Just over 50 years ago, John Lennon and Yoko Ono made their way to Coventry Cathedral, where they planted two acorns in the gardens. The seeds, they said, would “represent their wish for world peace”. They went on to post acorns to some of the world’s most prominent leaders.
Fast forward to 2019, and a York-based creative industry finds itself taking inspiration from the Beatles hitmaker.
Rich Corrigan, co-founder of Dogeatcog, teamed up with Rebecca Carr from Kaizen Arts Agency, and Owen Turner from United by Design to create ‘York Design Week’ – a collaborative arts festival which would raise funds for environmental causes.
York Design Week: Focusing on Play
Last year’s inaugural event saw seven days of art exhibitions, social impact projects, open studios, discussion groups and more. Rich says: “We co-founded this with Kaizen Arts Agency and United by Design to join the dots of creative practice in York.
“Over the week we ran 37 events whose aim was to start a conversation about the city, society, design and the environment – all with a focus on play. We had expertise from designers and architects, plus some of the most renowned speakers in biodiversity and community.”
In addition to a core sustainability message, the festival also featured a re-enactment of Lennon’s famous declaration.
“The York Design Week team collaborated with Snowhome UK and gave away 246 acorns with instructions on how to plant and germinate them. This doubled John and Yoko’s efforts 50 years earlier”
Rich Corrigan, Dogeatcog
Next year, Rich says, the focus is on bee conservation. At present:
- Honeybee populations have declined by 60 per cent
- The number of bee colonies per hectare has declined by 90 per cent since 1962
- One single bee colony can pollinate 300 million flowers each day.
This is why bee conservation is so important, and the York Design Week team is planning to work with the Bumblebee Conservation Trust for next year’s event.
Of course, social responsibility goes beyond fundraising.
Rich says, “We also work with BirdLife International. Not many people know that this is the largest conservation organisation in the world.”
Taking it Back to the Arts
Though Dogeatcog work extensively with eco-friendly partners, they’re also keen to support the UK’s cultural scene.
“We continue to work with the Theatre Centre in Shoreditch, creating artwork and audio plays to teach kids about online safety,” says Rich. “As strong believers in the arts, we also work with Streetwise Opera in Newcastle, a homeless theatre company.”
From environmental projects to social initiatives, Dogeatcog is living proof that creativity can support a number of causes.
“We believe in rallying together to support good causes and prop up the arts,” concludes Rich. “We are all depending on each other right now.”
For an additional read, please visit:
- Invest in Creativity: Dogeatcog on How the Arts Helps Causes
- Laura Corrigan Leaves a Legacy for her Social Impact Efforts
Feature Image: Hatch at Birdlife by Dogeatcog