Art and Environmental communication

Last changed: 13 May 2024

Welcome to our theme page! Here we present our ongoing work on art and environmental communication.

Scholars, policymakers, and NGOs working in the field of sustainability have become increasingly interested in art. This growing interest stems from the idea and hope that art experiences can help people move outside of habits of thinking, feeling and doing, and inspire them to address environmental crises (Sommer 2020). Thus, from the standpoint of environmental communication, art becomes very interesting!

In our research we collaborate with artists and curators and together think, critically discuss, and try out possibilities and tensions of art in relation to sustainability.


Acclimatize Symposium

What is the role of museums in relation to climate change? What obstacles exist to using museums as platforms for the transition to a sustainable future? How far does museums' responsibility in the matter of sustainability extend? Is it the museums' task to generate answers or should they only ask questions?

These and other issues were discussed in the Acclimatize symposium, where many museum professionals took part. The symposium was organized by Moderna Museet together with Mistra Environmental Communication. As a spin-off, a series of workshops was organized and has resulted in a toolbox for museums navigating around how to engage people for sustainability by widening the horizons and perspectives and getting in contact with values, emotions, and collective memories.

Read more about the symposium here:

Find a toolbox for museums here (further down the page)

Find a video link here:

The team

Ylva Hillström (Moderna Museet), Svante H. Tirén (freelance curator), and Hanna Bergeå (SLU)


Collage of photos with people in an art museum. Reflective seminar with the project team. Photo: Hanna Bergeå.

Imaginative Power - Visual Arts and the Museum as a Mode for Environmental Communication

Art and museum settings may offer a mental and physical space for collective or individual reflections in relation to environmental issues. This project explored how art can facilitate such reflections and conversations, inviting citizens to think, feel, and respond to socio-environmental challenges in new ways. The basis of the project was a series of three exhibitions that the Uppsala Art Museum organized in 2022-2023, which examined different perspectives on environmental challenges through the lens of modernization, science, and post-industrialization. With a diverse group, including a curator, an artist, a museum director, and researchers, we worked our work around the questions: How do visitors, artists, and curators experience and make meaning of the art exhibitions? What kind of communication methods could be developed in complement to the exhibitions to support reflections and conversations to invite citizens ways to think, feel, and respond to socio-environmental challenges in new ways? We tested different communicative interventions such as thematic guiding tours, discussions with curators, reflections on the art process between researchers and the artist, and reflective workshops followed by free-writing exercises with researchers and students.

You can read more about our reflections and findings in this report: imaginative-power-report.pdf.

The team

Rebecka Wigh Abrahamsson (Uppsala Art Museum), Andreas Brutemark (Biotopia), Daniel Mossberg (Cemus), My Lindh (artist), Hanna Bergeå (SLU), Sofie Joosse (SLU), Fanny Möckel (Uppsala University), Daniela Kreber (SLU).


Pavel Otdelnov, Ruins #1. 2015. Olja på duk, i privat ägo.

Working Lab series - Tensions and (im)possibilities in Art for sustainability

Art is increasingly presented as a societal force in socio-environmental/sustainability transformations. Looking beyond more conventional modes of environmental communication, such as environmental governance, science communication, or media, we explore art as a meaning-making practice in environmental communication. In a series of working labs, we experienced and discussed performance art, artworks, exhibitions, and contemporary developments in (environmental) art and ‘artivism’. Our point of departure was to consider art foremost as a meaning-making practice in and of itself, in contrast to it being a tool for sustainability that can assist other sustainability practices in their goals, e.g. to better inform about scientific findings or forward political ideologies.

We are currently writing an article, which summarizes and reflects on the approach taken and discusses and contextualizes the shared learnings. Stay tuned!

The Team

Daniel Urey (Färgfabriken), Ylva Hillström (Moderna Museet), Rebecka Wigh Abrahamsson (Uppsala Art Museum), Paula von Seth (independent artist), Holly Keasey (independent artist), Hanna Bergeå (SLU), Sofie Joosse (SLU), Malte Rödl (SLU), Fanny Möckel (Uppsala University), Daniela Kreber (SLU), Jutta Heider (University of Borås), Karin Englund (Färgfabriken)


Literature reference

Sommer, L.K. (2020). "EARTH" without "ART" is just "EH" An environmental psychological approach on climate change communication through art. Doctoral thesis. NTNU;2020:299.


Photo of Sofie Joosse.

Sofie Joosse, Researcher, Division of Environmental Communication, SLU, +4618672066

Read more about Sofie Joosse on her CV page

Send an e-mail to: 

Hanna Bergeå. Photo.

Hanna Bergeå, Researcher, Head of Division, Division of Environmental Communication, SLU, +4618672182

Read more about Hanna Bergeå on her CV page

Send an e-mail to: 

Daniela Kreber. Photo.

Daniela Kreber, Research Assistant, Division of Environmental Communication, SLU, +4618671000

Read more about Daniela Kreber on her CV page

Send an e-mail to: