Adapting Together: How can we all play a part in climate action?



Climate change affects everyone but not everyone is able to take effective action against the climate crisis. With systemic change slow, and the public encouraged to shoulder individual responsibility, the majority are faced with an unrealistic burden. How can design create accessible opportunities to engage with the climate crisis? How can design work for the benefit of both our community and climate? This symposium explores pathways to equitable climate action through design-led community, research and environmental projects, across four themes of repair, adapt, collaborate and transition.

“Human-induced climate change is the cause of dangerous and widespread disruption to nature and affects the lives of billions of people around the world” (IPCC report, Feb 2022).

Urgent action is required on local, national and global scales and we know that society has a desire to combat this crisis. However, some routes to climate action, such as buying organic produce, investing in electric vehicles or installing expensive home insulation, are not accessible to all. We also face increasingly complex challenges in a post-pandemic society with a cost of living crisis and food and fuel poverty colliding with "and sometimes directly impeding" climate policy.

So how might design and design research help create inclusive, collective opportunities and tangible pathways to change, where every individual can access and contribute towards a collective good? Taking eight case studies - spanning e-waste and repair, community housing and collective action – and inviting responses to those case studies, we ask how we might respond equitably to the climate crisis.

This symposium is a collaboration between ImaginationLancaster – a design-led research lab at Lancaster University and Future Observatory – a national programme for design research supporting the UK’s response to the climate crisis at the Design Museum.

This symposium is funded by Research England and the Arts and Humanities Research Council, which are both part of UK Research and Innovation.

Who is this event for?

Academics, researchers and students – we will be presenting a range of the latest design research around climate change and community.

Public sector, community and voluntary organisations – this is a chance to shape the debate around how we include all of our society in taking climate action.

People who live in Lancaster and Morecambe district – we will be discussing issues that affect you and your future.

Anyone concerned with the climate crisis and how we can work together to address this.


Akil Scafe Smith, Amahra Spence, Cher Potter, Danielle Purkiss, Immy Kaur, Irtiza Nasar, Jo Bambrough, Professor Jenni Popay, Justin McGuirk, Laurie Peake, Mark Davies, Melissa Mean, Dr Mike Stead and Professor Nick Dunn.



Akil Scafe Smith

RESOLVE collective

Amahra Spence


Danielle Purkiss


Civic Square

Policy Fellow 2023

Shaikh Irtiza Nasar

University of the Arts London

Jo Bambrough

Good Things Collective

Jenni Popay

Lancaster University

Laurie Peake

Super Slow Way

Melissa Mean

We Can Make

Mike Stead

Lancaster University

Nick Dunn

Lancaster University

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