Plymouth Eco Collective

Current stage: Awarded

Collaborators

  • Art & Energy
  • Pollenize
  • Plymouth Play Scrapstore
  • Clean Our Patch
  • Seadream Education
  • Precious Plastic Plymouth

Collective’s aims and ideas

Individually, our collective of small established organisations have a growing presence in Plymouth, each working in different but complimentary ways towards creating a greener, cleaner more sustainable Plymouth. We first met as a collective in early October 2020, our ideas have evolved significantly in this short time, but an immediate shared concern was that we all struggle to invite young people to join our activities; those beyond the age of family activities attending as a child, and before full adulthood. We believe that one way to reach this group is through the use of interactive technology. We propose to commission a series of AR artworks to entice and engage.
Engaging this age group seems particularly important as they are the ones who will be faced with an increasingly complex and challenging world in the face of climate change. We frequently hear of growing concerns about the mental wellbeing of this age group, so it feels particularly important to offer them ways to take constructive action. With apps and QR codes becoming a more general part of our world, these artworks will also be attractive to a wider demographic.
Our plan is to commission Plymouth-based Igneous Interactive (https://www.igneousinteractive.co.uk/armurals) to create a series of seven Augmented Reality artworks (one for each organisation involved). You look at the artwork through the Igneous app on your phone or tablet, and the artwork comes to life in a short animation. There will also be an audio message prompting green behaviour relating to the imagery, and a clickable link to the organisation’s website or facebook page.
The artworks can be used anywhere we can print them…
• We can display them in windows to create a sort of walking tour, with the potential to be moved to a different part of Plymouth every few months.
• They can be placed inside as framed artworks along a corridor somewhere like the University or council offices.
• We can print them as a series of collectable postcards.
• We could also commission a mural artwork including all of the small artworks combined.
• They can be included within dry business reports to add a bit of excitement.
• They can be printed in newspapers, magazines and other publications.
• The potential is really rather exciting as they can be reproduced in a range of scales from business cards to billboards!
The use of AR means that they are so much more than just posters! They’re fun and funky and are more likely to be shared and to generate conversation and engagement. The Igneous Interactive App will collect basic data to evidence the number of times that the artworks are activated.
We represent just a small number of the many amazing organisations working in Plymouth. With additional funding we would love to invite others to join us to promote their offerings too. A fab way to celebrate and promote local socially active organisations and messages.
Price-wise, Igneous have quoted somewhere between £240 and £480 per small AR artwork depending on complexity and whether we provide them with the initial artworks. The POP fund is for <£3k, we’ve applied for the full amount. I suggest that we set aside £2250 for Igneous to create the 7 artworks, leaving £750 for printing. We plan to start with a poster trail around the Stonehouse area. Please do contact us if you can help us to share it in other parts of the city, or have ideas for future funding streams.

How will they work together to achieve this?

Individually we all have the experience of establishing, running and promoting our own organisations. There is a rich wealth of experience and skills within the collective.
Seadream, and Pollenize CIC bring with them a more academic/research-based view of the climate issues we are all concerned about, whilst Plymouth Scrapstore, Art and Energy, Rebel Botanists and Precious Plastics provide a more art-based creative approach. Clean Our Patch and Plymouth Scrapstore particularly excel at creating a sense of community and inviting people to get involved. Between us we have a number of experienced educators, working with a range of ages and backgrounds. Having a strong online presence is important to us all, though as emerging organisations we have approached it in a variety of ways; there is much we can learn from one another, and we already frequently share one another’s social media posts as our core messages are so strongly entwined.
We have all experienced the highs and lows of being relatively small organisations competing for funding… though having said that we do not see one another as rivals, happily sharing opportunities that we spot that may be better suited to another organisation. This is a fantastic opportunity to collaborate!
There is history of small collaborations within the collective, but this is the first time we will come together to work on a project. In addition to the proposal set out here, our recent conversations have sparked of many more new and exciting collaborations. At this time of social distancing and increased isolation it has been very stimulating to form a new collective of like-minded enthusiastic people!
For many, the Climate Emergency creates a sense of anxiety and guilt which can switch people off getting involved or making change. The challenge can be so complex that it is hard to know what to do, or where to start. Each of our organisations offers ways to take constructive action: engaging and appreciating the natural world around us, reusing the items that we’re in the habit of throwing in the bin, clearing up the rubbish that hasn’t made it to the bin, and making our homes more energy efficient.
Not only are we and our members making small changes to improve Plymouth’s environment, we are doing so through a hands-on, community, creative, fun and light-touch educational way. We are bringing together like-minded people from all walks of life and creating communities. Eco-anxiety and isolation is on the rise. Look out of your window and the environmental issues around us can feel massively overwhelming, but approach them together and we can make a difference!

What advice are they asking for?

We received excellent feedback from Jackie Young at Environment Plymouth. She asked us to describe our activities and how the funding would specifically be used to realise our plans. This was really useful to us. We’d already had conversations as a collective, coming up with several possible courses of action. Looking at the specifics we decided that one strategy was too ambitious. We all agreed that an original suggestion of a trail was important to our final course of action. It is always useful to have a clear financial proposition at the beginning of a project especially when commissioning a relatively new creative organisation.
A second suggestion from Jackie was that we should have a clear environmental message. We are all environmentally-minded organisations, and it may have appeared that we were just promoting our organisations. This feedback prompted us to discuss how we would attach succinct messages to our artworks in order to prompt the viewer to take action. In our discussion with POP, Matt suggested adding a voiceover to the animation. We checked with Igneous Interactive who said it would be an easy addition. We decided to attach a challenge/message to each artwork, one that was relevant to the particular organisation’s goal; a call to action prompting a simple behavioural change to benefit the environment. Some of the messages we felt important, such as : “Think before you buy-do you need it? Could you borrow it?” point us to new partners, who are already POP members. Matt also pointed us towards the organisations within the Greenminds project, We would hope to include more of these organisations in the future. To sum this up, the feedback from Jackie and Matt helped us to focus our plan, opened up new strategic avenues and suggested further collaborative partnerships that we could make.