Celebrated on 22nd of April each year since 1970, and now known as the planet’s largest civic event, the theme of Earth Day this year is ‘Climate Action.’
With Somerset House closed to the public, the celebration which was scheduled for the whole of April, consisting of interactive installations, design work and on-site workshops, has been reconfigured to a series of free creative online workshops, sessions and live interviews for the world to enjoy, from Wednesday 22nd April – Wednesday 20th May.
The events team is championing the theme by further developing the venue’s commitment to event sustainability and creating a handbook for organisers, specific to the venue. Both last year and just recently Somerset House achieved a 4-star rating at the Creative Green Awards. Last year the venue generated 56% of its own electricity, installed 5 water fountains across the site and reduced deliveries by 12%. All suppliers to the venue each have their own sustainability policies.
Business development manager Luci Sorrell said “more than ever it’s important to feel empowered at this time. Whilst the current situation is disruptive, we are using the time positively to further challenge our processes and see what else we can do as an organisation and a venue to address climate change and ensure our future events are even more sustainable and planet loving.”
Earth Day season kicks off on 22nd April with acclaimed men’s British fashion designer Bethany Williams’ DIY flag making workshop - where viewers will learn print making and embroidery techniques - and enjoy a live interview with Williams and Somerset House’s curator Karishma Rafferty at midday.
Sorrell continued “We had big plans for Earth Day and whilst it’s disappointing that this won’t be realised quite as planned, we may now reach a much larger audience. Last year we had 79,000 visitors during the season, this year the whole world can get involved with our events. The workshops are all inclusive and will give some welcome respite for those juggling more than usual, particularly when keeping children entertained with interesting ideas.”
Williams’ programme is entitled ‘All Our Children’ and encourages audiences to get creative with fabrics and clothes they can find at home and consider how they’d transform society’s relationship with the planet to protect it for future generations, using the flag as a platform for sharing their wishes.
Thursday 23rd sees a Mindful Mushrooms workshop inviting families to discover the art of collage with Seana Gavin and Friday brings a Grow your own mushrooms workshop with resident mycologist Darren Springer. On Saturday there is an open house fashion studio from 2pm with Bethany Williams and knitwear designer Katie Jones led by fashion journalist Tamsin Blanchard.
Sorrell concluded “the importance of Earth Day can’t be ignored, and we are really excited that now even more people can get involved.”
The sustainable booklet will be available to all organisers booking events at Somerset House post lockdown.