Communicating climate hope: Countering eco-anxiety and climate doomism in research and practice
University of British Columbia and Tilburg University
Vancouver, BC, Canada; Tilburg, Netherlands, August 15-16, 2024
Abstract submission deadline: April 8, 2024
About the conference
As the impacts of the climate crisis rise, we are also seeing a rise in eco-anxiety. Although experiencing such emotions may inspire some to act, for many the result is doomism, and a resulting inability to act. Therefore, the current Climate Hope event aims to explore the vital role of effective communication in fostering hope and driving positive action in the context of climate change.
The rise in eco-anxiety and doomism reflects a disconnect between understanding the climate crisis and acting to affect positive change. Communication plays a vital role in resolving this disconnect, aiming to understand the ways in which people think and talk about the problem, and to develop ways to promote beneficial framings and narratives that can contribute to positive, collective change. We see that academics across a range of disciplines are increasingly interested in studying climate literacy, effective climate communication, and positive coping mechanisms. However, for research to be truly impactful, it must be applied to real-life issues. This can be difficult for a simple reason – academics do not always talk to people outside the academic world, even though they are probably working on similar questions. Therefore, the current event aims to bring together scholars, communication professionals, activists, artists and change-makers in a two-day conference on the communication of climate hope.
Although we very much welcome participants from a wide range of disciplines to the conference, we focus on the following disciplines in this call for submissions: academics working on climate hope; artists who produce art in this direction; and community-oriented activists seeking to foster climate hope in the public sphere. We aim to organize sessions where perspectives meet, to learn from each other, and to find out how academia, art, and activism can strengthen each other. As can be read below, the specific submission guidelines are different for academics and artists/activists.
The Climate Hope conference has a “distributed-hybrid” design, which means that it will be held in-person at two local hubs: one in Europe (Tilburg University, the Netherlands), and one in North America (University of British Columbia – Vancouver, Canada). This distributed design allows for small group engagement and enables more sustainable local travel. The hybrid design enables collaboration at-a-distance, allowing real-time and asynchronous communication between hubs and with remote participants. Participants can indicate in which location they will attend the conference. At Tilburg the conference will be located at Mindlabs and at UBC it will be at Green College.
Both local hubs will have a combination of plenary talks by invited speakers; regular presentations (20 minutes + 10 minutes for discussion); and academic poster presentations combined with non-academic exhibitions.
Potential topics of the conference may include, but are not limited to:
- Building Climate Resilience through Communication
- Climate Art and Creativity
- Climate Hope and Resiliency in Literary Spaces
- Environmental Humanities
- Environmental Journalism
- Narratives and (Interactive) Storytelling
- Visual, Multimedia, and Multimodal Climate Messaging
- Climate Activism
- Science Communication and Public Understanding
- Climate Hope Campaigns and Initiatives
- Audience Characteristics and Inclusive Climate Communication
- Indigenous Perspectives on Climate Hope
- Social Media and Online Communities
- Psychology of Climate Doom, Eco-Anxiety, and Eco-Paralysis
- Linguistic Analysis of Climate Communication
Invited Speakers: University of British Columbia
- Teenie Matlock, University of California Merced, USA
- Naoko Ellis and Derek Gladwin, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
- Ashley Fairbanks, Creative Director, 100% Campaign, Minnesota, USA
Invited Speakers: Tilburg University
- Noëlle Aarts, Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
- Reyer Gerlagh, Tilburg University, The Netherlands
- Jenny Pickerill, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom
Submission Guidelines: Academic Contributions
Submissions for academic contributions should be an anonymized abstract (maximum 500 words; references should be included on a separate page, and do not count toward the word limit), submitted as a PDF file. Interdisciplinary, multi-authored submissions are highly welcomed. Submissions must be written in English, and the abstracts will undergo a peer-review process. After acceptance, abstracts will be published open access on the conference website.
Submission Guidelines: Artwork and Activism Contributions
Artists and activists/community organizers can contribute to the Climate Hope conference in three ways:
- Artists can exhibit one or more pieces of climate art in a session mixed with academic poster presentations and organization exhibitions, where participants in the conference walk by and discuss with the artists about their work.
- Activists can exhibit their organization’s work in a session mixed with academic poster presentations and artwork exhibitions, where participants in the conference walk by and discuss with the activists about their organization’s work.
- They can apply for a regular presentation, where they do not only exhibit one or more pieces of art and/or organizing stories, but also explain the background of this work; the messages it wants to convey; how it fits into their complete body of work; what inspires them as an artist/activist; how they see the role of art/activism in the climate crisis; etc.
Submission Instructions: Artwork Contributions
We define climate art broadly to include not only artwork, but also works in design, craft, and illustration. The binding principle is that the work is created primarily to contribute to the climate debate. Works may include, but are not limited to: drawings, design, handcrafts, illustrations, computer graphics, film, paintings, prints, sculptures, and textiles. The selections of artworks will be determined by a panel of artists.
All submissions should be made electronically via email to the local conference email address (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com), along with information about the artists name, contact details, the title of artwork (if any), and a clear picture of the artwork. Images should be JPEG files with a dimension of at least 1800 pixels and no more than 2400 pixels in the larger direction, saved with maximum quality within these constraints. Should a URL be more convenient for submission than an image, for example due to the nature of the artwork, please provide this URL clearly in your submission e-mail.
Submission Instructions: Activism Contributions
Activists/community organizations interested in participating should contact the conference organizers directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com by the submission deadline to discuss how their work can be best incorporated into the conference.
- Dr. Schuyler Laparle, Department of Communication and Cognition, TiU
- Prof. Ruud Koolen, Department of Communication and Cognition, TiU
- Prof. Martijn Goudbeek, Department of Communication and Cognition, TiU
- Rachel Drbohlav Ollerton, Department of Communication and Cognition, TiU
- Ulrike Hahn, School of History, Culture and Communication, Erasmus University Rotterdam
- Dr. Alwin de Rooij, Department of Communication and Cognition, TiU
University of British Columbia
- Prof. Elise Stickles, Department of English Language and Literatures, UBC-V
- Dr. Grace Nosek, Physical and Environmental Sciences, University of Toronto
- Kim Grogan, Department of English Language and Literatures, UBC-V
- Caitlin Johnstone, Department of English Language and Literatures, UBC-V
- Language Sciences Institute, University of British Columbia
- Department of Communication and Cognition, Tilburg University
- Department of English Language and Literatures, University of British Columbia
- The Association for Researching and Applying Metaphor
- Green College, University of British Columbia
- Public Humanities Hub, University of British Columbia
- Centre for Climate Justice, University of British Columbia