My Thesis: Dance for Climate Change Awareness

by Amelia Unsicker (UCI):

For my first blog post, I would like to introduce you to my project. I am using my thesis, as a graduate student in the Dance Department, and my work as a Climate Communications Fellow to address the culture of climate change communications. I am using this opportunity to bridge my curricular activities with the larger goals of the GCLC and the GSRC. For more information about these amazing organizations and their opportunities, check out the following links:

Throughout my remaining time at UC Irvine, I plan to research how dance can bring awareness to climate change. Dance has been used as an agent of social activism throughout history, and I plan to continue using its persuasive power to provide enlightenment on the topic of climate change. My thesis will investigate the following questions: How can choreography be used to focus awareness on societal issues, specifically the effects climate change? What strategies might promote audience viewership? What might enhance the power of the choreography? What do climatologists and environmental scientists have to say about our current environmental state, and what do they believe needs to be accomplished in order to make a change? What methodologies and strategies have other choreographers used in creating works regarding climate change?

I plan to interview environmental scientists on and off campus. I will also research choreographers, such as Jody Sperling, who is choreographing a work about the thinning Arctic ice sheet and the increase of under-ice phytoplankton (for more information:

My overarching goal is to create a screendance that will include choreography set in several environments primarily within California (specifically areas near UC schools) with original music and the audio from my interviews with climate experts and choreographers. This dance film will contrast the beauty of nature with the devastation of climate change. Next year, I plan to show this film along with a live dance performance for my thesis concert.

I look forward to keeping you updated on the progress of my thesis, and many other climate projects going on at UC Irvine.


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