Environmental Humanities

The ‘Anastasia’ Project

Art as a genuine means of mobilising academic knowledge.

Sydney Social Sciences and Humanities Advanced Research Centre
POP-UP RESEARCH LAB, The Living Room Theatre, City of Sydney and Brand X

This projects aims to design theatrical ways to communicate academic research on climate adaptation (and in particular shock heat events) to a wider audience; measure the impact of theatric forms of knowledge translation, and contribute to wider debates about the role of the arts in understanding the ‘impact’ of the modern university.

The key mission of this POP-UP Research Lab is to explore ideas of knowledge translation and knowledge mobilisation for the purpose of communicating academic research to research beneficiaries. In this case, this involves communicating the impacts of shock climate event heatwaves with non-academic stakeholders, including policy makers, community organisations, and the general population using the medium of theatre.

The real world experiences of grief and loss caused by shock climate events are emotions often difficult to convey through academic writing. This lab aims to address that problem by providing an avenue through which these emotions are conveyed.

The lab’s focus will lie in the practice of knowledge translation and the dissemination of social science research for the purpose of informing social policy. An important part of this project will be the development of methods to measure the impact of this form of knowledge translation on the attendees of the proposed performance. The measurement of external engagement and impact will be increasingly important to academics in the coming years, and this project is dedicated to exploring the ways non-traditional communication of research can count as impact.

This project is led by Michelle St Anne, Deputy Director and Operations Manager – Programming, Impact and Engagement at the Sydney Environment Institute.