Who we are

We are academics at the University of the West of England, Bristol.

We have many things in common, including our love of literature. We want to share our research on climate literature with community groups, schools and teachers because we believe in the power of literary texts to develop critical understanding and empathy.

Dr Sarah Robertson

Sarah’s teaching and research focus on American literature. Her research specialism is the American South, particularly the literature of the Appalachian region. Her interests in the literary depictions of economics and poverty led Sarah to work on the representation of extractive industries in Appalachia, and her exploration of environmental justice in relation to poverty and environmental devastation. Sarah’s commitment to these issues was cemented by a visit to New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward in 2010 where she witnessed the ongoing struggles the community faced in building back after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Sarah has brought these research interests into the classroom where she works with her undergraduate students on questions of extraction, climate change, and indigenous rights. Check out Sarah’s publications here: people.uwe.ac.uk/Person/SarahRobertson

Dr Ann Alston

Ann’s teaching and research focus on Children’s literature. She has many varying research interests and has published on the subjects ranging from ideology and the construction of the family in children’s fiction to Roald Dahl, and more recently to aspects of YA literature. Her latest research focuses on the depiction of the climate in children’s and young adult literature. Ann has always had a keen interest in ensuring her research has an impact outside of the university and as such often visits schools to deliver CPD or classroom sessions on critical literacy. She is passionate that young readers should be able to read against a narrative, to ask questions, to read illustrations as well as words, and to consider who and what is and isn’t included in children’s literature. Ann is currently involved in an collaborative project which brings together academics from literature, education and science backgrounds to work with schools on how literature and science can work together to bring cutting edge research on the climate to our classrooms.  Check out Ann’s publications here: people.uwe.ac.uk/Person/AnnAlston

We are working with our other UWE colleagues on climate change literature projects:

Dr Sara Williams

Sara is Senior Lecturer and Researcher in Environmental Psychology with specialist interest in how young people are experiencing the climate crisis. Sara’s research has focused on a range of environmental issues such as flooding, climate education, resilience and adaptation, and she has published her findings internationally. Her methodological approach includes careful design to ensure that the young people she works with enjoy the time that they spend with her. Sara’s research interests are fuelled by a passion to enable those that do not normally have a voice in policy and decision making to be heard, and to realise and advocate for children’s potential to act as agents of change for the future. https://people.uwe.ac.uk/Person/Sara3Williams

Dr Rosamund Portus

Rozzy is a lecturer in Environmental Management at the University of the West of England Bristol. Rosamund’s current research focuses on young people’s experiences of climate crisis with a focus on transformative climate education, parental perspectives around children’s nature connections, and the value of fiction for climate communication and engagement. Her recent PhD considered the social and cultural dimensions of bee decline. She has published articles in journals such as Text and Performance Quarterly, Society & Animals, Arcadia, National Association for Environmental Education, and Humanities spanning topics such as the environmental arts, extinction studies, rewilding, and co-production with young people. Alongside her research work, Rosamund is a painter and illustrator. https://people.uwe.ac.uk/Person/RosamundPortus