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 Next Date: Wednesday 14 September 2022, 7:30 PM - 9:45 PM
 Location: Life Science Centre
 Set aside: 3 hours
 Who is it perfect for:  Adults (18+ only)

COP26 was billed as one of the most important climate debates of our time – but one year on, what’s changed? The facts are still startling. The summer  heatwave was a reminder of the challenge we face. But what part does fiction play in helping us understand the issues and act?  

Wednesday 14 September, 8.00pm - 9.45pm (Doors open 7.30pm)

12 months on, what real changes have been made, and what’s the  role of climate fiction (cli-fi) in communicating ideas around climate change. 

Cli-fi films like The Day After Tomorrow, and more recently, Don't Look Up, can provide an entry point for discussion around climate change - but do audiences take them seriously, or do they trivialise the big issues and end up doing more harm than good? 

Grab a drink, take a seat under Gaia (our mesmerising 7-metre recreation of planet Earth), and join our panellists as we debate:

  • Does cli-fi help us take potentially disastrous situations seriously?
  • Is it dangerous to blur the lines of climate fact and climate fiction? 
  • What impact – if any – do climate disaster stories have on changing audience behaviours around climate change?

As the North East's biggest science centre, Life is committed to helping audiences make sense of complex, controversial and often scary subjects, like climate science. But we also want to inspire and galvanise everyone to consider their role in creating a greener, healthier, and fairer future. Find out more in our climate document

In collaboration with The Tyndall Centre as part of their annual assembly. 

Meet our panellists:

Jessie Greengrass is the author of climate fiction novel The High House, which was shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award and the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction. It tackles global warming head-on, conjuring a near-future vision of a flooded East Anglia.

Dr Ella Mershon is a lecturer in Victorian Literature at Newcastle University. She specializes in environmental approaches to nineteenth-century literature and science. Her work considers how the rise of fossil-fuel culture and the onset of climate change are reflected in Victorian literature. She is particularly interested in drawing connections between the smoggy Victorian past and our climate wrecked present.

Dr Katharine Steentjes is an environmental psychologist at Cardiff University, where she is currently working as a Co-Investigator at the Centre for Climate Change and Social Transformations. She has worked on several international research projects examining public perceptions of environmental risks (such as climate change), climate action and psychological factors underlying these views and actions.

David Thorpe is an award-winning writer of scripts, novels and non-fiction. An ex-Marvel writer, his prize-winning science fiction novel Hybrids was called “stunningly clever” by The Times. As a film and TV scriptwriter he co-founded the London Screenwriters Workshop. He also teaches a writing course, online and in his hometown.  

This event is part of Life Science Centre's Science Speakeasy programme – a series in which important and often controversial topics are debated. No topic is taboo, so these events are not suitable for anyone who is easily offended! We do, however, ensure that all discussion is based on correct science to avoid the spread of misinformation. Questions to the panel are encouraged, or you can just sit back and enjoy the event.

Limited tickets available. Pay bar available on the evening.

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