In 2007 when artist Loraine Leeson met The Geezers, a men’s group at AgeUK Bow, and asked them what technology they would like to see developed that would support themselves or their community, none imagined that they would be still be working on their ideas twelve years later. In the intervening years, with the help of engineers and constant fundraising, the Active Energy team have developed and tested a prototype turbine for the Thames, held two exhibitions, worked with young people to produce a wind turbine for an AgeUK roof, contributed to three university research projects, conducted numerous joint presentations, collaborated with a seniors’ group in Pittsburgh, made working models of turbines with school and college students, and produced floating water wheels to provide aeration for rivers, the last installed in 2019 in London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Workshops continued into 2020, then finally a line has been drawn under this long-term project.
Artists can't solve the world's problems, but they are well placed to ask the questions that enable ideas and creativity to emerge, then celebrate the outcomes. The local knowledge of communities holds a wealth of answers.