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Creative climate communications
ENVS 3173/THTR 4173/ATLS 4173

Course Description

The objectives for this course are (1) to generate quality multimodal compositions on the subject of climate change and (2) engage meaningfully with various dimensions and issues associated with climate, environment and sustainability. We work to deepen our understanding of how issues associated with climate change are communicated creatively by analyzing previously created expressions from a variety of media (interactive theatre, film, fine art, performance art, television programming, blogs for examples). We then integrate insights gained into the process of creating our own work. Throughout the semester, we appraise and extract effective methods and techniques in ongoing student work. We then apply them to the larger Inside the Greenhouse (ITG) project.

The chosen title of larger project – Inside the Greenhouse – acknowledges that, to varying degrees, we are all implicated in, part of, and responsible for greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. So in the course we treat this ‘greenhouse’ as a living laboratory, an intentional place for growing new ideas and evaluating possibilities to confront climate change through a range of mitigation and adaptation strategies.

In this Spring 2019 semester, we harness the tools and perspectives from Environmental Studies, ATLAS and the Department of Theater and Dance in order to accomplish these goals. The interdisciplinary approach taken up here seeks to capture, value and interrogate the complexity of multi-scale and contemporary climate science, policy and politics as well as the challenges of performance and communication of these issues. Our motivations here spring from an expansive view of climate science and policy in society, where more formal scientific and policy work is part of, rather than separate from, public uptake. Representational practices of various sorts play key roles in interpretation, framing climate change for policy, politics and the public, and drawing attention to how to make sense of the changing world. Mediated portrayals – from television news to live performance – are critical links between people’s everyday realities and experiences, and the ways in which these are discussed at a distance between science, policy and public actors.