Kingston Symposium for the Arts Sector to Address Climate Anxiety

Friday, July 12, 2024, 9am – 3pm
Tett Centre, Kingston, ON
Doors open 8:45am. Lunch Provided. Suggested $10 PWYC
Register here

About Climate Anxiety

There is little argument that climate change is one of the most pressing challenges humanity has confronted. It permeates all aspects of life, the narratives across media, and the psyches of our elders and children. Evidence of the impact is growing. In a 2023 study of Canadian youth (aged 16-25), 56% reported feeling afraid, sad, anxious, and powerless; 78% indicated that climate change impacts their overall mental health and 37% reported that their feelings about climate change negatively impact daily functioning. Yet strategies to mitigate/lessen the distress are lacking.

Hamilton Symposium participants working through the research questions.

The Impact of Art

New research for climate change related art to provide a medium for engagement and healing is emerging. Roosen, Klockner & Swim (2017) have examined the psychological benefits that visual art offers to the climate change crisis, finding that: “perceiving and processing art requires parts of the brain that are not normally accessed by typical communications about climate change … It involves novel metaphors, analogies or narratives, which climate communication generally lacks … and provides visualizations of the problem, … gives personal experience with the subject-matter and may also help to establish a group identity that gives a sense of being supported in efforts to help combat climate change.” The arts community is also being called upon to help give “voice to [society’s] concerns and fears” and is increasingly recognized for the unique way in which artists serve as witnesses, bridge fact and turn emotion into action.

In Canada, introducing arts+climate practice at the community level is scarce. This project aims to fill this gap. Two driving questions will be explored at each of the one day symposiums:

  • To what degree can Canada’s arts-sector play a role in addressing the growing levels of climate change anxiety being experienced within communities?
  • What methodologies and artistic practices can be deployed to generate climate hope, nature and water stewardship, and build community resilience?

Hamilton Symposium participants utilizing movement as base for arts research.

Each one day symposium will feature Artists and climate research specialists led sessions where participants unpack and explore the two driving questions and use creative practices to build hope, stewardship and resilience in the face of climate change while developing artistic strategies to generate strength, channel grief, and build solidarity in response to local trauma resulting from extreme weather events.

Be a part of this deep dive into climate resilience through art, and bring your unique contribution to our rich and diverse community of speakers and participants.

For more information and registration, please visit:

50 Old Mill Road, Suite 401
Oakville, ON L6J 7W1
Instagram: @waterlution

The Tett Centre for Creativity and Learning
370 King Street West
Kingston ON K7L 2X4