• Muli faith by TIbor Miklos
  • nature Collage by Tibor Miklos

Tibor Miklos

Topic 4: Empathy in Action


Inspired by a powerful presentation from a participant from the Solomon Islands, whose beautiful home is sinking and whose people are already preparing for migration, we learned the difference between sympathy and empathy in effectively communicating climate harm. Explored ways to shrink the distance between the global north and more climate vulnerable global south, one of our 3 creative teams came up with a provocative campaign idea to break the silence around climate refugees.

Here the wrap up video showing the end of the creative team work session. Many thanks to Nicolaos from http://laguilde-films.com/ for a fine job of editing.

vincent park

There ARE alternatives: interview with De-Growth expert Vincent – participant of the Creative Factory

“But there are no viable alternatives to the current economic system” – that’s a lie! In fact, alternatives to the paradigm of economic growth are receiving ever greater attention in recent years. Here is a snapshot, with Vincent interviewed by Swarm co-founder David Holyoake at the end of 2 intense days rethinking how to tackle hyper consumption as one of the root causes of climate change.

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Camille Bissuel – our comic artist in residence

We were fortunate enough to have talented visual artist and graphic novelist Camille Bissuel with us for many of the days in the Creative Factory at Place to B during COP21.  In particular, we were inspired by his 8 page graphic novel he created, explaining the climate problem in a simple, humourous yet profound way, through the characterisation of three frogs: a western frog named Burt, an emerging frog named Fu, and a developing world frog named Dodji. We discussed the value of humour, of simplication of complex problems, and the creative device of telling the story through non-human characters, allowing for powerful understanding of the geopoliticalcontext of climate change, and the absurdities of states pursuing short term self interest instead of the action necessary.

Visit his artist website http://nylnook.com/en/

Or click here to read or download the graphic novel:  Climate Change Explained to Frogs23589670791_f993a4c514_z


Topic 5: A Children’s world

Wrap up video of team brainstorming and creating sessions at the end of our 5th topic: children and climate change. How can we engage parents better on climate change? How can we involve children and make their voice heard in the issues which concern their inheritance? What can we learn from the imagination of young people, and how can we address the child in all of us through more compelling narrative around divestment, transition, and future worth fighting for?

Big thanks to Nicolaus from La Guilde production company for a fine job of editing!



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What our participants created: 18 prototype ideas for creative climate communications

Here is a round up of the results of brainstorming and team creation sessions that participants came up with in the Creative Factory. Across the 2 weeks, we had almost 180 participants, and on most days, a good balance between creatives (writers, illustrators, film makers, musicians) and campaigners, experts, journalists. All thinking and ideas were signed into Creative Commons non commercial licenses and are therefore open source. While the below list does not capture all the rich thinking about effective climate communications that took place in the factory, it does provide a good sense of the level of creative, and in many cases, strategic, thinking and making that took place…  After providing and curating alot of inspirational and expert material, as well as guiding principles for evidence based, effective communications on climate, we challenged teams to develop prototypes for either a) new tools b) art projects or c) new campaign ideas to intervene in the cultural landscape and help normalize and mainstream key behaviors and attitudes around climate change.


Topic#1: Monday 30th– Tuesday 1st Dec

1-DISMANTLING THE BUYING IMPERATIVE: Getting to grips with behaviour change and identity

Starting point : Helping people challenge the economic notion that buying more is a good thing to do. Finding new ways to celebrate the status of those people who reject the high carbon life style.

Expert Speakers : Florence Scialom (Network of Wellbeing), Vincent Liegey (author, expert in De-Growth), Kjell Kühne (expert in fossil fuel transition),  Chris Aldhous (Art as Activism),

Artists in residence : Paul Beer, Camile 

Contents & Creative Communications Outputs :

3 digital applications

1- PlanetMum.org: A campaign and online platform for expectant parents, targeting a key intervention point in their lives when they are considering changing aspects of the lifestyle. A campaign to change their lives in a sustainable way before their baby arrives. Including digitally twinning with other babies born at the same time, and the possibility to promote  related sustainable products.

2- Consumption is Climate Change: Re-inventing Xmas gifting with a new message -“Nothing Beats Wasteful Presents”+ Using Facebook to encourage selfies and statement of new values, i.e. “Spending time with my friends is my new shopping”.

3- Where Do Our Things Come From ?: A Childrens App / Treasure Hunt revealling the lifecycle of objects around the city and bringing them to life thru pop-up dance and opera singing.

Comments :

Although all starting with digital thinking they quickly deliver real-world outputs, connections, community-building opportunities.

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Topic #2: Wednesday 2nd– Thursday 3rd

2-a) THE BALM OF NATURE: Re-connecting with the wonder and healing power of the natural world

Putting ourselves back into the eco-system of the planet – so we can better remember/ understand that a harmonious relationship with Nature is critical to our physical wellbeing and mental health.

Speakers :  Florence Scialom(Network of Wellbeing),Pierre Cattan (SmallBan Lab), Shiraz Bayjoo (artist), Pierre Bloch (engineer at Pur Projet), Jérôme Veil (beekeeper at Miel de Quartier) Artists in residence : Paul Beer, Shiraz Bayjoo, Camille


Contents & Creative Communications Outputs :

1- Wild Thing… I think I love you: Targetting hedonistic teenagers in a digital card game that matches memories and stories of pleasure with Values of Nature. Tapping into competitive experiences of young adults & getting them to appreciate the importance of Nature in their life.

2- NatUR: Urban Nature Speaks: Guerilla Platform getting people to notice the everyday Nature all around them in the city, to treasure its struggle to survive. To give urban nature a distinctive voice to comment on its fight for survival. Easy to export to other cities.

3- Celebrating lost memories: Nature’s role as a powerful source of sensory memories. Projecting relevant images onto people as they talk about past encounters with Nature.

Comments :

Satisfyingly diverse range of ideas, going from hedonistic teenagers at slumber parties , thru a primary school education/ outreach project – to an art gallery installation.

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Topic #2: Friday 4th – Saturday 5th

2-b) URBAN GARDENING : Building an eco-corridor in the Gare du Nord neighbourhood.
Makers & Artists  : Pierre Cattan (SmallBang Lab), Maria Concetta Sangrigoli (landscape architect Oïkos), Paul Beer (artist)

Comments :

Our first venture outside of the Factory engaged commuters, the local community and passing tourists with a strong message about the need to nurture nature inside cities.

Nota Bene : The townhall of the 10th arrondissement was aware of the project – the elected official came to visit – and the neighbours council participated to the workshop.

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Topic #3: Friday 4th – Saturday 5th

INVOKING THE SPIRIT OF CHANGE: Harnessing the power of spirituality, and broadening the engagement with faith based communities.

No matter what you believe in, all faiths have a moral commitment to join forces and fight the global threat of climate change. We need to find the common creative ground to build a Multi-Faith Climate Change Campaign re-defining humanity’s relationship with the planet through a unifying spiritual narrative that can be embraced and actioned by all people who have faith in shaping a better world.

Speakers :  Jamie Clarke (COIN), Nigel Kelaepa, Reverend Keith Joseph, Soeur Cécile Renouard, Harpreet Kaur (artist)

Artists in residence : Paul Beer, 2 members of Doppelgangster


Contents & Creative Communications Outputs :

1- Confluence 2016: Deciding COP21 is no longer fit for purpose and convening a new group of (spiritual) leaders united by their common belief in the Golden Rules of respectful humanity, using digital platforms to share the “my climate stories” from around the world.

2- HEARTH community Café: Meeting place to swap climate change stories and discover the climate change origins of the food & drinks available.

3- Flow: Using the sacred ritual of a new dance inspired by the act of breathing and the movements of the world + the blood in our own bodies to create an online phenomenom of videos that can be added to + shared around the world..

Comments :

This proved a very emotional topic and an intense set of workshops. The creative outputs reflect a growing need to move beyond the rational, re-connect with people and establish new communities of problem-solving potential.
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Topic #4: Monday  7th – Tuesday 8th

EMPATHY IN ACTION: Establishing a motivating empathy between North and South to build more effective collective action .

Is choosing to do nothing about climate change really the political statement you want to make to the world?

We need to now drive mass-participation in the climate change movement , bringing it in from the fringes of people’s lives (the peripheral) to the heart of their everyday lives – and making it clear that doing nothing is not an option.

Expert Speakers : Alice Vivian (institut des futurs souhaitables), Nigel Kelaepa, Reverend Keith Joseph, Foday Mamoud Janneh (Ong SINGA), Sergio Oceransky, Laurent Weyl (collectif Argos), Chris Aldhous (Empathy in Action with NGOs)  

Artists in residence : Camille Bissuel, Doppelgangster (Tom & Tobias)


Contents & Creative Communications Outputs :

1- Heartivist: Combining art and earth but avoiding the usual exclusiveness of those 2 approaches by focusing on HEART – the ability to care and connect with what’s going on in the world, to overcome the usual loneliness of the activist and artist by offering a digital platform of collaboration on curated topics.

2- Stories In A Bottle: Using geo-cacheing to leave a treasure trail of everyday climate change stories/ memories across the city overlaying southern experiences on northern locations to compress the distance between the two worlds. Creating a new generation of virtual storytellers to preserve the cultural memories climate change is devouring.

3- Would You Have Sex With A Climate Refugee: Based on a film idea from Israel entitled ‘Would You Sleep With An Arab?’, this was a  controversial on street & digital intervention aimed at tackling the rising fear of “the other” in the Gloabl North. To use humour to defuse the growing racism towards refugees, to hold up a mirror to the North to reflect on the humanity they share with all the people being displaced by climate change.

Comments :

The first politically-engaged output followed on from the news of a right-wing swing in the French Local Elections the day before. Idea 3 was hotly debated and handled sensitively particularly with respect to those attending the workshop from the Global South. It was judged a provocatively important idea to challenge the growing negative reaction to people displaced by climate change. The group further explored the idea by going out into the street and showing it, interviewing different ethnic audiences about what they thought it said. The reaction was uniformly positive.

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Topic #5: Wednesday 9th -Thursday 10th

A CHILDREN’S WORLD: Securing the future by simplifying the problems we need to solve.

What sort of world will our children inherit? And why are we so determined to obliterate all the natural wonders that they perceive in it? Perhaps we need to re-learn that sense of wonder they have to re-appreciate what we are losing and galvanise us into action.

Speakers : Molly Rauch (our kids climate), Kjell Kühne (expert), Camille Bissuel (graphic designer, author), Chris Aldhous (Ghosts of Gone Birds project), Sylvain Hatesse (game designer) Artists in residence : Camille Bissuel, Doppelgangster (Tom & Tobias)

Contents & Creative Communications Outputs :

1-Nowtopia: making it the time for actions not words by establishing local community centres where children and adults can collaborate to re-invent the future: extended playschools that tap into the imaginative problem-solving unique to kids and combine it with the skills and practical ingenuity of adults to deliver the future today – not tomorrow.

2-The Butterfly Effect Network: Taking the principle of the small change magnified, combining business card swapping with the kids collectability of Pokémon and Top trumps, a new way to network in the climate change community and beyond by meeting and swapping skillsets, then dedicating collaborative groups to specific projects…could even start at the Place to B wrap party.

3-Fuck the Climate – Save the Hood: Another politically-engaged, provocative idea, this time looking to solve the issue of low-engagement amongst teenage African-Americans (and similarly disengaged audiences) by removing the overwhelming issue of climate change and down-sizing it to the more relatable issue of how weather change is impacting your local neighbourhood…

Comments :

Kids provided the lens but not necessarily the audience  (see rather Balm of Nature) with these outputs. Again Idea#3 was designed to be provocative and the group took to the local streets to test it out with relevant people. The local African bar proved an insightful venue and demonstrated how far removed from COP21 a lot of Parisians actually feel.
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Return to Topic#0: Friday 11th


Summing up what we have learnt about system change in the past two weeks, the value and challenges of ‘dreaming in public’, and taking forward the best communication ideas, strategies and common elements to shift the mainstream perception of what is possible.

Speakers : Marta Ceroni (Donella Meadows Institute), Kjell Kuhune (Leave it in the Ground) Steve Bygrave (clean energy expert)

Artists in residence : Camille Bissuel, Doppelgangster (Tom & Tobias)

Contents & Creative Communications Outputs :

  1. UN-FAIRGROUND: to take the format of a theme park and its various rides and hijack their purpose to illustrate both climate change issues and the economic manipulation/  inequalities that are fuelling them. Ambush and educate both parents and children about a subject they feel has no relevance to their real life.
  1. A HUMAN(E) MINUTE: to set aside one minute a day/ a week to reflect on the issues of climate change and how they connect to all the diverse issues faced by the world. To get all NGOs to collaborate and combine all their  different World Food/ Water/ Peace Days in one system of remembrance and a call for system change. Signaled by a distinct sound – a sonic clarion call that could be played anywhere, as a universal call to ‘stop and change’ for a minute. An all-faith/ non-faith daily call to prayers/ pause for reflection.
  1. GATHER ROUND THE TABLE: A theatrical performance piece that builds on the idea of the ‘city-tree’ to provide a platform for people to re-think the basic principles/ values of the society they live in. It creates a ‘tabula rasa’ environment and situations to respond to that require participants to re-build their community from the ground up.

Comments :

Dopplegangster’s theatrical contribution to concept #3 was critical in bringing the process to life and showing how it could work at any simple gathering of people. Concept#1 has however already been executed in the UK this summer by Banksy as ‘Dismal-land’, a twisted version of Disneyland that attracted over 150,000 visitors.

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What we learnt about the new climate story

Article by David Holyoake, first published in Voices, Global Call for Climate Action. Click below

Creative Factory: What we Learned About the New Climate Story

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Photo gallery – daily life in the Creative Factory at COP21

Press Coverage: Geothe Institute: Place to B and Creative Factory, Paris, COP21


Geothe Institute interviews David Holyoake about the Creative Factory at Place to B, COP21

In the above link, the Geothe Instiute interviews David Holyoake -co-director of the Creative Factory with Chris Aldhous and Place to B, about the new model of multi-disciplinary, collaborative work on climate communications and system change we piloted.



Topic 3: climate, faith and spirituality

During our massive 2 week rethink of climate communications, piloting collaborative work in multi-disciplinary teams and embedding artists in the thought processes of new campaign ideas, we dedicated 2 days to climate and faith.

Inspired by our guest and climate communications expert George Marshall, we asked ourselves a key question: what can the climate movement learn from the story telling and communications techniques of the great religions?  We then set 3 teams to work on devising creative communications ideas to intervene in the cultural landscape, linking support and identification with climate action with spirituality. We challenged participants to get beyond the ‘environmentalist frame’ in their work. One team, featured first in the movie below, realised the power of ritual, and developed a concept for a dance called ‘the Flow’ as a new, cool, signifier of re balance and climate action. To provide social reward, the dance would have an online platform – a digital ap, where people upload the next sequence in the chain of the dance, over a sustained beat, and then pass it to their neighbour. Both the dance and the ap would need development to be launched and catch on, but check out how far they got in less than 2 days work!


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