Gender, Generation and Climate Change (GENERATE): Creative Approaches to Building Inclusive and Climate Resilient Cities in Uganda and Indonesia

Katie McQuaid

GENERATE will combine and mobilise social science and the arts to strengthen the impact and inclusivity of climate resilient urban governance. As catastrophic and slow-onset climate events emerge and increase across the world, and growing numbers migrate to urban centres, social inequalities - including gender - will manifest in uneven impacts of climate change.

GENERATE aims to broaden and deepen current approaches to gender in climate policy and practice and urban governance, which tend to neglect age as a variable, and frequently equate gender solely with women (and poor rural women in particular), often excluding the experiences of men and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex people.

This first systematic and arts-based exploration of the 'gender-age-urban' interface of climate change is distinctive in bringing together applied arts and social science methodologies to explore how gender and age intersect and manifest in inequalities. It will deliver critical new evidence on how gendered, sexualised and generational patterns and structures of exclusion can increase urban residents' vulnerability to climate change and reduce their ability to benefit equitably from climate action and sustainable development.

Focusing on two countries at high risk: Uganda and Indonesia, GENERATE will build a creative, feminist and participatory research framework that brings together child, adult and elder perspectives over time from six secondary cities. Bringing together interdisciplinary teams of researchers, artists, urban communities and key stakeholders from the UK, Uganda and Indonesia, GENERATE will use participatory arts-based methods grounded in ethnographic principles (interpretative, immersive, critical, feminist, reflexive) to develop new empirical, theoretical and methodological insights critical to meeting the UK's commitment and obligations to providing the evidence-base needed to fulfil the Sustainable Development Goals.

The project will investigate how combining participatory arts and social science techniques together can strengthen the potential of action-based research to tackle the global challenges of gender equality and climate change. GENERATE will investigate different perspectives on the 'gender-age-urban' interface from 'above' (international, national, regional and local policymakers, institutions, governance) and 'below' (day-to-day experiences and practices of people living in urban settings).

In so doing it will increase understanding of how climate change in the city is not only a gendered experience, but also a generational one; mediated by (social) age and other intersecting markers of identity including sexuality, (dis)ability, ethnicity, religion, marital status, migration and socio-economic status.

It will creatively apply findings to bridge these different perspectives in order to explore more socially just ways of transforming gender inequalities in climate action; and examine how creative methodologies can challenge discriminatory norms and practices and raise the profile and participation of marginalised groups in urban climate planning and policymaking.

Working in partnership with stakeholders from government ministries, (inter)national institutions, urban authorities and the third sector, GENERATE will co-devise, pilot and evaluate arts-led, contextually-relevant and evidence-informed strategies for accommodating growing urban populations more equitably and driving the social transformation necessary to achieve gender equality and broader social justice.

Project website