At this time of cri­sis, it is impor­tant to acknowl­edge the gen­dered nuances of the impact of cli­mate change, and how women are play­ing lead­ing roles in affir­ma­tive cli­mate action. To mark World Environment Day on the 5th June, Symposium, Visualizing Climate Change, brought togeth­er a range of women pro­duc­ing work that is chal­leng­ing the stereo­types of the visu­al rep­re­sen­ta­tion of cli­mate change.

The event was host­ed joint­ly by The Photography and the Archive Research Centre at the London College of Communication, University of the Arts London, Climate Visuals and VII Photo Agency. It includes pre­sen­ta­tions from Nichole Sobecki from the VII Photo Agency, Eva Sajovic, and Corinne Silva from Picturing Climate and Maria Teresa Salvati from Slideluck Editorial. According to Climate Visual’s research, among the cri­te­ria for effec­tive cli­mate change visu­al­iza­tion is the need to have images that are emo­tion­al­ly pow­er­ful, and most­ly rep­re­sent­ing real peo­ple, show­ing real emo­tions. Now more than ever we need to be aware of how much we are con­nect­ed; not only in pas­sive­ly endur­ing the con­se­quences of cli­mate change and its cat­a­stroph­ic effects but also in the tan­gi­ble pos­si­bil­i­ty and hope that if we act the oth­er way around, we can impact pos­i­tive­ly in revers­ing the trend. The sto­ry is mak­ing us see how vul­ner­a­ble we all are.

The effects of the unjust plan­et we have cre­at­ed are forc­ing a fur­ther reflec­tion on accept­ing the idea that we are so intrin­si­cal­ly con­nect­ed with every­thing, and that we are inex­tri­ca­bly part of nature, and in this, we are there­fore part of the glob­al prob­lem, as well as the poten­tial solu­tion. As a con­se­quence, it seems impor­tant to cre­ate empa­thy with the view­ers. In what ways can cre­ative and per­son­al inter­pre­ta­tions of the con­nec­tions between the self, to oth­ers, to ani­mals, to the world around us, the Earth, be inspir­ing and thought-provoking from a visu­al sto­ry­telling per­spec­tive? Is this new per­spec­tive of visu­al­iz­ing cli­mate change open­ing to a soft­er, kinder, more empa­thet­ic gaze, mov­ing from the stereo­types of land­scape and envi­ron­men­tal pho­tog­ra­phy most­ly depict­ed by men?

This lec­ture was orig­i­nal­ly host­ed at VII Interactive, a new resource for shar­ing insights and infor­ma­tion on the craft of visu­al sto­ry­telling. We are build­ing dif­fer­ent plat­forms with­in the VII ecosys­tem, where the pub­lic can engage direct­ly, online with a live instruc­tor. VII Interactive offers pro­gram­ming that is free and avail­able to every­one, in addi­tion to paid class­es and indi­vid­ual men­tor­ing that can be fash­ioned to your needs.