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Louise Bennet
External Relations
ebennet@unimelb.edu.au
0412 975 350

As part of the ART+CLIMATE=CHANGE Festival, David Karoly, Professor of Atmospheric Science at the University of Melbourne, and Ruth Fincher AM, Professor of Geography at the University of Melbourne, will be leading ‘Baby it’s hot outside!’, a sell-out, interactive event set in the future when the effects of climate change are dramatic.

The ThoughtLAB-14 event, presented by the Carlton Connect Initiative at The University of Melbourne, will invite a guest panel – including a science communicator and performer (Chris Krishna-Pillay), an artist (Tony Lloyd) and a CitiPower strategist (Lara Olsen) – to engage their audience in a hypothetical scenario set in the year 2050, after three consecutive days hotter than 47 degrees Celsius.

“By asking a guest panel to interact with an audience, imagine alternative futures and respond to a record heatwave that throws the city into chaos, people are inspired to think more deeply about the world and the consequences of their actions,” Professor Karoly said.

Professor Karoly said that scientists and policy makers are struggling in some countries to gain the support that will lead to meaningful action on climate change and other environmental challenges.

“Art can drive social, political and environmental change by engaging people’s hearts and minds,” he said.

“It is important to remember that while we need the rational, practical knowledge of science, we also need the unique personal responses that art provides. These responses engage the personal values and emotions that are so crucial to motivate action.”

Artists such as David Buckland (UK), whose Cape Farewell organisation led expeditions of artists and scientists to the Arctic, and Amy Balkin (US) whose Public Smog project seeks to list the world’s atmosphere on the UNESCO World Heritage Register, are two further examples currently being exhibited at the Melbourne School of Design until 10 May, 2015.