Balancing science with art for sustainable change

“Can we make this analysis more scientific?”, a client asked the other day. And of course, there’s always more data and science that could be used for target-setting and analysis. But data and science aren’t always the best ingredients to create impact. Instead, art could be just what you need to drive positive change.

Art for action

The art of storytelling, the art of persuasion, the art of creative infographics and visuals that bring the data and the science to life in a meaningful way. All too often, we stick mostly to our logical, rational mindset. To increase our impact, we should add art to connect the goals, data, and science, inspiring people to act.

A play on words and climate change

Concerned citizen

The Shell Trial is a piece of staged art that raises the sense of urgency around climate change. It builds on the groundbreaking court case in which a Dutch court ruled that Shell should change its strategy to reduce CO2 emissions.

After a year and a half without going to the theater, I attended this award-winning play. It highlights the multifaceted way in which we are all looking for someone else to take responsibility and action. With a powerful narrative, the actors portray oil company Shell, a citizen, a consumer, the government, future generations, and the planet.

Future generation rep shares her concerns

On a highly effective stage, the actors artfully combine words, movements, and props to tell their stories. They make it crystal clear that there are as many perspectives as there are stakeholders to the climate change emergency. And with that, the play serves as a powerful reminder to add art and engagement to science to really drive impact and positive change.

So next time someone asks that same question, I may just take them to a theater to experience the power of art.

This blog was written by Marjolein Baghuis and also appeared on LinkedIn. To read about interesting people, book reviews, and other posts about sustainability, change, and communications please subscribe to this blog in the right-hand column. Photo credits: Karin Jonkers 

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