Leeds Central Library 17th March- 17th April 2020

A creative project, which is giving children a voice in order to raise awareness of plastic pollution in the sea, will be on show at Leeds Central Library from 17th March until 17th April.

Dive Deep takes an imaginative look at micro-plastics in our sea water and the impact they have on sea life and ultimately the food on our plates.

The project is a collaboration between students from Leeds Beckett University School of Design, 30 Key Stage 2 pupils from Allerton C of E School in Leeds and arts and social change charity Space2. Through working together the children and students aim to highlight the dangers of micro-plastics and the way in which they affect the food chain when they are ingested by fish and other animals which we then go on to eat.

Micro-plastics are tiny pieces of plastic which have originally degraded from large pieces that float around the oceans. After ingesting micro-plastics, sea life can suffer for months or years before they die. Eighty percent of micro-plastics come from land-based sources such as supermarket bags or bottles, and most underwater animals like fish and turtles mistake plastic for food which results in blockages in their digestive system.

Children have gained insight into the issue by visiting the seaside at Redcar to collect plastic waste off the beach and record the sounds of the sea as well as exploring Leeds Central Library’s collection of books about the oceans. The pupils have also visited Leeds Beckett University to use its state of the art equipment, and work with students to create printed signs and images using Photoshop to raise awareness of the levels of pollution in the oceans.

The central image of the resulting exhibition is that of a long table with 12 place settings, with each meal covered by a cloth. When visitors lift the cloth they will discover a ‘seafood meal’ made of plastic to convey the message that human beings are eating the very plastic which they throw away and which is then consumed by the fish on our plates.

Space 2 Project Manager, Jelena Zindovic, said: “We wanted children to really think about how human behaviour impacts on our environment. They have created some really colourful, fantastic work including protest banners, a soundscape and an animation based on their drawings. This project is more than just an exhibition – it is a call to environmental action.”

Joy Johnston, Headteacher of Allerton CofE School, said: “This project has enabled our young people to actively express their growing understanding and concern for the oceans and sea-creatures, because of the 88% plastic pollution, in creative ways.

“Our pupils love working alongside the students and being in their art studio. The exhibition is a celebration of the learning that has happened and will hopefully communicate the harsh reality of plastic pollution to those who visit Leeds Central Library.”

The exhibition runs until 17th April 2020 in Room 700 at Leeds Central Library.