Thursday, September 18, 2014

Dr Joe Smith


Dr Joe Smith

Dr Joe Smith

Senior Lecturer in Environment

Dr Joe Smith is attending COP15 and will be available throughout the conference for comment.

Contact via Kath Middleditch 01908 655026 / k.middleditch@open.ac.uk

Expertise: environmental politics, climate change, public engagement in the environment.


All of Joe’s work seeks to promote better understanding of – and action on – global environmental change issues. This breaks down into three areas of research and commentary: the history of environmental politics; public engagement and the media, and the politics of consumption. These three areas are not separate – each informs the others. His research practice across these areas has a strongly collaborative and interdisciplinary quality and an experimental edge.

In much of Joe’s work he has combined thinking and writing about these issues with direct engagement. He draws on the term ‘action research’ to describe projects that generate research but are simultaneously designed to make a difference to the way the world is. These include a long running strand of work on media decision-making and environment (1996-), the experimental public engagement and research project Interdependence Day (2006-) and the communications, participation and research project Creative Climate (2009-) (a ‘Mass Observation’ of climate change over ten years, 2010-2020). All of these seek, in different but related ways, to advance public understanding and debate about environmental change, and to place them within the context of wider political, social and cultural change.

Together these strands of research contribute to an understanding of the dynamic relations between media, publics, democratic institutions and environmental change.  Joe teaches environmental politics at both undergraduate and Masters level, and has four current or recent PhD students in the areas of environmental politics, and cultural work on climate change. In addition to his academic research he writes popular materials on environmental issues and has consulted on numerous broadcast projects on BBC1, BBC2, BBC4 and Radio 4 over the last ten years.