Chemtrails louise graham main

Chemtrails by Louise Graham.

Climate change course run by the University of Exeter inspires new artworks

A free online course run by the University of Exeter which explains the science behind climate change has inspired an artist to produce paintings which depict the risks posed by the changing environment.

Louise Graham’s artworks will be displayed in the University’s main reception on the Streatham campus.

The paintings challenge the viewer to think about what might happen if we do not do more to mitigate the effects of climate change. They confront issues such as the continued use of fossil fuels, challenges of future food production, the effects of pollution and the impact of geo-engineering.

The Climate Change MOOC, or Massive Open Online Course, was developed by Tim Lenton, Professor of Climate Change and Earth System Science, and colleagues at the University of Exeter and the Met Office. It is an online course which explains the science of climate change, the risks it poses, and the solutions available to reduce those risks. Nearly 23,000 participants have enrolled on the course so far.

Louise Graham said: "Climate change is a highly emotive subject which can be difficult to understand. Being guided through the key issues by experts, and encouraged to question, debate and evaluate the topics greatly improved my understanding. As a result, I became even more motivated to paint. I'm very happy that my donation has been so well received by Exeter University and hope that the display encourages more people to try this excellent MOOC."

Universities run MOOCs to widen access to a variety of academic subjects through free courses on the internet. As well as video content, readings, and problems for students to solve, many MOOCs encourage social learning through discussions and other interactive activities.

Professor Lenton said: “I am excited that Louise Graham’s participation in the MOOC has inspired her to produce these wonderful paintings. Climate change can be a daunting subject, so it is fantastic to see such an artistic response – it is exactly the sort of creative reaction to the course that I was hoping for”.

Naome Glanville, the University of Exeter’s Arts and Culture Co-ordinator said: “We are delighted to receive Louise’s paintings into our collections. It’s wonderful to have works on show which are directly inspired by research at the university.”

Since completing the MOOC Louise has continued to incorporate climate change issues into her artistic practice. She has recently initiated a project called 'Waking Up to Climate Change' inviting schoolchildren, community groups and individuals to help create original art works on fabric squares, which are stitched together to make person-sized blankets, symbolising the blanket effect of the greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. These blankets were taken to the Conference of the Parties (COP21), the UN climate conference held in Paris this month.

The four paintings by Louise Graham will be displayed in the University of Exeter Main Reception, Streatham Campus from 5 until 20 January 2016, Monday to Friday, 9 am – 5pm. More information about the display can be found at:

Date: 11 December 2015