For the last three months, Pan Intercultural Arts’ young refugee group and young people from the Bourne Estate in Camden have been working with Cartoonist Steven Merchant to create Eco Thunder Kid – The Cartoon.
The colourful booklet was launched at the Cartoon Museum on 13th September and it will form part of Camden Recycling Centre’s education resource pack to inform, inspire and encourage young people in Camden to help the environment and their local community.
Eco-Thunder Kid is an environmental superhero, it was created by Pan’s young refugee group in October 2009 as a public sculpture made out of recycled materials and was displayed in Russell Square Gardens until April 2010.
Following the superhero’s adventures in the park, the young people (aged 5 – 13) explored the small steps that they could make to cut waste and help the environment. Through a series of drama workshops, they created their own set of green promises and incorporated these into an exciting new adventure story. Learning drawing and cartoon techniques, they designed their own storyboard against the backdrop of Camden and invented new characters such as Mother Earth and Polluter – the villain.
The results are a colourful new booklet to inspire children in Camden, and their parents, to reuse, reduce and recycle their waste in a fun and accessible way.
The children of Camden will have the opportunity to catch up with Eco Thunder Kid online and make their own set of green promises. In addition to this, we will be running seminars for teachers to learn how the cartoon can be used as a valuable resource within the classroom and local classes will be invited to the cartoon museum to learn cartoon techniques and make their green promises.
The Eco Thunder Kid cartoon has bought together local children from many different backgrounds to access cultural venues, artists and local authority departments.
Pan’s refugees programme is funded by BBC Children In Need to provide activities for children whose families have experienced trauma and persecution from countries they have fled and provides space to express, create, make new friends and build confidence. The cartoon has not only given these young people an opportunity to have their voices heard in their wider community as their ideas are brought to life, but will empower other young people to make a difference and contribute to looking after their environment.
An exhibition of the work is still on at the Cartoon Museum, from September 14th to November 14th 2010. The Eco Thunder Kid - Camden Green Promises Cartoon is free and will be distributed to schools and community venues throughout Camden.