Online training


Online training
BYO computer, your house, your address


04 Dec 2020


12:00 pm - 3:45 pm

Researchers Turning Activists: Climate Emergency and the Alliance between Scientists and Environmental Activists

This online training has been organised by the Civil Society, Development and Democracy (CDD) Pathway and is open to all ESRC and non-ESRC funded PhD and MA Social Research students within the WRDTP’s seven partner universities. Whilst this session has been organised by the CDD Pathway, students aligned with the Cities, Environment and Liveability (CEL) Pathway and the Sustainable Growth, Management and Economic Productivity (SMP) Pathway may also find this topic relates to their research.

Over the past year the unfolding crisis of climate change was brought back to public attention and the political agenda thanks to environmental protests by Extinction Rebellion, Fridays for Future and others. Many researchers, who work on climate change and its wider consequences, came forward to speak out and support the protests, some even joined the protesters in the streets. However, usually academics are reluctant to go beyond communicating science and to become political activists. Many researchers feel that a boundary between science and politics must be upheld to maintain the credibility of science beyond political ideologies and agendas. But is that feasible and sensible in the context of climate emergency? The restraint has led to criticism from civil society, who at times express frustration over academics’ reluctance to support them more openly and radically.

Which role and stance should and can researchers adopt? Can and should researchers be activists? What are the benefits, what are the dangers? These questions are not only relevant for researchers interested in climate change but equally to researchers working on gender, racism etc. And of course there are important links between climate change, feminism, racism, inequality etc. In this workshop we will discuss the climate emergency from various perspectives (incl. eco-feminist perspective and why climate crisis is a racist crisis) and we will discuss scholar activism in the age of climate emergency.

This workshop has 2 objectives:

  1. Research: to sensitize students to climate emergency and how the climate crisis may be relevant to their own research. Students will be encouraged to relate various themes linked to climate change to their own work
  2. Visionary & Practical: to gain a better understanding of scholar activism and consider ways in which their own visions of a better future might be translated into action. Students will be encouraged to think beyond impact, to envision what they can do beyond mainly offering critique.

Training organiser and confirmed speakers

This training session will be delivered via Blackboard Collaborate. 

PLEASE NOTE: Our online training sessions will be recorded and will be available on the VIRE in an edited format for those students who cannot attend. If you wish to join this session but do not wish for your contributions to be included in the edited VIRE resource, please ensure that you select NO when prompted in the online booking form regarding recording.

Hourly Schedule


12.00pm - 12.20pm
Climate Emergency – What science tells us
Julia Steinberger (incl. 5-min Q&A)
12.20pm - 12.40pm
Climate Emergency – Feminist perspective
Niamh Moore (incl. 5-min Q&A)
12.40pm - 1.00pm
Climate crisis as a racist crisis
Anupama Ranawana (incl. 5-min Q&A)
1.00pm - 1.10pm
Short Break
1.10pm - 1.30pm
PGRs reflect in breakout groups how climate emergency relates or should relate to their research
1.30pm - 1.50pm
PGRs feedback what they discussed in breakout groups, speakers can comment
1.50pm - 2.10pm
What is scholar activism?
Paul Routledge (incl. 5-min Q&A)
2.10pm - 2.30pm
Our Future Leeds
Paul Chatterton (incl. 5-min Q&A)
2.30pm - 2.40pm
Short Break
2.40pm - 3.00pm
PGRs discuss in breakout groups on how (scholar) activism is relevant in their work/research
3.00pm - 3.45pm
Panel discussion (incl. Q&A from PGRs)
On the research activism link with all speakers: Panellists can discuss their experiences as scholars/activists, what is necessary in the current situation, how can it be achieved? Questions to be discussed: - Should the boundary between science and politics be upheld? - Which role and stance should and can researchers adopt? - Can and should researchers be activists? - What are the benefits, what are the dangers if researchers turn activists?