Communicating Climate Science Through Poems, Songs, Theatre & Visual Art – The Story of “Climate Stories”

18:00 Tuesday 28 May

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Bernd Eggen (United Kingdom) 1; Natalie Garrett (United Kingdom) 1; Jane Strachan (United Kingdom) 1; Peter Stott (United Kingdom) 1,2

1 - Met Office Hadley Centre; 2 - University of Exeter

Poems, songs, theatre & prints are powerful communication media to engage the wider public on important scientific issues such as climate change. We present a kaleidoscope of creations from the collaborative project “Climate Stories”. It was funded by the UK National Environmental Research Council (NERC).

In May 2018 a group of climate scientists from UK Met Office and Exeter University spent an inspirational three days at the beautiful Dartington Hall in Devon under the lead of artists from the disciplines of creative writing, theatre making, print making and song writing. Through a series of hands-on workshops the scientists were introduced to the narrative possibilities of each art discipline and encouraged to explore those possibilities both for their own creative development and with a view to using them in their outreach work as climate scientist. On the last day the participants chose their favourite arts discipline(s) to take forward into a series of collaborative workshops with community groups in and around Exeter. Under the leadership of the projects arts leads, these community workshops produced a stunning variety of responses to the challenges of climate change, through a process of non-hierarchical co-creation. The results have been published in a book, a dedicated web site and YouTube clips.

Climate Stories enabled the public, artists and scientists to co-develop new creative approaches to explaining and dealing with environmental change, one based on an innovative method of engagement through shared projects. While focused in place and dealing specifically with the challenges of climate science communication, the Climate Stories project has wider relevance both geographically and in subject matter, as a blueprint for the development of more effective public engagement skills in the wider science community. We draw out lessons for further development of science communication.

Additional activity at the poster stand: we all have a story to tell about climate change, and we invite the delegates of ECCA to share theirs. Be it through drawing, creative writing, or voice recording, we want to hear your stories! Simply create your artwork and Tweet it to @storiesclimate.