Unexpected Encounters

A 5 part event series discussing how to make sense of climate change and how to collaborate on climate challenges.

Unexpected encounters

Climate change is changing how we work.

Journalists, psychologists, photographers, illustrators, architects, policy-makers, there is no professional field unaffected. As we are confronted by the complexity and urgency of climate change, new concepts and terminologies emerge to help us name the processes and events that we encounter. New practices, professional ethics and collaborations develop in response to that too.

To address the urgent challenges of climate change, designers and architects often have to collaborate societal experts. And for this they need to understand how these experts and institutions operate and communicate. This is why we've set up the Unexpected Encounters series.

During these encounters we sit with various inspiring speakers form different professional backgrounds, to find out how they make sense of climate change, how they find hope and how they find ways to work with others. We want to find out what questions these professions face, and the sorts of answers the individual speakers have found within their own practice, organisations and personal position.

Collaborations for Future is in search of what it takes to enable creative professionals to collaborate effectively with climate scientists, but to really address climate change professionals from every discipline need to ask themselves: What is my agency and role in this? How do I take responsibility? We hope this series inspires you to think of that. This series is a collaboration of Foundation We Are, Social Design Showdown and Pakhuis de Zwijger.

Upcoming events

Unexpected Encounters #4

How do we embody climate change?

Date: 20 June, 2024 | 19:00-21:00
Location: Foundation We Are, Eindhoven 

During this fourth episode, we will invite choreographers, architects and dancers to talk about the way we embody climate change.
This discussion seeks to understand the intersections of artistic expression and environmental awareness, fostering a dialogue that illuminates the transformative potential of movement and design in the face of the evolving climate narrative.

How do our bodies relate to notions of extinction or unfamiliar weather? What choreographies or architectures become necessary to ease us into these unfamiliar conditions?

Unexpected Encounters #5

How do we make agreements on climate change?

Date: TBA
Location: Pakhuis de Zwijger, Amsterdam

In this last encounter, we extend the invitations to policymakers, politicians, and diplomats, encouraging them to participate in discussions concerning agreements on climate change.

This dialogue aims to comprehend the intricate intersections of governance and environmental responsibility, fostering a discourse that sheds light on the transformative potential of collaborative agreements in addressing the evolving climate narrative.

How do international policies relate to notions of mitigating climate change or adapting to unfamiliar environmental conditions? What diplomatic strategies and agreements become necessary to guide us through these uncharted territories of global climate challenges?

Past events

How do we talk about climate change?

Date: 8 February, 2024 | 19:00-21:00
Location: Foundation We Are, Eindhoven

watch back

In this second encounter, we dove into the crucial role of communication, journalism and editorial policies in the climate crisis. We came together with Jaap Tielbeke, Maartje Bregman and Ties Joosten to hear and discuss the professional roles and positions they’ve taken, why they did so and what effect that has on their audience and professional communities.

We talked about the great transformations in media coverage of climate change that we’ve seen over the last 10-20 years, and the way media and journalists can influence the content, direction and tone of our climate debates and discourses. And this in turn, can frame how we as citizens, designers or policy-makers, can imagine the actions we can take.

Unfortunately, Saskia van Aalst couldn’t join the conversation, in our pre-talk she shared with us about her work as press officer of Greenpeace and and how her previous work as journalist informs her collaborations with the media today. We're grateful to her and the speakers for shaping our thinking and understanding of how climate change news works in practice.
How do we frame our knowledge on climate change? How can we craft narratives that inform meaningful conversations across different societal and political concerns? Watch the recording to hear the full conversation, wonderfully moderated by Marsha Simon. Marsha is a presenter, moderator and programme maker, and often hosts and enables conversation between design and other fields.



Ties Joosten

is a climate journalist who writes about everything that emits a lot of greenhouse gases: the port of Rotterdam, KLM and Schiphol, power plants and the agricultural sector.

Which financial flows accelerate sustainability here - and which hold it back?

Maartje Bregman

emphasizes the urgency of climate change and practical actions for societal change, highlighting the importance of a positive narrative for mental well-being and broader impact. She addresses the current impact and encourages a shift toward collective efforts for a sustainable future.

Jaap Tielbeke

is a climate journalist at De Groene Amsterdammer and author of the books "Een beter milieu begint niet bij jezelf" (2020) and "We waren gewaarschuwd" (2022). Additionally, he serves as the co-host of the TV program "Wat houdt ons tegen?" on Omroep Human.

image by Marten van Dijl
Saskia van Aalst
currently works as a press officer and project manager at Greenpeace. She trained as a journalist and transitioned to activism 7 years ago, driven by a strong desire to combat climate change. Always dreaming of being a Greenpeace activist on one of their ships, she now dedicates herself full-time to a greener world, and has worked on all Greenpeace ships.

How do we see climate change?

Date: 4 April, 2024 | 19:00-21:00
Location: Foundation We Are, Eindhoven 

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In this third encounter photographer Christian Clauwers, image editor Veerle van Herk and documentary maker and director Gideon Levy came together to discuss the importance and power of imagery in depicting the climate crisis. 

Whether you, as an image maker, depict the implications of climate change, or you visualise complex power structures that have a responsibility to act, the way you show an image affects your audience. Images can compel, images can clarify, images can opiniate. An image is never a neutral medium. 

Marsha Simon moderated the encounter and a wonderful conversation was had with the guests and the audience. 



is an independent director and film producer. Starting his production company in 1999, he produced documentaries, documentary series and popular TV programs. In 2009 he won the Prix Europa in Berlin for his investigative film Lockerbie Revisited. Gideon hosted several current affairs series for the Dutch Public Television and has produced an award winning short fiction film called ‘Lot’.

Gideon has developed programs for NGO’s and museums and his films ‘Bonus & Banks’ ‘Levy and the last Nazi's’ and ‘the Orange Banana’ are used in Dutch high schools and at the UVA, VU, Wageningen University.

Levy’s films have been sold to Germany, Belgium, Zwitserland, Israël, Poland, France and Canada. After his film Goodbye America, (2020) following the lives of climate scientists working for the US government under the Trump presidency, he started an NGO called The GreenHouseGas Monitor.

Veerle van Herk
has been working as an image editor at De Correspondent since 2023. She devises visual interpretations of stories from correspondents and connects them with the work of visual artists, or commissions work herself. She studied illustration at the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam and Arts & Society at Utrecht University. She is interested in how image-makers can make the abstract numbers and grand issues surrounding the climate crisis palpable by relating them to ourselves and our human behaviour.
is a professional documentary photographer exploring the relationship between humans and nature, especially around oceans and polar regions, focussing on science, biodiversity and climate change. As an EU Climate Pact Ambassador and a Fellow of The Explorers Club, Christian presents to a global audience the impact of rising sea levels on islanders, the vulnerability of nature, declining biodiversity and various scientific research projects. Using visual storytelling through exhibitions, lectures, publications and international conference participation, Christian collaborates with governments, scientific institutions and companies to facilitate awareness, understanding and action between each other and the public.
image by Marten van Dijl
Saskia van Aalst
currently works as a press officer and project manager at Greenpeace. She trained as a journalist and transitioned to activism 7 years ago, driven by a strong desire to combat climate change. Always dreaming of being a Greenpeace activist on one of their ships, she now dedicates herself full-time to a greener world, and has worked on all Greenpeace ships.