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Creatives tackle climate change

Climate Story Lab ZA is offering residential lab training to Southern African creators of innovative projects

Southern African creatives are being called on to bring their imaginations to bear on the climate crisis.

Climate Story Lab ZA is inviting creators of innovative and imaginative projects to submit their concepts, to be like to participate in a four-day residential lab near Cape Town in January 2023. The first lab will be an incubator aimed at shifting the narrative and amplifying communication around climate change in order to make a positive impact on the global crisis.

Climate Story Lab ZA is calling for submissions of creative narrative-based projects in the form of films, animation, social media campaigns, XR/VR/AR, theatre, dance, stand-up comedy, poetry, children’s/teen/adult fiction writing, podcasts, visual art, performance art – or anything else that uses a creative medium to communicate a message about climate change.

Up to eight projects will be selected for CSL ZA, and up to two team members per project will be invited to a four-day lab near Cape Town from 22 to 26 January 2023. The lab will focus on developing the stories, designing impact strategies, and introducing projects to potential partners.

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,” says Dr Liani Maasdorp, CSL ZA co-director 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.”

Anita Khanna, the producer and CSL ZA co-director, says: “We see creatives as a kind of emergency corps rushing in at a time when global leaders are just not acting fast enough. 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.”

Thie 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 close on 7 October at 5 pm SAST. They can be submitted online: at 

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