Climate Café: How can music encourage people to engage on climate change?

What role can music play in climate change communication and adaptation?  Drawing on recent research in West Africa, this Climate Cafe will explore the way musician-farmers in the Gambia are responding to the challenges of a changing climate through song.

In the face of increasingly unpredictable rainfall and growing precariousness of agricultural livelihoods, farmers use music to promote dialogue and community mobilisation for climate change adaptation.

In a context where oral forms of communication are preferred, music serves to attract audiences, encourage community engagement, and overcome fear associated with climate change.

Dr Bonnie McConnell will give a short presentation discussing why and how music is such a potent tool for communication and adaptation in the Gambia. Participants will then split into small groups to discuss the following questions:

  • Is there a role for music in encouraging people to engage on climate change in Australia? If so, what?
  • How can music and the arts be used to overcome people’s blockages to action on climate change?
  • For which groups would musical messages have the most impact in motivating attitudinal and behavioural change around climate change? What genre of music would be most effective?

A low carbon lunch will be provided by Canberra Magic Kitchen.

About the speaker

Dr Bonnie McConnell is a lecturer in ethnomusicology in the ANU School of Music. Her research explores music in relation to issues of identity, social change and wellbeing in West Africa and Australia. She has been involved in collaborative research and performance projects in the Gambia for over a decade.

About Climate Café

Climate Café is a relaxed gathering of people interested in discussing ideas and questions on climate change and related topics. It cuts across disciplines, is inclusive, jargon-free and fun. The approach is modelled on dialogue events such as Café Philosophic and Café Scientifique.

Registration via Eventbrite is essential. Please make sure that you only register if you genuinely intend to attend. If you register and then later find that you're unable to attend, please log into your Eventbrite account and cancel your ticket as soon as possible so that your seat is freed up for someone else.    

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Updated:  2 September 2019/Responsible Officer:  College of Science/Page Contact: