The Cultural Relations Collection explores the work of the British Council and reflects on our approach to cultural relations around the globe. These essays also discuss the theory and practice of cultural relations more broadly. They are a starting point for discussion. They look afresh – with a common cultural relations lens – across global developments in a range of thematic areas. These include arts, science, higher education, schools, climate, civil society, exams and assessment, and the English language.
On this page, you can find the climate change essays in this collection.
Chloé Germaine Buckley and Benjamin Bowman discuss the School Strike for Climate, the global movement initiated by Greta Thunberg in August 2018. They consider the strikes as a form of global cultural exchange and a process that envisions the world as it could be. The authors draw on a range of materials produced by young people, from informal protest signs to songs. This essay is part of the British Council’s Climate Connection.
Charlotte Nussey considers the ways in which education and cultural relations offers lessons, new ideas and ways of talking and listening about the climate emergency. Nussey argues that the climate emergency cannot be addressed by technical responses and innovations alone, but requires a socio-cultural response, inclusive of culture and education. The essay spotlights the Transforming Universities for a Changing Climate project, and how higher education institutions in the Global South contribute to tackling climate change. This essay is part of the British Council’s Climate Connection.
Sam McNeilly addresses the relative failure of communicating climate change. Rooted in the ‘energy humanities’, Mcneilly argues that effectively communicating the climate emergency requires increased attention to what drives it: the culture of fossil fuels. Cultural relations can serve to ensure justice is central to shifts away from fossil fuels and transforming existing cultural practices. This essay is part of the British Council’s Climate Connection.
Carla Figueira and Aimee Fullman argue for the need to avoid distant, apocalyptic visions of climate change. Instead, they suggest telling ‘better stories’ about where we want to go and the sort of world we want to live in. They argue that cultural relations, and cultural relations organisations, can play a key role in shaping this new framing of climate change. Cultural relations is an underutilised resource in addressing the climate emergency, and cultural relations organisations have an important part to play. This essay is part of the British Council’s Climate Connection.
Nina Schuller argues that new communication technologies may be a double-edged sword. They stretch outwards and bringing people closer together, or being used as a vehicle for promoting certain interpretations of the world over others. Using Wikipedia as a case study, Schuller notes how our knowledge of climate change is subjected to the politics of translation. In this context, Schuller discusses how non-Western knowledges often give way to Eurocentric epistemologies. This essay is part of the British Council’s Climate Connection.
An obtuse triangle: the nexus between digital skills, soft power and climate change mitigation in Georgia
Jessica Gosling discusses the ‘obtuse triangle’ of unusual suspects: climate change mitigation, soft power and digital skills, using the nation of Georgia as a case study. Gosling argues that digital skills, ‘vital instruments of soft power’, are crucially important for building a low-carbon economy and prosperity in the south Caucasian country. Given that climate change is a global emergency, the exchange of information between different cultures and regions of the world becomes crucial for climate mitigation. This essay is part of the British Council’s Climate Connection.
On 22 September, we hosted a roundtable 'New Voices on International Cultural Relations - Culture and Climate Actionevent' to mark the publication of this new series of essays on climate change. This roundtable discussed the idea that (as the author of one of the essays puts it) ‘climate change is a crisis of culture.’, and examined the role of culture, and cultural relations, in climate action. We reflected on the specific tasks and challenges that cultural relations practice must address in responding to the climate crisis.