Q&A: Impact Festival — Bringing arts and ecology together

Impact festival involves two days of cultural events created to inspire environmental and social change.

Festival creator Hannah Bertram speaks to Tim Hunt about why the arts are important in the fight for environmental justice and her journey into the world of ethical consumption.

What role do you think the arts can and should play in tackling the ecological crisis?

Seeing as various art forms appeal to a huge range of people, I believe they can play a very crucial role in inspiring change and unity.  The enjoyment and entertainment aspects of performing arts can present a more attractive path into conscious consumption, for those who may not have been interested otherwise.  

A common attitude that I come across is the feeling of helplessness that many people have – they wish to help the planet, but feel that their contribution won’t make a difference; I believe the arts can empower individuals and bring about an understanding of strength in unity through shared artistic experience.  

The arts are emotive, and this can really inspire a sense of interconnection and love for the planet and all its life, which ultimately is the root necessary to cause change.

Why did you decide to start Impact festival?

It dawned on me that there must be many other people buying and supporting products that they also think are ethically sound, and that these people too may be interested to know more.  

As a professional dancer, this prompted me to come up with an idea for a show to raise awareness on global issues and ethical living, animal welfare, climate change and human rights. However, I realised that if the audience is inspired to make ethical changes or learn more, simply watching a show would not give them the tools to do that. Hence the creation of Impact - a greater festival which also provides the resources to live ethically.

What got you started on your ethical journey and brought you to this point?

I started my ethical journey quite young - at the age of 9. I turned veggie because of my love of animals, something that my parents thought would be a phase... Well, it’s turned out to be a very long phase!  My awareness for other ethical areas has been constantly increasing in the last few years and has extended to other global issues, particularly the current climate crisis.

This increased consciousness began when I learned more about the conditions for egg production and I realised that free-range wasn’t the wonderful happy situation that I thought it to be, with the standards necessary to be labelled as free-range not being as high as the marketing would suggest. (I am of course speaking in general terms and I know that this won’t apply to all farms, but it appears to apply to the majority). 

As a vegetarian at that time I’d already thought that I was quite ethically aware with what I bought, which caused me to realise that there may well be other products I was investing in that weren’t as in line with my values as I’d hoped. I began to look more into the backgrounds of the products and services I was buying and using, so as to be making more informed decisions.

Tell us a bit about what is happening at the festival

Impact Festival is a fun 2 day series of performance art events to find out about everyday ways to take care of our planet and all life that shares it with us.

August 16th is our Performance & Social Night.  Jolene Dover, our fabulous drag queen, hosts a wonderful line up of live acts including dance, circus, drummers and more; followed by our awesome DJ to dance the night away! 

Alongside all this will be ethical companies on stalls to help kick start or further the guests’ everyday ethical lifestyle, plus a range of yummy vegan food and bar serving vegan drinks.

Saturday, August 17th is our interactive day of fun movement workshops and captivating talks. Each workshop is teamed with a 15-minute inspiring talk on global issues. 

So far we have confirmed workshops of hip hop, Brazilian samba and capoeira, with more to be announced soon! All levels are welcome.

Impact Festival is a big bonanza of arts and ethics celebrating our beautiful planet earth!

We would like to thank Hannah for taking the time to talk to Ethical Consumer. For more information, visit the Impact Festival website.

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