Three-D Issue 16: MeCCSA CCES Network convenor’s report

Neil Gavin
Liverpool University

The Climate Change, Environment and Sustainability (CCES) network has organised a range of events since its launch.

CCES launch symposium at UWE, Bristol

There has been a well-attended launch symposium in December 2010 at UWE in Bristol (‘Mediating Climate Change in an Uncertain World). A wide range of delegates attended, including academics active in this field, journalism practitioners from television and the blogging community, as well as environmental activists groups.
The conference featured a talk from CCES Convenor Neil Gavin on the state of research in the field of mediated climate change, drawing on a mapping exercise of research undertaken by Network members. He also discussed the research agenda for the future, which (amongst other things) should feature more work on sustainability issues, and the impact of climate coverage. Graham Wayne, also spoke of the motivations behind web-based commentary, the profile of climate scepticism on the web, and the morality and practicality of climate polemics in the new media. Finally, Emily James spoke of the problems, pitfalls and pressures inherent in producing and distributing a documentary on direct action activities on climate change. Podcasts from the principle speakers will be placed on line in due course.

MeCCSA 2011 at Salford

Following this, CCES organised a panel at the MECCSA conference at Salford in January 2011. The panel included the outlines of results from a paper soon to be published in Global Environmental Change, on climate scepticism on TV and the web at Copenhagen, from CCES Convenor Neil Gavin and his colleague Tom Marshall. Also giving papers were Mike Goodman, on the ‘celebritisation’ of climate change and environment issues, and Unn Laksa, on cosmopolitanism and justice discourses in coverage of climate change.

CCES conference at Bournemouth University

The momentum gained here was carried through to a very recent and highly successful conference held at Bournemouth University, ‘Mediating Environmental Change: Exploring the Way Forward’. The event had fifty delegates, many from overseas and beyond the academic community (see report below in this issue). Podcasts from the various presentations – and the subsequent discussion – are all online at http://www.bournemouth.ac.uk/environmental-change/.

Other network activities

The mapping and scoping exercise on research within CCES is about to go live imminently. It suggests a scholarly and activist community that is wide-ranging in its interests, and dispersed in location. For instance, there were contributions from Britain and Europe, with Scandinavia well represented, but also from further afield, including Japan, Bangladesh, India, Australia and Brazil. Evidently, research interests, political activities and teaching often coincide. They straddle, amongst other things, adaptation to climate change in the developing world, public awareness-raising, and European policy development and its representation in the media. The mediation of climate, environment and sustainability in the old media, new media, the cinema and advertising figure heavily, as does engagement with mediated climate scepticism. Our inventory also suggests researchers within the Network straddle the arts humanities and social sciences. The exercise is, however, not intended to be a one-off, but will be regularly updated to incorporate new publications and research initiative from members.

The CCES Convenor has, in conjunction with a very wide range of organisation[see Box], also help drive forward the development of the provisionally titled International Environmental Communication Association. This organisation now has a web site, a constitution, a sponsored journal (Environmental Communication: A Journal of Nature and Culture), and is planning a biennial conference (see http://environmentalcomm.org.).

There are currently plans for a further conference at King’s College London in the near future. Please subscribe to our mailinglist for information about this and other upcoming events.

Survey of network members

Please provide some details of the following:

  • Detail any recent and forthcoming publications you may have, around media, climate and sustainability.
  • Outline any research you are currently involved in around media and climate change, and/or the sort of research you’d like to get involved in or are planning.
  • Provide a few keywords that outline you main areas of specialism (this only if you feel you might be willing to field questions from journalists or stakeholders).
  • Tell us how and whether you integrate climate-related themes into your teaching.

Please state clearly whether you are happy for each of these pieces of information to be made a) available only to CCES Network members, b) only to CCES Network and MeCCSA members, or c) fully and publicly available.

All this material is to be sent to Neil Gavin at Liverpool University (gavin@liverpool.ac.uk).

Posted by Einar Thorsen