Title                          Challenging the Climate Crisis: Children’s Agency to TAckle Policy Underpinned by Learning for Transformation

Lead PI                      Prof Lindsey, McEwen University of the West of England, Bristol United Kingdom

Partner PI                  Dr Deepak Gopinath University of the West of England United Kingdom
                                   Dr Sara-Jayne Williams, University of the West of England, Bristol United Kingdom
                                   Dr Inkeri Rissanen, Tampere University Finland
                                   Dr Gary Goggins, National University of Ireland Galway Ireland
                                   Prof Ilaria Gnecco, University of Genova Italy
                                   Dr Laura De Vito, University of the West of England, Bristol United Kingdom
                                   Prof Frances Fahy, National University of Ireland Galway Ireland

Funding Agencies    UKRI (UK), AKA (Finland), EPA (Ireland), MIUR (Italy)

Project website

Picture credits: Marie-Pascale Gafinen


There is emerging consensus that lack of effective climate leadership, combined with institutional inertia and confused governance mechanisms, is resulting in widespread climate indifference or extremism. Our consortium seeks to co-create new knowledge through the ‘eyes and ears’ of children, teachers and other supporters of learning on how they situate and make sense of their lives in relation to climate complexity and cultural shifts. Using a youth-led methodology, the Challenging the Climate Crisis: Children’s Agency to TAckle Policy Underpinned by Learning for Transformation project (CCC-CATAPULT) aims to critically examine educational, worldview and intercultural influences on children’s climate and environment-focused learningand agency at a time when ‘eco-anxiety’ is starting to become a defining characteristic of the climate emergency. This has ramifications for young people. Taking this as a starting point, the CCC-CATAPULT project proposes creation of a fully blended transdisciplinary conceptual framework synthesized using multiple
knowledges, literatures, methodologies and impact pathways. The conceptual framework will be used as a balanced lens through which researchers from different disciplines and geographical contexts (case study cities) simultaneously undertake empirical research that accommodates interdisciplinary viewpoints but without any dominating, either conceptually or methodologically.

From initial consideration of these perspectives, our overarching areas of enquiry are: How do we ensure young people become ‘climate literate’? And when they are, how do we ensure that literacy does not become overwhelming? Could knowledge and/or experiences of climate impacts during youth impede or nurture climate literacy? Could experiences of intercultural collaboration and dialogue nurture reduced eco-anxiety and empower young people? How do young people, teachers and other key actors shaping the learning of children, understand the value-action gap in tackling the climate emergency? Could intercultural and intergenerational experiences positively or negatively influence the value-action gap? What might legitimate transformation look like to young people going through different processes of sense-making and cultural meaning formation in relation to reducing the value-action gap? To explore these areas of enquiry our interdisciplinary consortium (with case studies in England (Bristol), Ireland (Galway), Finland (Tampere) and 3 Italy (Genoa)) will address the following Objectives:
(1) explore sense making and existing and potentially new social norms, worldviews, possible tensions and ecoanxieties;
(2) co-create a vision for transformed climatefocused education in each context;
(3) deep map insights and actions to enable transformation; (
4) co-develop a methodology and toolkit to better link education and worldview knowledge with policymaking;
(5) codeliverand evaluate a set of research-informed activities inside and outside of educational settings; and
(6) codevelop policy and practice focused recommendations.

Our consortium draws together intercultural experience in engaged research into different knowledges and sense-making, understandings of citizenship and learning for resilience. Asking young people to directly take part in research will contribute to personal development, confidence and resilience. The project will alsoindirectly impact parents, grandparents, peers and wider networks of educators and young people through anextensive communication and dissemination programme that embeds beneficiaries at its heart. We aspire to generate impactful research evidence across cultures on the agency of young people as active citizens who can reduce the value-action and intergenerational learning gaps through influencing education and policy making for societal transformation in a climate uncertain future.