Between August 2014 and July 2015, 135 children and young people from across Northern New South Wales (NSW) Australia participated in the Climate Change and Me project as student researchers. The children and young people attended Research Training workshops with experienced educational researchers from Southern Cross University, Professor Amy Cutter-Mackenzie and Research Fellow David Rousell. The students learned to engage with research theory and methodology, and use a variety of ethnographic and art-based research methods for collecting data about climate change in their communities. These methods included interviews, video, photography, field notes, drawings, poetry and fiction, and the student researchers were encouraged to experiment with all of these methods in their own ways. They were not given predetermined definitions or perspectives on climate change, but were encouraged to investigate the diversity of children and young people’s awareness, attitudes and actions towards the issue. Go to Research Training workshops.
The Climate Change and Me website was developed as a social media space for the researchers to post and comment on their findings and creative works. The researchers continued to generate data over the summer of 2014-2015, using the website to develop a vibrant community of inquiry. Interviews, photos, collaborative stories and games were all developed and posted online by the student researchers themselves, with facilitation from the project team. Some of this work is documented in the Research Showcase.
This work then formed the basis for the next series of workshops, which were called Creative ThinkTanks. In the Thinktanks, the project team returned to the schools with all the data that had been generated so far. The aim of these workshops was to collectively analyse and curate the research data for the Past Now Future exhibition. The students went through the thousands of photos that had been generated, and selected the ones which spoke to them most about climate change. They wrote messages on the backs of the photos, which were transferred into wax in the second ThinkTank workshop. They also reviewed all of the video interviews that had been produced by the student researchers, and rated them against a series of research criteria. In addition, the students engaged in creative research practices, which took the form of poems, stories, drawings and future imaginings. Go to Creative ThinkTank workshops.
A final series of Creative ThinkTank workshops took place in August 2015 at SCU’s Lismore and Gold Coast campuses. Here the student researchers worked with the project team to produce the final works for thePast Now Future exhibition. The exhibition features three major works produced by researchers in collaboration with Research Fellow David Rousell and Professor Amy Cutter-Mackenzie: an interactive montage of photographs archived in beeswax; a series of three video installations; and a book featuring essays, fiction, poetry and images by the student researchers. Go to Past Now Future exhibitions.