15 May Mermaids on a mission to end captivity
WCA – Supporting our Partners campaigns
The WCA Campaigns Working Group has been meeting each month to discuss ideas to assist with Partner’s campaigns. In May the Working Group’s focus was on ‘The Human Aquarium’ project run by WCA Partner Yorkshire Life Aquatic in the UK. This is an innovative, artistic project that includes the use of Mer-people in public swimming spaces to highlight the plight of captive cetaceans.
Lucy Meredith from Yorkshire Life Aquatic describes the project as an ‘arts based activism project that will take people on the journey experienced by confined sea mammals; from their capture to training to performing’.
Through the use of Mer-people the team at Yorkshire Life Aquatic want to expose how people have become detached from the realities of keeping animals in captivity for our entertainment.
The project aims to parallel the hidden aspects of captivity with the emotive images of human trafficking to reconnect our relationships to animals and how they are treated. The project will include an immersive photographic exhibition, a large scale video mapping installation and provocative, durational theatre performances / installations.
Yorkshire Life Aquatic is an arts organisation specialising in synchronised swimming style dance performance in and out of the water, which uses creative activism with mermaids to highlight environmental and animal rights issues with their main focus on the oceans. For the company, the project is new territory and so Lucy says ‘the support and guidance provided by the WCA is really important to make sure we get the message across to the public in the most effective way possible. It’s a huge project about a subject close to my heart so having such enthusiastic encouragement from partners all over the world has been amazing’.
The project will run alongside workshops and ways to get children in particular involved to foster an appreciation for our oceans.
The Campaigns Working Group has discussed ways to balance getting across the upsetting side of captivity with a real call to action. It is important that the impact be inspiring not depressing. The Working Group had many ideas for how to ensure the installation is factual and how to ensure the volunteers involved have a good understanding of the issues.
Phase 1 of The Human Aquarium Project is launched this October on Leeds, UK with a plan to take it further afield in next year.
Main Image: © Simon Hulme