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Students reflect on environmental footprint in Past Now Future exhibition - 17/08/2015

Finn Ball The passion, curiosity and creativity of the young people of northern NSW will be on show in a series of exhibitions across the region as part of Southern Cross University’s Climate Change and Me project.

Showing at libraries at Banora Point, Kyogle, Ballina, Lennox Head, Lismore, Byron Bay and at the University’s new Lismore Learning Centre, the Past Now Future exhibition will showcase the work of 135 high school and primary school student researchers involved in Climate Change and Me project, a research initiative of the School of Education.

The exhibition features three major works produced by the students in collaboration with artist and Research Fellow David Rousell and Professor Amy Cutter-Mackenzie. The works include an interactive montage of 200 photographs archived in beeswax, a series of video installations and a book featuring essays, fiction, poetry and images by the students.

“Between August 2014 and July 2015, 135 children and young people from across northern NSW participated in the Climate Change and Me project project as researchers,” Mr Rousell said.

“The children and young people attended research training workshops where they learned to engage with theory and methodology, and use a variety of ethnographic and art-based research methods for collecting data about climate change in their communities.

“We didn’t want to give the students predetermined definitions or perspectives on climate change. Instead we encouraged them to investigate the diversity of awareness, attitudes and actions towards climate change in their own communities and environments. We basically just supported them with the research they wanted to do.

“If they wanted to make videos, we helped them do that. If they wanted to do fiction or drawing, we provided them with materials, feedback and even collaborated with them in some cases.

“Tracking the ways that students want to engage with the issue can directly inform the next stage of the project, which is the development and implementation of an interdisciplinary climate change curriculum.”

The Climate Change and Me website was also developed as a social media space for the students to post their creative works and comment on each other’s findings.

Mr Rousell and Professor Cutter-Mackenzie then worked closely with the students to analyse and curate the research data for the exhibition, which travels to public libraries across the region in August, September and October. Each exhibition will include an opening and book launch, with student researchers speaking about their experiences of the project.

Members of the community are encouraged to attend these exhibitions to experience the remarkable creativity and passion of the region’s children and young people.

Past Now Future exhibition dates:

- August 21-27, Banora Point High School Library (opens Friday August 21 at 11 am)
- August 28-September 3, Kyogle Public Library (opens Friday August 28 at 4pm)
- September 4-10, Ballina Public Library (opens Friday September 4 at 4pm)
- September 11-17, Lennox Public Library (opens Friday September 11 at 4pm)
- September 18-24, Lismore Public Library (opens Friday September 18 at 4pm)
- September 25-October 1, Byron Public Library (opens Friday September 25 at 4pm)
- October 13-31st SCU Lismore Learning Centre (opens Friday October 16 at 5pm)

Student testimonials:

“When I was told that they wanted kids to research climate change, I was in disbelief. I never really thought that, as a 12 year-old girl living in a small town in the Northern Rivers, I would have that much effect on the world we live in. It didn’t take me long to figure out that anyone could make a contribution, no matter how small, to save the planet, our planet, from turning into a complete wasteland. That’s what the point of Climate Change and Me was.” Lara Adcock Alstonville High School

“Being a part of the Climate Change and Me project has given me a great sense of purpose. Whilst the whole process was fun and interactive we all felt like we were working towards a greater goal and furthermore - a cause. It was incredibly creative and we got to share a lot of our personal experiences about climate change. The world is constantly changing around us and many people do not see the effect that we are having on the environment.” Finn Ball, Alstonville High School

“The exhibition can help us in the future to understand climate change and send out more messages to our world thought art, pictures, videos and drawing plus many more. I think that young people can understand better thought creative ideas.” Mekisha Waghorn, Alstonville Public School

“Becoming a student researcher was a little scary at first not knowing much about climate change. I needed to learn a lot about climate change and a bit about how it effects the world. I discovered that there are a lot of interesting people in this world that have a lot of different experiences to mine. I learnt that I have a lot of influence with climate change. Some influences are bad some are good.” Kiara Jobson, Alstonville Public School

“It was a very unique experience that required lots of knowledge in how big climate change can be and the problems it could cause. I discovered how much climate change does to effect the human race, Earth and the environment.” Blake Wilkin Alstonville Public School

Photo: Finn Ball of Alstonville High School with one of the artworks created for the Past Now Future exhibition.

Media contact: Anne-Louise Brown, media officer, Southern Cross University Gold Coast and Tweed Heads, 07 5589 3024 or 0417 288 794.

For further information, please contact:
Communications and Publications
Southern Cross University
PO Box 157 • Lismore NSW 2480 • Australia
T +61 2 6659 3006 or +61 2 66203508 • e