Government investment supports creative methods to connect young people with climate change research

A Glasgow-based project using zines produced by 14-18-year-olds to tell their climate change stories is among a series of new climate engagement projects supported by a UK government investment.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) have today announced a series of investments that will encourage 14-18-year-olds to engage with and contribute to important climate research.

The Glasgow project, led by the University of Glasgow’s Dr Melanie Ramdarshan Bold, will invite 14-18-year-olds based in and around Glasgow and self-identified from socially marginalised groups including LGBTQIA+, people of colour, and disabled people, to explore climate changes issues by making zines.

Through workshops and masterclasses, the project will create and co-create zines (which are small-batch, DIY, magazine-like publications) focused on climate change/activism/justice - and guidelines of replicating the project in the classroom (the guidelines will be sent to schools across Scotland ahead of COP26).

It will be an opportunity to explore young people’s perceptions of present and future climate change, and their experiences of the climate action movement, through their own creative communication, whilst also equipping them with new skills and confidence as a pathway to potential careers in publishing, writing, or illustration.

Dr Ramdarshan Bold, a Senior Lecturer in in Children’s Literature Studies at the University’s School of Education, said: "I’m delighted to be working with the Glasgow Zine Library on this exciting project.

"Zines are significant because they offer the opportunity for connection, community, and networking between those interested in topics of social justice, including climate action/justice, and who are also largely ignored from mainstream discourse.

"We hope this project will serve as a way to expand young people’s imagination, thus empowering them to co-create narratives for transformative change, in addition to addressing serious problems, and experiences, in a creative way."

A major way in which the arts and humanities can contribute to efforts to tackle and mitigate the effects of climate change is through engaging diverse groups with climate research.

In November, the UK will host the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) international summit in Glasgow.

This 120,000 investment from UKRI and AHRC will mark this historic occasion and support the objectives of COP26 including helping communities adapt to the impact of climate change and collaborating to champion voices of communities not usually heard in climate discussion.

Each of the funded projects will take place between September and December to coincide with COP26 and contribute to the national and global discourse on climate change at this time.

Professor Christopher Smith, AHRC Executive Chair, said: "If we are going to come together as a global community to address the climate crisis, we need to ensure that people from all ages and walks of life are engaged with this crucial issue."

Tom Saunders, UKRI Head of Public Engagement, said:"UKRI is keen to support researchers and innovators to engage with young people on crucial issues like climate change.

"These investments will establish a dialogue between the research and innovation community and the public that will bring underrepresented voices into the climate debate and provide valuableinsights into young people’s views on climate change."

The full list of projects funded as part of the engaging young people with climate research investment can be found at www.ahrc.org.uk

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