Britain’s youth sing out for action ahead of COP26 in collaborative project by The Grange Festival and WWF 

Future Visions challenge: an original creative response to a global emergency by the future custodians of our planet. 

This summer, Learning@TheGrange, in collaboration with WWF, has amplified the voices of nearly 250 young people aged seven to 23 years, to express their hopes for a sustainable future. Through interactive workshops guided by exceptional creative professionals, groups from nine schools and educational institutions discussed and debated different global landscapes from the Amazon Rainforest to our Ancient Woodlands here in the UK. They examined WWF’s scientific truths, explored the steps that countries and individuals need to take to drive transformative change and developed a vision for the future. 

In responding, they were encouraged to dig deep into their imaginations. They wrote text, composed music and choreographed dance to represent how they want life to be on our living planet. Their songs were filmed and illustrated with Silverback footage. Their collection of films will be launched on WEDNESDAY 29 SEPTEMBER 11-12noon at the Grange Festival theatre to an audience of young people, teachers, educationalists and environmentalists. The session will be presented by The Grange Festival creative team and WWF.  

These films are intended to be shown at a number of global conferences, including COP26 in November, to drive conversations about how to sustain life on Earth. Young people are still being invited to share their visions of the future, and to participate in a Forest of Promises, to add to a showcase of youth voice that WWF will take to COP26. Schools can get involved, supported by WWF’s free resource pack

The Creative Challenge 

Our planet. A finite sphere. A single entity where every action plays a role.   Planet Earth is in danger. Experts tell us we can still save our world – but the clock is ticking. Success will only come if we all act now to modify the way we live. Every one of us can and must make a difference, but it is the youth who carry the biggest burden as future stewards of our planet. 

Why connect an arts organisation with a conservation institution? The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report predicts that creativity, innovation and ‘ideation’ – forming ideas and concepts – are key skills for the future. The creative arts build and nurture the essential qualities of imagination, questioning, empathy and communication – the very skills which are uniquely human.  

Susan Hamilton, Director of Learning, The Grange Festival comments: “Our collaboration with WWF aims to encourage young people to look at our damaged world through new lenses. By discovering and developing these kinds of life skills, the next generation will be better equipped to plan for a positive future – a future which requires them to work alongside nature – and influence decision makers so that collectively, we respect the needs of the planet. We hope Future Visions will demonstrate that through innovative creative activity, young people can devise original ways of tackling big challenges, expressing their opinions, conclusions and proposals persuasively.” 

STEAM education is the ‘who & why’, the reasoning, to the ‘what & how’ of STEM education.’ Georgette Yakman, founding researcher and creator of STEAM Education  

Participants & inspiration 

John Barber (composer) and Hazel Gould (director) led Preston Candover Primary School (urban nature in our cities), The Vyne Secondary School in Basingstoke (the unique ecosystem in the Arctic) and Hampshire County Youth Choir (fresh-water wetlands). 

Jessica Maryon Davies (composer) and Karen Gillingham (director) led Everest Community Academy (the vast grasslands of the African Masai Mara), Perins School (industrial pollution in the Mekong River) and University of Winchester undergraduates (concrete urban life). 

Pete Letanka (composer) and Robert Gildon (director) led Cheriton Primary School (the rich biodiversity in the Amazon Rainforest) and Cranbourne Secondary School GCSE students (our unique and irreplaceable Ancient Woodlands in the UK). 

In addition, leading British composer Jonathan Dove led instrumentalists from Hampshire County Youth Orchestra to compose an orchestral piece in response to the bleaching of the coral on the Great Barrier Reef.  Their finished piece was choreographed by Wessex Dance Academy who use contemporary dance to transform the lives of vulnerable young people 

Project designer Rhiannon Newman Brown and film production company Peanut & Crumb were responsible for editing the films and shaping them with visual context and the footage provided by Silverback Films for the Future Visions project. 

Website – YouTube – Facebook – Twitter – Instagram 


Watch the film for the project here