Researcher Blog by Dr Rinella Cere on Shared Solidarities 3 – Framing Catastrophe

Shared Solidarities III Framing Catastrophe

About the author

Rinella Cere is Reader in Media and Cultural Studies in the Computing and Communication Research Centre (CCRC) within C3RI. Rinella’s research interests include post-colonial theory and media cultures, theories of globalisation and Italian media culture.

In this post Rinella reflects on Shared Solidarities 3 – Framing Catastrophe: a one-day conference convened by two networks of the Media, Communication and Cultural Studies Association (MeCCSA) and hosted by C3RI.


Shared Solidarities is now in its third year. This year MeCCSA‘s Social Movement Network teamed up with the Climate Change Network to bring together community activists and academic researchers in what turned out to be a very successful and well attended conference. The title of the conference ‘Framing Catastrophe’ alludes to the urgency of tackling climate change, nuclear proliferation and armaments as well as to the way these issues are represented and circulated in the media.


Gaza memorial banner


Emeritus Professor Nigel Young, founder of Peace Studies at Bradford University was the first keynote speaker. He set the tone for the day with a cavalcade of visual images about war and peace in a paper entitled ‘Blocking out Catastrophe’. Next Jill Angwood, Chris Rust and Celia Mather representing respectively SCRAP (Sheffield Creative Action for Peace), STAG (Sheffield Tree Action Groups) and SCA (Sheffield Climate Alliance) led a session on local activism. All three drew on their own activist experience in Sheffield and described how their campaigning and organisations brought results at local level.


Chris Rust presentation on STAG

Former leader of the UK Green Party, Natalie Bennett, joined us for the afternoon session along Hallam colleague, Mike Beaken.  Mike took us on a journey on how ‘linguistic strategies’ are adopted to mask the reality of nuclear weapons in order to ‘downplay their danger’.

The third speaker in this session was the seasoned campaigner Lydia Merryl who is involved in both SERA (Socialist Environment and Resources Association) and in WILPF (Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom). Merryl has attended The Paris Climate Change as well as the Moroccan Talks and presented us with a with the United Nations-sponsored educational short film. The film was made with young school children who made a plea to the leaders attending the conferences to act for the future of ‘their’ world.

Assistant Professor Steve McGiffen of the American University in Paris, and longtime adviser and campaigner on environmental issues for the Europen Parliament, gave the closing keynote.  This talk entitled ‘ANTHROPOCENE, CAPITALOCENE, CATASTROPHOCENE: The problem of incorporating an accurate assessment of the threats posed by climate change into an effective radical politics’ further underlined the Shared Solidarities themes. His discussion of recent theorisation about climate change, based on some of his previously published work, attempted to establish valuable links between the local and the global for effective radical politics.

Chris Rust presentation on Sheffield Trees Action Group

Plans are now in place to have the proceedings of this enlightening day conference published as an edited collection entitled ‘Framing Catastrophe’.  Watch this space for further developments.


Please note: Views expressed are those of the Author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of SHU, C3RI or the C3RI Impact Blog.