During Green Week on Sunday 14 October, three University committees came together in Beacon Bar for An Afternoon of Art and Action. Inklight, Brizo Magazine, and Environment Subcommittee St Andrews invited students to an open conversation to discuss how issues regarding the environment, such as global warming, can be depicted to the public through various art forms. The potential of literature, art, and music to artistically convey the effects of climate change speaks to audiences on a deeper and more emotional level than the conventional news reports which our society has been spoon fed for years.
A brief synopsis of the three committees involved:
Inklight is a creative writing society of the University of St Andrews open to everyone with an interest in literature and activism. The society frequently hosts opportunities for students to express themselves, or merely to listen and appreciate the expressions of others; poetry slams, open mic nights, workshops, journal readings and beach bonfire storytelling to name a few. Inklight’s goal is to support and inspire the budding writers of our town to share their creative passions.
Brizo Magazine is an online publication tackling the core of contemporary news, arts, politics and culture. Their objective is to serve as a refuge for in-depth and enthusiastic intellectuals who crave a holistic approach to current events. The magazine has a relaxed and artistic spirit, whilst simultaneously maintaining a professional front. It aims to improve communication in a socio-political atmosphere, nurturing thoughtful perspectives.
Lastly, Environmental Subcommittee St Andrews aims to maintain the standards of our university’s eco-friendly attitude and endeavours with the hope to make considerable changes to our environmental impact.
Beacon Bar became a hub for fiery debate when over 20 students voiced their opinions across a coffee table, bedecked with vegan almond brownies and brewing tea pots. Print-outs of The Guardian lay scattered around the room with their titles “The Climate Crisis” and “What happens if cities do but nations don’t?” offering a harsh contrast to the copies of compassionate poetry that lay beside them, including “The Green House Effect” by Carl Dennis and “Microwave” by Angelica Freitas.
Members of the three societies kicked off the discussion by debating the artistic merits of depicting the alarming topic of the environment through a more visual and contemporary lens. By offering an alternative presentation to the standard news articles, the aim is to create and impress a dramatic and impacting narrative into our everyday consciousness. The visual depictions of the effects of global warming cannot be ignored. As stated by Leonie Malin, “creativity speaks to people, as humans are empathetic creatures.” Art breaks down the borders of language and scientific understand, forming the path for a more collective revolution.
Overall, the event’s comfortable and intimate atmosphere allowed contributors to feel confident to explore their own personal views, whilst at the same time highlighting the urgent need for us to face reality and take action. Students of St Andrews live in a bubble, but perhaps it is time to address the bigger picture. An Afternoon of Art and Action fittingly rounded off St Andrew’s Green Week and set the tone for collective change.