The workshops suggest that while young people have a reasonable knowledge of climate change issues, the topic needs to be communicated in clear and meaningful ways avoiding jargon and technical language.
Young people tended to be critical of framings that contextualise climate change as either affecting only distant locations or taking place in the future.
They favoured visual images showing local impacts and everyday contexts. Many found protest imagery disengaging. They recalled seeing climate change content mainly on video-based platforms such as TikTok and Instagram. Interestingly, they tended to identify with and distinguish between specific social media platforms more than with the original sources of content posted to these platforms, and there was a tendency to underestimate the potential for political bias.
The findings suggest that teachers were viewed as trusted sources of information on climate change yet the subject needs to feature more prominently in the national curriculum.
There is scope for including climate discussion within a wider range of curriculum areas, not just limited to geography and science.
Exploring climate themes within arts in particular has significant potential where young people are engaged through creative activities which spark their imagination and sense of agency.
The project is one of five University of Plymouth research projects featuring at the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference COP26 in Glasgow this November.
All photography and illustration by Carey Marks
I certainly think this funding, and also the wider media publicity, will really help in attracting future funding to do more around this area which has been incredibly beneficial to me."
Professor Alison Anderson
Carey Marks Photography
Carey Marks is a portrait, research and documentary photographer who has a passionate interest in portraits and photo-journalism: particularly 'communities and people in context'. He is also an established art director and graphic designer, with over twenty years experience in London and the US.
His recent work for the University of Plymouth's Jali Ardhi, or ‘care for the land’ project, has been featured in the Guardian, and he has developed branding for Vivienne Westwood’s 'MAN', designed invitations for her Majesty the Queen, and designed various campaigns for organisations such as the National Portrait Gallery, National Gallery, Channel 4 Sitcom Comedy Festival and the London Underground.
Fotonow CIC are a Plymouth-based social enterprise, specialising in community-focused photographic and film projects. The company brings together expertise in education, community development and media production to develop and run creative projects that make a difference to people’s lives and in particular give voice to underrepresented groups. Lead filmmaker James Ellwood has produced socially-engaged documentary work for over a decade, often focussing on environmental and social justice themes.Find out more about Fotonow CIC
Find out more about the initiativesThe Sustainable Earth Institute's Creative Associates projects aim to explore novel and innovative ways of communicating research and develop a portfolio of case studies of the different creative approaches possible.