Culture and
Climate Change

Future Scenarios – concluding cafe conversation with Stephen Peake

Hot Numbers Cafe, Gwydir Rd, Cambridge
Wednesday 5 July, Doors open at 7pm for 7.15 start – 9 pm

Free, tickets booked via The Junction

Location info here

Zoe Svendsen will be in conversation with Stephen Peake, - senior lecturer in environmental technologies at the Open University.

As the end of Zoe’s official residency approaches, she would like to mark the end with a unique twist. As well as asking Stephen Peake:

What is the best possible economic structure for responding to climate change?

and what would it be like to live in this future system?

Zoe will present a sketch of a future scenario derived from all previous café conversations and ask Stephen Peake to act as ‘respondent’ to the scenario and imagine what it might be to live in that world with both intended and unintended consequences.

Zoe has previously held café conversations with: Carolyn Steel, Chris Hope, Doina Petrescu, Joe Smith, Paul Mason , Frances Coppola and Ha-Joon Chang.

Zoe Svensden in conversation with Frances Coppola


Artsadmin, Toynbee Studios

Saturday 10 June, 12 - 1.30pm

This event is free and there is no advance booking required.

The event will begin with a structured interview, and evolve into a conversation. Zoë will invite Frances Coppola to envisage a future scenario in response to the questions:

What is the best possible economic structure for responding to climate change?

and what would it be like to live in this future system?

More info on the Artsadmin website here


Toynbee Studios, London
June 14 2017, 7.30pm

Tickets available via Artsadmin here

An evening of imagining possible futures in light of climate change predictions. Join us for an evening dedicated to imaginative responses to Future Scenarios. Hear from the team who have developed the Climate Change in Residence programme and the four artists who embarked on the first experimental year-long networked residency on the topic of Future Scenarios. They are: Emma Critchley, Lena Dobrowolska, Teo Ormond-Skeaping and Zoë Svendsen.

A climate scenario is a collective act of imagining a possible future in systems involving both humans and nature. They have played a prominent role in climate research, policy and communication. However they tend to be dominated by the natural sciences and economics.

The Paris Agreement set a target of limiting average global temperature increases to 1.5°C. What does a climate scenario look like which takes this ambitious goal into consideration?

You’ll be invited to consider a range of climate-changed futures and create your own best-case or worst-case future scenario.

This event is supported by The Open University OpenSpace Research Centre, The University of Sheffield School of Architecture, The Ashden Trust, Jerwood Charitable Foundation and the Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures.

Zoë Svendsen, In Public Conversations

January - February 2017

Future Economies: A Café Conversation

Climate Change in Residence artist, Zoë Svendsen, interviewed a series of experts to explore the question of what kind of future economic structure might transform our relations to the environment and to one another. Each evening started with a structured interview, and evolved into a conversation. Zoë invited each expert to envisage a future scenario in response to the questions:

What is the best possible economic structure for responding to climate change? & what would it be like to live in this future system?

Conversations were with:

Carolyn Steel, author of The Hungry City, and creator of the concept of Sitopia about food, architecture and distribution systems

Climate modeller Chris Hope from the Cambridge Judge Business School. Exploring the question ‘how to live’ in different future models and crucially ‘how do we want to live’?

Joe Smith, Professor of Environment and Society, The Open University, Department of Geography, co-creator of the Stories of Change AHRC-funded project, and co-author of Culture and Climate Change: Narratives.

Doina Petrescu, Professor of Architecture, University of Sheffield, exploring the question of who we would be under conditions of an alternative economic future.

Ways of Knowing the Polar Regions: Past, Present and Future

Thursday 15 September 2016

The Arctic and Antarctic have long claimed a strong hold on the western imagination, but climate change has given these regions new prominence and meaning. Why have these places held such a strong attraction for western explorers and storytellers? Has Polar science been well represented in climate change coverage in professional journalism and social media? What have we learned from controversies, whether about natural science, or the interests of the people and places most affected by change? How much do we know about future scenarios for these sensitive regions, and how should we tell those stories today in a way that might change the future for the better? Finally, is the future the next frontier for explorers and storytellers?

This free public event held at the Polar Museum Cambridge explored these themes with contributions from climate modeller Tamsin Edwards (Open University), oceanographer Mark Brandon (Open University), Cambridge Polar Museum curator Charlotte Connelly, poet Nick Drake (author of Arctic themed poem cycle ‘Farewell Glacier’) and writer Tony White (author of the novel ’Shackleton Goes South’). Broadcaster and writer Dallas Campbell (presenter of BBC’s Bang Goes the Theory and City in the Sky) chaired the event.

The event was co-organised by the University of Cambridge Polar Museum and The Mediating Change Group, which is based jointly at the Open University Geography Department and the University of Sheffield School of Architecture.

Announcement of Award Winners

Monday 23 May 2016

We were delighted to host the announcement of the residency award winners for our Culture and Climate Change: Future Scenarios Residency Programme at Jerwood Space in May 2016.

The evening included a speech from Roger Harrabin, BBC Environment Analyst on climate change scenarios, and talks from the Programme Managers Renata Tyszczuk and Hannah Bird. The three appointed artists introduced their aims and aspirations for their year long residency.

Future Scenarios – Surgery & Network Event

27 January 2016, 7.30pm

Listen to an audio recording of the evening here

This evening explored why scenarios are such a key element of climate change research and politics, and also why it is important to invite a wider range of perspectives on these themes.

We also discussed the Culture and Climate Change: Future Scenarios programme with the innovative networked residency model including a FAQ questions to help applicants develop their applications before the deadline of 15 February 2016.