I took immediately to the Climate Stories workshop opportunity and worked feverishly on my own proposal to take part, drawing on many tentative brushes I had in my professional life with creative expression of science. As the time of the workshop drew closer, I kept wondering about the individual disciplines and how I would fare, or cope, or enjoy them. I kept telling myself to be as open as possible and to enter with curiosity and enthusiasm.
The workshop, which took place on the estate of Dartington Hall in South Devon surprised me on many levels, first of all the wonderful setting – both the ancient “Great Hall” and the surrounding gardens & parkland inspired and relaxed me and other participants. When we arrived, the morning’s rain & mist had cleared, giving way to sunshine, with spring blossoms perfuming the air.
In the Theatre-making workshop we explored the gardens, and I found it fascinating to listen to everyone’s perception shared in the group, focussing on different aspects, and also how we all drew out some facts invisible to the uninitiated spectator, whether these were microscopically small pollen, underground root systems or glimpses into a climate-changed future. An eye-opener !
I mentioned “speed of light” and in “Creative Writing” the idea for a short story, almost fully developed, popped into my head in almost an instant. Writing it all down, finding appropriate words and developing the characters & details will take time. Everyone was so open & supportive, if felt easy taking risks, doing something “a little bit crazy”.
I think the topic I was most sceptical about whether I would get on with – Songwriting – proved a very pleasant surprise. In our small group, guided & musically supported by Rosie Eade, we created an environmentally themed song from scratch, set it to music and recorded it in the space of two hours. And it would probably not sound out of place at a small music festival. And maybe even a bigger one !
Bernd Eggen, 11 May 2018