Lisa Lin to investigate how environmental documentaries can make social impact

Lisa Lin, Lecturer in Media Studies, has just won a Global Challenges Research Fund / Partnership Development Fund bid for a research project entitled ‘How to Employ Environmental Documentaries as Visual Evidence to Engage a Wider Debate on Social Injustice Behind Air Pollution in Jingjinji (China) and Delhi (India)’.

Drawing on a bottom-up ethnographic approach, this project examines how to use media to engage researchers and stakeholders in a wider discussion on social injustice behind air pollution. This project explores how environmental documentaries can be employed to create visual evidence and engage a wider community of researchers and stakeholders in the debates on the causes of environmental injustice among the low social-economic statuses communities.

China and India suffer from some of the worst levels of air pollution in the world today. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) database, among the top 100 most air polluted cities by particulate matters, 54 are from China and 16 are from India. These two countries also accounted for over 50% of total premature deaths (with over 1.15 million in China and 1.09 million in India) associated with ambient outdoor air pollution in 2016 (WHO, 2018).

The multi-disciplinary project adopts a highly innovative research design to combine documentary filming, policy and political analysis, and anthropological observation into one research inquiry on the marginalised people’s daily lives in China and India. This approach will employ documentaries as visual evidence to create a ‘thick description’ of the current polluted situations in the two regions and explore the impacts of environmental media on policy-makers and academic research in both countries towards a new model of air pollution governance.

Lisa will be the Principal Investigator on the project, working in partnership with Institute of Development Studies (Sussex University) and Beijing Normal University.

For further details of the Partnership Development Fund, please see the page here: