The Climate Connection Stories

Date and Time:

22 September 2021, 12.00-13.15 BST

Registration open now!

This event will be held online and is open to all and free of charge.

About the event

To mark the publication of a new series of British Council Cultural Relations Collection essays on climate change, this roundtable will discuss the idea that (as the author of one of the essays puts it) ‘climate change is a crisis of culture.’ 

We will examine the role of culture, and cultural relations, in climate action. We’ll reflect on the specific tasks and challenges that cultural relations practice must address in responding to the climate crisis. 

As an introduction to the discussion, the authors of two of the new essays will share the headlines and key themes from their contributions to the series. Carla Figueira and Aimee Fullman’s essay Emergencies, emergences, engagement: cultural relations and climate action argues that cultural relations organisations can play a vital role in shaping new framings of climate change. Sam McNeilly’s essay Empowering a world without fossil fuels: a crisis of culture points to the role of cultural and artistic expression in making possible the deep-seated cultural change that is arguably required to drive an effective transition from fossil fuels. 

These short presentations will be followed by a panel discussion with British Council colleagues and partners. This will draw on the themes of the essay series as a whole, and the wider British Council The Climate Connection programme, to help us to frame cultural relations in the context of climate change – and vice versa: to explore climate change through a cultural relations lens. 


  • Carla Figueira (Goldsmiths, University of London, UK)
  • Aimee Fullman (Meaningful Engagement, USA)
  • Sam McNeilly (University of Surrey, UK)
  • Charise Johnson  (Julie’s Bicycle, UK) 
  • Alison Barrett (Director Education & Society, East Asia, British Council)
  • James Perkins (Interim Head of Research, British Council)
  • Christine Wilson (Interim Director of Research and Policy Insight, British Council)

Background and context

Our new Cultural Relations Collection essays are written by researchers representing various academic disciplines and cover diverse subjects, from ‘cli-fi’ novels to the meaning of the youth climate strike movement. They are united by a common interest in the potential of cultural relations to foster mutual understanding, trust and co-operation in the field of climate action.

The essays were developed as part of The Climate Connection – the British Council’s global platform for climate change dialogue, cooperation and action. In the run up to COP26 – and beyond – this programme is providing new opportunities for young people, policymakers, artists, scientists, early career researchers, teachers, students and academics and business and community leaders across our global network to find creative and collaborative solutions to climate change.

Taking the new essays as a starting point, the roundtable is an opportunity to bring new climate research and cultural relations practice into dialogue, guided by the critical question of how culture, and cultural relations, can contribute to addressing the climate emergency.

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