Risk communication

We enable collaboration between philosophers, social and cultural theorists, linguists, business studies, documentary makers and environmental scientists across a variety of risk issues. Some of our projects are below.

Project 1 - Media Masks and Motivation

Across 2021-22, Nathan Abrams is leading an AHRC-funded interdisciplinary project into media, masks and motivation. While disposable facemasks present a convenient, low-cost solution to mitigate transmission of COVID-19, they carry greater associated environmental costs than reusable masks which are less likely to be discarded but require higher financial outlay. The influence of media messaging - positive or negative - in determining people's mask-wearing choices is unknown, despite the considerable medical and environmental implications.  This project explores the complex factors underpinning consumer choice of masks and the adoption or rejection of facemask wearing, including responsible disposal of masks, by using multi-disciplinary methods to evaluate constructive and destructive messaging around (a) mask-wearing and motivation, and (b) sustainable choices within the facemask wearing arena.  The overall aim is to better understand current facemask wearing behaviour as influenced by the media to improve uptake and enhance the effectiveness of media campaigns for the future, specifically considering environmental issues.

Project 2Governing Philosophies in Technology Policy

Funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Human-Data Interaction network, across 2020-21, Gilad Rosner (IoT Privacy Forum) and Vian Bakir explored Governing Philosophies in Technology Policy: Permissionless Innovation vs. the Precautionary Principle (EP/R045178/1). Their resulting White Paper studies the evolution of the concepts of Permissionless Innovation and the Precautionary Principle, and reflects upon the wide range of social and democratic harms ushered in by minimally regulated AI. They recommend that governance actors in the area of digital technologies actively use the language of the precautionary principle to communicate nuanced stances on regulation of innovation, eliminate straw man caricatures, reject the false choice of innovation versus regulation, and acknowledge that innovation does not always have beneficial outcomes.

Project 3 Communicating Carbon Capture Technologies

Michela Cortese (who is doing a theory-practice PhD on risk communication and fictional/factual narratives), participated in two collaborative grants with Dr Enrico Andreoli (PI, College of Engineering, Swansea University) to make a short, persuasive documentary for policy-makers and funders to explain the new technology of carbon capture. These grants were from National Research Network in Advanced Engineering and Materials and Sêr Cymru; and from Engineering and Physical Science Research Council. Grant ref: EPSRC: EP/N009525/1.