Climate Action and Visual Culture

In an era of rapid rise of urbanisation (UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, 2018) and increasing impacts of climate change (IPCC, 2014), we are faced with the greatest threats of irreversible ecological damage recorded in human history. More than ever, it has become crucial that rapid measures are to be taken to address the climate crisis. In the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change presses us even more urgently to reconsider our ecological footprint. As the world is heading back to the rehabilitation stage of the pandemic, economic recovery fuels the same practices which sacrifice vital environmental demands. This time should make us question how we can visualise and propose alternatives for a better future. Can visual culture help us to generate radically different ways to think about climate action? We are interested in your propositions on how climate action and visual culture can inform one another and how this interrelationship is represented, documented, and researched.

This call for proposals of creative practice-based research and writing (academic and creative) in the form of position pieces, may seek to offer alternative forms of social structures through visual cultural practice, critically problematising structural inequalities by challenging existing representations. At a moment where there is a global uprising of social movements in the context of Covid-19, there is a need for a radical reconfiguration of society through the mobilisation of creative activity and research.

Climate action also encompasses changes in our immediate surroundings, with the destabilisation of identities and senses of belonging, power balance relations and other systemic structural inequalities. To this end, how can climate action in and through research and visual culture, render visible the underlying structural inequalities of the environments we inhabit?

Call to Action

This call to action invites you to consider how practices within visual culture can address and inform the climate emergency


Find out more about the outcomes of the call


Find out about the guidelines for submission

How might you approach the brief?

This is a call out to local and international creative practitioners, Postgraduate researchers, critical writers, academics, and activist groups, who are interested in collaboratively exploring multidisciplinary ways of addressing climate actions through arts and culture. We welcome new work created in response to the theme but also encourage submissions from on-going research or published work in all mediums and disciplines.

As part of the Temporary Contemporary initiative of promoting arts and culture in Huddersfield and beyond, this project aims to facilitate a platform for research and collaboration, placing climate action in close connection with visual culture.

We recognise creative interventions and creative thinking as tools to address larger issues of climate crises and education, from an every-day relatable level, instead of from a top-down policy making level. We encourage the multiple ways in which arts and culture from all over the world can create a network of collaborations, engaging audiences with an alternative way of approaching and understanding climate crises. This may also include working in multidisciplinary collaborative teams, negotiating roles and priorities to deliver the visual outcomes. 

Questions as prompts:

  1. In a Covid-19 context, how might you approach climate actions?
  2. What are the impacts of Covid-19 in relation to our engagement in climate activity (under the social/physical distancing requirements)?
  3. How is the pandemic impacting our understanding of the broader definition of “environment”? What actions can be taken to negotiate new environments in a Covid-19 context?
  4. How might visual culture help to critically negotiate Covid-19 and Brexit in relation to underlining systemic injustices of “environments” such as communities, identities, political discourses, power balance relations?
  5. How can climate action create speculative futures through position pieces and manifestos? These can either be utopian or dystopian interpretations.
  6. What are the tools or methods identified in environmental activism that might help to generate a set of recommendations?
  7. How can arts and culture have an impact on the many ways in which climate justice can be made more accessible to wider audiences? Proposals can include case studies or accounts of personal experiences of creating structures of support to tackle climate change.
  8. Through the mediums of visual culture, how can we - communities and citizens - reimagine new ways to manage/use our urban resources?
  9. How can visual collaborations and peer to peer production develop an ongoing argument on how multidisciplinary approaches can encourage new avenues to address contemporary social needs

Potential interpretations of the theme:

Personal stories and experiences from different places and contexts, manifestos, creative and cultural ecologies, art works that negotiate climate action and climate change, practice-based interpretations, artistic/design research on environmental actions, creative practice-based research on social, ethical and environmental justice, narrative explorations and mixed media documentations of climate conscience. 

This project is a Postgraduate research led initiative from the Centre for Cultural Ecologies in Art, Design and Architecture, Temporary Contemporary and supported by the University of Huddersfield Graduate School. There will be opportunities to present your work, receive feedback, network, and collaborate with researchers and practitioners across all disciplines and art forms, and have your work published on a digitally curated portfolio.

Online Event

Please do join us at our online event.