How to talk about the climate crisis?

Curator: Aleksandra Jach

In this series we will work on the communication of the climate crisis through language, images and narratives. This planetary phenomenon affects all domains of human life, as well as the environment. It is difficult to capture as a whole, therefore, it requires breaking up into smaller fragments which efficiently communicate both the local and global scale of the problem. How should we go about it? How to talk about it? Where to look for visual and narrative inspirations? We will be looking for answers to these questions with the help of experts from various disciplines: activists, artists, journalists and photographers.

The series of workshops will begin on 16 April with the RATS Agency initiating the conversation about navigating the world of information divided among various media and communication platforms. We will look at transmedia ways of imaging the climate crisis which apply graphics, photography, data visualisations, journalism, and online tools (e.g. network documents). We will draw particular attention to creating the sense of solidarity between “us” and “them,” i.e. how to talk so that the message is heard, understood and internalised by its recipients. We will also look at the ethics of the message.

On 30 April Glen Tarman will talk about the global activism in the art world in relation to the climate crisis. The co-founder of Liberate Tate will explain how to effectively influence cultural institutions, fight for social justice and the ethics of sponsoring using visual creativity, activism and performative skills. The most prestigious museums, galleries, operas, or theatres are often financially supported by fossil fuels-based energy companies. Grass-roots and civic involvement in the activity of institutions is crucial from the perspective of the climate crisis. At the same time, the ongoing pandemic crisis makes us realise the extent of the violence of the changes which we will have to face very soon.

The climate crisis can be overwhelming, but a conversation about it should not be. Each of us has a different relationship with this topic, so there is no one-size-fits-all algorithm for talking about it properly. During the workshop with Adam Levy on 16 May we will discuss various communication strategies, using our own experiences. As our base, we will use a YouTube channel ran by Levy – ClimateAdam, where with a considerable dose of humour and in an engaging manner, he presents complex issues related to the climate crisis.

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