Marking COP26 with Citizens Learning

In November 2021, people from across the world gathered in Glasgow for the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26). Inspired by the event and collective action that was taking place in our local city, many of our groups used it as stimulus to create thought-provoking performance pieces. Read on as we reflect on our highlights:

Little Amal at COP26: We Are Mighty

In the lead up to COP26, together with National Theatre of Scotland and Perth Theatre, we worked with over 100 school children on a powerful climate justice arts project - We Are Mighty.

Little Amal meets school children in Glasgow - photo credit Colin Hattersley

Little Amal, a 3.5m puppet of a 10-year-old Syrian refugee, travelled over 8000km from the Syrian border to Manchester, shining a light on the millions of displaced children who have made similar journeys in search of refuge. She then visited Glasgow to attend COP26. 

Using Little Amal's visit as inspiration, six artists (Zoe Bullock, Camilla Crosta, Alice Dansey-Wright, Francisco Llinas Cases, Paria Moazemi Goodarzi and Tawona Sithole) led residencies in six primary schools in Glasgow and Perthshire. They used a range of artforms, including creative writing and visual art, to explore migrant and climate justice and youth activism. 

Primary five pupils from St Teresa's Primary in Glasgow - 
photo credit Julie Howden

The workshops culminated in a final event as the pupils accompanied the giant puppet along the River Clyde, sharing the different artwork they'd created. They were also joined by the Ayawara West African Percussion and Dance Ensemble. It was an uplifting morning as the pupils raised their voices to welcome Little Amal and call for change.

School children greet Little Amal with dances and artwork - photo credit Colin Hattersley

After the event, Catrin Evans, our Head of Creative Learning and creative lead on the project, reflected:

"The young people connected deeply with Little Amal and the forced journeys of young and old that she represents. The joy in encountering her was palpable. They care about her, and they care about the kind of world they are growing up in. It has been inspiring to work with them and the artistic team. I hope the experience stays with them and encourages them to keep raising their voices in creative ways and to demand space to be heard."

Visit our website for more information about this climate justice arts project.

My Fashion Path: Reclothing The Future Conference

The Citz Young Co. were invited to perform at Re-clothing the Future, a sustainable fashion conference that took place at Glasgow Caledonian University on the final day of COP26. The event brought together students, sustainable fashion businesses and policymakers to empower young people to shape the future of the fashion industry.

Community Drama Director Neil Packham with members of the Citz Young Co. at the conference - photo credit Sandy Young

The invitation to take part was particularly special as conference host and award-winning comedian Anna Devitt was a member of our very first Young Co. Speaking about the project, she said:

"I was the in the original cohort for the Young Co way back (17 years!!) and this is what catapulted me into my career, so I am thrilled that Neil is at the helm on these pieces. The young people have been very engaged and passionate throughout the development."

Anna Devitt in rehearsals with the Young Co.

The company devised two short pieces to introduce the sessions at the conference. Their sketches were around the theme of sustainability and highlighted the problems of fast fashion and how to combat it. It was also great to have Anna back in the room inspiring the current members as they worked together on this fun and thought-provoking project.

Members of the Young Co. performing at My Fashion Path - photo credit Sandy Young

Visit our website to learn more about the event and the Young Co's performances.

Glasgow is... 

In November 2021, the Community Collective returned to in person workshops and celebrated being back together after so long. For their first project back, 'Glasgow is...' they also created work in response to the climate crisis, justice and COP26. They used live performance as an outlet to express their anger, fear and hopes for the future of the planet and their home city. Watch the film to hear from some of the participants:

You can find out more about the Community Collective and their latest project via our website.