[1] A sense of poignancy and engagement can be provoked on site. As in this mockup example of a video mapping intervention. [2] Film installation I am here, made by Bifrost team members.
What is Bifrost 2017?

Bifrost is an environmental arts-research intervention on climate change led by educators and researchers from the Nordic Network for Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies (NIES) working in close collaboration with visual artists and media designers. It is a not-for-profit project based at several universities in the Nordic countries. Since 2011 these partners have worked to disseminate knowledge on a range of environmental questions at the intersection of nature and culture. The next iteration of the project, Bifrost: The Future is Now, will launch in autumn 2017. It will bring together citizens from all walks of life to showcase knowledge and demonstrate the capacity for decisive individual, organizational and community engagement in climate-change mitigation and adaptation efforts as we work to realize the world’s commitments following the COP21 Paris agreement.

The goals of Bifrost: The Future is Now

The project works to promote a shift in public perceptions and understanding of the societal and environmental challenges of climate change. The project has the following specific goals:

• Build greater public awareness and understanding concerning climate change – its causes, risks, consequences and possible solutions – by communicating state of the art scientific knowledge to diverse audiences in society.
• Showcase ways in which this knowledge can be better understood and applied by citizens from different sectors of society and how climate crises can be turned into moments of constructive change for human societies and the planet.
• Help reframe perceptions of risk and loss through art, for example by bringing distant threatened environments into the heart of urban areas in the form of compelling artistic manifestations.
• Counteract apathy and inertia through similar creative efforts to close the affective and imaginative distances between more sheltered urban environments and front-line communities that are disproportionately affected by climate change.
• Institute an inclusive, cross-sectoral forum for addressing gaps between topdown and bottom-up efforts to tackle the acknowledged challenges of climate change; producing a Living Contract as a recommendations document to be submitted for consideration to appropriate international agencies.

[1] Digital mockup of outdoor video documentary installation, Sergels Torg in Stockholm. [2] A bifrost action is designed to include talks, panel discussions and art interventions. [3] film installation Bifrost 1.0 exhibited in the chappel at Sigtuna Stiftelsen.
The motivation behind Bifrost

We are not likely to witness effective amelioration of anthropogenic global warming or successful human adaptations to global changes already underway without a coalescence of top-down and grass roots efforts. Science and top-down policy efforts on their own are not enough. Bifrost involves many of those in society who have previously lacked meaningful opportunities for engagement in climate change discussions or mitigation and adaptation efforts.

How Bifrost engages people

Bifrost operates outside the box of ordinary scientific communication and educational engagement. The project works to mobilize state of the art scientific knowledge in at least three distinct contexts, all of which involve art as a major component:

1) Through a series of public interventions in urban environments called Bifrost actions, large-scale, weekendlong events combining various elements; these include art installations, films, public educational talks and cultural activities meant to engage audiences in constructive and pedagogical dialogue with experts, activists, politicians and people living on the front lines of climate change;
2) Through digital resources accessible via the internet and regularly updated through the life of the project (2017-2020) and beyond: these include a website, a mobile app, social media content, an archive of documentaries, interviews, case studies, testimonials and art works addressing climate change challenges and solutions;
3) Through various programs, conferences and exhibitions sponsored by partnering organizations that make use of Bifrost media outputs and/or collaborate with the Bifrost team on jointly produced new media content and/or live public programs.

Bifrost action

A Bifrost action connects with large audiences over several days at a central and accessible urban venue. The action integrates multiple program components and brings together citizens from all walks of life: young people, researchers, teachers, artists, museum professionals, members of at-risk communities, representatives of civil society, political leaders and other public figures of influence. The aim is to address how individuals and groups within society can come together to shape a sustainable future.

Interviews with leading researchers form the basis of an online archive of short topically organized video essays on environmental change for a general audience.

Bifrost media outputs and media engagement

On-site art installations are built around specific climate change cases and challenges. They include:

1) a multi-screen spatial documentary presented in a public space adjacent to the discussion-based live program;
2) large-scale urban videos projected on nearby high-rise structures;
3) guest exhibitions from individuals or organizations partnering with the project;
4) niche screenings of short Bifrost-produced ”scientific ethnographies” and testimonials focused on specific climate-change challenges and solutions. All components are reinforced through a well-coordinated media campaign tied in to the live discussion-based program of public talks.

Off-site Bifrost resources

A substantial body of scientific, artistic and educational media content is disseminated through the Bifrost website (launching in 2017) and promoted regularly via social media. A free #climatethought mobile phone app and social media subscription will deliver links and podcasts of climate change stories to subscribers daily during the month leading up to a Bifrost action. These materials will also be archived on the Bifrost website. On-site installations will be shown both before and after the action. Bifrost art and science communication outputs span multiple production forms and media formats. They are produced to connect with a diverse and geographically distributed audience as viral content via social media.

[1] Digital mockup of projection on the exterior of a highly visible building at Sergels Torg in Stockholm. [2] Bifrost installation on Our Children’s Trust, Sigtuna, Sweden.
Bifrost 2017

Autumn 2017 will see the first of three anticipated Bifrost actions during the period 2017-2020 in the center of Stockholm. Local partners include the Nobel Museum, the Swedish International Centre of Education for Sustainable Development, the Sigtuna Foundation, Uppsala University, Linköping University and Mid Sweden University.

To paraphrase Nobel laureate Ronald Hoffman (chemistry 1981), the mission of the Nobel Museum is to present ideas that serve human beings and give them understanding and spiritual satisfaction. This involves passing on knowledge stronger than any canon, through the widest possible dissemination, across cultures and in every possible medium, holding up the best in human achievement as our guiding models.

Bifrost, in its work with the Nobel Museum, aims to illuminate the ideas and actions of those thinkers and doers that, as Hoffman puts it, have the capacity to “shape the lives of those, especially young people, who will create the future.” To this end, Bifrost looks to provide ever-evolving tools for youth, and those charged with nurturing young minds.

The Bifrost project will include several sustainability learning resources and activities that will launch during the spring and fall of 2017 as part of its partnership with the Nobel Museum. With a thematic focus on societal responses to climate change, these resources include:

• An ever-expanding website, including an open source digital archive of ‘scientific ethnographies’ and mini-documentaries.
• An evening program in which pedagogical leaders come together to exchange ideas and strategies for furthering sustainability education in the coming years.
• A coordinated series of hands-on educational workshops for middle and high school students in the greater Stockholm region, led by the Nobel Museum’s pedagogic staff in collaboration with SWEDESD and NIES.
• Free educational screenings of a new Bifrost short film on climate change challenges and inspiring responses.
• A one-day gathering of major thinkers and doers active in the fields of science, education, culture and the humanities on the first anniversary of the day the Paris climate agreement took legal force (November 4, 2016).
• Video booths where youth participants in the Nobel Museum-SWEDESD-NIES pedagogical program record their own ideas and concerns relating to how the changing environment may affect their lives and how they can make a positive difference.
• A public art installation exploring present and future climate challenges.

Beyond Stockholm 2017

Three actions during as many years together will be organized with various local sponsors and partners in different urban centers internationally, two now planned for Calgary and New York. International partner networks linking up with NIES to organize these actions include the Global Human Ecodynamics Alliance (GHEA), the North Atlantic Biocultural Organization (NABO), the Integrated History and Future of People on Earth (IHOPE) and the Humanities for the Environment (HfE) network of global observatories.

The Living Contract

A series of consensus-building discussions involving the featured/invited participants of different Bifrost actions will take place in a special forum devoted to addressing challenges that have emerged since the COP21 Paris agreement. Representatives of the scientific world, the political sphere, business and industry, civil society and marginalized groups at risk (e.g. indigenous communities) will be brought together to draft a Living Contract over several iterations to be submitted to appropriate international agencies for consideration at the project’s conclusion, identifying and proposing innovative models of integration that can help to bridge important gaps in the science-policy-public engagement interfaces, with significant involvement from civil society.