Climate Change and the Visual Arts

Visual Art and Climate Change

Communicating the facts of climate change to affect decision-making and behavioural change are two of the most serious challenges of our era. Although there has been a lot of research about the visualization of climate change, research about the contribution of contemporary art to the topic has been scarce.

Can visual art affect viewer perceptions of climate change?

This question lies at the core of a 4-year multidisciplinary research project, underpinned by the innovative hypothesis that psychology can provide purposeful connectivity between climate change scientists and visual artists working in this field. Specifically, the project's focus is to exam the underlying psychological mechanisms involved in both the production and reception of visual art and to use these findings to unite the more analytical findings of natural science with the affective processing required in the visual arts.

Climart was launched in 2014. It is housed at the Institute of Psychology at NTNU, Trondheim and funded by the Research Council of Norway. It is coordinated by environmental psychologist Professor Christian Klöckner and University of Hertfordshire researcher and artist Samantha Jury. The core project team is comprised of world-class researchers from the discipline areas of psychology, natural sciences and the arts from institutions from across the globe. A major visual arts partner in Climart is Cape Farewell in London, a leading organisation for commissioning and producing contemporary art works on the subject of climate change.

ChangeProject Outcomes

The objective of Climart is to commission an international artist who will work with the team, responding to the project findings, to create a major public artwork for Oslo in 2017. Ultimately, the project aims to identify effective climate change communication strategies and if successful would have considerable positive environmental effects.

The University of Hertfordshire in Collaboration

The School of Creative Arts at the University of Hertfordshire is a Climart collaborative partner contributing expertise in the visual arts. In 2016 the school appointed a PhD candidate to spend a proportion of their time working with partners within the project. This PhD position forms an integral part of the partnership, alongside other collaborative, cross-institutional activities.

Read more about

Climart here
NTNU here
Professor Christian Klöckner here
Samantha Jury here