A photo of 3 men wearing patterned clothes at a fashion show, designed by Bethany Williams

Earth Day 2020 at Somerset House

Wednesday 22 April – Wednesday 20 May 2020

As part of its year-round commitment to environmental sustainability, Somerset House celebrates the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, a worldwide event on 22 April to champion transformative environmental action. Bringing together artists and designers who are contributing to the urgent effort to address the current ecological crisis, Somerset House invites visitors to experience free interactive events online, interrogating how art and culture can inspire positive change in society’s relationship with nature.

Highlights include:

  • Specially designed online DIY workshops created by acclaimed British fashion designer Bethany Williams invite audiences to create a flag using materials at home to share messages to future generations, drawing attention to the climate crisis as part of her All Our Children commission
  • Live Q&A with Bethany Williams and Somerset House curator Karishma Rafferty explores how Williams’ creative practice drives positive societal and environmental action
  • A series of live online sessions presented by Somerset House and Fashion Open Studio explore the future of sustainable fashion with leading designers, forming part of Fashion Revolution Week
  • Family-friendly online workshops celebrate the kingdom of fungi, inspired by the acclaimed exhibition Mushrooms: The Art, Design and Future of Fungi which Somerset House hopes to reopen to the public later this year

Somerset House and its public exhibitions and events are currently closed. Somerset House is working hard with artistic collaborators and producing partners to be able to share its cultural programme online, and over the coming weeks there will be opportunities for audiences to participate in a range of digital events, with Earth Day 2020 as one of the highlights. Further details to be announced soon. 

All Our Children by Bethany Williams
Wednesday 22 April – Wednesday 20 May

  • Flag DIY Workshops: 22 April, 6 May, 20 May
  • Live Q&A: 22 April, 12.00
  • Raise Your Flag: 22 April

British fashion designer Bethany Williams, winner of the 2019 British Emerging Talent Menswear category at The Fashion Awards and the Queen Elizabeth II Award for Design, joins Somerset House’s Earth Day programme to develop and launch a new fashion collection and flag commission, entitled All Our Children. Ahead of the physical launch of the project at Somerset House (postponed, new date TBC), Williams has developed a series of online DIY workshops which audiences can follow at home at their leisure, drawing attention to how sustainable creative practices can drive positive societal and environmental action. 

Launching on Earth Day (22 April) and running each fortnight until late May, visitors to the Somerset House website are invited to follow Williams’ All Our Children blogs to discover how to create their own flag at home, alongside creative skills including embroidery and printmaking. As in all of the designer’s acclaimed collections, which use recycled, organic or handmade materials, Williams encourages audiences to get creative with the clothes and fabrics they can find and reuse at home. Participants are invited to consider how they’d transform society’s relationship with the planet to better protect it for future generations, who will be the worst affected by climate breakdown, using their flag as a platform to share their wishes or words of wisdom. 

Somerset House also invites participants to share images of their sustainable creations and messages on Earth Day on social media with @somersethouse using the #AllOurChildren hashtag, in a collective Raise Your Flag moment, drawing attention to the climate crisis and reaching audiences across the world. Works shared by the public will inform Williams’ research process, contributing towards her new All Our Children fashion collection, which will launch later in the year.

Audiences of all ages are also invited to a special live Q&A with Bethany Williams on Earth Day, led by Somerset House curator, Karishma Rafferty. The event investigates Williams’ innovative and inclusive creative practice, which places both environmental justice and social responsibility at its core. Alongside instructions for flag-making at home, the event offers exclusive insight into the All Our Children commission and Williams’ ongoing collaboration with the Magpie Project, a charity based in Newham providing safety and support for mothers and under-fives suffering in temporary or insecure accommodation. Kindly supported by The Adonyeva Foundation.

Mindful Mushrooms Collage Workshop

Thursday 23 April

Artist and Mushrooms contributor, Seana Gavin invites families to discover the art of collage in an exclusive blog created for Earth Day 2020 at Somerset House. Inspired by her cut-and-paste creations which transform old magazines, newspapers, books and archive material into spectacularly surreal artworks, the online workshop features a range of instructive videos and images to help families create their own collage pieces, using a range of materials found at home, saved from the tip for imaginative, artistic reuse. Kindly supported by the Gaia Art Foundation

Grow Your Own Mushrooms

Friday 24 April

Edible Utopia’s Mycologist in Residence Darren Springer presents a special online workshop to equip participants with the skills needed to start their own mini mushroom farm. The family-friendly blog encourages audiences to get hands-on with the kingdom of fungi offering step-by-step instructions on how to grow their own fledgling fungi to nurture at home, including helpful videos and images. Suitable for all ages, Springer invites audiences to celebrate the power of mushrooms and discover the integral role they play in the world’s eco-system. Edible Utopia is kindly supported by the City Bridge Trust.

Fashion Open Studio x Somerset House


Saturday 25 April

Somerset House and Fashion Open Studio present a series of inspiring talks and workshops from innovative designers including Bethany Williams, bold knitwear designer Katie Jones, anonymous collective CONGREGATION design and Paolo Carzana, named as one of five designers leading the #PositiveFashion showroom at London Fashion Week 2019. Forming part of Fashion Revolution Week’s #whomademyclothes campaign and Somerset House’s Creative Careers initiative which supports young people looking to enter the creative sector, the online event invites those pursuing a career in fashion to discover how they can join a new generation of ethical, sustainable designers, led by fashion journalist and editor Tamsin Blanchard and Fashion Revolution co-founder Orsola de Castro.

Sustainability at Somerset House

London’s working arts centre, Somerset House is actively responding to environmental issues both through the practical management of the Grade I listed historical site and thematically as part of our year-round cultural programme. By working together with visitors and the 2600+ resident creative community, we are committed to collectively reducing our impact on the planet. Somerset House has been awarded a 4 star rating in recognition for its environmental commitment, understanding and improvement in the Julie’s Bicycle Creative Green Awards. For more information, visit www.somersethouse.org.uk/sustainability.