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Cape Farewell Youth Expedition - launch

Feature by Lizzie Guilfoyle

ON SUNDAY, September 9, 2007, Cape Farewell launches its first climate change youth expedition to the High Arctic with a festive event hosted by comedian Marcus Brigstocke in the Royal Festival Hall and a special maritime send off for the students down the Thames – beginning at 4pm.

The expedition, which takes place between September 14 and September 23, 2007, voyages north of the 79th parallel to the fragile extremes of Svalbard in the High Arctic with twelve students from Germany, Canada and the UK, to investigate and raise awareness of the impacts of climate change.

In a landmark arts, science and media project, the young people will work alongside artist Dan Harvey, Professor Mark Maslin of University College London’s Environment Institute and others to develop scientific and creative projects.

The students will live, work and help sail the 100-year old sailing schooner The Noorderlicht, working on subjects such as changing weather patterns and retreating glaciers. Youth expedition leaders, teacher and filmmaker Colin Izod and science teacher and choreographer Suba Subramanian, together with onboard artists, scientists and educators will mentor and support the development of the projects.

Daily video reports, blogs, webcams and message boards will be sent live from the boat to and screens at Southbank Centre in London. The projects that the young people develop, both at sea and with their schools, will become an international educational resource.

The launch event, which also marks the October departure of Cape Farewell‘s fourth art and science expedition, features musicians, singers, the Cape Farewell youth team and artists past and present, including Vikram Seth, Marcus Brigstocke, Beth Derbyshire, William Hunt, Dan Harvey, Heather Ackroyd and Max Eastley who join with David Buckland, founder and director of Cape Farewell, Jude Kelly, Artistic Director of Southbank Centre and Professor Mark Maslin to celebrate the imminent voyages.

The day is part of the Southbank Centre’s environment weekend Saving Paradise, which begins on Saturday, September 8 with Paco Pena’s Requiem For the Earth and Gamelan Wayang, an all-night session of traditional Javanese storytelling, shadow puppetry and music.

When the youth expedition returns, Cape Farewell‘s art and science voyage – its most ambitious expedition to date – attempts to sail the 78th parallel to eastern Greenland, a passage only made possible due to the melting sea ice. Taking over two weeks (September 23 to October 10), the expedition will cross the north Atlantic to the extreme frontline of climate change before sailing south to Scoresby Sund in Greenland.

This expedition brings together writer Vikram Seth, comedian Marcus Brigstocke, artists Amy Balkin, Kathy Barber, David Buckland, Beth Derbyshire, Dan Harvey, William Hunt and Brian Jungen and journalist Benjamin Jervey. Dr Simon Boxall of the National Oceanography Centre and his team will continue monitoring the robustness of the Gulf Stream and a media team led by acclaimed environmental photographer and filmmaker, Nick Cobbing, will document the expedition and the most recent impacts of climate change.

Cape Farewell brings artists, scientists and educators together to bring about long-term changes in cultural attitudes towards climate change. Created by artist David Buckland, it has led a series of expeditions into the Arctic exploring the seas that hold the key to understanding the changes in our weather patterns and climate.

In 2007, Cape Farewell begins an ambitious three-year collaboration with the Southbank Centre and the Eden Project and in August, began operating as a cultural eco-hub at Southbank Centre as part of their creative climate change initiatives. Work from the Cape Farewell artists will be presented at the Southbank Centre and the Eden Project and new and existing work will be shown internationally.

Cape Farewell is working with an expanding group of partners, including Creative Partnerships, the British Council (who have developed the international element of the youth expedition) and the Barbican to bring its cultural work to a national and international audience at this critical time for the planet. It is grateful for the support of Arts Council England.