climart Project Description 


Two of the hardest aspects of communicating the facts of climate change are affecting both decision-making and behavioral change. Although researchers have explored visualizing climate change (Nicholson- Cole, 2005; Sheppard, 2005, 2012), research about the contribution of contemporary art to the topic has been scarce.

Between 2013 and 2015 environmental psychologist and project co-ordinator Prof. Christian A. Klöckner facilitated a number of visual art installations created by postgraduate students in response to the effects of climate change in Norway. One, hosted by the international Trondheim Film Festival Kosmorama in 2013 and funded by the Norwegian Research Council’s Klimaforsk program, drew upon the festival’s diverse audience by collecting data from viewer’s reports of their experiences.

This led Klöckner to suggest that visual art using more emotive and personally relevant language may help bridge the divide between scientific information and personal responsibility. This type of artwork may well be more effective not only on those who are already concerned about the issue, but on those who are not.  

This project follows that work by more deeply exploring how visual art might affect opinion on climate change. 

During the first phases of this project, we will document from past projects across Europe related to climate art. Experiments will include data collections in the field, at galleries, museums and in the general public sphere using  quantitative questionnaire studies, qualitative approaches and eye-tracking. 

We want to know how viewers respond to a diverse range of climate change related art in differing contexts. What are the emotional reactions they experience, what thoughts are triggered, what do they perceive, and crucially, what actions do climate related artworks prompt? We will conduct an extensive review and debate around these findings.

We will then commission an artist to respond to these findings. Here psychology will act as a kind of ‘glue’, or mediator, as the artist reworks the data of natural science into a more affective visual language.  The aim is not to illustrate climate science per se, but rather to engender an in-depth dialogue between natural and environmental science, psychology and contemporary art.

The final phase is to repeat earlier methodologies of measuring audience interaction but with the project’s final public artwork. The team will publish its findings across a range of platforms, such as scientific papers on psychology and communication, arts organizations, and through public presentations to a variety of audiences.

climart Project timeline

Here's how our project has progressed over time, and plans for the future.

  • October 2014 – The start of the Climart project
  • November 2014 – Pilot study at ‘Lev Vel’ at DogA Oslo and Klimafestivalen §112 2015 in Oslo
  • Winter 2014 and spring 2015 – Review of the literature on Art and Climate communication
  • August 2015 – Conference presentation of the literature review at the Biennial Conference on Environmental Psychology in Groningen, The Netherlands
  • December 2015 – Data collection during United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris
  • March 2017 – Data collection at Earth exhibition (Chris Drury) at ONCA Gallery, Brighton, UK
  • Summer 2017 – Michael Pinsky commission will be unveiled in Trondheim, Norway