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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Getting to know the artist : understanding why artists are important contributors to the climate change conversation Morgado, Claudia


Finding avenues of communication to get different members of society to commit to engage in personal actions to determine the outcome of climate change is of great concern and priority to all communicators. The academic literature suggests that research has demonstrated that in order to access a people’s desire to change is most successfully reached if they are given different alternatives and decision-making power in addition to addressing their emotions using images and the imagination. Art, as history has demonstrated when it engages in a dialogue with its viewer, has tremendous power to encourage people to reflect on their thoughts and actions, and can act as a catalyst for change. Art is also an intrinsic tool for human communication and education. The purpose of this research was to achieve a deeper understanding in the importance that art can play in engaging people in climate change action by delving in an analysis of the inquiry process of the artist. This research employs a qualitative methodology. One on one interviews were conducted with nine artists working in different artistic medium, but share the need to dialogue with their audience their concerns for the environment. Secondary source data was added by interviewing three scientists working in fields of study that concerned climate change issues. The research analysis gives insight into the importance of considering artists as key communicators when looking for effective strategies to educate, raise awareness and encourage pro-environmental action. The process of getting an idea and realizing it into an art piece that is to be viewed by an audience is directly connected to the artist’s participation and expressing issues of society, which climate change is. Even though further research with a larger segment of the artistic population may yield a more thorough approach, the results do suggests that finding solutions of engaging people in pro environmental action may consist in getting the communicators to create cross-over relationships between disciplines that includes the arts, and engaging in polymathic problem solving strategies that motivate different people to commit to actions and adaptive practices to reduce GHG and build a brighter future.

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