Creative Climate Resilience: multi-component portfolio

Research output: Other contributionpeer-review


This multi-component research project employed layered, complex methodological strategies of place-based Social Practice Art as Research (SPAR) (Ashton 2021) for analysing and evolving practice for urban community climate resilience. Situated in Manchester (UK) neighbourhoods with the highest IMD, the research is a core component of the local government’s climate action plan. Research questions included: 1. How can SPAR identify barriers, solutions, and articulate perspectives on initiating climate mitigation and adaptation strategies? 2. How can SPAR offer new processes, tools, and skills for resilience and adaptation? 3. How can arts practice be embedded within local policy processes? 4. What new “artivism” forms, spaces, and outcomes evolve from interdisciplinary approaches? The work advances international climate-focused SPAR through reclaiming affective material objects; craft and making for knowing; folk traditions for skilling; storytelling for uplifting community knowledge, experience, and economies; and applied puppetry for community political empowerment. Uniquely, the methodology incorporated frameworks from psychology, utilising SPAR to support the flourishing of residents’ environmental social identities (Clayton and Myers 2015, Steg and de Groot 2019, Berkes 2021) towards action. Across 36 months, the project connected with thousands of people. Ashton was instrumental as community-embedded project manager, and as writer, producer, co-director, and dramaturge creating a 45-minute community pageant “Our Green and Pleasant Land” (performed on 1 July 2023, Miles Platting), for 20 performers (residents and A Bird in the Hand Theatre) and 45-piece youth orchestra. This work includes 40 hand-made performance puppets, masks, props, and staging. Additionally, Ashton crafted with residents two 2-hr parade-floats (April 2022, 2023), plus produced, in collaboration, a related body of creative writing, sound sculptures, and a 15-min animation. These research outputs continue to be used by residents, service-providers, and local government in evolving community action, infrastructure, and education activities around global warming, over-consumption, nature restoration, and in designing healthy environments.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2023


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