Engagement

Images are projected on a building. An audiences looks on, seated on nearby grass.

Helping New Zealanders to make decisions informed by climate science and to inform Deep South Challenge research.

Successful engagement in science is not only about communicating information. It also involves exploring what decision makers, end users and the public already know, need to know and want to know. The Engagement programme is creating new opportunities for two-way dialogue and for partnerships with our key end users and the public. Understanding the values and attitudes that shape society’s engagement with climate change is also core to our work.

Our programme is innovative and ambitious: where traditional science communication uses one-way “push” tools, we explicitly set out to identify and respond to the needs and priorities of future users and beneficiaries of Deep South Challenge research. We feed this information back into the scientific process, to ensure our research is relevant and useful – helping New Zealanders to adapt to a changing climate.

We work with communities, Māori, industry sectors and local and central government. We also work across and alongside all other programmes of the Deep South Challenge, to facilitate collaboration between our society and our researchers. We also invest in building capacity for climate change engagement. We support our researchers to develop more engagement skills and experience, and we offer our end users the opportunity to upskill key members of their communities and sectors to become “climate ambassadors”.

We prioritise rigorous evaluation to ensure (and continually question) the wise and informed investment of Engagement funds, and to make our engagement more effective. And recently, we’ve funded a public engagement research project – a first for New Zealand – that explores the role that culture plays in engagement about climate change.

 

Funded projects

Funding for engagement about climate adaptation

We have funding available to support engagement activities that will enable New Zealanders to make informed decisions about adapting to climate change impacts. Some of the public-facing projects and events we have supported include:

  • Providing support to the Aotearoa NZ Science Journalism Fund, to encourage journalists to delve into stories about climate change impacts and implications for New Zealand
  • Partnering with New Zealand Geographic to bring together a range of high-quality climate change journalism and collecting it into the New Zealand Geographic Climate Hub
  • Supporting Far From Frozen, a science showcase was held first at Otago Museum and more recently at Space Place, Wellington’s Carter Observator
  • Helping to bring “ANTARCTICA – while you were sleeping” to the 2017 Auckland Arts Festival
  • Supporting Kiwi YouTube and social media star Jamie Curry to make a web series "Jamie's World on Ice" about her trip to Antarctica
  • Sponsoring the first three years of Climathon NZ, in which students, entrepreneurs, big thinkers, technical experts and app developers around the world come up with innovative solutions to city-specific climate challenges in 24-hour marathon sessions
  • Supporting artist and community educator Gabby O’Connor to mount her installation Studio Antarctica at Porirua’s Pātaka Gallery

We also support our stakeholders and end users with tailored events that bring together climate science and climate scientists with specialist audiences, for example, by providing sponsorship to:

 

Please contact the following team members to discuss whether your project or event might be suitable for Engagement Programme funding:

For public activities please email Alex Keeble, Senior Communications Advisor
For private or public sector activities please email Susan Livengood, Partnerships Director

 

Engagement strategy and executive summary

The Engagement Strategy for the Deep South Challenge outlines the goal and objectives of the Engagement Programme and describes background research, practical workstreams and example activities for how we deliver on these objectives. 

 

Science lead and team

Dr Wendy Saunders, Science Lead
Dr Rhian Salmon, Capacity Building
Susan Livengood, Director of Partnerships
Dr Joanna Goven, Evaluation Lead
Alexandra Keeble, Senior Communications Advisor 
Lorraine Taylor, Engagement Coordinator

Please email us DSC-engagement@vuw.ac.nz and will forward your email to the right person. You can also read a bit more about our Engagement Team here. 

Latest news and updates

“Gaining traction on intractable issues”: An interview with Partnerships Director Susan Livengood

Susan Livengood is the Partnerships Director of the Deep South Challenge, and works within the Engagement programme – which tries to connect what’s happening in every programme of the challenge with both the broader public and with targeted individuals and organisations throughout New Zealand’s public and private sectors.

Deep South Challenge tackles crucial task of understanding and adapting to climate change

On Monday 4 September, Minister for Science and Innovation Paul Goldsmith will open the inaugural Deep South Challenge symposium at the Wharewaka (Wellington waterfront), about how New Zealand can and must change in line with our changing climate.

Climate Change Engagement in Aotearoa New Zealand

A new report released by the Deep South Challenge this month recommends increasing the availability of plain-language resources about climate change in both English and te reo Māori, framing scientific information for application to practical decision making, and increasing access to climate change conversations for a wider array of end-users.