Climate Storytelling Collaborative Practices: an Artful Process and Adaptation

By Peterson Toscano

Jennie Carlisle and Laura England are both part of the Climate Stories Collaborative at Appalachian State University in North Carolina.

“The Climate Stories Collaborative is our response to the growing call for more transdisciplinary and creative approaches to climate change communication,” they explain. “Our mission is to grow the capacity of our faculty and students to be more creative and compelling climate storytellers.”

While many of the students finish with completed pieces of art, Jennie stresses that the process required to produce the art is their primary goal. Of course, they also want to reach out to the wider world whenever possible.

At the end of the school year, the Climate Stories Collaborative hosts a showcase for the student artists. This provides them with an opportunity to engage with the wider public in a large gallery space. Laura explains that in the past, students, faculty, and community members would mingle in the gallery to view the art and see performances.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the school closed and the showcase had to be cancelled. But like so many others, they adapted and took the showcase online. As a curator, Jennie initially worried about creating a virtual showcase but quickly saw multiple benefits, including seeing viewers become deeply engaged with the art and the artists through their comments. The Climate Stories Collaborative now reaches many more people all over the world through this Instagram online showcase.

Taking this step to go virtual also models an essential part of climate action – resiliency.

Next month, creative non-fiction writer, Elizabeth Rush, reveals how seeing a stage adaptation to her award winning book, Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore, helped her see her own climate grief in a whole new light.

If you like what you hear, you can listen to full episodes of Citizens’ Climate Radio on iTunesStitcher Radio, Spotify, SoundCloudPodbeanNorthern Spirit RadioGoogle PlayPlayerFM, and TuneIn Radio. Also, feel free to connect with other listeners, suggest program ideas, and respond to programs in the Citizens’ Climate Radio Facebook group or on Twitter at @CitizensCRadio.

This article is part of The Art House series.


As host of Citizens’ Climate Radio, Peterson Toscano regularly features artists who address climate change in their work. The Art House section of his program includes singer/songwriters, visual artists, comics, creative writers, and playwrights. Through a collaboration with Artists and Climate Change and Citizens’ Climate Education, each month Peterson reissues The Art House for this blog. If you have an idea for The Art House, contact Peterson: radio @


Artists and Climate Change is a blog that tracks artistic responses from all disciplines to the problem of climate change. It is both a study about what is being done, and a resource for anyone interested in the subject. Art has the power to reframe the conversation about our environmental crisis so it is inclusive, constructive, and conducive to action. Art can, and should, shape our values and behavior so we are better equipped to face the formidable challenge in front of us.

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