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Drawing climate

A multidisciplinary workshop that investigates how visual media creates common disciplinary visions, and the role of images in representing and responding to future climate change scenarios.

Global heat maps and bird’s-eye views of temperate cities in states of distress form the imagery of much of the climate crisis. What happens if we question this view of climate from above, preferring to consider climate from below, a view more attuned to the human condition and the entanglement of human and animal worlds? How do we imagine and visualise the many individual acts of resistance, practices, technologies and worldviews that get caught in the crossfire of top-down predictions and efforts to prevent climate change?

Drawing Climate is a workshop organised by the Sydney Environment Institute that builds on the recent publication of the same name by researchers in the School of Architecture, Design and Planning at the University of Sydney and the Department of Architecture at the National University of Singapore. It will draw on the insights of a multidisciplinary group of researchers working across the Arts, Sciences, Humanities and Design fields.

The workshop will explore the role of image making in climate governance. It will consider the gaps in disciplinary understandings of the world that arise through image making and consider the expectations about ethical behaviour and consequential action. A major theme will be how images of the built environment make climate change tangible and what kinds of experiences and climates come to be prioritised.

By examining the interstices, overlaps and spaces between different disciplinary imaginings of climate and the built environment, the workshop will highlight how images create common disciplinary visions about how best to respond to future climate change scenarios and the ways that these come to be subverted.  The aim of the workshop is to start a productive discussion on different disciplinary perspectives of the climate crisis and the role that visual media plays in its representation.

This workshop is closed to SEI Members and was presented at the University of Sydney on 7 June 2022.


Jennifer Ferng is a Senior Lecturer and architectural historian at the University of Sydney. She specializes in European architecture and the earth sciences during the long eighteenth century as well as contemporary architecture and politics in Oceania and Southeast Asia. These distinct research trajectories are centered around two projects: one on the cultural history of mining, design, and extraction during the global eighteenth century and the second on Australasian detention centres, shelter and humanitarian ethics.

Daniel Ryan is a Lecturer at the University of Sydney’s School of Architecture, Design and Planning. He is an historian of architectural science and architecture in the tropics, focusing on Australasia and the Pacific. He also writes about Eileen Gray’s approach to climate and occasionally lectures about the conservation of her architecture.

This workshop is part of the Future Imaginaries research project that looks at how people collectively imagine climate changed futures as that will shape how those futures unfold. It brings together multi-disciplinary teams across the Global North and South to explore different and intersecting imaginaries that are shaping how diverse communities are already acting in response to climate-altered futures.

Header image: Attila Csipe via Shutterstock, ID: 1630969990.