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Art and science combine to tackle climate change

28 August 2018

James Renwick and Sarah Mead2 

Image: James Renwick and Sarah Mead


Three prominent Hamilton artists are taking part in the next stop of a nationwide tour to debate how the arts can enhance our understanding of climate change science and inspire people to take action.

The Hamilton leg of the Arts + Climate Innovation Roadshow will take place at Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga o Waikato this Thursday, as one of 10 instalments happening around the country.

Two of New Zealand’s top climate scientists, Professor James Renwick and Professor Tim Naish (from Victoria University), will join local artists Zena Elliott, Adrienne Grant and Xavier Meade to discuss the role of the arts as a powerful agent to raise awareness and inspire action in response to climate change.

The free public event is organised by Track Zero in partnership with the Royal Society Te Aparangi, with Hamilton following Dunedin, Nelson, New Plymouth, Hastings and Tauranga as the host city.

Track Zero was established in 2018 to make climate science and information about how we adapt and cut emissions more accessible while encouraging climate change action by using creative expression.

Event organiser and Track Zero founder Sarah Meads says the need for climate action and innovation is "the biggest cultural challenge of our time".

"You’ll learn the very latest climate science, be inspired by creative art projects and explore how more can be achieved by working with the power of the arts," she says. "Scientists tell us we have a critical window – less than a decade - in which to act to prevent climate events that may be beyond our capacity to adapt, affecting civilisation as we know it.

"Our response needs to start now, be ambitious and creative, to shape the future we want."

Waikato Museum Director Cherie Meecham says the chosen artists are well known for both their creative work and social conscience.

“A key function of museums is to make complex information easy to absorb, and foster conversation on topical issues,” she says.

“Xavier and Adrienne’s work featured in an exhibition at Waikato Museum earlier this year that focused on the plight of kauri in the face of kauri dieback disease.

“Zena’s paintings have both critical and popular appeal, which art needs to have if it is to inspire mainstream action.”

Arts + Climate Innovation Roadshow, Thursday 30 August 2018, 6pm - 8pm, Waikato Museum. Registration is essential via Eventbrite: