Gender, Generation and Climate Change (GENERATE): Creative Approaches to Building Inclusive and Climate Resilient Cities in Uganda and Myanmar

Lead Research Organisation: University of Leeds
Department Name: Sch of Geography


GENERATE will combine and mobilise social science and the arts to strengthen the impact and inclusivity of climate resilient urban governance. As catastrophic and slow-onset climate events emerge and increase across the world, and growing numbers migrate to urban centres, social inequalities - including gender - will manifest in uneven impacts of climate change. GENERATE aims to broaden and deepen current approaches to gender in climate policy and practice and urban governance, which tend to neglect age as a variable, and frequently equate gender solely with women (and poor rural women in particular), often excluding the experiences of men and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex people. This first systematic and arts-based exploration of the 'gender-age-urban' interface of climate change is distinctive in bringing together applied arts and social science methodologies to explore how gender and age intersect and manifest in inequalities. It will deliver critical new evidence on how gendered, sexualised and generational patterns and structures of exclusion can increase urban residents' vulnerability to climate change and reduce their ability to benefit equitably from climate action and sustainable development.

Focusing on two countries at high risk: Uganda and Myanmar, GENERATE will build a creative, feminist and participatory research framework that brings together child, adult and elder perspectives over time from six secondary cities. Bringing together interdisciplinary teams of researchers, artists, urban communities and key stakeholders from the UK, Uganda and Myanmar, GENERATE will use participatory arts-based methods grounded in ethnographic principles (interpretative, immersive, critical, feminist, reflexive) to develop new empirical, theoretical and methodological insights critical to meeting the UK's commitment and obligations to providing the evidence-base needed to fulfil the Sustainable Development Goals. The project will investigate how combining participatory arts and social science techniques together can strengthen the potential of action-based research to tackle the global challenges of gender equality and climate change.

GENERATE will investigate different perspectives on the 'gender-age-urban' interface from 'above' (international, national, regional and local policymakers, institutions, governance) and 'below' (day-to-day experiences and practices of people living in urban settings). In so doing it will increase understanding of how climate change in the city is not only a gendered experience, but also a generational one; mediated by (social) age and other intersecting markers of identity including sexuality, (dis)ability, ethnicity, religion, marital status, migration and socio-economic status. It will creatively apply findings to bridge these different perspectives in order to explore more socially just ways of transforming gender inequalities in climate action; and examine how creative methodologies can challenge discriminatory norms and practices and raise the profile and participation of marginalised groups in urban climate planning and policymaking. Working in partnership with stakeholders from government ministries, (inter)national institutions, urban authorities and the third sector, GENERATE will co-devise, pilot and evaluate arts-led, contextually-relevant and evidence-informed strategies for accommodating growing urban populations more equitably and driving the social transformation necessary to achieve gender equality and broader social justice.

Planned Impact

1. PARTICIPANTS & URBAN COMMUNITIES: By using sustained, interactive, arts-based methodologies, GENERATE expects to achieve significant socio-cultural impact among participants from marginalized urban communities in Uganda and Myanmar. Through a combination of training, action-based focus group discussions, and creative research activities to explore experiences, norms and practices, participants will gain capability, knowledge and skills to look critically at inequitable gender and generational norms and relations, self-advocate, engage with stakeholders at multiple scales, and be supported in building cohesion, knowledge and effective actions to tackle inequalities. Enhanced research and advocacy capacity will empower them to attract future development and pursue wider community advocacy and action. Of equal importance are wider publics engaging with peer research activities and arts-led public engagement events and discussions. Their concerns will be made visible and represented to local/national policy-makers, and they will be supported in taking multilateral action towards gender-transformative climate resilience.

2. PARTNERING DECISION-MAKERS & PRACTITIONERS: Policymakers and practitioners working on delivering gender equality and climate action will gain skills and experience in creative new methodologies and benefit as members of technical working groups, national committees, and audiences of arts-led knowledge exchange. They will benefit through participating in workshops and events to better understand community priorities, perspectives and contexts for change. This will enable them to better relate to and serve the communities in question; to recognise and apply more complex intersectional approaches to gender that address age and sexuality; and establish new avenues for community consultation and participation of minority groups. Creative knowledge exchange, freely-accessible project outputs, stakeholder workshops and national forums will improve networking, relationships and sharing of best practices, and organisational cultures through charting changing norms and behaviour in policy and third sector institutions, and enhance inclusivity, effectiveness and sustainability of gender and climate programmes. Myanmar's 'Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan 2016-2030' includes 'inclusive and integrated- development' as key principles for a 'climate-resilient, inclusive nation', and while Uganda's 'National Climate Change Bill' is in development, its 'National Climate Change Policy' addresses 'cross-cutting issues' including gender. GENERATE's evidence and research communities will contribute to these key policy priorities.

3. RESEARCH USERS, LOBBYISTS & POLICYMAKERS: To maximise the potential for transformation GENERATE will co-design, pilot and evaluate arts-led and evidence-informed strategies for gender-transformative climate resilience. Through making these (and underpinning evidence) available to policymakers and target audiences in the UK, Uganda and Myanmar - and those working in other developing country contexts - we expect these to be replicated and reach a large number of beneficiaries over time as end-users continue to invest in and implement these approaches across developing world contexts. Project outputs (reports, artistic outputs, open-access academic publications, website, toolkits) will be freely accessible to research users, lobbyist organisations and policymakers at different scales (from governance and policy at the scale of the city to the nation) to extend and deepen the knowledge base that supports evidence-informed policy making and implementation, and widen global accessibility to findings and best practices among non-specialised end-users. GENERATE will deliver theoretical and methodological benefits to UK academics working within and across disciplines on gender and/or climate change in developing country contexts (see Academic Beneficiaries section).


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