Communicating Climate through Arts

29 April 2022, 12:00 to 13:00.

Research seminar.

Speakers: Olivia Booker and Claudia Lubao (PhD candidates, University of St Andrews)


Claudia Lubao (PhD candidate, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences)
‘The act of Musicalizing in Tanzania’
This talk focuses on how popular music can be used as one of the strategies to change, mitigate and raise awareness on the impacts of climate change. Claudia will share some basic and well documented insights from music psychology as to how the brain processes text and speech differently when it is set to music, and how as a result, information communicated through music can be remembered more easily and have a greater effect on the listener. Claudia’s talk will also highlight two specific issues: i) the adaptation of new approaches among academics and researchers in communicating their findings and ii) how popular music (particularly Bongo Fleva – the main style of popular music in Tanzania) is used and can continue to be used in communicating and perceptualizing climate issues. The talk develops Claudia Lubao’s previous work “Musicalizing Heritage and Heritagizing Music” in which she wrote music about aspects of archaeology and heritage.

Olivia Booker (PhD candidate, Department of Film Studies)
‘Film Poetry as a Tool for Ecological Empathy’
We are all familiar with commercial nature documentaries: crisp and colourful images of the deep sea with dramatic music playing as a soothing voice tells us about the plight of a mother whale and her injured calf. While these types of films undeniably have great potential to spark an interest in the natural world and provide a vast platform for communication about climate justice, the commercial aspect brings along with it many limitations, ones that films of a smaller scale can circumvent more easily.
This talk will focus on another type of ecocinema: one of poetry. Specifically, Olivia will discuss the need for poetry in the climate conversation, and the potential for film to provide this link between poetic thinking and science communication. Olivia will discuss the premise of her practice-led research and discuss the different approaches that she has taken to work through questions about form and method in communicating climate through film. By approaching ecocinema in an experimental way, Olivia’s project leaves space for forms of communication beyond those that are specifically narratively driven.


Olivia Booker is a filmmaker from North Carolina pursuing a practice-led research PhD at the University of St Andrews in the Department of Film Studies. Her PhD about ecocinema as a practice focuses on ecologically driven artists’ films and the potential for film as a meeting point between art and scientific research about climate. She holds a BA in Studio Art from Davidson College and an MFA in Documentary Film from Stanford University. Her work has screened at various festivals and online publications including Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, AFI Docs, River Run Film Festival, and Reel South PBS,among others.

Claudia Lubao (Chemical) is a Tanzanian musician currently pursuing a practice-based PhD on musicalizing socio-cultural and scientific issues at the University of St Andrews. Her PhD builds on a previous work of “musicalizing heritage”, of writing music which raises awareness on issues such as climate and heritage. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in Performing Arts and a Masters of Heritage Management, both from the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. As a musician (Chemical) she is a well-established female rapper in Tanzania and the winner of the best female Hip-Hop musician award (Convened and governed by the Tanzania Arts Council of the Ministry of Arts, Culture and Sports) at the Tanzania Music Awards (TMA2021). Claudia has more than 100k subscribers on YouTube, 718k Instagram followers, with many more followers on other social media channels and streaming services. Claudia Lubao has worked with all the eminent Tanzanian producers and uses her digital presence as part of her research process. Visit her digital channels for more of her musical works.

STACEES Communicating Climate through Arts poster 2022

‘Communicating Climate through Arts’ video on YouTube

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