Environmental Futures

Landscape image of wind turbines

This programme is grounded in the need to generate new alliances and ways of conducting environmental arts research that are able to influence cultural policy, address global questions and contribute to the resilience of shared environments in regional and national contexts.

The next thirty years present environmental challenges and changes that outpace what we have seen so far. Especially in light of the climate emergency, but with respect to wellbeing of ourselves and the natural world more broadly, environmental research must be future-focused and genuinely interdisciplinary, characterised by open, ecological, and often design-led ways of thinking and working.

Programme overview

We are interested in questions concerning the complex functions and dynamics of these living networks, in which the creative industries have a key connective role: in connecting communities and cultures, in generating illuminating experiences of natural systems and our human role in them, by imagining better ways of engaging with our lived world, and pioneering innovative designs for future modes of living.

Central to this is a study of emergent and shifting relationships among the arts, technology and environments, where we look at questions of sustainability and innovation side by side.

Key areas of focus include:

  • Living Networks: Climate Humanities, Energy and Informatics
  • Shaping Futures: Design for Coastal Industries & Agri-Tech
  • Communities Connected: Access to the Arts and Technology
  • Against Boundaries: Collaborations in Arts and Sciences
  • Future Cornwall: Sustaining Heritage and Coastal Tourism
  • Land, Sea and Space: Engaging Extreme Environments
  • Bee Friendly: Design Approaches to Agricultural Sustainability
  • Blue Mind: Coastal Environments and Mental Health

Research in this programme has produced exciting applications in areas such as agri-tech, aquaculture, tourism and mental health, suited to the nonlinear and uncertain realities in which we now live.

The questions we seek to address are:

  • How can innovative design for industry promote regeneration, rather than just ‘sustainability’?
  • How do environmental challenges in rural areas compare to those of urban environments, and how can we address them more effectively?
  • How can creativity generate meaningful and viable solutions for the climate emergency that have wide scope and reach?
  • What is meant by Climate Humanities, and how can we develop it further in light of the climate emergency?
  • What unconventional modes of engagement can be developed to shift human behaviours?
  • What role will complexity play in future modes of living, and how can we develop human capacity to manage that complexity?
  • How can innovative design approaches enable new ways of relating to nonhumans and nonhuman environments, in ways that are productive for industry and society?
  • How can we preserve elements of rural and traditional environmental practises in a time of rapid change – and in what ways will these practises inform future ways of living and working?

Programme lead

Man standing in snow next to North Pole sign

Dr Huw Lewis-Jones

Dr Huw Lewis-Jones is an Associate Professor of Environment and Culture at Falmouth. As an environmental historian and expedition leader, Huw is interested in capturing the natural world. His research and professional outputs focus on the environmental humanities and animal history. Huw is an award-winning author, photo editor, art director and curator, as well as being a passionate advocate for conservation and sustainability.

View profile


Some of the projects within this programme include:

Architecture Making Community 8
Architecture Making Community

Architecture Making Community

Architecture Making Community is a programme of research and live-projects that challenge the way we...

Architecture Making Community
Juvenile lobsters in a white growing tray
Lobster Grower juvenile tray

Lobster Grower & Lobster Grower 2

Lobster Grower is a consortium led project, working to establish a low-carbon method of rearing lobs...

Lobster Grower & Lobster Grower 2
Seascape with outline of a mortar board
University of the Village crop image

University of the Village

University of the Village sought to harness superfast broadband to enable a new approach to online l...

University of the Village
A woman wearing a VR headset

South West Creative Technology Network

The South West Creative Technology Network drives both blue-sky thinking and real-world developments...

South West Creative Technology Network
A bee hovering by a blue Bee Brick in the wall
Bee Brick lead image

Bee Brick

Bee Brick is an innovative product, offering the dual function of being a construction material that...

Bee Brick
Of This Parish
Of This Parish_lead

Of This Parish

The idea of a ‘Parish’ – a common device used to delineate territory while also defining a sac...

Of This Parish
Students sat on low chairs working in front of large window looking through to the library on Penryn campus.
Facilities: Library 6

Learning & Teaching

Equipping our students with the knowledge to make sustainable choices and changes when they graduate...

Learning & Teaching

PhD & MPhil researchers 

PhD and MPhil researchers aligning with the Environmental Futures programme include: 

NameThesis title
Daniel O’CarrollWriting the New Heritage: A Bakhtinian challenge to storytelling the Authorized Heritage Discourse
Jerry PadfieldBroadening Participation in Community Radio: Investigating Methods for Inclusion and Well-being
Jane MossWhat is the Potential of Digital Media as a Resource in Co-authorship of a Community Novel?

Research opportunities 

Alignment criteria​

We welcome applications for PhD or MPhil that align to any of the research questions listed above, or other question(s) related to the ways the arts and creative industries can and will be used to shape environmental futures.

How to apply​

Applicants may apply by submitting a project idea of their own or by responding to one of our Falmouth Doctoral Project briefs.

View all opportunities

Research Repository

Falmouth University’s Research Repository (FURR) hosts, preserves and provides open access to our publicly available collection of University produced research materials, for the benefit of staff students, the wider field and general public.

Environmental Futures in FURR

Access all current and historic research materials published in association with the Environmental Futures programme and its portfolio of research and innovation projects.​

Bee in Bee Brick

Latest news

BA(Hons) Digital Games - Remnant Village Night
Work by Luke Philp-Hines

2019 Projects

Browse through projects and articles associated with this programme produced in 2019.

2019 Projects
Keeper of the Light

AMATA Students Commissioned to Create Historic Performance Piece

04 June 2019

Falmouth’s Academy of Music & Theatre Arts has been commissioned by The Box, Plymouth, to crea...

AMATA Students Commissioned to Create Historic Performance Piece
Spilling the beans (s2) group photo

Spilling the Beans: A Collaborative Student Web Series

05 June 2019

Students from across departments have been collaborating on an exciting digital television project: ...

Spilling the Beans: A Collaborative Student Web Series
The Descent of Inanna by the ACT Ensemble led by Anna-Helena McLean
Photo by Sid Sawant @onupproductions; The Descent of Inanna by the ACT Ensemble led by Anna-Helena McLean

Acting Residency for Student

31 January 2020

Third Year Acting student Robert Bogdanov-Schein has been accepted on a specialist co-habitation res...

Acting Residency for Student
Group of students sat on theatre floor and smiling.
Acting theatre performance students watching smiling

Enhancement Week gives AMATA students access to industry expertise

27 January 2022

Accent classes with a renowned coach, accredited unarmed combat sessions and intensive dance worksho...

Enhancement Week gives AMATA students access to industry expertise