ESR Newsletter February 2021

Environment, Science & Risk Communication Working Group
Newsletter February 2021

Welcome to our first newsletter and to the triumphant return of the ESR Working Group to activity in 2021!  In 2020 and as we communicated at the time, we made the decision to not participate as a Working Group at the Tampere conference. This was a difficult decision for the ESR Leadership Team but in the end, we all agreed that our members needed time and space to adapt their personal and professional lives to a pandemic.  Now that many of us have adapted to a ‘new normal’, we are very keen to make 2021 a lively year for our membership.  

We are very much looking forward to seeing you soon – online, or in our best hopes, in person.

Please do feel free to contact any member of the ESR leadership if you have any questions or comments. Please see below some key dates and initiatives in the coming months.

Joana Diaz-Pont (
Kerrie Foxwell-Norton (
Pieter Maeseele (
Maitreyee Mishra (

  • DEADLINE APPROACHING: IAMCR Nairobi 2020 - Call for Abstracts and Panel Sessions

There are two days left to submit your proposals for single papers and multi-paper sessions to the ESR WG for IAMCR 2021, which will be held online from 11 to 15 July, 2021. The conference will also have a regional hub in Nairobi, Kenya. Both the online conference and the regional hub will be hosted by the Department of Journalism & Corporate Communication of United States International University-Africa (USIU-Africa) in Nairobi. The deadline for submission is 9 February 2021, at 23.59 UTC

See the IAMCR 2021 general call for proposals to see how our working group and its members might address the conference theme of Rethinking borders and boundaries: Beyond the global/local dichotomy in communication studies and other suggested topics.

  • IAMCR Nairobi 2020 and beyond - Call for reviewers

Many of you have been contacted recently kindly requesting you to help us out with reviewing abstracts for the upcoming conference. If you have not been contacted, but you are willing to help us out in the future, please send an email to Let us know in which language/s you can review and if there is any particular area of interest or region of the world you would like to concentrate the abstracts we send you.

Your name will be included in the list of ESR WG reviewers that will be published online after the conference.

  • Climate Communication Award 2021

Applications are now being received for the 2021 IAMCR New Directions for Climate Communication Research Fellowship. Initiated by the International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR) and awarded in collaboration with the International Environmental Communication Association (IECA), the US$1,000 award seeks to encourage a wide range of researchers to think creatively about new research approaches for climate change communication. Media/communication researchers with interest in climate issues are encouraged to apply, from all fields of media/communication, and all career stages. Interdisciplinary collaborations are encouraged.

More information on the rules and procedures can be found here.

The deadline to apply is 30 April 2021.

  • Expressions of Interest: ESR Webinar ‘Environmental, Science and Risk Communication in a Pandemic:  Reflections on COVID-19 and our future’

The ESR WG is calling for initial expressions of interest in a webinar or webinar series that will focus our research on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and how, if at all, this has impacted our field and our research agenda.  This initiative will showcase ESR work that explores what we have learnt, or might learn, in reflecting on the events of 2020 till the present.  Given the ecological crises we face, what might we learn from this health crisis and its communication?

Initiatives like this are wonderful opportunities to connect with colleagues all over the world, and be enriched by the exchange. We plan for participants to be published in a special issue journal or edited collection.  At this stage, we are asking that interested colleagues contact stating their interest in being involved. We are planning this webinar for September/October. We look forward to sharing ideas.  

  • Revision of ESR Mission Statement

The ESR leadership is proposing a revision of its mission statement (see below). We invite our members to provide any comments or suggested changes to

The Environment, Science and Risk Communication working group of the IAMCR held its first session in 1988 and has since focused its attention on interdisciplinary and multi-methodological approaches to environmental and science communication, such as political ecology; social and deep ecology; feminist theory; public sphere; political theory; political economy; cultural studies; geography; science and technology studies; history; literary studies; film studies and many others. As environmental and climate challenges rise exponentially in all parts of the world, communication becomes ever more critical to developing our responses to realised and impending crises. From local communities to the global network of communication and media that crisscross the globe, communication about our local places and environments is pervasive. 

Deeply international in nature, we explore the role of media and other stakeholders in communicating about a plethora of techno-environmental issues that include climate change, energy, agriculture, conservation, new (bio)technologies and others. Examples of topic areas include: social and political uses and constructions of Nature; science communication; environmental communication; corporate sustainability; digital capitalism and smart technologies; science and environmental activism; visual environmental communication; science and environmental journalism; spin and news management of environmental conflict and scientific controversies; public understanding, participation and engagement with science and the environment; risk, health and disaster communication;  media, science and society; Indigenous perspectives on Nature and the non-human.

As a WG, we are particularly committed to the inclusion of diverse ontologies and epistemologies that capture the global environmental experiences and the human/nature relations therein. Our working group pursues issues of social and environmental justice - in our own conduct and in supporting a global community of researchers who in various ways, seek the same. 

  • Renew your membership!

Last, but not least, I would like to remind you how important it is that you renew your membership to the working group by renewing your IAMCR membership for 2021. If you haven't yet, please don’t forget!