28 May 2020
Meet the Season for Change team
As the announcement of Season for Change’s launch events approaches, the team behind the Season think it’s about time we introduce ourselves.
In usual circumstances, the team would be based across Season for Change’s lead partners, Julie’s Bicycle and Artsadmin. Given these extraordinary times, we have assembled virtually from isolation to say hello.
Listen to the audio blog below, where Sholeh Johnston, Salome Wagaine and Octagon Norman chat about what we do at Season for Change, what the programme means amid Covid-19, and what parts of the programme we are most excited about.
Not got your headphones to hand? Read on for a snippet of the conversation, or download the full transcript at the bottom of this page.
Introductions, climate and Covid-19
Sholeh Johnston, Programme Producer (she/her): I’ve been working in the culture and climate space for about eight years, and mostly for a long period of that with one of The Season for Change lead partners – Julie’s Bicycle. I came to Season for Change at the end of 2018, just after the first pilot programme. Over to you, Salome!
Salome Wagaine, Programme Manager (she/her): Great, thanks! So, I have a background in producing and arts administration. Most recently I worked on a project called Diverse Actions, which is a three-year initiative championing people of colour working in live art. I have previously worked for a sustainability charity doing some research, actually, to see how much littering people get up to when they don’t think they’re being watched – so the opportunity to work on The Season has been really exciting. Octagon – would you like to introduce yourself?
Octagon Norman, Communications Manager (they/them): Yeah, hi! So, I’ve got a background in communications and digital marketing, previously working at an animal welfare charity and I’ve worked in creative writing organisations – I’m also a performance artist. I’m based at Artsadmin (the other lead partner on Season for Change), which is an organisation I first came to as an artist and now I’m working at in the comms field, which is pretty nice!
SW: Great. So, obviously we’re launching this in the unexpected conditions of the pandemic. I’m interested to know what the rest of the team feel are the opportunities for creating an appetite for climate action in this context?
ON: I mean, we’re part of the lucky ones, right? We still have jobs to go to during this pandemic which is a huge privilege, and I think it’s really a space to explore what activism and climate action means in a place where we can’t physically gather to take action for climate justice. I think now more than ever, with people realising how we can have a sense of solidarity and a sense of momentum without being physically co-present with each other, opens up an opportunity to refigure what climate action might look like. What about you, Sho?
SJ: I think a lot of that resonates with me as well. I think this is a really wonderful opportunity to look for the silver lining in what has been a very difficult and stressful time for many people. In spite of being told for years and years with climate action that it just wasn’t possible to stop the way that the system we’re in functions. Suddenly we’ve seen that happen. In the space of a month, everything’s changed. Pollution is clearing from the skies and there’s more birdsong. People are really rethinking the way they live their lives because they feel distant from community, they feel distant from food. And the other thing that is so interesting is that it’s affecting everyone. The way we care for one another has parallels with climate change in that it’s also undiscriminating, and also has a disproportionately harsh effect on communities that are less privileged and have less access to resources.
SW: Yeah I completely agree. I think the fact that there is this unequal distribution in the way that people are being affected by the virus reflects the environmental inequalities that as a programme we’ve always been interested in and feels even more important now. Things like access to public space, green spaces, clean air – all of these things have an environmental impact, a public health impact, and are things that culture and the arts can take some sort of leadership of. We’re changing the way in which we’re meeting, and this could be an opportunity to rethink the ways in which activism is done. There are ways in which this has sped up certain things that activists have been hankering for for a while.
Want to hear more from the team? Listen to the full conversation in the media player above, and sign up to our newsletter to keep up to date with Season for Change.
Team update 21/09/2020
Our previous Programme Producer, Sholeh Johnston left the team in September. Season for Change has recently welcomed a new member of the team – Emma Dunton, Programme Director. Welcome Emma!