The university said its ‘Wish You Were Here’ art installation is a mock travel agency set in the near-future complete with holiday reps who can help visitors book their next ‘vacation’ at one of eight well known holiday destinations which are, or will shortly be, affected by climate change.
The pop-up event, taking place in East London on Saturday, April 2, puts climate change centre stage and is informed by specially commissioned research carried out by Dr Rob Storrar, Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography at Sheffield Hallam University.
‘Wish You Were Here’ shines a new light on well-known travel destinations with visitors and prospective travellers able to choose between the likes of cruises to the iceless Arctic, and city breaks watching the endless sunsets caused by California wildfires.
Once a destination has been selected, holiday reps will provide a boarding pass which contains all the information about the chosen location, including how it has been affected by climate change and whether this is reversible, and Dr Robert Storrar will be on hand throughout the day to answer any questions.
Artist Pete McKee said: “Wish You Were Here is my way of engaging the public with the climate crisis by using a little bit of humour to convey cold hard facts. We have all been seeing the world increasingly from behind our screens, using social media as a window to the world that provides protection from stark and scary reality of today’s world, but now is the time to face this reality head on.
“I wanted to make sure what we were saying was backed up with solid evidence which is why we engaged Rob and the team at Sheffield Hallam University to conduct research on our behalf, and we can’t thank them enough for their support and in making the Wish You Were Here vision a reality.”
Pete McKee has worked closely with the university on a number of recent projects and received an honorary doctorate from the University in 2018.
Dr Rob Storrar, Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography at Sheffield Hallam University, said: “I am delighted to be working with Pete McKee to provide scientific support for this project.
“The reality of climate change is that it is a daunting topic to grapple with, and I think this combination of art, carefully-placed humour and science helps to make this more engaging.
“I hope it will help to bring climate change more to the forefront of peoples’ minds, and inspire people to take action: whether that is choosing who to vote for, what to buy, or more direct activism to further spread awareness and influence policy.”
Wish You Were Here is a pre-event for Pete’s April/May exhibition Don’t Adjust Your Mindset (DAYM) and is inspired by a painting of the same name appearing in the exhibition.
DAYM will be open at Millennium Gallery in Sheffield from May 12-22, 2022.