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Priestley postgraduate receives climate Fellowship inspired by Margaret Atwood

Centre news

A postgraduate researcher from the University of Leeds has been appointed to a climate fellowship programme inspired by author Margaret Atwood.

Priestley International Centre for Climate PhD student Claire Cooper is one of 12 young women multidisciplinary PhD researchers from universities throughout Britain that have been selected to take part in a new ‘Under Her Eye’ Fellowship produced by arts and science organisation Invisible Dust.

The initiative has been inspired by its ambassador, Margaret Atwood, whose dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale was made into a television series broadcast on Channel 4 last year.

The Fellows will work specifically within the research context of women’s contribution to the climate change challenge. They will utilise skills gained on the fellowship to produce activities for ‘Under Her Eye’, Invisible Dust’s major summit and arts festival taking place on 1-2 June 2018 at the British Library in London.

Claire Cooper, who is doing an interdisciplinary PhD on Volcano-Climate Interactions in the Holocene, works across the School of Geography and the School of Earth and Environment and was one of the first cohort of PhD students to be appointed by the Priestley Centre in 2016.

“Global climate change is set to affect people of every gender, race, and social background in almost every aspect of our lives in the coming years,” Claire said.

“With women holding only 20-30% of core STEM jobs, initiatives like ‘Under Her Eye’ are essential in emphasising women’s roles in bringing about widescale change to tackle this problem.”

Claire Cooper will join a team of young women climate fellows for ‘Under Her Eye’

Kate Lock, Communications Officer for the Priestley International Centre for Climate, said: “Climate change cannot be tackled without acknowledging the crucial role of women and girls as part of the suite of solutions. Women are disproportionately affected by climate change; they are also central to tackling it.

“If we empower women, our chances of saving the planet are very much higher, and the Priestley International Centre for Climate welcomes the many creative ways this summit on women and climate change is emphasising that connection.

“We are very pleased to have one of our PhD students, Claire Cooper, as part of the Fellowship programme; the Priestley Centre’s research rationale uses interdisciplinary collaboration to discover novel approaches to climate solutions, so ‘Under Her Eye’ is a great fit with what we do.”

The Fellowship will provide the students with tools to collaborate across disciplines, leading to artworks and engagement programmes that spark conversations on environmental issues. The bespoke training weekend will include presentations from leading scientists and artists along with training and practical workshops on project management, communication skills, fundraising, public speaking and social media.

Main image: Margaret Atwood (photo by Liam Sharp)