A crisis discipline: broadening understanding of environmental communication through theory and practice

Penrhyn Jones, S (2019) 'A crisis discipline: broadening understanding of environmental communication through theory and practice.' The International Journal of Creative Media Research. ISSN 2631-6773 (Forthcoming)

Abstract

In times of unprecedented environmental crisis, which disrupt traditional ways of conducting research and force us to rethink our purpose in the humanities, creative practitioners have the imperative and skillset to make an essential contribution. This article is a multi-perspectival exploration of environmental communication, which draws from concepts in many fields including media communication and the environmental humanities, but is grounded in creative practice as research. It offers insights and examples gained through the author’s direct participation in several types of environmental communication over ten years in different settings: from embedded production in alternative media to environmentally focused research projects that utilise creative and participatory action research methods. Environmental communication can include, but must also go beyond, ‘messaging’; there is a need to recognise the intrinsic value of processes such as creativity, dialogue and participation, and to work for more intangible successes such as enhanced networks and civic participation. This article also counteracts the frustrating tendency in academic culture to generalise art and media forms as part of the same vague entity, either in service of impact and engagement or as too ‘mysterious’ to deconstruct’. This can reveal a limiting disconnect with creative processes, and lead to weak design – and poor understanding – of research projects with creative components. Furthermore, paying attention to the specific processes and characteristics of various art and media forms is an essential part of a general vigilance in foregrounding issues of power, voice, and language in practice. This is not an argument that all research should be practice-based. Ideally, environmental communication could be practiced in a mutually enriching intellectual circuit with more traditional research, but to achieve this requires better acts of translation between theory and practice.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: College of Liberal Arts
Date Deposited: 20 Jun 2019 15:21
Last Modified: 27 Jun 2019 15:55
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