Climate Disaster Project wins national award

Fine Arts

UVic’s Wayne Crookes Professor of Environmental and Climate Journalism Sean Holman addresses the National Newspaper Award audience. Credit: Luke Galati

The University of Victoria’s Climate Disaster Project has been named the winner of a Special Recognition Citation at the 2023 National Newspaper Awards—Canada’s top journalism awards.

Announced at a gala event in Toronto on April 26, the award is designed to recognize exceptional journalism that doesn’t fit into existing categories and to open the door to experimentation in journalism. This is only the second time the National Newspaper Awards have bestowed the honour.

“We are entering a new era of disaster, where our seasons will become increasingly defined by the traumatic events they bring, and we need to learn how journalism can help us survive those traumas together,” says Sean Holman, UVic’s Wayne Crookes Professor of Environmental and Climate Journalism, who founded the project in 2021. “We are so honoured the National Newspaper Awards have recognized our efforts to empower disaster-affected communities inside and outside Canada.”  

The Climate Disaster Project is an international teaching newsroom which trains students to work on the frontlines of humanitarian crises and create an extensive archive of eyewitness accounts. To date, 219 students in 13 post-secondary institutions have been trained in trauma-informed interviewing skills and co-created 288 disaster-survivor testimonies, many of which have appeared in local, national and international publications. Their work has also been featured in national radio and television broadcasts, and at the Royal BC Museum.

“Each semester, educators at post-secondary institutions across Canada and around the world spend hundreds of hours teaching students how to compassionately help survivors share their stories,” says Holman. “Our students then take that knowledge into the community to co-create a people’s history of climate change that honours the human dignity of their experiences.”

The Climate Disaster Project is also currently nominated for awards with the Canadian Association of Journalists and the Canadian Journalism Foundation. It aligns with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals of good health and wellbeing, quality education, sustainable cities and communities, climate action and life on land, and demonstrates how UVic is powered by climate traction.   

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Media contacts

Sean Holman (Writing) at 403-397-4751 or

John Threlfall (Fine Arts Communications) at 250-721-6222 or

In this story

Keywords: climate, environment, teaching, writing

People: Sean Holman

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