Tag Archives: climate change

Penguins on stage and street in climate change action – Massey University

Donning Catherine Bagnall's costumes for the 'Becoming Penguin' walk are fourth year fashion students Jacob Coutie, Jordie Agnew and Hannah Tate.

Donning Catherine Bagnall’s costumes for the ‘Becoming Penguin’ walk are fourth year fashion students Jacob Coutie, Jordie Agnew and Hannah Tate.

Using theatre to turn people into penguins is a symbolic way to highlight some of the planet’s most vulnerable species in this year’s global Still Waving: Climate Change Theatre Action events in Wellington.

Co-organiser Massey University’s Associate Professor Elspeth Tilley says a number of Massey staff and students will become “human penguins” on stage and in the streets of Wellington this Labour Weekend. They are showcasing how artists and performers can respond to environmental and social issues – in this case, the serious threat of global warming to the existence of Antarctica’s penguin populations.

Her new play, The Penguins, is being performed in 14 locations worldwide from Paris to Shanghai and the United States, as well as at Massey’s Wellington campus on Labour Day (October 23). It is one of nine short plays on climate change featured at this year’s Still Waving: Climate Change Theatre Action event at Massey – part of a six-week global movement to highlight climate change issues through performance.

In a thematic prelude, participants will take to the streets of central Wellington in the “Becoming Penguin” performance walk, starting at the Cenotaph at Parliament at 1pm and heading to Massey University. Participants (everyone welcome) are invited to join the walk wearing whatever black and white items they have in their wardrobe that lend a penguin “look”.

Creator of “Becoming Penguin”, Massey lecturer in the School of Design | Ngā Pae Māhutonga, Catherine Bagnall, is an artist whose work focuses on the edges of fashion studies and its intersection with performance practices.

“In the context of questions about humanity’s relationship to the planetary ecosystem and how we categorise ‘other’ species, ‘Becoming Penguin’ explores ideas about the end of the Anthropocene and the beginning of the post-human world,” Ms Bagnall says.

The walk, she says, is to “symbolise support for all the communities taking personal responsibility for climate action at a local level, when governments won’t.”

World premieres staged

Following the “Becoming Penguin” walk, a cast of 23 – including well-known Wellington professional actors alongside Massey students and staff – will stage nine climate action plays by writers of Jamaican, Portuguese, Native American, Australian, New Zealand, Samoan, Canadian and US descent at the campus Theatre Laboratory from 2pm.

“The programme includes two world premieres – a short play by Samoan writer/director Ian Lesā about Pacific Island climate change issues, and one by Kat Laveaux, a playwright from the Lakota tribe in the United States, who visited Massey University earlier this year as part of the National Expedition and Internship Programme, and became keen to participate in Climate Change Theatre Action,” says Dr Tilley.

Also featuring is work by another School of English and Media Studies playwright, Philip Braithwaite, whose short play “Swing Among the Stars”, about colonising Mars, is scheduled for nine Climate Change Theatre Action performances globally.

In her play, Dr Tilley explores human behaviour and attitudes from another species’ perspective (one in which the males ‘stay home’ and look after the young) to provide an innovative and often hilarious framework into which serious ideas can be woven.

“It’s also a way of giving people hope. Penguins have been around for 60 million years, whereas humans have been on the planet for about two million years,” she says. “I think it’s important not to hit people in the face with a message.”

Art and creativity on social issues

Dr Tilley, a lecturer in theatre studies in the School of English and Media Studies – including the Creativity in the Community paper (in which students apply skills in theatre, performance, film-making, creative writing, media practice or mixed media to developing a creative response to a social issue or community need) – is the author of several award-winning plays on climate change and social issues, and producer of the biennial Aotearoa Climate Change Theatre Action events, launched in 2015.

She says the process of creating and performing theatre about a difficult and daunting topic can be empowering for participants and audiences.

“People get bombarded with information about climate change and the doom-filled scenarios – the result is that people become complacent and switch off,” she says. “The performances in Still Waving will entertain, console and confront you with works that are humorous and intense, problem-illuminating and solution-focused, powerful, sometimes funny, sometimes catastrophic, often moving and inspirational.”

All proceeds from the Still Waving event go to youth-led climate action group Generation Zero, which is campaigning for a zero carbon New Zealand economy.

For more information, check out the Still Waving: Climate Change Theatre Action Facebook page.

Source: Penguins on stage and street in climate change action – Massey University

Still Waving: Climate Change Theatre Action

CCTA Aotearoa's Nine Playwrights

CCTA Aotearoa’s Nine Playwrights

With only a few days to go until Still Waving: Climate Change Theatre Action Aotearoa 2017, we are excited to bring you the full programme.

On October 23, we will be staging nine short plays at 2pm in the Massey University Wellington Theatre Laboratory:

  • Start Where You Are, by E. M. Lewis – a poignant look at how to remain hopeful in the face of calamity, by an award-winning Oregon-based playwright
  • The Penguins, by Elspeth Tilley – lifting our spirits through comedy as we find out what penguins think of humanity
  • Truth Like Water, by Kat Laveaux – premiering a compassionate view of the world from an emerging Native American playwright whose tribe stands in defiance at the Dakota Access Pipeline protests
  • A Girl’s Dance, by Ian Lesā – also a world premiere: a powerfully spiritual work from a new voice, Samoan New Zealand playwright and director Ian Lesā
  • Brackendale, by Elaine Ávila – a wry comedy about Bald Eagles and rubbish dumps, from a Canadian/US writer of Azorean Portuguese descent
  • Single Use, by Marcia Johnson – a Jamaican playwright’s very modern sketch of online dating in the 21st century and how we decide what’s important in a partner
  • Swing Among the Stars, by Philip Braithwaite – an interstellar future, from the imagination of a multi-award-winning New Zealand playwright
  • Homo Sapiens, by Chantal Bilodeau – a trip to the zoo, a century from now. What will be on exhibit? A provocative comedy from the co-founder of Climate Change Theatre Action, and;
  • Rube Goldberg Device for The Generation of Hope, by Jordan Hall – an interactive experience that will get you off your feet, from a fresh and inspirational Canadian playwright.

There will also be readings of the three winning pieces in our Climate Change Theatre Action Creative Writing Competition, and a short talk from Generation Zero about what you can do to pitch in in the fight against climate change.

Still Waving is a paperless event, so please download our full programme in a PDF file, here for more detail of cast and crew: Still Waving Final Programme PDF 3

If you haven’t got your ticket yet, get one now from EventFinda: https://www.eventfinda.co.nz/2017/still-waving-climate-change-theatre-action-aotearoa-2017/wellington

And don’t forget, you can also join the ‘Becoming Penguin’ Performance Walk just prior to Still Waving if you’re keen – details at http://sites.massey.ac.nz/expressivearts/2017/08/30/becoming-penguin-a-performance-walk/


Politics of lawn-mowing in the age of climate change – Massey University

Politics of lawn-mowing in the age of climate change Could the ubiquitous act of mowing the lawn be a symbol of our dysfunctional relationship with nature?

Source: Politics of lawn-mowing in the age of climate change – Massey University

Could the ubiquitous act of mowing the lawn be a symbol of our dysfunctional relationship with nature?
It’s at least a starting point for deeper reflection on the state of the planet, and just one of a range of provocative ideas to be aired by Massey University humanities scholars in a new public series at Takapuna Library, starting tonight.

The series explores an underlying question: do the ways people relate to the natural world in their everyday lives determine how the big challenges of the 21st century will be resolved more than high-level economic and political strategies? It will also run in Palmerston North.

“Humanities scholars have a lot to add to the conversations about the big social issues of today,” says historian and Associate Professor Kerry Taylor, head of the School of Humanities. “Their understandings and views tend to get overlooked in favour of science and economics.”

In this vein, his colleagues want to demonstrate how their disciplines can shed light on understanding what shapes people’s ideas and influences their behaviour in the context of threats to the environment.

The three-part series, titled The Land: Resilience and Co-existence, includes talks by a Spanish linguist, philosophers, and cultural and media studies scholars from Massey’s Auckland and Manawatū campuses. The talks are on May 19 and 26, and June 2, from 6pm to 7.30pm, and June 9, 16 and 23 in Palmerston North, at the same time.

Humanities perspectives on big issues of 21st century

“Our humanities scholars feel a sense of urgency in wanting to highlight how the humanities disciplines can provide critical, ethical thinking and innovative perspectives on causes and solutions to major problems of this epoch – from climate change to the impact of consumerism, dwindling natural resources, population escalation and growing inequality,” Dr Taylor says.

Media studies lecturer Dr Nick Holm, who is co-presenting the second talk, says humanities research is increasingly focused on responding to a changing world. “On a planet where both carbon dioxide levels and extinction rates are soaring, the boundaries between nature and culture no longer seem as clear as they once appeared,” he says.

His focus is the more mundane backyard settings where most people encounter the natural world.

“Lawn-mowing can provide us with a useful model for appreciating the crucial ethical, aesthetic and political stakes of what’s known as the Anthropocene [the geological period in which human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment],” he says.

“Approaching lawn-mowing as a political act – one by which many of us make and remake our most immediate ‘natural’ environment – we can not only make a clear distinction between our idealistic visions and lived material practices, but also envision how we might begin to take responsibility for the possibilities of human agency in the 21st century.”

Media studies lecturer Dr Sy Taffel will discuss, in the same session, whether the term ‘the Anthropocene’ describes only destructive human impacts on nature, or if it could also “foster sustainable, ecologically resilient communities that escape the pursuit of infinite economic growth on a finite planet.”

Lessons on relation with land from Latin America

Dr Leonel Alvarado, senior lecturer at Massey’s Spanish language programme and an award-winning poet, will open the series with a discussion of how different cultures in Latin America have learned to live with the land, and how the arrival of the Spanish – and, later on, of big transnational corporations – brought about issues of land ownership and exploitation.

Food and identity, spirituality and a capitalist perception of the land, indigenous concepts of sustainability and caring for the land will be part of the discussion. He will also join the dots between New Zealand cuisine and a few key Latin American ingredients.

In the final talk, philosophers Dr John Matthewson, Dr Krushil Watene and Dr Vanessa Schouten, all from the Auckland campus at Albany, will explore dilemmas and decisions in the age of climate change.

“It’s clear that we need to act on current and future challenges to the environment,” says Dr Matthewson. “So why does it seem so difficult to do the right thing? For instance, why do nations sign up to climate treaties but keep polluting? How do we balance our obligations to people in the future and those in need right now? What difference can one person possibly make? We will run an interactive discussion exploring these three issues.”

The series is sponsored by Massey’s W H Oliver Humanities Research Academy, and supported by Auckland Council.

EVENT: The Land: Resilience and Co-existence – a three-part humanities series on the relationship between people and the planet exploring how civilisations across and time and geographic location interact with the natural world.

Takapuna Library, 9 The Strand, Takapuna

Time: 6pm – 7.30pm

May 19: From a Spanish perspective (Dr Leonel Alvarado)
May 26: From a cultural studies perspective (Dr Nick Holm and Dr Sy Taffel)
June 2: From a philosophical perspective (Dr John Matthewson, Dr Krushil Watene and Dr Vanessa Schouten
Palmerston North City Library

Time: 6pm – 7.30pm

June 9: From a cultural studies perspective (Dr Nick Holm and Dr Sy Taffel)
June 16: From a Spanish perspective (Dr Celina Bortolotto)
June 23: From a philosophical perspective (Dr Vanessa Schouten)
Free entry. To attend or to receive more information email Nicole Canning on N.L.Canning@massey.ac.nz

Waves: Climate Change Theatre Action

Join us for Waves, a provocative afternoon of short plays by international and local playwrights, spoken word poetry, and readings from the finalists in our Expressive Arts Club Climate Change Creative Writing Awards.







Waves is our contribution to Climate Change Theatre Action (#‎ClimateChangeTheatreAction‬), a series of worldwide readings and performances led from New York by Theatre Without Borders, The Arctic Cycle, and No Passport as part of Artcop21 – the global cultural programme of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change.

We are the only Climate Change Theatre Action event for Aotearoa – so register now to be part of the audience at 1pm on Sunday November 1st in the Theatre Laboratory (5D14) at Massey University Wellington Campus.

Students and staff from Massey’s theatre studies and expressive arts programmes will entertain, console and confront you with works humorous and intense, problem-illuminating and solution-focussed, powerful, sometimes funny, sometimes catastrophic, often moving and inspirational. The works include exciting new world premiere short plays from David Geary (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Geary), Jacqueline Lawton (http://www.jacquelinelawton.com/bio.html) and E.M. Lewis (http://emlewisplaywright.com/). Our own English & Media Studies creative communication tutor and NZ playwriting star Phil Braithwaite (http://www.playmarket.org.nz/playwrights/philip-braithwaite) will give us a reading from his new work, The Atom Room, plus we launch some brand new talents.

Make sure there’s a seat for you and your party: register now to reserve seats at https://masseyuni.wufoo.eu/forms/waves-climate-change-theatre-action-aotearoa/

See more info and follow for updates at our FB event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1486295995032736/