New photography exhibition showing York’s climate research launches

University of York

A new exhibition featuring photographs of University of York researchers looking at the impact of climate change is set to open to the public.

Inspecting glaciers in Arctic SwedenThe exhibition features images of University of York researchers as they conduct their climate change-related studies. Photo credit: David Rippin (

The exhibition ‘COP26: Research with a view’ provides glimpses of their work in some of the world’s most precious landscapes, from the Arctic to Africa, and coincides with the COP26 conference in Glasgow next month.

The stunning images feature precious environments and communities that need to be protected, alongside other photographs illustrating the harsh realities of climate change.

Coinciding with the conference, the exhibition will run from 1 November to 29 November 2021 at the York Explore Library and Archive, Museum Street, York. The venue is free and open to all ages, and fully accessible to wheelchairs.

Creative ways

Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research, Professor Matthias Ruth said of the exhibition: “The world shapes us, and we shape the world. With climate change, we are constantly reminded of that. Our research explores both the human and environmental dimensions of interactions, which we express and share in a wide range of creative ways – symbols of science, words of pragmatists and poets, images that stimulate imagination and awe.

“The photographs presented in this exhibition vividly articulate the contexts within which some of our research takes place, and in so doing they provide both a sense of humility and a call to action. I hope others can join me in sharing the messages from this exhibit, supporting the research and creativity they display, and making the changes that are needed to protect the environment on which we all depend.”

Real difference

Dr Bryce Stewart from the Department of Environment and Geography, who contributed photography to the exhibition, said: “My photos represent the research we’ve done with the Community of Arran Seabed Trust (COAST) in Scotland. Through COAST, the local community on the Isle of Arran took matters into their own hands, and successfully lobbied the government to protect and restore their local marine ecosystems. For over a decade now, we have monitored their conservation efforts to document the recovery of marine life in these protected areas.

“Originally these measures were about protecting biodiversity, but we found that the habitats on the seabed are now amazingly effective carbon stores. Through this work, we’re starting to appreciate how nature-based solutions can mitigate the impact of climate change in a really significant way.

“The exhibition is both fantastic and timely: it’s a great opportunity to engage with the public about the absolutely vital work researchers are doing to tackle climate change. With COP26 about to start, this is a good chance to feel part of something – and an example of how we can make a real difference if we act collectively.”

Research images

Other research shown at the exhibition includes:

  • Experts at York’s Biorenewables Development Centre exploring ways to convert agricultural and food waste into valuable new products.
  • Scientists studying the wood digesting powers of the gribble, a tiny sea creature that burrows into wooden boats and piers in search of food and shelter
  • Academics working with communities in East Africa to balance the needs of nature and economic development.
  • Researchers visiting Arctic Sweden to explore the future of a glacier called Kårsaglaciären.
  • The partnership with a farming technology company to create ‘Grow it York’, an eco-friendly indoor vertical farm growing herbs and leafy salad crops without soil.
  • Research exploring the use of waste including textiles and rubbish to manufacture more sustainable clothes.

The event forms part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science, an annual celebration of the social sciences and a key element of the Economic and Social Research Council’s (ESRC) commitment to promote awareness of UK social science research to new audiences.

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