Press release

Dundee’s creative responses to climate change

Published on 26 October 2021

An upcoming University of Dundee event will showcase the work of those who are connecting the power of the visual arts to enhance our understanding of climate change

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On the lead up to COP26, many contemporary artists are using their work as a platform to raise awareness and imagine a more sustainable future. ‘Creative Responses to Climate Change’ will look at the devastating reality facing our cities, food, water and extreme environments.

The event, taking place this Thursday 28 October, will present world-leading climate change projects, from individual works to mass public events that enrich dialogue, deepen connections and motivate action.

The University’s Mel Woods, Professor of Creative Intelligence at the University’s Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design (DJCAD), will chair the event. Professor Woods led the award-winning Grow Observatory a citizen science project for land, soil and food growing, which empowered thousands of volunteers across Europe to tackle environmental issues by bringing about change in their local communities. 

“It’s important to recognise the role of science in climate change, but it is not enough,” said Professor Woods.

“If we want to move forward together we need to fire our collective imaginations, to deeply-engage emotions and empower people towards action. Creative responses through art and design have a proven historic and future role to play in achieving that.”

The event is part of the University’s Festival of the Future, which focusses on the themes of climate change and enjoying nature designed to spark curiosity and fuel enthusiasm.

Speakers in this session include Dr Kieran Baxter, Angus Farquhar, Professor Tania Kovats and Dr Husam Al Waer. They will come together to explain their fields of work and the potential positive impact in the run up to COP26.

Dr Baxter, a lecturer at DJCAD, will discuss creative approaches to landscape visualisation with examples from his work in Southeast Iceland. His stark images and film of glacier recession reveals the extent of the unfolding climate crisis year by year. His film ‘After Ice’ is nominated for best Climate Emergency Film of the Year.

Angus Farquhar, Creative Director of Aproxima Arts, will introduce Dandelion, a unique approach to community growing incorporating music, future food technology and nationwide harvest festivals. Demonstrating the power of collective action in one of Scotland's largest 'grow your own' initiatives of modern times. 

Professor Kovats of DJCAD will reveal the journey of her beautiful ‘Relay4Nature baton’ which is being carried by boat to COP26 by The Ocean Race. The work shines a spotlight on Ocean’s wellbeing through collaboration, ocean leaders, innovators, and advocates. The baton aims to arrive in Glasgow in late October 2021. 

Dr Al Waer, Reader in Sustainable Urban Design at DJCAD, will explore the ‘Twenty Minute neighbourhood’ where people access most daily needs within 20 minutes of their home. He will discuss if this is this a welcome or effective way to organise urban life, reduce commuting lengths and transport demand, and promote local neighbourhood identity, health and liveability.

This session will also include a final closing panel discussion around the crosscutting themes of water, food, energy and creative responses from all 4 COP26 Series events.

‘Creative Responses to Climate Change’ will take place online from 2pm – 4pm on Thursday 28 October. Booking for the event is essential and all details can be found here.


Hannah Adams

Media Relations Officer

+44 (0)1382 385131
Story category Events and exhibitions
Collection Climate Action