Climate change and the multiple temporalities of research

Authors: Lauren Rickards*, RMIT University
Topics: Hazards, Risks, and Disasters, Higher Education, Careers and Professional Development
Keywords: climate change, research, universities, temporalities
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/10/2021
Start / End Time: 4:40 PM / 5:55 PM
Room: Virtual 42
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

As climate change unfolds and stimulates a myriad of imaginaries and responses, its multiple temporalities have emerged at the heart of contestations about it. Academic research has helped document these different temporalities, whether in the form of possible future scenarios, current atmospheric trends in the context of past millennia, delay tactics around greenhouse gas mitigation, declarations of climate emergency, or reactive and anticipatory adaptations and resilience measures. What remains largely unexamined in these efforts however is how the multiple and evolving temporalities of academic research itself (as an assemblage of people, practices, outcomes, ideals and institutions) relates to the multiple and evolving temporalities of climate change. There is a growing need to examine in particular how institutionalised research processes such as peer review, grant applications, field work and “writing up”, not to mention research training degrees and linear models of career progression, are challenged by various dimensions of climate change including emerging social expectations. In what ways does responding to climate change require that we speed up aspects of the research world, and in what ways does it require that we slow down? Examining these and related questions opens up important questions about the relationship between academia and climate change, building on valuable discussions about practices such as air travel. Bringing academia into view as a target for as well as expert on climate change also contributes to broader discussions about barriers to adaptation and mitigation in which questions of temporality are crucial.

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