HAK.io Exhibit at COP28 UAE 11 December, 2023

UN Climate Change News, 13 December 2023 – The United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) closed with an agreement that signals the “beginning of the end” of the fossil fuel era by laying the ground for a swift, just and equitable transition, underpinned by deep emissions cuts and scaled-up finance.

Credit: Kiara Worth | UN Climate Change

What did SWISP Lab do at COP28 UAE (UN Climate Change Conference – United Arab Emirates)

SWISP Lab was at COP28 as UNFCCC Observers. We also partnered in a Side event and Exhibit with Emory University to present climate stories and artefacts (badges and zines) from Hacking the Anthropocene at Carbon in Science Gallery Bengaluru. A COP28 exhibit was a place to foster discussions on key issues by engaging with people after the Side Event was over – the following days. Our Exhibit enabled participants to network beyond the seminar room around many different climate-related topics in a dynamic and diverse environment with Emory Climate Talks taking residence in Day 1 and SWISP Lab set up residence on Day 2.

How did SWISP Lab get to COP28 and exhibit HAK.io?

In partnership with Professor Eri Saikawa at Emory University and Emory Climate Talks, SWISP applied for a Side event and Exhibition to locate youth climate voices and actions from our research and engagement at University of Melbourne with the Science Gallery Network in the COP climate talks.

After many months of review, new collaborations and partnerships formed to create the accepted Side event ‘Youth Voices for Climate Action’ with Emory University and Plant for the Planet, The Sudanese Environment Conservation Society and the Max Thasibo Edkins Climate Ambassador Program. Our Emory Climate Talks colleagues facilitated a Post-COP climate actions workshop after the seminar using SWISP Lab’s Padlet to locate actions for what might be after leaving the UAE.

This Padlet screengrab shows how participants in the workshop pledged an action between COP28 and COP29 that expected to be held November 11-24 in Baku, Azerbaijan, which is located at the boundary of Eastern Europe and West Asia.

Side events and exhibits at COP28 are a platform for admitted observer organisations, which have limited speaking opportunities in the formal negotiations to have time to engage with Parties and other participants for two-way knowledge exchange, capacity building, networking, and exploring action-able options for meeting the climate challenge together.

At COP28 in the Blue Zone there were 195 Exhibits and SWISP had one with our Science Gallery Network partner Emory University. The Blue Zone hosts the formal negotiations at the heart of COP28 UAE. This is where world leaders, senior climate politicians, scientists and advisers convene with a common cause – to keep 1.5C within reach. The Blue Zone was located in Expo City Dubai.

Hacking the Anthropocene Exhibition

The exhibition booth (12) highlighted the work of young people on climate action and research focused on climate change over the 2 days. SWISP Lab HAK.io exhibition residency showcased the data collection from recent Science Gallery Bengaluru Hacking the Anthropocene workshops held at Infosys Science Foundation.

The exhibition was designed to invite people into our research and dataverse through an on site COP28 residency. We hung our Gonfalon flags (a long flag that often had pointed ends and streamers – Hogwarts style – Gonfalon flags were originally suspended from a crossbar. Today, many colleges and universities have gonfalons for ceremonial uses) with statements that developed through workshops and conversations with Carbon Mediator colleagues at Science Gallery Bengaluru. The flags included badges made by participants from workshops at Infosys Science Foundation in partnership with Science Gallery Bengaluru a week earlier.

The exhibit space allowed us to hang the climate stories from both HAK.io workshops and place them on a timeline from past to present just as participants do in our HAK workshops. These climate stories are evocative, sad, traumatic, hopeful and… (more verbs and adjectives of climate crises) that locate what it means to live in anthropogenic times and take you into a space and place for climate action. If you look closely in the photo you can see coding of the stories, done by participants themselves as a form of social practice data work.

On the wall next to the stories was a live SWIM display of the SWIM Acknowledgement to Country on a screen for Exhibit audience to wander within our research and dataverse designed for meeting, teaching, learning and social practice research in our headset. We also travelled with the headset for a VR wander into SWIM Bengaluru that allows people to get inside and ‘under the hood’ of our research.

The day was busy and full of amazing discussion as climate stories were read and responded to with a story evoked in a reader. The HAK was opened and played with by many, many hands, and the SWIM was wandered around as the magpie warbled with delight in our virtual world.

We’d like to thank the University of Melbourne, Faculty of Education, Science Gallery Bengaluru and Emory Climate Talks for their partnerships and continuous support of this work and our first trip to COP.

See you in Baku!