SLU news

Environmental communication – what is it, really?

Published: 17 March 2022
Portrait of a man. Photo.

A so-called Artist-in-Residence (AiR) started within Mistra Environmetal Communication at the beginning of this year. The AiR is an exchange program where artists, curators and researchers collaborate in order to investigate the concept of environmental communication. Three universities are involved in the program: Charles University in Prague, University of the Sunshine Coast in Australia, and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. The idea is that collaboration between researchers and artists expands the frames of conventional academic practices, thus allowing for new perspectives on environmental communication and related concepts.

There is a multitude of interesting projects within the Mistra Environmental Communication research program. But what do we really mean when we talk about environmental communication? What is it, and what could it be? Perhaps our minds quickly move to images of electric car campaigns, but could an exhibition or a dramatic piece on climate anxiety be environmental communication too? Is environmental communication happening when you choose to attend such a play, and when you talk about the play or the exhibition with your colleagues at the coffee break at work? One of the work packages of Mistra Environmental Communication, Media and arts, focuses on precisely this type of environmental communication.

Collaboration between art and academia

Recently, a new project was started which further extends the collaboration between art and academia within Mistra Environment Communication. A so-called Artist-in-Residence program has been initiated. Artist from different forms of art collaborate with research, and together they explore, twist and turn the concept of environmental communication. This could lead both to ways of making research and research questions more available for the public through arts and the media, and to researchers looking at these questions from new angles, helped by the creative contributions of the artists. Simultaneously, co-creation and re-creation of the concerned issues and concepts take place. By looking at environmental questions both from an artistic and an academic point of view, new perspectives emerge, leading to new ways of dealing with these issues. Involving both artists and researchers from different parts of the world further increases the broad spectrum of perspectives.

– Within academia, a certain way of exploring the world is dominant. Researching environmental communication is often limited to looking at verbal or written language. But what happens when we explore with our hands, our bodies? What form of environmental communication come about when people gather to pick up trash? What role do images, video, music, movement and embodied experience play when we communicate about and for the environment? When art and academia meet, we start to explore this in new and creative ways. That is what makes working with this AiR-program so exciting, says Björn Eriksson, AiR Coordinator, Charles University.

The AiR-program is led by researchers at Charles University in Prague. The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and University of the Sunshine Coast in Australia are also part of the program. At the end of 2023, there will be an exhibition with works created within the program.

Interested in the exchange?

We welcome artists in any discipline, from visual, to sculptural, to digital media, and beyond. The first open call is for an exchange at Charles University, AiR@CU. You will be working in Prague from August 1st - September 30th, together with our researchers and other artists. You will receive a 34 000 SEK grant which should cover accommodation as well as material and traveling costs. Apply by April 30th at the latest.

For further information and application, please visit:

Other open calls coming up! Keep an eye on the Mistra Environmental Communication news feed or at for more information. The open call for the exchange at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, AiR@SLU, opens April 1st.



Text: Emily Montgomerie

The project is funded by the Strategic reserve. This is a pot of money that has been set aside to support activities that go over and above the current work of the programme, and that expand and/or enhance the programme in strategic and innovative ways. Read more about the strategic reserve.



Björn Eriksson