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The story of one day : Day One – Resilience

published on: 03.04.2015

one day : Day One began life in 2012 as a performance artwork in Leeds. Back then, theatre makers, friends and long-time collaborators Sara Zaltash (Reading-native, Bristol-adoptee, Leeds-postgraduate) and Jenny Duffy (Bristol-native, Leeds-undergraduate) worked together to explore human aspiration, projected futures, and why humans keep their dreams always slightly out of reach. The pair created intimate pop-up participatory environments in festivals and exhibitions, in which the public could offer their one days, their dreams and aspirations, in either audio or video format. These contributions then formed the basis of theatre performances that the pair devised called Day One. After some well-received showings in Leeds, Newcastle and Stockholm, the project lay dormant while Sara toured in an electro-pop band and Jenny studied for a PhD.

In the early summer of 2014, the pair were living together in Bristol. Sara caught whiff of Bristol’s European Green Capital award, and began attending public meetings to see if there was anything she could do as an artist to support the work of the Bristol Green Capital Partnership. While Jenny was intensively researching the role of participation in contemporary performance for her doctorate studies, Sara had increasingly begun to feel that her live art and performance practice could be doing more to affect change to the current political systems that damage human integrity and the global environment, and that she wanted to point her skills as an artist in the same direction as her conscience as a human being. Of the different Action Groups that BGCP had set up to help organise what would actually happen in Bristol’s Green Capital year, the ideas of the Resilience Action Group sparked Sara’s imagination. 

Led by The Schumacher Institute, an independent think-and-do tank working towards a fair share for all within planetary limits, the Resilience Action Group’s aim is to encourage and facilitate projects, activities and relationships that protect Bristol and it’s people from shocks and stresses like extreme weather events, resource shortages, food supply problems or power cuts. With an emphasis on proactivity in response to these threats, the Resilience Action Group were seeking ways not only to encourage “bounce-back-ability”; they also sought to improve existing social, economic and environmental injustices. Sara realised that in order to be able to bounce back from the coming shocks and stresses, people needed to be able to envisage what those impending challenges are, and to understand what they would personally do if - and when - that situation occurred. Often, the ways that the climate crisis is communicated can be full of scaremongering, or can imply that a solution to the problems that we are facing will come from the scientific community or governmental organisations, without the input of everyday people. And yet, when times of crisis overwhelm us, we often realise that we could have predicted what was happening if we hadn’t ignored the signs, and that as individuals our families, our neighbours and our communities are the people who really help us cope with problems on the ground. 

Sara contacted Ian Roderick, head of the BGCP’s Resilience Action Group and also Director of the Schumacher Institute, in June 2014 to suggest a version of one day : Day One that focussed on encouraging resilient thinking. The idea was, very simply, to create a light-footed and roving pop-up structure where the people of Bristol could enter and imagine their own Green Bristol as if that were today's Bristol. Their visions for the future-now could be documented in audio and video, collected and represented online and in public spaces, while the structure itself could move daily and weekly around the greater Bristol area. Ian encouraged the idea, and Sara developed the concept for proposal with the support of the Schumacher Institute. After submitting an application for funding to the Quartet Community Foundation, Bristol 2015’s funding partner, one day : Day One - Resilience was awarded a Small Grant in December 2014. 


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one day : Day One - Resilience is a participatory artwork for Bristol 2015 that has been created by Bristol-based artist Sara Zaltash in partnership with the Schumacher Institute and support from the Quartet Community Foundation, Bristol City Council and the Bristol Green Capital Partnership. Bristol is a member of Rockefeller’s 100 Resilient Cities Network.


Lead Artist:  sarazaltash@onedaydayone.org
General:  resilience@onedaydayone.org