We Are Here is a joint campaign from rights and climate collective Rights Community Action and creative collective Glimpse. Aimed at empowering local communities who are under threat from the effects of climate change to speak out.
Ipswich-based arts organisation Art Eat Events led the campaign in Lowestoft bringing the community together and working with artists Albert Clegg and Zoe Alleyne to bring local ideas to life.
Two murals have been painted at 10 Bevan Street and 62 Stanley Street in Lowestoft.
Under the leadership of local arts organisation Art Eat Events for the We Are Here campaign, two murals have been completed which aim to capture Lowestoft and the hopes and fears of the residents about climate change as well as to and inspire positive action.
A public call out was made in January and February online, in local press and radio, and distributed on flyers in cafes, shops and community centres across the town. Volunteers from the community attended a series of workshops and worked with mural artists to explore ideas about the impact of climate change on the local area.
These ideas were developed into two mural designs: The Mural on 10 Bevan Street (The Crown Lounge Indian Restaurant) shows many of the wonderful and positive things about Lowestoft town and includes reference to renewable energy, nature and the coastline which needs protection. The design features the sunrise, a sailing boat, Gulliver the wind turbine and an inspiring visual of tree planting to encourage positive action on climate change. The mural on Wollaston Road/Stanley Street is a call to action, aimed at inspiring people and reminding them that they can have a positive influence politically by using their voices. The tide at the bottom of the mural is a visual reference to the North Sea flood of 1953, which caused death and devastation across the region 70 years ago. Lowestoft’s endangered Kittiwakes also make an appearance.
Both murals have been painted on privately owned buildings in the town centre in Lowestoft with generous permission from the owner of the wonderful Crown Lounge Indian Restaurant on Bevan Street, who has been a fantastic support providing us with hot food and drinks, and a warm welcome as well as a long term resident of Stanley Street, Jeff who was very open to this project from the day we knocked on his front door. The directors of Art Eat would like to thank these two visionary local people for their enthusiasm and for letting us paint on such great walls.
“It was a great experience to be part of the project and I enjoyed it immensely. Lots of lessons to be learned and some ideas for future, joint work between some of us may come to fruition. We … need to get out of our comfort zones in our climate activity and start thinking out of boxes that are full of ideas but do not address the urgency of the situation.” Mary Littlefield, community participant.
“There was incredible engagement from the beginning with a really active and enthusiastic group of Lowestoft residents who have collaborated with us to inspire two powerful, beautiful and inspiring pieces of public art. We are very proud to have met them and worked with them all. We hope these murals will lead to bringing the issues of climate change and positive action to the forefront of people's minds. Iona Hodgson, Project Manager, Art Eat Events.
“We Are Here is about more of us being heard - especially those of us facing the most severe impacts of climate change now and in future. People who live in the Suffolk Coastal region will experience more flooding of their homes and businesses because of the climate crisis, and more action from those in power is needed. These powerful murals are a reflection of the community and communicate their hopes, fears and desire for change on climate change. WeAreHere is proud to have worked with Art Eat Events to help amplify the voice of the people of Lowestoft” Anira Khokhar, Community Development Lead, Rights Community Action
On the 21st May Art Eat Events and Lowestoft locals joined young people from Hull, Taunton and Skegness on behalf of the We Are Here campaign at Parliament to ask for help to protect their communities from the inevitable impacts of climate change. Representing areas that regularly flood, and are predicted to experience more flooding according to a new flood map commissioned by the We Are Here campaign and developed by the University of Manchester and Climate Just, the delegation included young people, community groups and activists. The meeting was hosted by Emma Hardy, MP for Hull, and attended by David Davis MP, Ruth Jones MP, Shadow Minister for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and Baroness Hayman of Ullock – who has proposed an amendment to the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill that the We Are Here campaign is urging the Government to accept.
Communities up and down the country are facing the impacts of climate change. Earlier this year the Met Office warned of severe flooding, which costs on average £30k to a home. If action is not taken now, campaigners and communities are worried about the long-lasting impacts.