A Hostile Climate?: Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Climate Change

This event will bring together postgraduate researchers and early-career researchers/scientists, artists and activists from a wide range of backgrounds and disciplines to explore the issues surrounding anthropogenic climate change (and other environmental problems), and the communication of those issues. The conference will give attendees a rare opportunity to view their research from a perspective beyond their normal purview, and to examine the social and scientific connections between their work and the work of others. The conference will also be linked to the launch of the Priestley International Centre for Climate Research’s new building in April 2019.

This conference will be truly interdisciplinary, even cross-sectoral rather than purely academic. It provides an opportunity for PhD/ECR/EC artists to present in front of a very diverse audience
It will allow White Rose students the opportunity to network and debate with scholars and people not just in the academic arts and humanities, but also artists, scientists, activists – a much wider and more diverse audience than they would normally get.





We are, as many scholars across the globe attest, approaching (or have already passed) the edge of climate change: the threshold at which the runaway effects of anthropogenic climate change will prevent any meaningful attempts to mitigate its consequences for life on Earth. It is widely acknowledged that a temperature rise above 2 degrees centigrade will be catastrophic for humanity and the biodiversity of the planet, but the question remains: how can we implement significant change, in industry, lifestyles, and society at large in order to apprehend or prepare for its effects on those most at risk?

We seek to gather together early career and PGR scholars across all disciplines in climate change research from across the UK, in a multidisciplinary one-day conference at the University of Leeds. We hope to both explore the many different facets of climate change and related environmental catastrophes through the lens of different academic and artistic disciplines, and to hear from postgraduate and early career scholars and artists producing novel and innovative work on these topics. We aim to interrogate and respond to the meaning of ‘hostile climates’ in diverse and receptive ways, hearing from scholars across the humanities, sciences and beyond contribute to engaging discussion on the topic.

From the sciences to the arts, we seek submissions from contributors that cover (but are not limited to) the following questions, topics and prompts:

  • The risks of climate change for those living on the margins of society, and how these may be apprehended or mitigated
  • How climate change can create hostile or uninhabitable spaces for human and nonhuman life
  • Papers that seek to ask what a ‘hostile climate’ may mean within different cultural contexts
  • How communities across the globe experience climate change, in a radically different way to those on mainland Europe and the US
  • New developments in climate change research: who or what is at the cutting edge in your field?
  • How technology, entrepreneurship and science could provide benefits for humanity in a climate-changed world OR the possible negative ramifications of reliance on technology in attempting to solve these issues (e.g. ecomodernism)
  • Non-Western, Indigenous and grassroots approaches to (and understandings of) climate change and related environmental issues
  • Climate change communication: how can the complexities of climate change be communicated effectively to a range of different audiences? How can communication practices be inclusive or exclusive?
  • Climate change and gender: the exclusion/inclusion of the voices of women, trans or non-binary individuals within conversations on climate change
  • Climate change and migration: the risks and realities of hostility towards migrants in a climate-changing world, or alternative responses to possible climate change-induced migration
  • Understanding and responding to climate-changed environments through music, art and performance
  • The under-represented and unexpected possible consequences of climate change


The deadline for submissions of 150-word abstracts for 20-minute papers is 15th January 2019. Please submit your abstracts to ClimateConferenceLeeds@gmail.com.

We ask all contributors to bear in mind that they will be presenting to a diverse and non-specialist audience, and we would like to keep the conference as accessible to all as possible, so all papers presented on the day should include a brief explanation of the research/work being conducted and how it fits in to the wider field. In keeping with the conference aims, too, we ask that all contributors show an awareness of the larger implications of their research, both within their specific field and on a wider scale, and remain open and responsive to other disciplines.

We particularly welcome and encourage submissions from people of colour, contributors who are trans, non-binary, women, differently abled, and refugees or migrants.

We will also shortly be circulating a Call for Artists for this conference. If you would like more details on this or have any other queries, please contact us at ClimateConferenceLeeds@gmail.com.


£ 1344

Lead Student

Isabel Cook

Other student organisers

  • Lucy Rowland, University of Leeds
  • Claire Cooper, University of Leeds
  • Rosamund Portus, University of York