Communicate 2017: Navigating Change

Echo Chambers and Fake News? Communicate 2017 explores the world of environmental communication in a Post-Truth landscape.

By Savita Willmott, Director of Bristol Natural History consortium

Pulling together the annual Communicate conference programme each year is a fascinating and sometimes nerve-wracking experience. Like many engagement campaigns – we often don’t know where we will end up when we begin our annual programme of research, interviews, national consultation sessions, and monthly meetings with the Communicate Committee.

This year, we even changed the topic partway through the year, as our debates and discussions with leaders across the sector revealed that the most important challenge environmental communication organisations were facing was bigger than building critical tools and capacity. Over and over again we heard that organisations were changing direction, finding new partners, creating bold communications to stand up for the natural world. Over and over, we heard stories about organisations Navigating Change.

We decided for the first time to try a pre-event, Changing Minds, which drilled into the most popular topic at Communicate 2016: behaviour science for environmental communicators.

We’re thrilled to release the final programme for this year’s Communicate conference. I’m extremely pleased to welcome 36 speakers from around the UK to address 150+ environmental communication professionals from a broad range of organisations. As a conference, we’re challenging ourselves once again to try some new formats and evaluation techniques.

It’s also been an exciting challenge to sell-out the conference so early this year. Although we’re delighted that the topics and sessions we gathered across the UK have garnered so much interest, we now know that sharing the views and outcomes far beyond the conference will be even more important this year. We’re excited to work with a group of young professionals from UWE who will be helping us film the sessions, and we’ll be sharing lessons throughout on our twitter handle @communicateconf.

Our next challenges? Creating our next event in early 2018, drilling into the biggest themes from 2017, and responding to the increasing requests to build more into the Communicate community. Want to join us? Even if you’re not attending the conference in person this year, we’d love to hear from you. Get in touch at Savita@bnhc.org.uk.

In a time of unprecedented social, economic and political change we urgently need proactive tools for successfully communicating environmental issues. Communicate goes straight to the interface and asks some difficult questions about current approaches as we explore a shifting landscape of echo-chambers, divisive opinions and fake news.

Full and One day passes are now SOLD OUT but we do have some spaces available to join a limited selection of single sessions or the networking dinner for £25 +VAT