Dr Jenna Ashton discusses art and climate change on BBC Radio 3

Dr Jenna Ashton, Lecturer in Heritage Studies in the Institute for Cultural Practices, SALC, talks on Radio 3’s “Free Thinking” programme about art and climate change.

A new AHRC and BBC Radio 3 podcast series Green Thinking explores issues linking climate challenge and society, in conversation with some of the UK’s leading researchers.

This 45-min launch episode on Radio 3 features SALC academic Dr Jenna Ashton, talking about her latest AHRC funded research “Community Climate Resilience Through Folk Pageantry”, which explores through practice how arts can empower people within climate justice-action-policy work. Professor Kevin Malone (Dept. of Music, SALC) and Professor Sarah Lindley (Dept. Geography, SEED) are collaborator Co-Investigators on the project.

This arts-led research focuses on community knowledge and creativity to deliver a Manchester (UK) case study responding directly to its climate action policies and community contexts, and is part of the UK Climate Resilience Programme.

2021 is an important year for tackling the climate and nature emergency. The eyes of the world turn to Glasgow for the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) summit in November.

In the BBC Radio 3 episode, Dr Ashton argues that artists and arts practices need to step up and hold politicians and businesses to account, and avoid “art-washing”.

“The time is for activist art that says something and does something.”

As an affiliate of the Manchester Environment Research Institute, Dr Ashton also emphasises the importance of working across research disciplines to bring together different skills and expertise.

“I’ve been collaborating across arts and sciences in my practice for over fifteen years. I think artists and arts researchers are finally being taken seriously in addressing global challenges. We’re adept at responding to uncertainty, and creativity is all about imagining different futures.”

Dr Jenna Ashton’s Social Practice Art as research was also recently selected and highlighted by the Aspect Social Sciences programme, Methods for Change.

The AHRC and BBC Radio 3 Green Thinking series aims to engage and inspire listeners to discover and do more and to help build a brighter future. Covering topics from ecological emergencies to the future of fashion, and from environmental management in conflict zones to the world of work.

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