Communicating Climate Justice

27 May, 2016
9:30am - 5:00pm

MECO Seminar Room S226
John Woolley Building,
Level 2 entry off Manning Road

Co-presented by the Department of Media and Communications (MECO) and the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (CPACS)
Sponsored by the School of Social and Political Sciences of the University of Sydney

To book, please RSVP via email to CPACS Administrative Assistant Megan Capriccio:
Refreshments and lunch provided


9.30 - 11.00: Session 1, Media and Climate Change, chaired by Associate Professor Jake Lynch

  • Professor Robert A Hackett (Simon Fraser University): What kind of models, and what institutional supports, can enable journalism to contribute better to informing and mobilizing civil society to mitigate crisis and move towards more sustainable futures?
  • Dr Benedetta Brevini (MECO): Never the twain shall meet? The media reform movement and the climate justice movement: what is preventing them from joining forces and how can they be brought to do so?
  • Dr Alana Mann (MECO): Digital Activism in a changing climate. Representational strategies in digital activism by Australia's Lock the Gate movement, spanning two strands of protest and resistance.

11.30 - 13:00: Session 2, Climate Justice Issues in Communication, chaired by Dr Benedetta Brevini

  • Associate Professor Jake Lynch (CPACS): Peace Journalism and climate justice.
  • Juliet Bennett (CPACS): Worldviews and climate justice: imagining a "great transition". Deep cultural assumptions about the world (its origins, its meaning and the role of humans within it) have a significant impact on a person’s perspective of and response to issues of climate justice. Two models of communication are presented: (1) communications that targetdifferent worldviews, 'meeting a person where they are'; and (2) communicationsthat appeal emotively to a person¹s intrinsic values, contributing to ashift in perspective. It is argued that both models have a role to play infostering a 'great transition' toward a more sustainable and just future.
  • Associate Professor Stuart Rosewarne: From climate denial to catastrophizing and the resultant policy bankruptcy: Mainstream media reporting on the challenge of climate change has tended to oscillate between climate denial and climate catastrophizing, while policy proposals have been represented as extravagant and extremely costly overreactions or as demonstrably inadequate. The effect has proved paralysing for progressing constructive debate on climate change politics.
  • Professor Christopher Wright (University of Sydney Business School): Market fundamentalism and the climate crisis: How corporations shape the governance of climate change Corporations have played a central role in shaping the governance of the climate crisis which has remained tied to a ‘business as usual’ response. This has been achieved through the perpetuation of various narratives which portray corporations as leaders in responding to the climate crisis while opening up new opportunities for value creation. Moreover, these corporate interventions recalibrate the role of the state as a protector of corporate profitability, while transforming citizens into consumers and active constituents for corporate agendas. In this way, the global response to the climate crisis ignores the underlying contradiction of corporate capitalism in which the destruction of a habitable climate is a seen as a necessary cost for the pursuit of profitability and economic growth.

13:00 - 14:00: Lunch

14:00 - 15:30: Session 3, Communication Issues in Practice, chaired by Jake Lynch

  • Chris McGrath (Barrister for campaign against Adani mining development and Senior Lecturer in Environmental Regulation, University of Queensland): Climate change - the drug-dealer's defence (via Skype).
  • Chris Graham (Editor and publisher, New Matilda) Talk + Q & A. Professor Robert A Hackett: response and reflections.

16:00 - 17.00: Session 4, Film: This Changes Everything (excerpt), Q & A with Alex Kelly (via Skype) (Distribution Strategist & Impact Producer)


• Robert A. Hackett is professor of communication at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, and co‐director of NewsWatch Canada. He has written extensively on journalism, political communication, media representation, and media democracy. He is the author of several books, including Expanding Peace Journalism: Comparative and Critical Approaches (co‐edited with Ibrahim Seaga Shaw and Jake Lynch, 2011), Remaking Media: The Struggle to Democratize Public Communication (2006, with William Carroll), and Democratizing Global Media: One World, Many Struggles (2005, co‐edited with Yuezhi Zhao). His current collaborative book project (contracted with Routledge) is Journalisms for Climate Crisis. He has been involved in community‐oriented media education and advocacy since 1983.

• Dr Benedetta Brevini is Lecturer in Communication and Media at the University of Sydney ,Visiting Fellow of the Centre for Law, Justice and Journalism at City University, London and Associate of the Sydney Democracy Network. Dr Brevini is also an experienced journalist who has worked in Milan, New York and London for CNBC and RAI. She is editor of the volume Beyond WikiLeaks: Implications for the Future of Communications, Journalism & Society (Palgrave MacMillan, 2013) and the author of Public Service Broadcasting Online: A Comparative European Policy Study of PSB 2.0 (Palgrave MacMillan in August 2013). She is the editor of two forthcoming collections on Climate Change and Communication :Carbon Capitalism and Communication (Palgrave MacMillan,2017) and Climate Change and the Media (Peter Lang, 2017).

• Dr Alana Mann is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Media and Communications. Her book on international food sovereignty campaigns, Global Activism in Food Politics: Power Shift,was published in 2014. She is a member of the University of Sydney Environment Institute (SEI) project node 'Food, People and the Planet' and sits on the executive committee of the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance (AFSA), an organisation dedicated to creating a more ecologically sound and fairer food system for all Australians.

• Associate Professor Jake Lynch is Director of CPACS and an Executive Member of the Sydney Peace Foundation, and served as Secretary General of the International Peace Research Association (2010-2012). He is the most published and frequently cited author in the field of Peace Journalism.

• Juliet Bennett is a PhD candidate in CPACS, researching connections between substance-based versus process-oriented worldviews, and personal and political action to address our global ecological predicament. She is also a former Executive Officer and Director of the Sydney Peace Foundation.

• Associate Professor Stuart Rosewarne is Associate Professor in Political Economy at the University of Sydney who researches climate change policy. The recently published jointly-authored study Climate Action Upsurge: The Ethnography of Climate Movement Politics explored the rise and fall of grassroots climate politics in Australia.

• Professor Christopher Wright is leader of the Balanced Enterprise Research Network at the University of Sydney Business School. He is the author of a number of books including The Management of Labour: A History of Australian Employers (Oxford University Press, 1995), Management as Consultancy: Neo-bureaucracy and the Consultant Manager (Cambridge University Press, 2015) and Climate Change, Capitalism and Corporations: Processes of Creative Self-destruction (Cambridge University Press, 2015).

• Alex Kelly is an artist, filmmaker and activist committed to social justice. She worked for ten years with leading Australian social change arts company Big hART as Creative Producer of Ngapartji Ngapartji and was National Producer from 2012-2014. Alex has worked on a range of roles on documentary films including; producing Nothing Rhymes with Ngapartji production managing Coniston: Telling it True and directing Queen of the Desert. In 2013 she was awarded a Churchill Fellowship and explored at models for social change documentary impact and engagement in UK, Canada and USA. Alongside working on This Changes Everything Alex is producing a tv series on social movements in Australia and plans to launch a documentary film festival in home town of Alice Springs, Australia in 2016.

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