Students from Dartmouth Academy, part iof Education South West, are taking part in the River of Hope project, which is an arts-based learning project linking schools around the world through the study of rivers and environmental issues.

River of Hope uses environmental learning and creative arts practice to help young people express their concerns about the climate crisis.

It also benefits teachers by providing them with artist professional development and access to a host of online resources aimed at encouraging them to include climate change topics within their curriculum teaching.

At Dartmouth Academy, a poet has already done a session with Year 7s on the River Dart and an artist has also visited the school to work with some students on how climate change affects flora and fauna.

River of Hope artworks will be produced as installations which will be shown at major national festivals as well as being part of an online gallery.

The organisers are also working with The Plymouth Institute of Education to develop new evaluation tools which will assess arts activities’ impact in ameliorating eco-anxiety amongst young people.

A frog collage
A frog collage (Dartmouth Academy)

Paul Girardot, Principal at Dartmouth Academy said:

“I am so pleased that we are taking part in the River of Hope programme again this year.  Our students cover the topic of climate change in their Year 7 geography lessons, but this project allows them to explore their emotions on the topic, as well as providing them with creative outlets for them.

“In an area that can sometimes seem gloomy, the artist workshops provide young people with a space to feel hopeful and I am looking forward to seeing all their finished artwork on display.”

Matthew Shanks, CEO of Education South West said:

“I would like to say a big thank you to everyone involved in the amazing River of Hope project. Eco-anxiety is a very real issue for young people today and while it’s important that they learn the science behind climate change, it’s also key to give them a chance to discuss how these issues affect them.

That they can do this outside and with professional creatives is just brilliant.”