Introducing: COP26 at Lancaster Festival


A pair of hands, cupped. A miniature representation of the planet Earth is floating above them.

To tie in with a major climate change conference in Glasgow this November, the University is looking to spark debate and showcase our leading specialists and research relating to climate change as part of a ‘COP26 at Lancaster Festival’ – and we’d like you to get involved.

The 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) will be held in Glasgow

1–12 November 2021, and will bring together heads of state, climate experts and campaigners to agree coordinated action to tackle climate change.

In the run up to the Glasgow conference, Lancaster University is aiming to draw together relevant activity from across our institution to form a special week-long ‘COP26 at Lancaster Festival’ between 20–27 October 2021, and we’d like you to get involved by suggesting ideas for a programme of events.

The COP26 at Lancaster Festival will bring together a diverse programme of internal and externally-facing events aimed at staff, students, the public and school children. The programme of events will specifically aim to:

  • Connect communities working on climate change areas across campus
  • Engage staff, students, local communities, businesses and our global partners with COP-related research and innovation
  • Provide an opportunity for the University to highlight actions taken in response to declaring a climate emergency
  • Highlight individual contributions made by University staff

Speaking about the festival, Professor Simon Guy, Pro-Vice-Chancellor Global (Digital, International, Sustainability and Development) said: “The COP26 at Lancaster Festival will provide an opportunity to bring together Lancaster’s leading voices on climate change issues, all with the aim of connecting people and raising awareness whilst also sparking discussion, debate and collaboration on the greatest challenge facing us all.

“As part of the University’s declaration of a climate emergency in November 2020, this festival will demonstrate further our commitment to accelerating action on climate change from local impact to global impact and highlight the excellent research, knowledge and other activities we have going on across the University.”

Get involved - Express your interest

We’re now looking for expressions of interest to be part of the festival’s programme of events which will run from Wednesday 20 October to Wednesday 27 October 2021. Perhaps you already have a potential event planned during this period that can be added to the festival, or do you have a suggestion for one of the following?

  • Academic seminar
  • Public seminar
  • School-focused activity or climate change assembly
  • Practical panel session

Ideally, we’re looking for events that will engage, inform and spark debate. They can be specifically aimed at staff, students, school-children, the general public or all of the above. Where possible, it would be great if your suggestion is linked to one of the COP main themes (although this isn’t exclusive and if you have other ideas, please do still get in touch). The main themes are:

  • Adaptation and resilience: How to help communities adapt, and prepare for the impact of climate change.    
  • Nature based solutions: How to safeguard and restore natural habitats and ecosystems to preserve the planet’s biodiversity.    
  • Energy transitions: How to accelerate the clean energy transition by encouraging the use of cheaper renewables and storage.    
  • Clean transport: Work around speeding up the global transition to zero emission vehicles.    
  • Finance: Encourage our financial systems to be cleaner to unlock growth and create green jobs.   

In the first instance, please complete this form with your expression of interest by Friday 30th July 2021. At this initial stage, this will help us build a picture of what the festival could look like and you won’t be held to delivering on your expression of interest. We’ll be in touch shortly after the deadline to discuss plans.

In the meantime, if you have any questions about the festival please contact cop26festival@lancaster.ac.uk.

The University will also be hosting part of the Annual National ESRC Festival of Social Science 2021 throughout November, with events focussing on COP26 themes – more information and an Expression of Interest form will follow. For further information in the meantime, please contact esrciaa@lancaster.ac.uk

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