Changing the tide

From the germination of the idea of The Severn Rising 2222, Andy and Sarah had a clear aim of what they wanted to achieve with the project. Their ambitious vision to highlight the impact of climate change, by educating local residents through illustration and animation, is bold and creative.

The Severn Rising 2222, shines a light on the fact that if we all take small actions in our daily lives to make better choices for the climate, the cumulative effect would be enormous. By bringing the focus of environmental concern, into the audience’s hometown of Worcester, The Severn Rising encourages us all to rethink the impact we each could have and empowers us to make changes.

Making it happen

In order to make the project viable and apply for grant funding, Sarah and Andy had to gain the support and commitment of the diverse heritage and environmental partners across the City. Their commitment and vision quickly captured the imagination of the Worcester organisations, and the following were happy to join the project, making it a truly unique collaboration focused on the banks of the Severn:

  • Museum of Royal Worcester

  • Tudor House Museum

  • Worcester City Art Gallery & Museum

  • The Hive Library

  • Worcester Cathedral

  • Diglis Island- home to Canal and River Trust and the Unlocking the Severn project

  • Worcester Community Garden

  • Pump House Environmental Centre

  • George Marshall Medical Museum

With a clear vision and local partners secured Severn Rising 2222 successfully secured grant funding from Art Council England, The Elmley Foundation & Worcester City Council.

Community participation

The voices and ideas of the residents of Worcester, form the basis of the Severn Rising illustrations and animation and the engagement of the community was central to placing the project at the heart of The City. The workshops provided a valuable chance for residents to ask questions about climate change, pollution and environmental issues in their home City, and consider what action they could take. Once funding was secured, workshops were planned and developed with the partners to offer exciting hands-on opportunities to help shape the characters and content of the game. The workshops offered a chance to delve into the work environmental partners including tours around the Diglis Fish Pass and community garden initiatives at Pitchcroft. They showcased the City’s abundant heritage, including the natural history collections at Worcester City Art Gallery & Museum and the porcelain collections of the Museum of Royal Worcester. Learn more about the workshops and our partners here.

An exciting legacy of the workshops were the messages in a bottle written by the workshop participants. The messages provide a tantalising prediction of how participants envisage Worcester to look in 200 years’ time.

From page to PC

After the workshop, both Sarah and Andy had the task of synthesizing all the brilliant creative ideas from the workshops into images, words and animations. Sarah works in collage using different textures to make up her illustrations. She also uses mixed media to create artwork, including ink, pen, gouache, pastel and watercolour. Developing the ideas gathered she set about creating the central character in the game, a swan, who workshops participants identified as being synonymous with the River Severn’s presence in Worcester. You will see the iconic swan image, used across the project.

Because the illustrations are for animation they cannot be drawn out in full, Sarah must carefully create the head, legs, arms and body for animals, insects and birds separately, so that Andy can animate them.

Each of the flowers, leaves, insects in the game must be individually arranged by Andy, it’s not a quick process! He creates a collage of Sarah’s illustrations to make the game world. The effect Andy uses is called the parallax effect and it creates the illusion of 3D Worcester in 2222. The storyline is developed by Andy as he builds the game and then he must add themusic and characters speech, which is voiced by professional actors.

A key feature of the game is the beautiful Worcester locations that the characters visit, which are based upon the partner sites and buildings which the artists felt held a special interest to the community. There is a real array of architecture in Worcester’s skyline, and this is reflected in the mixture of Tudor, Victorian and Brutalist building that are highlighted in Severn Rising.

Now you have read all about the development of the project, why not be transported 200 years into the future in flooded Worcester and experience The Severn Rising 2222 for yourself? Play the game in person across Worcester in 2023 or experience the online version when it releases.

During the workshops voluntary donations were welcomed for the Swan Food Project based in Worcester and £81.50 was collected. The Swan Food Project is a not for profit organisation that works hard to ensure the swans, at the Swan Sanctuary on the banks of the River Severn have a suitable environment to reside in and raise awareness of the swans.