New focus areas for second program period 2024-2027

Last changed: 12 February 2024

We are delighted that Mistra will grant our research program funding for a new four-year program period (2024-2027)! Together with our 30 partners in academia and outside—among public authorities and agencies, NGOs, businesses, and cultural institutions—we are now embarking on the new work, initiating research activities, deepening collaborations established during the first program period, and forming new partnerships. We are currently designing a new program website to be launched soon. Meanwhile, you will find short information about the program’s new focus areas below.

A novelty to the new phase of Mistra Environmental Communication is the Commons & Synthesis work package. This work package will serve as a space for programme-wide theoretical and methodological development, cross-cutting and synthesis work, and is tasked with supporting and strengthening outreach and social impact. 

More information to come! 

For further information, please contact:  

WP1, Information cultures, data and technology in environmental communication – led by professor Jutta Haider

In this work package, researchers from information studies, communication studies, ecology and environmental social science explore how information technologies, data and society shape environmental meaning-making. Focused studies zoom in on three domains: Environmental apps in everyday life, ESG and traceability in the supply chain, and advocacy issues. They ask, how is data created, shared, and (re)assembled across applications, services, people, organisations, and other actors? What are the implications of this for environmental communication and governance? An observatory serves as a collaborative platform for monitoring trends and as a testing ground for developing new strategies to critically examine this rapidly changing field.

Partners: Wikimedia Sweden, Swedish Library Association, Search Studies Group (Hamburg Univ. of Applied Sciences), Environmental Protection Agency, Nudie Jeans. 

WP2, Processes of meaning-making in environmental communication – led by professor Maria Johansson 

WP2 sets emotions at the heart, looking into the relation between people’s environmental experiences and individual and social processes of meaning-making with the objective to understand emotions in relation to climate change and biodiversity loss. We will specifically analyse the use of place in communication as represented in natural settings, history exhibitions and art exhibitions. We combine environmental psychology focusing on emotions as intra-individual processes and experiences, and environmental communication perspectives on emotions as outcomes of social interaction, societal/cultural norms and as political, mobilized in discursive struggles. 

WP3, The constitution of knowledge and truth in environmental communication – led by professor Anke Fischer

WP3 starts from the observation that the role of scientific knowledge in decision-making about environmental issues is contested in manifold ways and from multiple directions. It investigates three areas of concern: 

  • Tensions between post-truth relativism and a critical engagement with science and knowledge that is democratically legitimate and desirable
  • The ways in which emotions, values and knowledge are used and pitted against each other in public discourse on environmental decision-making – and with which aims and implications
  • How knowledge, emotions and values are brought together in the crafting of stories, i.e., narratives that are developed and told intentionally to convince or persuade.

The work package examines three different case study areas: (i) governance of the low-carbon transition, (ii) new genetic technologies in agriculture and food production and (iii) nature interpretation. 

WP4, Governance, collaboration and resistance in environmental communication – led by researcher Martin Westin 

Collaboration is important in the transition to sustainability. If actors manage to communicate constructively across sector and professional boundaries, it can contribute to acceptance of difficult decisions and wider participation in the transition work. But in today's political climate, it seems increasingly difficult for actors to communicate constructively when they have different views. In this work package, we want to contribute to making collaborative work more capable of handling tensions and resistance. We form knowledge and develop practical tools for communication with the aim of strengthening collaboration as a form of work in the sustainability transition. 

WP5, Co-creating transformations through environmental communication – led by researcher Sara Holmgren 

WP5 focuses on the how of sustainability transformations. Through storytelling and co-creative methods, and case studies in Sweden and Honduras, we explore the tensions and potentials emerging when socio-technical imaginaries of nature-based transformations interact with place-based land-use practices. We are particularly interested in co-creating narratives that bridge the dichotomy between nature and culture and that are locally anchored yet globally relevant.