Climate Story Lab ZA, an initiative aimed at shifting narratives and amplifying communication around climate change in order to make positive impacts against the global crisis, is inviting Southern African creative minds, including those from Malawi, to submit innovative messages that should help act on the most pressing emergency facing humanity -- the climate crisis.
A statement from the organization thus invites creative minds to submit innovative and imaginative projects for an opportunity to participate in a four-day residential lab in Cape Town, South Africa in January 2023.
Climate Story Lab ZA was initiated soon after a successful campaign by climate activists in December last year, in which they campaigned against fuel company Shell's from attempting to prospect for gas off the Eastern Cape Wild Coast of South Africa.
The campaign was "amplified with short films, street art and even dedicated music tracks which helped to bring more people out to support frontline communities, and help protect our marine life".
"It is this creative energy that the Climate Story Lab aims to harness," said the statement -- targeting applications from Southern African countries that include Malawi, Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, DRC, Lesotho, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The submissions for creative narrative-based projects should be in form of short films, animation, social media campaigns, XR/VR/AR, theatre, dance, stand-up comedy, poetry, children's/teen/adult fiction writing, podcasts, visual art, performance art -- "anything that uses a creative medium to communicate a message about climate change".
Up to eight projects are expected to be selected and up to two team members per project will be invited to the four-day lab in Cape Town from January 22-26, 2023, that will focus on developing the stories, designing impact strategies, and introducing projects to potential partners.
"We keep hearing about the issue and how dire the situation is," the statement quotes Dr.Liani Maasdorp, Climate Story Lab ZA's co-director, impact consultant and UCT film lecturer.
"People feel overwhelmed and sometimes don't do anything because they don't think they can make a difference. But one person can -- as long as we all do something.
"Statistics and graphs don't move people to action, but emotions do. That is why we are inviting creatives to come together to make their stories as strong as possible and make sure they reach the right audiences to take action against the climate crisis."
Climate justice activist, Anita Khanna -- who is also a producer and Climate Story Lab ZA's co-director -- is also quoted as saying: "We see creatives as a kind of emergency corps rushing in at a time when global leaders are just not acting fast enough.
"Creatives can help spread the message about how urgent this is, push back against false solutions to the crisis in accessible ways, help to get people to see that climate impacts are affecting every part of their lives, and importantly, give us a vision of a world that sustains life, not one that destroys it."
While Miki Redelinghuys said Climate Story Lab ZA firmly believes that "storytelling can reach into the hearts and minds of people and shift behaviour and inspire action".
"Now is the time to harness our creative energy to support urgent and innovative action on the climate crisis," said Redelinghuys, who is also co-director, documentary filmmaker and impact producer.
The intensive residential Lab is supported by the UMI Fund and hosted by the UCT Centre for Film and Media Studies in partnership with Doc Society and the Climate Story Unit.
Applications can be made online: https://climatestorylabza.org/application-form/ and whose deadline is at 17:00hrs SAST of October 7, 2022.
Malawians are taking issues of climate change very seriously as it has triggered several natural disasters in the country -- the recent being Cyclone Ana in January this year.
That nasty tropical storm devastated many parts of the country, the most being the Lower Shire that destroyed power generation infrastructure at Kapichira Hydro Power Station.
Taking cognizance of this crisis, organisers of Blantyre Arts Festival (BAF) themed this year's event as; 'Climate Resilience Through Cultural Preservation' to be held at Njamba Freedom Park.
At a press conference last week, BAF's founder and Executive Director, Thomas Chibambo had said the country is experiencing many challenges, both economic and social, due to the incessant power load shedding.
"Thus, we considered it wise that we should all join hands to spread the campaign of solving the environmental degradation that leads to climate change," he had said.
Chibambo further said they decided to go on the 'green' campaign because they want artists "to becomes a vehicle to spread messages and precaution measures to be taken to combat climate change's negative effects".
"BAF and its partners would like to become part of that environment conservation solution in Malawi," he had said.
Chibambo emphasized that their partners warmly embraced the 'green' theme. They include Blantyre City Council; UNESCO Malawi Commission; The Federal Republic of the Germany Embassy in Malawi; Friends of Malawi Circles in Germany; Hannover City; First Capital Bank; Amaryllis Hotel; World Connect Malawi; Entertainers Promotions; aware&fair; Chibuku -- amongst others.
After a two-year break due to CoVID-19, BAF is back in full swing whose high-profile artists include include Kasama Arts from Zambia; Temp Trio from Hannover, Germany -- to share the stage alongside Malawi's great artists, the Black Missionaries; Ethel Kamwendo Banda; Gloria Manong'a; Agoroso and Skeffa Chimoto.
As usual it will be spiced by other performances in poetry; comedy; cultural dances and visual arts. There will also be training workshops in arts management; cultural music productions; theatre productions; arts and cultural entrepreneurship and many more.