Catching up with #breatheLeeds

8th October 2020 - Susie Newton

In 2019 school students in Leeds invented ways to reduce air pollution in their city. We caught up with them to find out how it impacted them.

This time last year, 150 talented young inventors in three schools in Leeds were working hard on their group’s unique inventions for reducing air pollution in their city. They all went on to present their ideas to an intimidatingly professional group of experts in November, made up of representatives from Leeds City CouncilLeeds Climate CommissionSiemensENGIE & Mott MacDonald. The panel were floored by the wealth of incredible ideas presented to them at the #breatheLeeds Applied Creativity Lab Pitch Event at Leeds Town Hall, and some of the inventors have even gone on to start turning their ideas into a reality!

We caught up with two of our young inventors last week, to see how the #breatheLeeds project had impacted them this year.

Hello, Aman and Zavannah. Thanks for taking the time to catch up with us today. We wondered if you felt you’d developed any of your skills during the #breatheLeeds project?

Aman: I developed team-working skills, as before this I usually worked solo. Do you know what? I’ve really enjoyed it, and it has meant that I have developed my friendships with other people in the class.

Zavannah: It has developed my confidence a bit. I always have lots of ideas but sometimes get brain freeze when I have to write them down.

We know what you mean!

Zavannah: In my project team I was very quiet at first, but for one reason or another people gave me things to do, so I thought, “OK, I’ll try it,” and surprisingly I did, and just kept doing a bit more each time.

We’re happy to hear it. Do you think you gained any new life skills?

Aman: I’m a better researcher now, and a better speaker. I realised that planning and practise helps when speaking and presenting.

Zavannah: We typed up our presentation and ideas and I can now type much faster than I could before.

Very exciting skills for the future. Did it make you feel more confident, or excited for the future?

Aman: Going to the Town Hall felt amazing – I felt quite important and I told my family all about it when I got back. I couldn’t stop talking about it!

Do you think the project has any impact on your aspirations, or future career ideas?

Aman: I loved researching, so now I want to be a scientist or an archaeologist.

Zavannah: I now do coding all the time, and I edit photos and videos. I keep finding apps to help me to develop my skills as I’m interested in developing apps, like the one we tried to develop for Pollution Killers.

What did you think about the structure of the project?

Both: We liked Sarah Mumford (IVE’s Programmes Director) coming in, as she had some good ideas. We wish we had more time to develop the project that the Dragons selected!

Do you think that you’ve applied your new skills to a new problem at all?

Aman: I liked problem-solving, I had to use my researching skills when I do my home-learning during lockdown, especially for my science project. It also helped my relationship with other people in my class during lockdown. I think I became a better listener!

Have you been inspired to develop your group’s idea any further?

Aman: I keep researching things for Pollution Killers but now I need a bit more help to finish it off and make the app.

Zavannah: I really hope that sometime I will be able to create our app.

As do we. Thank you both for chatting to us, and a big thank you to your lovely teacher who made this interview possible.

#breatheLeeds was IVE’s first Applied Creativity Lab (ACL). Since its launch in 2019, we’ve made the air pollution project framework available online, we’ve delivered another ACL on food sustainability, are currently delivering ACLs online in Calderdale to improve mental health and in Leeds to develop placemaking.  We will be running the air pollution ACL in Bradford in partnership with Born in Bradford next term before rolling ACLs out much, much wider. Just watch this space!

If any app developers would like to help these children take their app to the next stage of development IVE would love to hear from you! Please contact Sarah Mumford, Programmes Director – Creative Learning at IVE: sarah@weareive.org

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