The scientific article “Young climate activists in television news: An analysis of multimodal constructions of voice, political recognition, and co-optation” was published on September 4, 2023, in the journal The Communication Review. Developed as part of Task 3 of the JustFutures project (focused on media), the article presents an analysis of Portuguese television news and the ways in which young climate activists were represented between 2018 and 2021. The analysis demonstrates that young climate activists received visibility on major Portuguese channels, but it also highlights that their calls for systemic change were not sufficiently explored. Below, you can find the pre-print version of this work. You can also access it through this link.
The conference of the International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR) took place this year in Lyon, France, between July 9th and 13th, under the title “Inhabiting the Earth: Challenges for Communication, Media, and Beyond.” Addressing these themes, Anabela Carvalho delivered a presentation entitled “Politics for future Earth: young people’s imaginaries in their own voices and in television news,” co-authored by Daniela Ferreira da Silva, Tânia R. Santos, and Maria Fernandes-Jesus. The presentation was part of the Environment, Science, and Risk Communication Working Group of IAMCR.
On July 5th, Ana Garcia participated with a presentation at the COMbART – International Conference on Art, Activism, and Citizenship at Colégio Almeida Negreiros, Nova University Lisbon.
The communication titled “Cool Kids Saving a Hot Planet: The Role of Eco-Activism in Expressing Political Imaginaries of Young Climate Activists”, co-authored by Carla Malafaia, explored how artistic expression practices are appropriated by young activists as strategies for mobilization, co-creation of imaginaries about the future, social change, and amplification of their voices. This analysis was conducted in the context of an ethnographic study carried out with groups of young climate activists.
On June 30, Tânia R. Santos presented at the 2023 Preconference of the European Association of Social Psychology on the “Social Psychology of the Future: How can Social Psychology contribute to the development of a fairer and more sustainable world?” organized by Gavin B. Sullivan, Annayah M. B. Prosser, Lucia Bosone, and Marie Chevrier. The event took place at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland.
Tânia participated in this hybrid event with an in-person presentation titled: “Youth’s utopias and dystopias in warranting climate action.” In this co-authored presentation, together with other members of the JustFutures team, we explored the discursive uses of utopias and dystopias by young climate activists in constructing open and malleable futures within the spaces of climate activism. For this work, we analysed focus group discussions with young activists currently engaged in the climate movement.
On June 26, the JustFutures Team co-organized the Research and Debate Forum on Youth and Climate Change at the University of Minho, in collaboration with the EngageforSDG project. The event featured the participation of six research projects, which presented their main objectives, methodologies, and results. In the afternoon, spaces for debate were created, where interdisciplinary discussions took place, sharing cross-cutting aspects of the research conducted by the various projects.
The participating projects included JustFutures, EngageforSDG, ClimActic, Forest FM, and individual doctoral projects that aim to understand youth involvement in climate action. The debate also involved the participation of the audience both in person and remotely.
On June 22, Dora presented virtually at the Biennial Conference of the Society for Community Research and Action (SCRA) that was held in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
The presentation titled “Youth Voices from Portugal: Climate Justice Activism” was based on focus group discussion with youth in Portugal, focused on the way young people engage with climate justice, how they envision (more) just futures, as well their role in the process of building political transformations.
Ana Garcia and Dora Rebelo presented, respectively, in-person and virtually, at the Futures Conference 2023, which took place between June 14 and 16, 2023, in Turku, Finland.
Ana Garcia delivered her presentation “Crafting the future: Political imaginaries of Young Climate Activists in Portugal”, sharing the results from focused group discussions with young individuals and presenting preliminary findings from a multi-sited ethnographic study conducted with young activists. She explored questions such as “How do young climate activists in Portugal envision alternative futures in response to climate change?” and “What strategies do they employ to express their concerns and promote change?”
Dora Rebelo, based on a reflexive thematic analysis of 22 focus group discussions, presented virtually a communication titled “Political imaginaries and perspectives on climate futures: Young people building climate action,” focusing on how both activist and non-activist young individuals conceive political imaginaries and their role in shaping climate future(s).
O Outro Dia do ICS (June 7 2023) was an event organised by the Presidency of the Institute of Social Sciences at the University of Minho as a review of the initiatives carried out within the theme of the 46th anniversary celebrations of ICS, “Climate Change.” In addition to sharing research conducted at ICS, there was a display of educational activities and student work.
Anabela Carvalho gave a general presentation on JustFutures and highlighted some of the research already conducted. Daniela Ferreira da Silva presented the communication titled “Political Imaginaries of the Youth Climate Movement in Portugal,” which explored the imaginaries of four groups of young climate activists through the analysis of their texts.
On June 6th, researcher Tânia R. Santos participated virtually, with an oral presentation co-authored by Mehmet Ali Üzelgün and Anabela Carvalho, at the 17th Biennial Conference on Communication and the Environment in Harrisonburg, Virginia, USA.
The presentation titled “The multivoiced field of protest: creating and hindering political opportunities for young climate activists in the media” analyses the representation of young climate activists on Portuguese television. It examines the ways in which media presentation either opens up or closes off spaces for recognition of the demands made by young activists, particularly following the occupation of universities and schools in November 2022.
The presentation was part of the “Youth and Visuals” session, which explored the visual dimension in relation to young people in their representation, understanding of, and involvement with climate issues.
The research team of the JUSTFUTURES project has released a report analyzing 22 focused groups with 154 young people aged between 13 and 34. The focused groups took place between September 2022 and April 2023 in Braga, Greater Porto, Greater Lisbon, Olhão, and Faro. The participants discussed how they deal with climate issues, their perspectives on climate activism, and their imaginaries of future political alternatives, as well as their role in shaping them. We hope that this analysis offers interesting perspectives to reflect on diverse forms of participation and political engagement regarding climate issues, based on the current and future visions of the young participants.