What goes on at COP
Credit Terry Jeavons

Thelma Hulbert Gallery's new photographic exhibition will provide a fascinating insight into the world of COP.

What goes on at a COP - the annual gathering of nearly 200 nations plus a myriad of non-governmental officials, scientists and journalists who are passionate about combating climate change and protecting planet Earth?

The official title of the COP is ‘Conference of the Parties’ who belong to the United Nations Federation of Climate Change Countries (UNFCCC). The next meeting - COP 26 - takes place in Glasgow from 31 October - 12 November 2021.

Thelma Hulbert Gallery (THG)'s new photography exhibition provides a glimpse into the unique world that is the COP. The prints cover a period of five years and were captured in Doha, Warsaw and Paris. The images show the venue, the formalities, the routines, the protests and the intense final negotiations to move the climate change arguments forwards. Arguments that will hopefully benefit the world and its people.

It all started with an unexpected phone call from a desert gathering in Qatar in 2012, when photo journalist Terry Jeavons was asked if he would take on the commission of creating an illustrated book to tell the story of the annual United Nations Climate Change Conference known as ‘COP’.

A team of four photographers was assembled from England, Austria and Dubai, and headed out to Doha.

The brief was to document every aspect of the two-week event where nearly 200 countries assembled to concentrate on the global issue of climate change. The images would show the preparation of the highly secure venue, the daily operations of the behind-the-scenes organising teams, impromptu happenings such as protest demonstrations, and culminating in the intense drama of the final negotiated accords that closed the conference.

In his role as creative director, Terry then reviewed hundreds of photographs captured by the team (including his own) and begin the work of making the final selection, in conjunction with the Qatar and UN teams. Nearly two years later, the book was printed in 2014 using methods and materials that were certified as environmentally and ecologically acceptable.

Terry's involvement with the UN Federation of Climate Change Countries continued with photographic and design projects through COPs 19, 20 and the historic COP21 in Paris – the biggest international conference in history – after which a second illustrated volume was published in 2016.

The sizeable photographic archive compiled throughout this project by Terry has been thoughtfully curated into a new exhibition at THG to coincide with COP 26.

The exhibition will be launched on 12 November at THG as part of Climate Conversations Honiton in the Creative Cabin. Honiton and its neighbouring communities are invited to meet Terry Jeavons and local environmental groups and also share their views on East Devon District Council's Climate Emergency Plan with Catherine Causley, Climate Change Officer. The event will include inspiring talks and aims to offer useful ideas about how to make a difference to the planet as well as fun family resources, which are free to take away.

Terry Jeavons said:

Earlier this year after reading about East Devon’s Climate Conversations initiative and the use of Thelma Hulbert Gallery as a venue for public engagement, I thought an exhibition based around my COP images telling the story of the COP would give insight and context to COP26 taking place in Glasgow later this year.

I’m delighted to be a part of the Council’s Climate Conversations initiative with my photo essay scheduled for early November."

Councillor Marianne Rixson - East Devon District Council Portfolio Holder Climate Action and Emergency Response, said:

As part of East Devon District Council’s commitment to respond to the climate emergency, we welcome this new exhibition at THG to highlight COP 26 in Glasgow.

Climate Conversations Honiton will be a valuable opportunity to meet local environmental groups, discover easy steps you can take to help the planet and hear about the the experiences of Terry Jeavons at key COP summits."

The Story of COP: a photo essay by Terry Jeavons
6 November 2021 to 24 December 2021
Thursday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm
The Project Space, Thelma Hulbert Gallery, Dowell St, Honiton EX14 1LX

12 November, 4-6pm: Climate Conversations Honiton
- 4.15pm: Catherine Causley, Climate Change Officer: '10 things we have done as a family to reduce our environmental impact'
- 4.30pm: Vicky Whitworth from Chardstock Eco Group will talk about local community action and the challenges her village face relating to climate change.
- 5pm: Terry Jeavons will introduce his exhibition and talk about his experiences at key COP summits, followed by a Q&A session.

Tickets are free, booking required