Art in Climate Change Day 1

25jun12:45 pm5:30 pmArt in Climate Change Day 1This is a live online event12:45 pm - 5:30 pm OrganiserThe Sackler Research Forum, The Courtauld Institute of ArtEvent TypeWorkshop & Training

Event Details

Please register for further details. The platform and log in details will be sent to attendees at least 48 hours prior to the event. Registration closes at 11.45am on Thursday 25th June.

This online conference will explore the stakes of art and art history in the climate crisis.

In recent years, climate change has become a central issue on the international political agenda, due to the activism of groups such as Extinction Rebellion and the worldwide campaigning of figures such as Greta Thunberg. Yet the disastrous effects of excessive fossil fuel emissions on the biosphere and human civilisation have long been understood by scientists, politicians and public figures alike, and environmental activism is hardly a new phenomenon.

In this decisive moment for our planet, we need to think critically about who or what is allowed to represent the climate crisis. As Chika Unigwe has recently argued, the long-term efforts of climate activists of colour risk erasure in the western media’s current promotion of Thunberg.

Since the emergence of the novel coronavirus, the global economy has been in a state of partial shutdown with a reduction of emissions, surely providing an unprecedented opportunity finally to transition to a ‘greener’ mode of production. How can art contribute to this effort, especially in a moment when many arts organisations risk permanent closure? As events move online, including this conference, how do we need to rethink accessibility to ensure the widespread dissemination of knowledge?

We shall consider the role representation plays in our understanding of climate, and ask why some images of climate activism and environmental disaster might appear and become more alluring, effective and widespread than others. We’ll also explore the particular dialectical potentials of art in the effort to avert the catastrophic levels of warming. Papers will address the work of artists based in Europe, North America, Australia, Africa and South East Asia, and consider the methodological implications of both artists and art historians in global warming.

Please join us as we consider what it might mean for art to ‘tell the truth’ of the climate crisis.


Opening Remarks

Panel 1:
Preeti Kathuria (Vasant Valley School, New Delhi) – ‘Activism and Response in Contemporary Art: Notes on Rural Distress in India’

Anna Reid (Paul Mellon Centre, London) – ‘The Day is Bright and Open: Lucy Skaer’s Geological Occasion’

Panel 2:
Lucy Branchflower (University of Edinburgh) – Climate Art and Queer Ecology

Grace Thompson (University of East Anglia, Norwich) – ‘Ecological Participation; Ideas on the Value of an “Open” Subjectivity’


Panel 3:

Lisa Reindorf (Artist) – ‘How Artists Follow Sustainable Practices of Art in a Time of Climate Change’

Mary Gagler (independent researcher and curator) – ‘Gunybi Ganambarr’

Panel 4:

Maja Fowkes and Reuben Fowkes (University College London) – ‘Climate Migration: Invasive Species in the Political Imaginary’

Lindsay Wells (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York/University of Wisconsin, Madison) – ‘See and Be Cene: Picturing Planetary Change in Victorian Visual Culture’



(Thursday) 12:45 pm - 5:30 pm


The Sackler Research Forum, The Courtauld Institute of Art

Established in 2003 with the aid of a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Research Forum is located at the heart of the Courtauld. The Research Forum offers an extensive programme of lectures, conferences, workshops and seminars supporting advanced inquiry in the history of art, conservation and museum studies.

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