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June 24, 2023 @ 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
  • FREE
  • Music
  • Performance
  • Poetry

Hope Tales 3: Water

Andrew Simms, Nicky Saunter and Jules Pretty


Firstsite, Lewis Gardens, High Street
Colchester, CO1 1JH
Booking recommended

Andrew Simms, Nicky Saunter and Jules Pretty
Hope Tales 3: Water

Join us for an afternoon of collaborative performance, readings, music and poetry to generate hope in times of crisis.

A group of talented and thoughtful people come together to share ideas from their own fields that lead us into possible positive futures inspired by the theme of Water. From these contributions, a ‘chapbook’ will be published. Following the form of popular 18th and 19th century street literature, these small, easy to digest booklets of information, ideas and entertainment are made for sharing.

This event will also see the live launch of Hope Tales: Chapbook 2 from the previous event in the series, held in Somerset in March.

Firstsite, Lewis Gardens, High Street, Colchester, CO1 1JH
Tickets: Free, booking recommended
Box Office: eventbrite.com



About Hope Tales

The Art of Rapid Transition and the University of Essex are piloting a series of live events (in London, Somerset and Essex) and chapbook publications that are creatively exploring hope under the title “Hope Tales”.

The world faces great interlocking crises on climate, social inequality, loss of nature, and ways of living that make us and so many other beings so ill. This is widely acknowledged. What kinds of language and values might we use to find our ways out of these deep woods? It strikes us that there is a need for new forms of storytelling, combined with a language of kindness and generosity. Kindness is both our common state and best response to threat. It is selfishness that is the outlier.

The aim is to produce a new form of street literature in the chapbooks that brings people together when so many crises seem to pulling people apart. A range of participants attend each event, and bring something for a jar of hope, perhaps on a specific theme. It might be music, spoken or written word, art, poetry or song, an idea – or something we haven’t thought of yet.

From these contributions, we are publishing the chapbooks focused on air, land and water. These take the form of popular 18th and 19th century street literature – very small, easy to digest booklets of information, ideas and entertainment. These will also be published online.




Hope Tales 3

As part of the Essex Book Festival, the Hope Tales project will hold an event at Firstsite in Colchester on Saturday 24 June 2023 from 2-4pm.

This will be a high-quality cultural experience open to local audiences; it will showcase local and national talent.

Hope is a key component of creating healthier futures that bring well-being for all. In Hope in the Dark, Rebecca Solnitt advises not to look for hope in the limelight, but in the flickering shadows and margins. Hope is located in uncertainty, we do not know what will happen and so our actions matter. When you act with hope, you soon find others: hope helps us move from the individual to the collective. We can be amazed by the peach blossoms on the far hill, and then work together to care for them. Stories unite and enchant us in a cultural commons.

The live event will be held over 2 hours; will comprise 12-15 performers; and will lead to a published chapbook. The chapbook from event 2 (Somerset) will be available to buy  at this event, price £5. The event is led by Nicky Saunter, Andrew Simms and Jules Pretty.



Nicky Saunter

Nicky is a serial entrepreneur who is interested in ways of working that integrate ethics, social justice and sustainability with flexible business models on different scales. She writes for the Alliance and is also Co-founder of the Beaver Trust.


Andrew Simms

Andrew Simms is an author, political economist and campaigner. He is co-director of the New Weather Institute, coordinator of the Rapid Transition Alliance, assistant director of Scientists for Global Responsibility, a research associate at the University of Sussex, and was policy director for many years at the New Economics Foundation.

He was a co-author and publisher of the original Green New Deal in 2008. Andrew devised ‘Earth Overshoot Day,’ marking when in the year we start living beyond our ecological means and, with Prof Peter Newell, proposed the Fossil Fuel Non Proliferation Treaty in 2018, now a major international campaign.

His books include Cancel the Apocalypse, Ecological Debt, The New Economics, Tescopoly and Do Good Lives Have to Cost the Earth? His latest, Economics: A Crash Course, is the first beginners guide to the subject written from a plural, new economics’ perspective. Current campaigns include Badvertising – to stop adverts fuelling the climate emergency, and Car Free Mega Cities.

He tweets from @andrewsimms_uk & is on Mastodon: @[email protected]

Photo of Andrew Simms


Jules Pretty OBE, DL, FHEA, FRSB, FRSA

Jules Pretty is Professor of Environment and Society at the University of Essex, and Director of the Centre for Public and Policy Engagement.

His books include The Low-Carbon Good Life (2023), Sea Sagas of the North (2022), The East Country (2017), The Edge of Extinction (2014), This Luminous Coast (2011), Agri-Culture (2002) and Regenerating Agriculture (1995).

He is former Deputy-Chair of the UK government’s Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment, and has written for BBC TV and radio. He received an OBE for services to sustainable agriculture, an honorary degree from Ohio State University, and the British Science Association Presidential Medal.

This Luminous Coast won the New Angle Prize for Literature in 2013, and The East Country was winner of the East Anglian book of the year in 2018. He was appointed President of Essex Wildlife Trust in 2019, is Chair of the Essex Climate Action Commission, and is host of the podcast Louder Than Words.



Photo of author Jules Pretty



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Lewis Gardens, High Street
Colchester, CO1 1JH
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Hearing Loop: Firstsite does not have a hearing loop system in this room.

Essex Book Festival has a mobile Roger Pen hearing loop system, which needs to be booked by individuals in advance at least five days before the event. If you would like to use the Roger Pen email [email protected]