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Image credit and licensing information: Robert van Waarden/Aurora Photos

Climate Visuals Masterclass: Time for a new visual language for climate change?

April 12 2018

2-6:30 pm

Pakhuis de Zwijger, Amsterdam

On the eve of the prestigious World Press Photo Festival in Amsterdam, Climate Outreach presents the third in the series of six international Climate Visuals Masterclasses, this one in partnership with Pakhuis de Zwijger.

  • Do you work in climate change communication or campaigning, or are you a journalist or photographer looking to tell new visual stories on climate change?
  • Do you want to increase your knowledge and learn the skills to catalyse a more diverse and compelling visual language for climate change?

Don’t miss the Climate Visuals masterclass which takes place on Thursday 12th April, 2-6:30 pm, hosted by our partners Pakhuis de Zwijger in Amsterdam. Led by Adam Corner (Director of the Climate Visuals programme at Climate Outreach), the half-day event will include perspectives and insights from leading experts in climate photography and communication, including Susie Wang, a researcher studying changes in climate imagery on digital media. There will also be a networking opportunity with complimentary refreshments after the event from 5:30pm.

Who is the Masterclass for?

This Masterclass is for communications professionals (from NGOs and commercial organisations), journalists, social science researchers and photographers who want to tell new visual stories about climate change.

The event is the third in a series of international events delivered through the ‘Climate Visuals’ programme. Climate Visuals is a flagship project from Climate Outreach that seeks to build a global community of visual communicators and support influential voices to tell powerful new visual stories. We’re looking for motivated and open-minded participants to take the first steps towards catalysing a new visual language for climate change.

At the Climate Visuals Masterclass you will:

  • Gain an in-depth understanding of the Climate Visuals approach, the audience-research underpinning it, and the wider evidence base on visual climate change communication through photographic imagery
  • Apply this learning by critically exploring case studies and previous campaigns
  • Hear from a variety of experts in different fields
  • Learn skills to design and deliver effective communication through climate photography

To hear from participants who have attended our recent Masterclass in London, watch this 4 minute video from the event.


Despite the energy and resources dedicated to communication and campaigning on climate change, an understanding of how to effectively engage people using visual images is much more limited. As a result, an easily-recognisable climate change iconography has taken root over the past 25 years: polar bears, melting ice-caps, smokestacks and (as our research shows) potentially polarising images of environmental protesters.

This narrow visual vocabulary undermines the effectiveness of campaign messages, is a barrier to personal behavioural engagement, and detracts from the reach and value of journalistic reporting on climate change. A more compelling and diverse visual language for climate change is urgently required.

To address this problem, Climate Outreach created the Climate Visuals website and library, a pioneering evidence-based resource for visual climate change communication. Based on international social research in Europe and the US, this unique resource offers seven core principles for effective visual communication, plus an initial library of images. The project has already fostered a global network of online users, and the Climate Visuals resource is informing and influencing communications professionals and campaigners round the world.

Now, with events and workshops planned throughout 2018, and hundreds of new images being added to the Climate Visuals image library, we’re aiming to create a dynamic hub for visual climate change communicators, and work with the world’s most influential visual communicators to catalyse a new - more compelling and diverse - visual language for climate change.

Cost & Registration

€60 per ticket (including refreshments and drinks reception)

Please note that only 30 places are available on this masterclass. In the event of it becoming full we may open a waiting list.