Earlier this month I had the pleasure to join Sherborne Girls for their ‘Back to Nature’ day, which a cross-curricula activity, explored humanity’s “artistic response to nature and our impact on the planet”. A testament to weeks of endeavour on the part of pupils and staff, including workshops and copious research, the event featured debates, concerts, art exhibitions, and scientific discussions interrogating "how our relationship with nature has changed and evolved" over time.
The day started with a junior debate asking, 'in this era of climate change, should people have more than two children', in which both debating teams presented compelling arguments that exhibited an impressive depth of research, maturity, and understanding of this contentious and complex topic. The debate was followed by a flawlessly delivered junior concert (pictured below) comprising musical pieces including solo and duet piano concertos; solo, duet, and quartet wind and string compositions; poetry and readings; and choral and orchestral pieces, and all to a backdrop of nature-themed images, films, and citations. Guests then enjoyed art exhibits displayed in the school gallery, which spanning multiple media included the wax-work piece pictured above. I then delivered an hour lecture in the school hall, which titled 'Nature 360°: Back to Our Nature Future' discussed how our understanding of nature has changed over time; how we viewed nature in the past, how we view it now, and how we may view it in the future; how new science, design, engineering, and technology may play a part in changing our intellectual, emotional, and physical relationship with nature; and the array of jobs, industries and opportunities that may emerge in the years and decades ahead. The day was rounded up by the senior concert, which presented yet more thoughtful, inspiring, and beautiful musical compositions.
Well done to all pupils and staff for their exceptional and timely work, which did more than justice to their ambitious brief. If giving them a grade for the day, I would give them an A++ and a gold star!
Melissa Sterry, PhD, design scientist, systems theorist, futurologist, and serial founder inc. Bionic City®.
Asking the question "how would nature design a city" since 2010.
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