought the researchers together with climate scientists, school children and stakeholder groups from across the city in exercises to co-create a timeline and expand on aspects of the vision.

The resulting vision document is available online and charts a storyline to 2118 that sees sea level rise of 2m. Decades of declining carbon emissions have stabilised global temperature rise to 1.5-2C of warming and society is well adapted to cope with the climatic changes.

Writers and artists of all kinds are invited to create art to imagine an exciting optimistic, sustainable future that relates to an aspect of the vision. Prizes of up to £1000 are available for the best entries and there will be categories for both children and adults.

Eligible art forms are: creative writing (up to 10,000 words); poems and songs; painting, illustration and graphic design; comics, storyboards and screenplays (up to 16 pages of A4); fine art and sculpture; costume and textile art; models; films and still photography; installation; performance.  (See Full guidance and how to apply)

Deadline for entries is 28 February 2019.

Further information:

Image: James Mckay