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Placing collaboration at the heart of climate work

In the wake of the climate emergency, how can we collaborate across sectors and scales to engage and transform our communities? What does it look like when scientists work with communities, artists, and creators to build the sustainable future we need?

Chair: Zoe Rasbash

Panel: Zakiya McKenzie, Charise Johnson and further panel members TBA

Zakiya McKenzie, Writer and PhD Candidate

Zakiya McKenzie is a PhD candidate with the Leverhulme Trust-supported Caribbean Literary Heritage project at the University of Exeter researching Black British journalism in the post-war period. Zakiya is a writer and storyteller and was the 2019 writer-in-residence for Forestry England during its centenary year. In Bristol, she was 2017 Black and Green Ambassador and is a volunteer at Ujima Community Radio station.

She regularly leads nature, art and writing workshops, including one on Caribbean storytelling for primary schools. Her work has featured at the Cabot Institute for the Environment at the University of Bristol, the Institute for Modern Languages Research at the University of London, the Hepworth Wakefield Gallery, the Free Word Centre, at Cheltenham Literature Festival, on BBC’s Woman’s Hour, Farming Today and Inside Out West. She has written for Smallwoods Magazine, the Willowherb Review and BBC Wildlife Magazine.

Charise Johnson, Policy Adviser, British Academy

Charise Johnson (she/her) is a science policy researcher, environmental justice advocate, and relative newcomer to the UK. As a policy adviser at the British Academy, her work focuses broadly on the interlinking roles of science, social science, and humanities in upholding democracy and solving pressing environmental issues. Her past professional experiences are diverse, ranging from work on endangered species, chemical safety and air pollution, ocean conservation, and gender and racial equity in STEM. Prior to her role as a policy adviser at the British Academy, Charise worked as a research analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Center for Science and Democracy in Washington DC and served on the leadership board of the volunteer-led advocacy group 500 Women Scientists. She holds a BA in Psychology, an MS in Environmental Science, and is interested broadly in science and society.

Zoe Rashbash, Environmental Emergencies Action Researcher, Watershed

As part of Bristol+Bath Creative R+D, Zoe is working with creative institutions, SMEs, businesses and freelancers to explore and co-develop a framework for climate action.

With a background in climate justice youth organising and policy advocacy, Zoe has campaigned at the local, national and international level for just responses to the climate crisis. She previously coordinated the UK Youth Climate Coalition international team, leading the UK youth delegation to the UN Climate Conferences, pushing for climate reparations and support for climate migrants. At Amnesty International and Climate Strategies, Zoe worked to ensure international climate activism and research co-produced impactful results with those on the ground. She previously sat as youth representative on the UN Taskforce for Climate Displacement.

Motivated by the exciting opportunity at the intersection of the arts and environmental justice, Zoe is a guest climate editor for Shado-mag, co-founder of Lilith Archive and conducted her masters dissertation on film, gender and the climate emergency.