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10x10 Adapt

Design Connections 10x10 2019: Adapt

3 September 2019

Tell us about yourself or your practice.

We are Adapt, a climate club run by designers Josie Tucker and Richard Ashton. We use design, art, humour and contemporary culture to communicate climate issues in a different way. We promote climate action through all of our projects and hope to reframe climate activism to everyone. We are both freelance designers, and have been growing Adapt for two years alongside our other working lives! We are working to make it a fully fledged and self sustaining operation! We officially launched apprx 1 year ago and since then have been busy with large and small campaigns, community events, installations, protests, and the day-to-day tasks involved in the battle with our impending doom.  

What are you working on at the moment?

We are currently working on a new campaign and tool that helps people make personalised but pre-written emails to MPs and companies, to contact them on different climate issues. We are also building on the last big exhibition that we just organised, called Sadness is a no gO-Zone, alonside our usual ongoing work! We usually try to translate and simplify climate news through our platforms and encourage people to act in different ways. 

What key issues are you addressing with your work and what impact do you hope to see through your work? 

We concentrate purely on the climate crisis through design, community building and promoting personal and collective action. We hope to empower people to feel able to both talk comfortably about climate change, and act meaningfully. We want to dispel myths and stand out amongst a crowd of -at times- overwhelming and confusing voices to simplify and provide clear solutions. We have a way of communicating climate issues that is open, positive, honest, and level, and we hope that by reaching out to people, we help broaden the climate conversation. This conversation, we hope, encourages more people to open up about the climate crisis and start feeling confident and enabled to act, and persuade those around them!

Tell us about something you’ve seen that’s inspired you recently and please tell us about something you’ve worked on that’s made you feel proud.  

We are firstly incredibly inspired by the surge of awareness and action surrounding the climate crisis. In particular we are so excited by the student strikers and everybody who's taken to the streets in the last year. When we started Adapt (loosely) about 2 years ago, it was because there was a total lack of conversation around the climate emergency. It's hugely due to the student strikers that it has become mainstream news. 

We are extremely proud of our recent exhibition, Sadness is a no gO-Zone! The exhibition was totally climate and communication focused, and involved 50 contributing artists plus lots of our own work! SNGZ focused on happiness and motivation, and handled climate communication in an innovative way! There were laughs, engaging visual art and some audience participation, alongside a program of events and a fundraising shop. We also wanted to make sure there were action points within the space so that people could act meaningfully without having to leave the gallery. It was such a huge success in many ways that we can't wait to do it again, but bigger, with even more work and more actions!

What is the role of design in addressing/ communicating global issues? What are the challenges you face in communicating your work to a global audience? How do you approach inclusivity and accessibility in your work? 

Design is crucial in addressing and communicating global issues, in particular, the climate crisis. The main issue that we found when we first started was that there was so much scientific information locked up in academic studies, only to be seen and understood by a handful of people. There desperately needs to be more middle men between science and the media, to simplify and make visible the information that should be widely known. As designers, we are taught how to make boring information or concepts visually engaging, stimulating and exciting, and by applying this to climate news and campaigns, we are making information accessible to a broad section of people. 

We purposefully don't have a specified target audience as we want to be as authentic as possible. We want our platform to remain a peer to peer space, where we design and communicate in our own voice and style because we think that people recognise and appreciate that. We are careful to never alienate people, blame people, or make anyone feel unable or too guilty to be involved. One of our main house rules is that we simplify information to points that anyone can understand. There aren't many climate scientists in the world, and so much of the statistics are impossible to understand, so we try to learn as much as we can, so we can pass on the information.