In July, I travelled to Japan courtesy of the British Council. I had been asked to talk about the Jurassic Coast Earth Festival to a group of specially selected promising graduates.
The 47 delegates from 22 countries across Europe and Asia were all people who had been part of the Asia Europe Foundation summer University The alumni come together once a year to look at an issue that is of concern to the international community. This year the meeting was called eco[logical] and focused on “Creative Innovations for Future Sustainable Societies”.
On arrival Japan was hot and humid. I had a day to acclimatise before my first meeting with British Council Japan and the Japan National Commission for UNESCO. We discussed ways that we might be able to work together in the future, and agreed that the most likely route would be through creative education projects. I then met up with some of the other British Council delegates at the conference who were also talking about their work, and we each gave a presentation to the British Council Japan’s Green Leader’s Forum and then hosted a workshop about our work and the work of the 100 or so people there, sharing our approaches with each other.
The next day we all attended the first day of eco[logical] which was focused around politics, economics and sustainable practice in the morning and practical examples from businesses that could demonstrate exemplary work in this area in the afternoon. It was fascinating to hear about practice in Japan, and to discuss this with other delegates from other parts of the world over dinner. The following day we heard presentations from a journalist and a campaigner which gave another different perspective. In the afternoon the other British Council delegates and myself gave our presentations about practical work that we are doing in our countries to develop thinking on sustainable living. Our presentations were all really well received and I spent the rest of my time in Japan discussing how our work might relate to other work taking place in Japan and the rest of Asia and Europe.
Since getting back, I have heard from several of the contacts that I made, and we are going on to discuss links with two projects in Japan, one through an artist, and one through UNESCO. Watch this space!
Daisy Sutcliffe, Jurassic Coast Arts Coordinator