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Probing the cultural dimensions of climate change

The German Research Foundation (DFG) and the British Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) are funding a joint interdisciplinary project among researchers from Germany and the United Kingdom for three years with a total of around 750,000 euros.

The interdisciplinary research project ‘Just Futures? An Interdisciplinary Approach to Cultural Climate Models’ has been selected as one of twenty collaborative projects to receive funding through a partnership between the German and British research funding agencies DFG and AHRC. The binational project, which involves the University of Cologne as well as the Universities of Duisburg-Essen, Leeds (UK), and Sheffield (UK), will receive a total of approximately 750,000 euros in funding over the next three years.

The project will be led by Adjunct Professor Julia Hoydis (Cologne) and Professor Dr David Higgins (Leeds), who both work in the fields of literary studies and environmental humanities. The research team will develop an interdisciplinary, cultural studies-oriented approach to modelling in order to analyse societal conceptions of climate futures using a variety of text types.

So far, quantitative models from the natural sciences dominate in climate research. In these models, climate events are expressed in the form of measured values and correlations. The project, in turn, seeks to expand the current state of research on climate change using a qualitative approach. In three subprojects, the research group will investigate how the future of society under the conditions of increasing climate change is depicted in different types of texts. To do so, they will explore Anglophone dramas and essays, digital image–text elements in social media, literary receptions, and materials for teaching literature: ‘We are pursuing two central goals: first, to analyse how different text types model climate futures and transitions to a generationally appropriate approach to climate change, and second, to develop an interdisciplinary theory of cultural modelling that can serve as an interface with other disciplines,’ Julia Hoydis explained.

Besides Julia Hoydis and David Higgins, Professor Dr Roman Bartosch (Cologne), Dr Carolin Schwegler (Cologne), Professor Dr Jens Martin Gurr (Duisburg-Essen), Dr Warren Pearce (Sheffield) as well as the artist Jasmijn Visser (RCC Munich) are involved in the project. The three researchers at Cologne are associated with MESH, the Centre for Multidisciplinary Environmental Studies in the Humanities, which was founded at the Faculty of Arts and Humanities in 2022. ‘The Centre offers us an inspiring institutional environment,’ said Roman Bartosch, ‘and the project offers excellent opportunities to further develop the research area Environmental Humanities and to establish long-term collaborations with our project partners in the UK.’

Media Contact:
Adjunct Professor Julia Hoydis
MESH (Multidisciplinary Environmental Studies in the Humanities)

Press and Communications Team:
Mathias Martin
+49 221 470 1705

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