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Artists are invited to take action on the climate issue, the most urgent emergency confronting humanity. Southern African creatives are encouraged to submit original and creative proposals to Climate Story Lab ZA for a chance to take part in a four-day residential lab near Cape Town in January 2023. In order to have a positive impact on the global situation, the first Climate Story Lab ZA is an incubator designed to transform the narrative and amp up communication about climate change.

Climate Story Lab ZA is looking for creative narrative-based projects that use a creative medium to spread a message about climate change, including films, animation, social media campaigns, XR/VR/AR, theatre, dance, stand-up comedy, poetry, children’s/teen/adult fiction writing, podcasts, visual art, and performance art.

Up to two team members from each of the up to eight projects that are chosen for CSL ZA will be invited to a four-day lab near Cape Town from January 22 through January 26, 2023. The lab will concentrate on crafting the narratives, creating impact strategies, and pitching projects to prospective collaborators.

Creatives from Southern African countries including Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, DRC, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe may apply.

“We keep hearing about the issue and how dire the situation is,” explains Dr Liani Maasdorp, CSL ZA co-director, impact consultant and UCT film lecturer. “People feel overwhelmed and sometimes don’t do anything because they don’t think they can make a difference. But one person can – as long as we all do something. Statistics and graphs don’t move people to action, but emotions do. That is why we are inviting creatives to come together to make their stories as strong as possible and make sure they reach the right audiences to take action against the climate crisis.”

“We see creatives as a kind of emergency corps rushing in at a time when global leaders are just not acting fast enough,” explains Anita Khanna, climate justice activist, producer and CSL ZA co-director. “Creatives can help spread the message about how urgent this is, push back against false solutions to the crisis in accessible ways, help to get people to see that climate impacts are affecting every part of their lives, and importantly, give us a vision of a world that sustains life, not one that destroys it.”

“We firmly believe that storytelling can reach into the hearts and minds of people and shift behaviour and inspire action. Now is the time to harness our creative energy to support urgent and innovative action on the climate crisis” says Miki Redelinghuys, CSL ZA co-director, documentary filmmaker and impact producer.

This intensive residential Lab is supported by the UMI Fund and hosted by the UCT Centre for Film and Media Studies in partnership with Doc Society and the Climate Story Unit.

Applications can be made online and close on 7 October at 5pm SAST.