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Tate Modern announces Power to Change: a weekend of events in the run-up to COP26

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Ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), Tate Modern will stage Power to Change, a weekend of free events, installations, and workshops, to energise and empower the public to take positive action in response to the climate emergency.

Running Friday 29 to Sunday 31 October and supported by the AKO Foundation, Power to Change features a major outdoor artwork by US artist Jenny Holzer and a host of inspiring activities for all ages, as well as a dedicated Tate Late.

A powerful public light projection by artist Jenny Holzer will headline the weekend’s events – illuminating Tate Modern’s chimney from 17:30 to 22.00 each evening with a collection of inspiring and expert testimony from activists, leaders and many others addressing the climate crisis. Co-curated and produced by Artwise Curators and Shore Art Advisory, this new work is presented in collaboration with Art For Your World, a movement by WWF to engage the art world in the fight against climate change.

Inside the galleries, visitors will be invited to get involved in hands-on activities and workshops, meet climate experts, listen to Ten Minute Talks, attend free film screenings, and sample food and drink from a bespoke sustainability-themed menu.

Frances Morris, Director of Tate Modern, said: “Throughout history, art has been a catalyst for change, helping to imagine the world as it could be. As we grapple with the climate emergency, Tate Modern has a critical responsibility to amplify the voices of artists, to visualise a positive climate future and drive social change. So, on the eve of COP26, we are delighted to be hosting an incredible group of organisations, artists, designers, industry leaders and sustainable practitioners for a joyous and inspiring weekend of positive action.”

During the final weekend of October half-term, Tate Modern’s new free family programme, UNIQLO Tate Play, will also invite visitors of all ages to join Reimagination Now! Offering climate-themed activities, the programme will explore how food and horticulture, digital coding and movement can help us re-imagine a positive climate future.

Additional highlights across the weekend include:

•   Tate Modern’s Late on 29 October will stage Eco Exchanges offering the opportunity to meet and learn from climate experts including nature allied psychotherapist Beth Collier, slow fashion expert Justine Porterie, entrepreneur Josephine Philips, designer Christopher Raeburn, activist Guppi Bola and beekeeper Carole Wright. This special Tate Late will bring back Tap Takeover, with an exciting collaboration led by Toast Ale, featuring 25 breweries in the run up to COP26 as well as the original Climate Club with Adapt – join their people’s pledge, climate speed-dating extravaganza with music and special guests.
•   Film screenings of two works by Emilija Škarnulytė and New Mineral Collective will be presented in the Starr cinema throughout the weekend (Pleasure Prospects and Sirenomelia). Alongside, a never-seen-before installation by the artist, Eternal Return, will take place in the South Tank exploring scientific conditions and technologies related to deep-sea mining and ocean mapping.
•   Drop-in workshops themed around re-use and re-cycling, including an illustration workshop with artist educator Sam Ayre and writer and organic food grower Claire Ratinon re-using discarded items from Tate Modern. Forest Recycling Project will be running an upcycling textiles workshop, inviting visitors to create their own brooches. Alongside, social enterprise Re-Sole will show how we can make a real impact on climate and community through our footwear.
•   Ten Minute Talks exploring specific works within Tate’s collections of art that connect to the themes of sustainability, climate justice and nature, delivered by Tate staff and its network of volunteers as well as members of the local community.
•   A pop-up Sustainable English Mezze menu will be available in the Tanks, alongside drop-in zero food waste cooking demonstrations.
•   Alongside the Power to Change weekend, Tate Modern’s current exhibitions and displays feature many artists whose work connects to these themes. They include Anicka Yi’s Hyundai Commission, opening in the Turbine Hall on 12 October, which reflects Yi’s ongoing interest in biochemistry, ecology, and the relationship between humans, machines, and the natural world. On the South Terrace, Ackroyd & Harvey’s installation of 100 oak trees also creates a place to rethink our connections with nature. Seven of these saplings will be permanently planted in the local area around Tate Modern next month.

Further artworks addressing climate change and sustainability can be found throughout Tate Modern’s free displays. On Level 2, visitors can trace the impact of industrial activity on the natural world in Photography & Environment. On Level 3, A Year in Art: Australia 1992 includes Bonita Ely’s work exploring plans to mine uranium in the Northern Territory and the environmental campaigns ignited by the Mirrar people. On Level 4, a sound installation by Oswaldo Maciá incorporates two thousand birdsongs from around the world, drawing attention to invisible narratives and natural phenomena.

Tate declared a climate and ecological emergency in July 2019, recognising the unique role art and art museums can play in creating fundamental societal change. As an institution, Tate has reduced its carbon emissions by 40% from a baseline year of 2007/8 and is committed to reaching 50% by 2023 and net zero by 2030. More information about Tate’s progress on sustainability can be found online here.

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