‘DearTomorrow: Dear Wolverhampton’ is a community led exhibition exploring letters to the future, reflection, hope, and imagining the beauty of what could be, in the face of climate change. Drawing deep inspiration from the past, present and future, this exhibition celebrates the resilience of the Wolverhampton community, built on embracing change.

The exhibition conceived and curated by the DearTomorrow climate storytelling and arts project is co-produced by Rachel Thomas, David Grandorge, and Kom Achall in collaboration with Gatis Community Space and Boundary Way Project in Wolverhampton. 

The exhibition, opening on Saturday 5 November until Sunday 15 January, 2023, takes visitors on a journey through immersive, interactive installations, films, and soundscapes from poetry workshops facilitated by performance poets Emma Purshouse and Steve Pottinger with Boundary Way Writers Group. There are areas for visitors to write their own letter, including an interactive phone box, to record voice messages to DearTomorrow.

Through art, design, photography, film and poetry, the exhibition presents landscapes built and inspired by letters written by the Wolverhampton community. Original works by the Black Country painter Edwin Butler Bayliss are juxtaposed with photographic works by David Grandorge, documenting the contemporary reality of the districts Butler Bayliss painted over a century ago.

Councillor Stephen Simkins, Cabinet Member for City Economy, said: 

‘‘It is vitally important that we as a council and our residents consider climate change - how we address the issues now to project the future. I am very proud that this is a community led project and that our residents are involved in being creative and becoming part of the solution for climate change.”

DearTomorrow curator, Sandra Freij added: 

“Dear Wolverhampton was crafted by this community, for this community and to support the wider climate movement. Visitors are encouraged to reflect, shift consciousness and embrace the creativity in the solutions to the climate crisis - leaving feeling inspired to make positive change.”
Jill Kubit, DearTomorrow Co-Founder said: “The very core of our work has always been to change hearts and minds through a deeper connection to the climate crisis. We’ve learnt this comes most freely from pulling together the things that touch us most. Combining, art, sharing our values, lived experiences and fears through storytelling, and exploring what the future we want to create could look like.”

“Drawing this together through the exhibition, our community engagement exhibits allow communities to not only consider what the climate crisis means on a personal and community level, but to establish climate actions that feel most meaningful and impactful to them. This is where real change starts.”

The exhibition at Wolverhampton Art Gallery includes:

  • The desk cityscape installation by Rachel Thomas including voices and representations from the Wolverhampton community - specifically soundscapes from poetry workshops facilitated by performance poets Emma Purshouse and Steve Pottinger in collaboration with Boundary Way Project and DearTomorrow. This installation will feature film and photography representing the community by Sandra Freij.
  • Revisit Butler Bayliss sites, through the landscapes of David Grandorge juxtaposed with the original work of Butler Bayliss, the renowned English artist from the Black Country.
  • In partnership with Boundary Way Project local artist Kom Achall has created an Astroturf installation, a reflection on this growing trend to replace natural spaces, and the disruption it causes to the environment, our wildlife and ecosystems. Supported by poetry soundscapes developed in collaboration with Wolverhampton Punjabi Women’s Writing Group, led by Wolverhampton’s Poet Laureate Kuli Kohli.
  • Phone your message through to the future: This symbolic installation by the Gatis community group allows visitors to record a message to DearTomorrow in a traditional red phone box.

The exhibition is free to attend and can be seen Monday to Saturday, 10.30am until 4.30pm, and Sundays, 11am until 3.30pm. For more information visit Wolverhampton Arts and Culture.