The role of visual arts as a communication tool in scenario planning


We are still at the resilience conference and, quite remarkably for a science-policy conference, there are quite many events that are bringing together arts and sciences. One of those opportunities was a session on the role of visual arts in scenario planning, that was organised by Berta Martin-Lopez and me yesterday. Our main idea for that session was to bring together people using visual arts in scenario planning and to share experiences of how artwork helped to communicate scenario planning result and to engage with stakeholders.

For this purpose, we had invited several people to present their scenarios and the corresponding artwork. Tobias Plieninger brought scenerio pictures from his work in the Swabian Albs. Elisa Oteros-Rozas presented scenarios from her study on transhumance in Spain and scenarios from her colleague Sandra Vilardy and her work in Ciénaga Grande of Santa Marta/Colombia. Gary Peterson presented scenarios from North Wisconsin, Berta from Doñana/Spain and, finally, I presented work from Transylvania (which most of the readers of this blog will be familiar with).

Elisa is presenting at the “scenario gallery”

After a short introduction of the different scenarios from all the presenters we had a very lively discussion on a wide range of question, such as in which way artist(s) should be involved in the scenario planning process (e.g. have an artist at the workshops or let the stakeholders do the artwork), the inherent subjectivity of an artist’s visualisations or how “invisible” features, such as corruption, can be visualized. During the discussion I had the impression that putting up the different scenario pictures (as being the key feature of our session) was really well received by the audience and fostered quite some (in part very emotional) discussions among the people at our session. One of the things that came out overwhelmingly was that in all cases artwork not only served as a medium to communicate results, but also that the process of generating artwork can facilitate communication among stakeholders. That made me see scenario artwork not only as a communication tool but also as a part of a dynamic and interactive process among stakeholders and scientist. So, I think, that was a really great session and thanks again to all people contributing.

2 thoughts on “The role of visual arts as a communication tool in scenario planning

  1. Pingback: Resilience & Development: Mobilizing for transformation | SES-LINK

  2. Pingback: Ecology and Society: Participatory scenario planning in place-based social-ecological research: insights and experiences from 23 case studies

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