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Six avenues for engendering creative environmentalism

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The ubiquitous use of artworks (e.g., paintings, music, films) in environmental activism has been shown to trigger specific cognitive processes as well as changes in personal values and behaviours. There is less understanding of whether (or how) gender-differentiated environmental claims and gender-transformative initiatives are voiced and promoted through art and cultural expressions. Using network analysis, this paper comprehensively reviews ninety-eight years of peer-reviewed literature on gender and environmental activism. We identify six avenues of gendered artistic activism (or ‘artivism’) on environmental issues that communities have pursued in the past. We present a non-prescriptive description of each avenue based on key references in the literature. A gendered lens on artistic activism makes visible the power of different groups to act, be they women, men, LGBTQ or other collectives, their chosen (or available) scopes of creative action when engaging with environmental protection and their thematic foci. A highlight of the study is the significant presence of younger demographics, including children and students in environmental artivism. Finally, we discuss how gendered artivism expands our understanding of environmental action, putting our results in conversation with well-known current environmentalism(s).

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