River of Hope
Dr Lisa Jones, a Reader in Education at the University of Hull and the lead for the project, said: “Using creativity and storytelling is an important approach to engaging diverse communities and directly supporting climate action. Our research recognises the inadequacy of assuming that merely providing information and facts is sufficient to mobilise individuals and communities.
“Instead, embracing creativity to evoke emotional responses that go beyond negative emotions such as fear and anger, provides an important way of sharing the important message that there is hope in collective action. The River of Hope animated film, which focuses on the Red River in Vietnam, through its content, style and choice of medium showcases this perfectly.
“Working in collaborative ways that span the social and environmental sciences as well as the arts and humanities, is essential for addressing the complexity of the climate crisis and its many injustices.”
The film showcases the journey taken by the youth participating in the project in an innovative animation that follows ‘Sa’, the storytelling Kingfisher who takes viewers along the Red River to observe the youth in action.
The film highlights the work of the British Academy’s Youth Futures project ‘Youth-led Adaption to Climate Change Challenges’ (YACC) which worked with youth from the national Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union organisation in three provinces of the Red River Catchment in Northern Vietnam looking at hydrological extremes linked to climate change.
From April 2022, the young people worked closely with researchers where they were supported to develop research skills, enhance their knowledge and understanding on climate change as well as develop creative storytelling techniques.
Dr Jones said: “This process of learning underpinned and equipped them to go into their communities as researchers – engaging in intergenerational and diverse intercultural conversations – seeking out not only evidence of the challenges being faced by communities, but also ‘stories’ of how people were learning to live with climate change.
“The young people then turned some of these stories into a range of creative, accessible formats to highlight how communities live with climate change in order to educate others on how there is space for hope in adapting for a changing future.”
Other examples of creative story-telling about climate change include a water puppetry performance that uses traditional, Vietnamese story-telling techniques to engage audiences.