Lecturer helps create exhibition in Saudi Arabia on global environmental challenges

  • Date

    Tue 4 Jun 19

Journalism lecturer Penny Wrout is spreading awareness to Saudi schoolchildren of the environmental challenges our planet faces through a new exhibition.

Penny, from the Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies, has recently returned from her first trip to Saudi Arabia where she signed off a project she started three years ago.

She led a content design team creating films and interactive games for a permanent exhibition on the environment, to open on the campus of King Saud University in Riyadh.

The exhibition, aimed at families, was divided into a number of different galleries. The brief was to create content appealing to ages eight to fourteen.

“We were working on the Life Gallery, to showcase the vast array of life on earth and the interconnected nature of our biodiversity”, says Penny. “We had to try to think ourselves into the heads of schoolchildren who live in an air-conditioned, desert city and come up with ways to convey an impression of totally different environments like the Amazon rainforest, the Alps or the Arctic and to introduce the creatures who live there”.

With guidance from the Saudi client, the design and programming work was all carried out in the UK so this was the first chance Penny had to see the work installed in its home. “It’s enormously satisfying to see a film you’ve spent hours editing on a computer finally come to life on a giant 180-degree, wrap-around screen. It’s also quite a relief to see the interactive games, which were complicated to conceive and even more complex to produce be bi-lingually, all functioning properly.”

The exhibition aims to boost the Saudi public’s awareness of the environmental challenges facing the planet and introduces a range of green and sustainable concepts.

Penny started to work on the exhibition before she joined Essex and is delighted to see its culmination. “When I took the project on, I did think hard about whether it was the right thing to do. Having now seen it, I’m glad I did, because the need to spread environmental awareness in the region has never been greater”, says Penny.