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The University of Exeter showcases creative approaches to confronting climate change at COP28 in Dubai

The University of Exeter showcases creative approaches to confronting climate change at COP28 in Dubai


Published on 18 January 2024

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A University of Exeter (UoE) international interdisciplinary team of experts has pioneered a new way of communicating climate science that really engages people intellectually - and emotionally - in the lead up to and as a part of major international negotiations, urgently driving a response to the call for action to safeguard and restore our planet.

The University of Exeter’s We Are the Possible ( COP28, Dubai 2023); We Still Have a Chance (COP27, Egypt 2022); and One Chance Left (COP26, UK 2021); have each been successfully showcased at the diplomatic level and in public spaces at successive COP gatherings and other fora, helping to place the University of Exeter, the UK, and other partners, at the heart of the international conversation on confronting the climate crisis, with determination, hope, and action – laying the groundwork for even wider impact and reach at COP and beyond in the coming years.

The COP28 We Are the Possible programme co-created new narratives at the interface of science, health, education, and the arts, connecting local and global issues across generations, to catalyse climate actions and solutions to forge a greener, healthier, and fairer world. A successful programme of engagement and creative outputs was delivered at COP28 between 4th-11th December 2023. These included 14 high-profile events ranging from live amphitheatre events with audiences of 3000 people, to workshop sessions involving 40 people. Venues included the UK Pavilion and public facing spaces at COP28, and at major cultural institutions in Dubai including the Mohammed Bin Rashid Library and the Etihad Museum . 

Below are some of the highlights of the work that was prepared and presented as part of the COP28 events, described by Cecilia Mañosa Nyblon, ( – the University of Exeter’s ‘COP28 We Are the Possible’ Director.

The programme focused on three key interconnected strands:- 

We Are the Possible

 - a bi-lingual (English/Arabic) anthology of poetry, co-created by 200 climate scientists, health professionals, artists, educators, youth leaders and other scientists. The anthology has provided a launchpad for adaptation through the arts, including a ‘Bright Light Burning’ theatre performance, and music and soundscapes created by students at BIMM University in Bristol. (We Are the Possible).

We Are the Ocean

– a bi-lingual anthology of poetry in English and Arabic, weaving together the voices of  over 400 children aged 10-12 from coastal schools in the UK and the UAE. It was co-created as part of the Schools Across the Ocean programme – involving a network of 13 coastal schools in the UK and the UAE, connected by creating communities of learning through science (exploring seagrass and the ocean), and through stories, art, and action to protect the oceans and the planet. (We Are the Ocean).

We Are the Ancestors

– which gives a voice and light to the importance of indigenous peoples’ wisdom. Indigenous knowledge systems hold valuable insights and solutions for restoring the balance in our planet, addressing climate change. (We Are the Ancestors). 

The whole programme was co-created and delivered in partnership with the UK Met Office, Emirates Literature Foundation (UAE), Khorfakkan University (UAE), The Theatre of Others (USA), BIMM University (UK), The British Council, Ministry of Education (UAE) and UNICEF (UAE), as well as other collaborators. It was funded by the British Embassy (UAE), the Met Office, UKRI and the British Council. 








  1. A copy of the ‘We are the Ocean’ anthology book was presented to the U.S Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry.
  2. The COP28 Expo City.
  3. The ‘We are the Possible’ amphitheatre event.

An article was also published in a Lancet journal, describing the novel approach adopted.   New Narratives for a Healthy Planet – The Lancet Planetary Health