The Visual Life of Climate Change

Between October 2021 – 2023, Saffron will be funded through a Leverhulme Research Fellowship titled ‘The visual life of climate change’.

Project abstract
The circulation, repetition, and reinterpretation of visual images plays a key role in meaning-making about climate change: and never more so than now, as digital technologies, saturated with images, permeate our lives. This Fellowship offers an interdisciplinary approach to recognise and work with images’ instability across digital networks. It will reveal the work that climate images do by understanding their power, agency and meaning. It will explore why particular types of climate imagery continue to thrive and circulate, whilst others are silenced. Ultimately, it will transform understanding of how images act to constrain or open up particular climate futures.

Book and multimedia resources
The major output from this work will be a book-length monograph under the same title as the Fellowship. It will bring together, for the first time, a synthesis of the importance of images in shaping climate futures. It will be written in an accessible way, for diverse academic disciplines and stakeholders audiences; and will link to multimedia content exploring image movement online, to expand on the themes in the book.

A Google image search for ‘Climate Change’ brings up familiar visual tropes. Why do some climate images thrive, whilst others are marginalised; and what does this mean for how we engage with climate change?