Festival asks local students to imagine a world without fossil fuels

From left to right: Amanda Dubé (KCCU), Becca Carnevale and Dean Rebecca Luce Kapler (Queen’s), Mark Sibley, Nikki Alward and Jerri Jerreat (350Kingston.org) celebrated the launch of the festival on Monday, Oct. 3, 2022. Photo via Queen’s University.

Imagine a world without gasoline-powered vehicles, one where oil is no longer considered the “black gold” that heats our houses and provides electricity? That’s precisely what local teens are being asked to do as part of a new festival.

During the Youth Imagine the Future festival, local youth can create a work of art or short story that imagines a world without fossil fuels. Young writers and artists are encouraged to explore solutions to the Climate Crisis in a new genre called Solarpunk.

According to a media release from the organizers, this festival is open to youth aged 13 to 18 residing in the area covered by the Limestone District and the Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Boards.

“There are lots of Solarpunk stories being published today,” said festival spokesperson Jerri Jerreat. “However, they are not utopias. How could they be? Even if, in the future, we hop on magnetic trains to work, grow urban forests and food gardens instead of lawns, and eat cricket burgers, we’ll still be humans.”

Participants can win a wide variety of prizes from local businesses, such as Minotaur, Art Noise, Novel Idea, the Screening Room, the Keep Refillery, and Harlowe Green. According to Jerreat, the prizes keep coming, including first-place prizes of a $500 fixed-term Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC) with Kingston Community Credit Union (KCCU) for the writing and art categories. This GIC would mature the year the student graduates in hopes that it would be used towards post-secondary education. Two other young writers and two other artists will receive $100 awards.

Organizers said that art submissions can be a drawing, painting, or sculpture (clay, wood, metal, fabric, weaving), but may not take up more space than half a metre cubed. Youth will be expected to send in three clear photos of their art. The Kingston School of Art has offered their beautiful space to display art submissions from December 1 to 6, 2022. All artwork which meets the guidelines will be on display, according to the release. Story entries must be between 500 and 2,000 words long. The deadline to submit is Monday, Nov. 7, 2022.

For full details on the festival, which is co-sponsored by KCCU, Queen’s University Faculty of Education, 350 Kingston, Minotaur Games and Gifts, Kingston School of Art, and Providence Centre for Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation, visit https://youthimaginethefuture.com/.

Local artists, local writers, retired teachers, and teacher candidates will be adjudicating the submissions, according to the release.

Organizers said they are particularly grateful for the Youth Imagine the Future festival partners, Queen’s Faculty of Education, Kingston Community Credit Union, 350Kingston.org and Providence Centre.

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