Young people (high)light Eden's rivers to Act for Eden

This summer, as part of our National Lottery Heritage Fund supported Act for Eden’s Rivers project, we commissioned Flo Collective to work with young people from Carlisle Youth Zone (CYZ) to get creative and devise a light and sound installation to be shown at the 2021 Carlisle City of Lights festival.

In a series of summer holiday workshops, 22 young people aged 8-16 from the CYZ Art Club embarked on a journey of discovery with ourselves and the artists.

In time-honoured ERT fashion, first on the agenda was getting up close and personal with Eden’s rivers in Carlisle and Morland and the life that lives within them. For some of the young people, this was the first time they had looked past the surface of the water, getting the chance to get their feet wet, try river dipping and see our fragile aquatic wildlife at close quarters.

The verdict?

That was just my best day out ever!

young people paddling in the river

This gave them the springboard they needed to then be able to explore the human threats facing our rivers and wildlife and picture the impact on the invertebrates they had just seen … and a perfect introduction to the Act for Eden campaign, its promises and how people can make a small change so that the Eden will be a healthier place for people and wildlife.

They were encouraged to make their own Act for Eden promises too:

I promise to recycle

I promise not to use plastic bags too much

I promise to be kind to wildlife

children creating artworks
children making artwork with an artist

Armed with this new-found river knowledge, it was over to the artists – their task to unleash the kids’ creativity to create an installation that would raise awareness of Eden’s wildlife, the peril they are in due to human activity and encourage more people to make a promise to Act for Eden.

Throughout August and September, they worked with the young people to make willow ‘bubble’ sculptures to be illuminated, tiny river worlds in a jar, animations to be projected and a giant water-colour painting of a river that would be an interactive installation.

The grand unveiling

Thanks to Carlisle City Council and Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery, we were invited to be part of the recent Carlisle City of Lights festival, with our Act for Eden installations to be featured along the walking route in the gardens of Tullie House. On a cold autumn Saturday night, up to 1500 people walked through, saw and enjoyed the artworks created by the young people – a real highpoint and a night to remember for all involved!

( left) Some of the young artists who took part

Thank you to Flo Collective – Kate Gilman Brundrett, Nick Greenall, Rich Stevens and Nikki Dawson and Mark Gibbs from Carlisle Youth Zone for helping us to make this happen and all made possible thanks to National Lottery Players via the National Lottery Heritage Fund.


Light Up Rivers event photos: © Stuart Walker Photography

illuminated crayfish sculpture
illuminated walkway
children looking at illuminated artworks
Heritage Fund logo


Eden Rivers Kingfisher Icon
Eden Rivers Kingfisher Icon