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Imagine summer in York 100 years later - Art Exhibition

From 1st July to 20th August 2023, we invited local residents to imagine what life in York might be like in 100 years' time through the medium of visual arts. The participants were encouraged to share their ideas, fears, and hopes surrounding the impact of climate change on our city.

In receiving submissions from adolescents to adults, and younger children, some impressively original ideas emerged. From a city given over to shipping container storage, through a large bubble-like dome protecting York’s submerged historic buildings, to ghost police forces and authoritarian lampposts, these artworks are a testament to the power of imagination.

Congratulations to Lowri and Emily, our winning entrants who received sets of handmade paint brushes courtesy of Rosemary and Co, vouchers for additional art supplies from Fred Aldous Ltd, and prizes sponsored by Visit York and York BID.

       ~ Leon François Dumont, Spark:York resident artist and member of the judging panel

Submissions in the 'Under 15' category

York Underwater by Emily Saunders, Winner of under 15 category
My name is Emily, I am 7 years old and I live in Easingwold near York with my family. I read in the future that some cities will be under the ocean because of climate change. This is what I think York will look like in 100 years. The globe shows the city with the buildings inside. The globe is surrounded by water and sea creatures.

Reflections by Florence Ibson, Under 15 category
Florence Ibson is just 9 years old, she is passionate about art, history and reading. She has been so excited to create this piece for spark and it has been a real pleasure to see her create this over the summer holidays.

The Spooky City by Olive Keady, Under 15 category
My name is Olive and I am 6 years old. My vision of York in 100 years will be very different to now. There will be a big recycle bin in the sky which everyone can throw any rubbish and it will recycle it. There will be colourful roads with people driving bubble cars. Aliens will be our friends and sausage dogs have taken over the world, walked by robots. Lamp-posts will be able to speak and tell us what to do, as ghost police roam the streets.

Life in space by Martin Legg, Under 15 category
I am happy and outgoing, I like arts and crafts, sport and play video games, I also like to use programs that allow me to do technical drawings. In my wish list there are Posca pens.

York is a Hedgerow by Fred Keady, Under 15 category
My name is Fred and I am 8 years old. 100 years from now and York has rewilded into a nature haven, with hedgerows as the city walls. In the drawing a hedgehog can be seen on the ground with birds flying overhead.

Stage 1 by Ursula Harvey, Under 15 category
I am Ursula and I think York won’t face much change in things like fashion and architecture but climate change is more serious than ever. My art is the news trying to explain the unexplainable weather that has reached York. Communications are infrequent and many are panicking. The man presenting is reading the script uncertainly.

York in 2123 by Fynn Lundberg, Under 15 category
Hello, my name is Fynn Lundberg, I am 12 years old and enjoy drawing. This piece is highlighting the positive impact that planting more trees could have on our environment. The buildings featured in this piece have geodesic domed roofs which implies that the outside air may not be safe to breathe. The roofs could also be used as inside greenhouses to help grow food and other useful crops. I have chosen 4 York landmarks to include in this piece: York Minster, Clifford’s tower, Micklegate bar and The mural by street artists Mighty Mo and Rowdy atop no.2 Ousegate.

Submissions in the '15+' category

A Diptych of York, 2123 by Lowri Clarke, Winner of 15+ category
I am a Masters student at the University of York studying Medieval Literatures and Languages. The style, composition, and colours of this painting were inspired by medieval illuminated manuscripts. I painted a diptych to convey the different realities York may face in 100 years. The left side shows an apocalyptic landscape caused by the climate crisis; Skeldergate bridge is damaged and Clifford’s Tower is threatened by flooding. The right side shows the survival of York’s green public spaces, with the ruins of St Mary’s Abbey. York minster sits in the background.
IG: @lowri.draws
Hot Squirrel Summer by Becki Harper, 15+ category
As an illustrator my work is focused on storytelling, and is inspired by simple everyday observations which intertwine to create humorous, relatable, or though provoking narratives. I make these stories to explore and understand the world around me, and to connect to my audience on an emotional level. This image, created with gouache and pencil, considers what could happen to York's squirrel population during summers in the future if climate change continues on its current trajectory. It reflects what is already happening in some European countries right now, who have been experiencing extreme heat and the devastation it can cause.
Web: / IG: @beckiharper
York 2123 by Nic Fife, 15+ category
I’m a local printmaker who is focused, through my work, art, and activism, on making visions of a hopeful future, many of which revolve around nature restoration. I was inspired to respond to this prompt by imagining a future York where humans have reintegrated into local ecology and the entire city is forested. My submission reflects the abundant world I want to help build, and invites the viewers to imagine what city might be thriving beneath the canopy. I work with natural and sustainable materials, so that the medium reflects my commitment to the future I’m depicting.
IG: @n.fife / Etsy:
Team up with Nature before it's too late. by Isabel Bullón, 15+ category
I've lived in York 9 years and I love how it is always clean and beautiful. However, after travelling more around England recently, I've noticed how as soon as you leave York, the roads get dirtier. Drivers, even from York, were throwing things out the window! It's like outside our pretty, rich and famous York... Nature, animals, our planet doesn't matter anymore! So... My prediction in 100 years? York will be fine, beautiful, clean and teaming up with nature... but, is it enough if only some do it? If it only happens in certain areas? Sadly, we all know the answer.
IG: @isas.crafty.hive
River Ouse Ruins by Emmie Schofield, 15+ category
I specialise in nature illustrations. I am a lover of colour and texture, and I wanted to take a fun and silly turn on this quite dark subject. I specialise in illustrating animals, plants and scenes in general. I enjoy using watercolour, fine liner pens and gouache.
IG: @emmieschofield.illustration
Perhaps... by Sam Dredge, 15+ category
My name is Sam Dredge and I have lived in York for nearly 20 years. I recently began sketching as mental health exercise but it has quickly become a large part of my life. My medium of choice is graphic markers as I find them vibrant, portable and versatile. Perhaps...invites the residents of York to question their day-to-day decisions when faced with a potentially bleak future.
IG: @wyldgnome
River Ouse Clean-up by Brendan Hulse-Storr, 15+ category
[...] in the future where my art piece is set in, we have developed methods for cleaning up the rivers and potentially the seas. Giant underwater mechs to pick up the litter, drones with lasers to target and destroy the plastic left behind and dumped in the waters, insect like mecha-cranes to crawl about in the waters and hover skips built to float above the water while the mechs place the litter there for when the skips deliver them to be recycled. All the while the crew watch and manage the operation while passers-by that are walking on Ouse Bridge watch them work hard cleaning the river Ouse.
Website: / IG: @sci_fi_guy9000 & @starknights9999
Bad Maths by Mike @, 15+ category
SkyShift is my York based media business, taking photos and making videos from the sky and ground. One of my favourite venues in York is Spark, a place made from shipping containers. In 2017 there were zero shipping containers in central York, by 2018 there were 23. Using this information to extrapolate, we can conclude by the year 2123, there will be an estimated 2415 shipping containers in York. Here’s my interpretation of how that summer in 100 years might look, with the help of a drone photograph and generative artificial intelligence (AI) tools. Original reference photograph available here.
Web: / IG: / FB:
Ebor Animālis by Aida Buljkic, 15+ category
Somewhere between 2023 and 2123 the humans of York have disappeared without a single trace. Its current inhabitants consists of rodents and frogs, forever wondering what had happened in the past - the same way that humans once enquired about the Roman and Viking age.
York fest 2123 by Rosie Bamber, 15+ category
Join us for York festival 2123, where there’s non stop thrills and excitement. Come rain, hail, snow, tornado, unbearably high temperatures, wildfires and/or severe flooding, we have something for the whole family! Step back in time with a submarine tour round yorks old town or calm your climate anxiety by escaping in our luxury hot air balloon rides. The possibilities are endless (and so unpredictable!)
IG: @rosiebamberxx & @muralsbyrose
Clifford's Tower 2123 by Ruth Lowman, 15+ category
I moved to York nearly 20 years ago and I love living here. Since 2018 I have done evening classes in painting and drawing, and mixed media, some in-person classes and some via Zoom. This is my imagining of summer in York in 2123, water levels have risen and people travel by boat. Clifford's tower is surrounded by tropical plants and flowers.

Finalists' Exhibition - 14th - 15th October 2023, SPARK* SHOW space
Guests also had a chance to contribute to a time capsule created on the day by leaving a message and a memento for the people of York in 2050, the year of the UK’s net zero target. The time capsule will be passed on to the Borthwick Institute for Archives at the University of York for safekeeping.
Photographs by Wojciech Sukiennik