Session: Climate Change and Communication

Climate Change Adaptation Stream


Day 1, Parallel Session 1B: 1:30pm – 3:00pm

Location: Storey Hall (Building 16) – Main Auditorium, Level 5, Room 1

Chair: Dr Jane Mullett (RMIT University)


Michael Wilson Discussing the Weather: Digital Stories, Communities and the Climate Change Conversation

  • Presenter and main author: Professor Michael Wilson (Falmouth University)
  • Abstract: Between 2010 and 2012 researchers at the Universities of Falmouth and Glamorgan in the UK collaborated with White Loop Media Company and the UK Government’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to explore whether storytelling might provide a framework for improving engagement in the public climate change conversation. Project ASPECT built upon earlier work with flood communities and in the broader disaster management arena on the use of digital storytelling to build community resilience, took as its starting point a particular problem: the more DECC promoted climate change science, the more the public became disengaged. The idea was to use digital storytelling to subvert the knowledge hierarchies and expert-driven discourses that typically characterise communication in both the science and policy arenas. This presentation reflects on ASPECT and related work by showing examples of the stories created and also by theorising the practice of digital storytelling as a sustainable cultural practice/cultural practice for sustainability. Thus it explores notions of authority and credibility within personal storytelling and the potential for creating deeper levels of public engagement in complex policy-making areas such as climate change, whilst interrogating the democratising potential of both storytelling as a form and Web 2.0 as a platform.
  • Co-author: Karen Lewis (University of Glamorgan)
  • About the presenter: Mike Wilson is Professor of Drama and Dean of Research and the Graduate School at Falmouth University. His research lies in the field of popular and vernacular performance and he has published extensively on Storytelling, Grand-Guignol and Brecht and his collaborators. His work on storytelling has led him to research the interface between storytelling and digital technology and the way in which the internet has enabled the telling and sharing of stories of everyday experience. He has recently been researching the use of storytelling as a framework for public policy development, especially in relation to climate change and environmental challenge.
Chris Riedy Innovative Techniques for Local Community Engagement on Climate Change Adaptation

  • Presenter and main author: Associate Professor Chris Riedy (Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology, Sydney)
  • Abstract: Climate change adaptation requires communities to prepare for both extreme weather events and the more gradual shifts that a changing climate may bring. Our project designed and evaluated several face-to-face activities to engage communities in North East Victoria on climate change adaptation. The objective was ultimately to help vulnerable people in the community become more resilient by connecting them with resources and supportive networks. The workshops tested several innovative community engagement activities, including storytelling, visioning and creative practice. These activities responded to a body of research on best-practice approaches for engaging community elders and leaders as spokespeople and peer educators, as well as research on deliberation and the use of story to locate sustainability experiences in an emotional landscape. The workshops used existing community networks to multiply their potential impact, and took place in communities that had experienced extreme climate events (drought, fire and flood) firsthand. We present a toolkit of ten community engagement activities drawing on the experience of these workshops. We contend that these activities are potentially replicable by local governments and other stakeholders in climate change adaptation. Further, they can bring to life the many and varied materials created by various agencies about preparation for climate change.
  • Co-authors: Jade Herriman (Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology, Sydney), Aleta Lederwasch (Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology, Sydney), Katie Ross (Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology, Sydney), Janina Murta (Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology, Sydney) and Louise Boronyak (Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology, Sydney)
  • About the presenter: Dr Chris Riedy is an Associate Professor at the Institute for Sustainable Futures who works as a researcher, consultant and communicator on sustainability issues. Chris has particular expertise in climate change response, applied foresight, stakeholder engagement and sociocultural change processes. He works as a facilitator and change agent to help deliver personal, organisational, systemic and cultural responses to sustainability challenges. Chris is the President of the Climate Action Network Australia, Co-Chair of the Australian Node of the Millennium Project and a member of the Australian Association for Environmental Education. He blogs at
Angharad Wynne-Jones Discussion of Outcomes from the Tipping Point Conference in Melbourne

  • Presenter and main author: Angharad Wynne-Jones (TippingPoint Australia)
  • Abstract: Angharad will talk about the Tipping Point Conference and its outcomes.
  • About the presenter: Angharad studied theatre at Dartington College of Arts in the UK. In 1994 she became Director of the Performance Space in Sydney. In 1998 she (as Executive Producer) and Gideon Obarzanek established Chunky Move in Melbourne. Angharad joined Peter Sellars as Associate Director in the 2002 Adelaide Festival. She was appointed Director of LIFT (London International Festival of Theatre) 2005 – 2008. She has been on a number of Boards and Panels: Australia Council Hybrid, New Media and Dance Boards, Lucy Guerin Inc, Real Time, Snuff Puppets and Total Theatre (UK). Angharad is Director of TippingPoint Australia and The Climate Commissions developing international and local projects with artists, scientists and communities energizing the cultural response to climate change. She is Creative Producer at Arts House, a contemporary performance centre in Melbourne, a City of Melbourne contemporary arts initiative.
Lyndal Jones Refusing ‘Intervention’ as Art Practice: Rethinking Cultural Relationships in a World that is ‘More-than-human’

  • Presenter and main author: Professor Lyndal Jones (RMIT University)
  • Abstract: It has been a standard practice for a number of years for artists working in ways they regard to be political acts in the public realm (through ‘actions’ or ephemeral installations) to describe their contributions as ‘interventions’. While the suggestion is that this action might ‘cut through’ the culture to reveal new insights, the very use of the term ‘intervention’ places the artist in a privileged position, one that is beyond the culture in which their action occurs. This is the idea of ‘hit and run’ art – of the artist as outsider. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that there is no outside. We are all in it together. If artists are to take responsibility for the images we use in a world that increasingly reveals the interconnection of all its elements as it becomes more stressed, we need to first let go of the ‘outsider’ role. This presentation will describe what might constitute a fully implicated engagement and the possible roles this brings for art and artists in a ‘more-than-human’ world (Latour 2004, Bennett 2009, Massumi 2009, Strengers 2010, Manning 2013), one that includes plants, animals, technologies, specificity of site and the weather.
  • About the presenter: Lyndal is Co-ordinator of Practice-based Research Strategies for the College of Design and Social Context at RMIT University and seminar leader in this area for the school. She also supervises postgraduate students in my areas of expertise. Lyndal has thirty years’ experience as an artist working across a range of media and disciplines at the national and international level including representing Australia in international exhibitions on nine occasions. Her international and national contribution as an artist has been recognised with the two most prestigious awards offered to artists in Australia; a “Keating” Fellowship (1993-96), and an invitation to represent Australia at the most important exhibition on the international arts calendar, the Venice Biennale in 2001. 
  • She is also an educator of artists, writers, new media practitioners and performers and has taught full-time in tertiary institutions for fifteen years. In addition, while working as a free-lance artist for a further fifteen years she continued to engage with students as mentor, artist-in-residence, external examiner or as a guest lecturer in arts institutions across Australia and internationally. 
  • In late 2004, after working for a number of years with interactive video installations and with public art issues with City Projects, the City of Melbourne, she took up a position as Associate Professor, Multimedia, in the School of Creative Media at RMIT and in 2005 became the first Research Director in the School. Her focus in this position was on increasing research scholarship and funding by leading and supporting staff in the production of research outcomes of quality and impact. 
  • In 2009, when this school became part of the School of Media and Communication she became Co-ordinator of the Practice-based Research Strategies course for post-graduate students across the College of Design and Social Context. Her current role is one of leadership in her profession, as both artist-researcher and educator.