Leeds University Library

Dreams of a low carbon future

Published 29 January 2014

Detail from Pheadra and the floating city

Penguins wearing reflective hats and cars that run on tomato ketchup are among the highlights of this project organised by the University of Leeds’ Trianing Centre in Low Carbon Technologies.

Monday 10th February - Monday 31st March 2014

Dreams of a low carbon future is a book, recently published, which mixes young people's original ideas and art with work by professionals. This display in the Gallery offers the chance to see this original work in the flesh.

More than 370 schoolchildren from Yorkshire, 40 Engineering PhD researchers at the University and 20 artists contributed to the 96-page cartoon book. In parts of the book, characters invented by the children are taken up by the professionals in their strips and in other sections the children's own drawings are featured. The result is a highly polished and engaging comic narrative expressing the ideas of young people about the world of the future.

The aim of this cross-curricular project was to develop engineering researchers' communication skills, by enabling them to work with schoolchildren and professional artists to produce a 'graphic novel' (comic) that explores the children's visions of a sustainable 'low carbon' future society.

Engineering PhD students ran a number of workshops where children had the opportunity to produce artwork depicting their visions of a sustainable future. This artwork was compiled and edited to form a graphic novel. The graphic novel aims to explore different versions of the future - some bad, some good, and how technology will affect everything from what cities will look like to what fuels your car or your TV. "We hope that through this project, awareness of the issues of energy, resources and climate change will be increased" says project co-ordinator James McKay. 

The project was led by Professor Paul Williams, Director of the Doctoral Training Centre in Low Carbon Technologies, and supported by the Royal Academy of Engineering as part of its Ingenious scheme, which aims to foster creative public engagement with engineering.

To find out more visit the University of Leeds' Centre in Low Carbon Technologies website here.

Associated events

Detail from Pheadra and the floating city
Dreams of Art and Science
Friday 7 March 2014 12:00 - 12.45
The Stanley and Audrey Burton Gallery
Art Gallery event - Science Fiction talk
IN FOCUS: Science Fiction in the University of Leeds Special Collections
Saturday 29 March 2014 11:00 - 12:00
The Stanley and Audrey Burton Gallery