CANCELLED | Climate emergency and communications research: where to from here? | ECREA 2020 Pre-conference call

In face of the continuing uncertainty and limitations associated with the current pandemic, this event has been cancelled.

A related virtual event will take place later on. To be advertised soon.

“Climate emergency and communications research: where to from here?” is the theme of one of the pre-conferences of ECREA 2020. Scheduled for October 2, 2020, in the Social Innovation Laboratory, in Braga, this event will function mostly as a discussion space and a hands-on collaborative exercise.

As biophysical systems respond to current atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, the seriousness of climate change appears to have finally become ‘official’. ‘Climate emergency’ are now common words in order. Accordingly, transforming the structures and the practices that produce severe climate change are obviously urgent tasks.

Academics can and often do offer important contributions to social change. Whereas some social sciences had a slow awakening to climate change, communication scholars have been studying its symbolic and cultural dimensions since the late 1980s and, more markedly, in the last decade. Both empirically and theoretically, much has been achieved. Nonetheless, the social impact of such communications scholarship is not always clear.

This research forum aims to take stock of three decades of communications research on climate change and to explore ways of addressing the challenges of the critical decade of 2020. The non-linear acceleration of climate change, the multiple barriers to societal transformation and the slow pace of positive change are crucial background aspects to account for as this research forum confronts these critical considerations:

  • What have been the most significant learnings from three decades of communications research on climate change?
  • How can they help us navigate the current and coming challenges and contribute to rapid transformations towards sustainability?
  • What should be the research priorities for the coming decade?
  • How can communications scholarship help imagine alternatives to matters such as (information) capitalism and consumerism?
  • Can critical communications scholarship gain more validation and social influence?
  • What new collaborations across different disciplines and communities could be fruitful?

Taking place just before the 2020 ECREA conference in Braga, the forum will function mostly as a discussion space and a hands-on collaborative exercise. Short presentations will be followed by extensive debate and writing with the aim of producing a position paper.

Virtual participation – via video and other digital tools – is welcome.

Interested participants are invited to submit short overviews of proposed answers to one or more of the above questions (up to 500 words) until 10 April 30 June 2020 to (notification of acceptance by 24 April 2020).


Anabela Carvalho, University of Minho

Max Boykoff, University of Colorado Boulder

Pieter Maeseele, University of Antwerp

Victoria Wibeck, Linköping University

[Posted: 06-03-2020 | Modified: 18-06-2020]