Reframing Water and Climate Resilience – online symposium – May 27th 2022

Call for papers

Water is the medium through which we experience many of the impacts of climate change: in droughts or floods, in melting glaciers, rising sea levels and more. Accordingly, visualisations of water or its absence have been at the core of climate change media discourse for decades and have shaped popular perceptions of this crisis. In recent years, ‘water resilience’ has increasingly been embraced as a tool for addressing the impacts of climate change and other ongoing stressors; not only as a tool for adaptation, but also as a tool for mitigation that addresses the water-energy nexus and greenhouse gas emissions from water infrastructure. However, water resilience scholarship is still primarily focussed on the physical, technological and managerial aspects of the climate crisis, while issues of social justice, power and politics are at the margins of the debate. As such, the transformative potential of climate and water resilient futures goes unrecognised.

This symposium aims to bring together the overlapping conversations around resilience, climate, water, communication and politics in order to advance social justice and reduce climate-induced water vulnerability. This one-day event will follow in the footsteps of the 2008 STEPS Centre symposium, Re-Framing Resilience, which opened the door for critical resilience research which addresses aspects of power, politics and justice in relation to resilience.

With this call for contributions, we hope to find scholars, studies and practice-based knowledge which acknowledge that building climate/water resilience is a profoundly socio-political challenge. Moreover, we are looking for interdisciplinary approaches and perspectives on the diverse framing, narratives, imaginations and discourses of resilience promoted by local and global networks of actors.  

Throughout our one-day symposium we will engage with the following questions: What can we learn from over a decade of critical resilience research that can help us to confront the water and climate challenges which lie ahead? How can we put social justice at the core of climate and water resilience practice? How can water and climate resilience be imagined, communicated, represented and visualised differently?

We wish to bring together papers and presentations on:

  • The role of media, public and stakeholder engagement in resilience practice
  • Critical approaches to water and climate resilience
  • Socio-political pathways to resilience
  • Climate mitigation through the water system
  • Risk communication and public advocacy
  • Climate and water advocacy and protest
  • Water development projects at local, national or international levels
  • Politicisation of the hydro-social
  • Different approaches for resilience practice
  • The Blue New Deal  

We are exploring possibilities for publishing the outputs of this symposium as a special issue. 

Keynote speakers:

Prof. Joanne Garde-Hansen (University of Warwick), author of Media and Water: Communication, Culture and Perception

Dr Filippo Menga (University of Bergamo), author of Water and Power in Central Asia and co-editor of Water, Technology and the Nation State

The symposium is organised by the University of Reading, the Institute of Development Studies, and the Science and Environment Communication Section of the European Communication Research and Education Association. 

Abstracts of no more than 400 words should be sent to s.kassirer [at] by 15.4.2022

For any question contact Dr Shai Kassirer at the email above.