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Creative arts for sustainability transformations: Exploring children’s theater for the UN Sustainable Development Goals
Department of Thematic Studies—Environmental Change, Centre for Climate Science and Policy Research, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden.
Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Sustainable Societies (SUS).ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8067-2074
Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden.
2023 (English)In: Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene, E-ISSN 2325-1026, Vol. 11, no 1, article id 00124Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Sustainable development
00. Sustainable Development
Abstract [en]

This article responds to recent calls for more creative expressions of climate and sustainability transformations. In particular, research literature argues that the formulation of new narratives of sustainable societies may function as a prominent intervention for system changes. Yet, few empirical studies exist on how creative climate and sustainability storytelling elicit varying levels of awareness and engagement. With the intention to advance scholarship in the role of narratives to create engagement with sustainability transformations, this study investigates children’s theater for the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as one research site. By analyzing the interactive children’s theater play “Esmeralda and the Dragon—The Global Sustainability Goals,” we show that creative storytelling can offer a meaningful space for engagement with Agenda 2030 and the UN SDGs. In particular, we find that (1) children’s cognitive and emotional associations and experiences shape the meaning of and responses to the SDGs and (2) the play’s fictional elements resonate with children’s emotional frameworks. Based on the results, we argue that new stories are needed for sustainability transformations and that there is transformative power in the creative and performance arts in this respect, and we call for further exploration of various publics engagements with sustainability storytelling.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
University of California Press, 2023. Vol. 11, no 1, article id 00124
Keywords [en]
Environmental communication, Narratives, Performing arts, Post apocalypse, Sustainability transformations, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), communication, exploration, sustainability, Sustainable Development Goal, United Nations
National Category
Performing Arts Performing Art Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-63311DOI: 10.1525/elementa.2022.00124ISI: 001111938000001Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85180319778Local ID: GOA;;926571OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-63311DiVA, id: diva2:1826541
Funder
Swedish Research Council Formas, 2018-00222Mistra - The Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental ResearchAvailable from: 2024-01-11 Created: 2024-01-11 Last updated: 2024-02-26Bibliographically approved

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