When the Heart Can’t Contain What the Mind Can See: Psychosocial Research on Human Engagement with Climate Change

When the Heart Can’t Contain What the Mind Can See: Psychosocial Research on Human Engagement with Climate Change

Event description

Birkbeck Institute for Social Research
in collaboration with
Climate Psychology Alliance and The Association for Psychosocial Studies


Psychosocial research on climate change examines the conflicted meanings, emotions and identities which underlie both engagement and non-engagement with the issue. Focusing on the relationship between personal experience and social systems, the psychosocial approach goes beneath surface questions about attitude and behaviour to ask hard questions. How does anxiety relate to indifference? What does identity have to do with denial?  How do social systems protect us from difficult truths? This one day seminar critiques the traditional cognitive and behavioural approaches to the psychology of climate change, highlights an alternative approach and presents findings from in-depth, qualitative research.


Robert Tollemache (UWE), ‘How Do I Deny Climate Change? Let Me Count the Ways’

Karen Henwood (Cardiff), ‘Energy Practices and Psychosocial Research: The Energy Biographies Study’

Ulrike Grassinger (Counterpoint), ‘The Door of Metaphor: Metaphorical Language in the Discourse on Climate Change’

Paul Hoggett (UWE) & Ro Randall (Carbon Conversations), ‘Outriders of the Coming Adversity: How Climate Scientists and Activists Keep Going’

Cristiana Olcese (LSE), ‘Activists’ Understandings and Responses to the Issue of Climate Change in the Context of Protest’

Nadine Andrews (Lancaster), ‘Between Intention and Action: Psychosocial Factors Influencing Values-Congruent Action in Organisations’

Renee Lertzman, ‘Environmental Melancholia: Exploring Engagement’

Julian Manley (UCLAN), ‘The Unthought Known of Climate Change’

Respondents: Tom Wengraf (APS) and Sally Weintrobe (CPA)

This event is open to all, but places are limited.

 Registration and payment are essential – book your place here

£35 Standard | £25 Climate Psychology Alliance/Association for Psychosocial Studies Members & Birkbeck Staff | £15 All Students & Unwaged

(If you cannot afford the fee, please get in touch with the BISR Manager, Reina Goodwin-van der Wiel, on r.vanderwiel@bbk.ac.uk.)