UWE Bristol Staff – Changing Climate Network

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The Changing Climate Network connects people across UWE Bristol to foster conversations, showcase projects and encourage collaborative bids for funding to research the causes and consequences of ecological overshoot. This feels especially relevant in light of the outcomes from COP26 and its roadmap to a future that will inevitably be hotter.

The next network event – Researching Climate Crisis & Restorative Futures: A post-COP26 discussion – will offer a space to process the implications of COP26.

Participants will consider questions such as:  

  • How are we affected by the outcomes of COP?  
  • How does it feel to be working on this urgent, fast-changing and existential issue?  
  • How do we negotiate our personal responses to it?  
  • How do we support each other as a research community?  
  • What are the emerging challenges and opportunities post COP26, and how can the University contribute?

The event, to be held via Zoom on Monday 6 December (1-4 pm), is being designed and delivered by Professor Mandy Rose (Director, Digital Cultures Research Centre), Kirsti Norris (UWE’s Energy Manager), Olivia Lelong (Bid Developer, STEM & the Environment, Research, Business and Innovation) and Professor Jim Longhurst (Assistant Vice Chancellor: Environment & Sustainability).

Since being launched in autumn 2020 by Jim Longhurst and Olivia Lelong, the Changing Climate Network has been growing in membership (currently about 170) and momentum to reflect the range and richness of related research at UWE.  An MS Teams site serves as a network notice board for posting information about funding calls, webinars and conferences, requests for expertise and news items. 

Network events, held roughly once a quarter, focus on different themes.  April’s event showcased UWE research on resilience – psychological resilience to climate anxiety among children; buildings’ and communities’ resilience to flooding; resilience in the marine environment and the creative economy, and the importance of water security to drought resilience.

Two events (July and October) have explored recent and ongoing research on cultural change in the face of a changing climate.  The research ranges geographically from Ladakh, where communities must cope with melting glaciers and droughts, to Madagascar, where wildlife conservation needs can conflict with economic interests, to Appalachia, where Gothic literature evokes the extreme effects of consumerism.  

UWE academics also presented their research into unconscious representations of the Anthropocene in contemporary culture and how climate change denial is a way of managing fear.  Socio-technological research is addressing the need to move beyond animal-based food systems and includes an energy-producing, waste-treating building block made of microbial fuel cells created by UWE’s Bristol BioEnergy Centre.  Other researchers discussed their work on climate justice, repair culture and the role of social learning and communication in behavioural change.

To join the Changing Climate Network and/or to receive an invitation to the event on 6 December, please contact Olivia.