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Dr Saffron O'Neill

Dr Saffron O'Neill

Associate Professor in Geography

 6202

 Amory C355c

 

Amory Building, University of Exeter, Rennes Drive, Exeter, EX4 4RJ , UK

Overview

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Saffron O’Neill is Associate Professor in Geography. Her research explores the social science dimensions of climate variability and climate change. She particularly focuses on risk perception, risk communication and public engagement with climate change; and the implications of these areas for public policy. She has previously held positions at the University of Melbourne and the University of East Anglia.

Saffron held an ESRC Future Research Leader fellowship from 2012-2016. This fellowship, ‘Visualising Climate Change’, aimed to increase understanding of the representations and power of visual imagery for engaging people with climate change. Saffron is interested in the diverse places in which people experience weather and climate change in their everyday lives: from personal attachments to valued places, to interactions on social media platforms like Twitter.

Saffron won the 2011 UK Scopus Young Researcher Award for Social Science, awarded by Elsevier and the UK/US Fulbright Commission. The prize is awarded to early-career researchers, based on citation data and jury assessment. Saffron’s website gives details of her research, the people she collaborates with, and her publications.You can also follow her on Twitter @SaffronJONeill. Saffron had two year-long periods of maternity leave in 2015-16 and 2017-18. She continues to balance her family and work lives by working part-time (Monday, Wednesday, Thursday).

Broad research specialisms:

  • Public engagement with climate change
  • Legacy and social media representations of climate change
  • Visual representations of, and engagment with, climate change
  • Climate change adaptation and maladaptation
  • Science / policy interface

Qualifications

BSc Geography (University of Southampton: First Class Honours)
PhD in Environmental Science (University of East Anglia)

Links

Research group links

Research

Research projects

Saffron's research is interdisciplinary, focusing on the social science dimensions of climate variability and climate change. Her work explores risk perception, risk communication and public engagement with climate change; and the implications of these areas for public policy. She has experience in using diverse social science methods. She has published research using survey, interview, focus group, expert elicitation, photo-elicitation and Q methods; and content and frame analysis.

Saffron currently holds an ESRC Future Research Leader fellowship, 'Visualising Climate Change'. The fellowship aims to increase understanding of the representations and power of visual imagery for engaging people with climate change. Specifically, it is exploring both top down visual representations of climate change (in newspapers, on TV, on social media) and bottom up climate imagery (through a photo-elicitation project exploring adaptation to sea level rise).

Saffron also led a HASS seed funded project 'Media and the cultural politics of climate change: tracking the coverage of the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report. This was an interdisciplinary project, involving colleagues in Bioscience, Psychology and Politics; exploring climate change coverage arising from the reporting of the three IPCC Working Groups. The project tracked coverage on TV, in newspapers and on the social media platform Twitter and carried out a frame analysis of this data.

Saffron's research has contributed to the development of public policy. She has contributed to research about community safety concerning bushfire risk (including a report for the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission); and in defining and assessing maladaptation in the water sector. She has also contributed to public engagement with climate change activities beyond academia, with past projects including a silver medal-winning garden for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, 'The 2050 Garden'.

Grants/Funding:

2017 – 2020 ESRC +3 SWDTC PhD Award: ‘Children’s conceptualisations of climate change: prevalent discourses and potential for action’ (co-I)

2016 – 2020 ESRC 1+3 SWDTC PhD Award: ‘Following the forecast: risk, uncertainty and the life of seasonal weather forecasts’ (co-PI)

2012 – 2017 £214,811 ESRC Future Research Leader award: ‘Visualising climate change’ (PI)

2014 - 2015 £198,044 ESRC Urgency Grant: 'The 2013/14 winter floods and policy change: the dynamics of change in the aftermath of major crises’ (co-I)

2011 – 2012 AU$19,103 (£11,880) Early Career Researcher Grants Scheme, Melbourne University, Australia: ‘Visualising climate change: international perspectives on mitigation and adaptation’ (PI)

Publications

Key publications | Publications by category | Publications by year

Key publications


O'Neill SJ, Graham S (2016). (En)visioning place-based adaptation to sea-level rise. Geo: Geography and Environment, 3(2), e00028-e00028.
O'Neill S, Williams HP, Kurz T, Wiersma B, Boykoff M (2015). Dominant frames in legacy and social media coverage of the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report. Nature Climate Change, 5, 380-385. Abstract.
O'Neill SJ, Smith N (2014). Climate change and visual imagery. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change, 5(1), 73-87. Abstract.
O'Neill SJ (2013). Image matters: Climate change imagery in US, UK and Australian newspapers. Geoforum, 49, 10-19. Abstract.
O'Neill SJ, Boykoff M, Niemeyer S, Day SA (2013). On the use of imagery for climate change engagement. Global Environmental Change, 23(2), 413-421. Abstract.
Barnett J, O'Neill S (2012). Islands, resettlement and adaptation. Nature Climate Change 2, 8-10.

Publications by category


Books

Whitmarsh L, O'Neill S, Lorenzoni I (2012). Engaging the public with climate change: Behaviour change and communication. Abstract.
Whitmarsh L, O'Neill S (2012). Introduction: Opportunities for and barriers to engaging individuals with climate change.
Whitmarsh L, O'Neill S, Lorenzoni I (2011). Engaging the public with climate change: Communication and beahviour change., Earthscan / James & James. Abstract.

Journal articles

Whitmarsh L, O'Neill S, Lorenzoni I (In Press). Climate change or social change? Debate within, amongst and beyond disciplines. Environment and Planning A(43), 258-261. Abstract.
Kurz T, Prosser A, Rabinovich A, O'Neill S (In Press). Could vegans and lycra cyclists be bad for the planet? Theorising the role of Moralised Minority Practice Identities in processes of societal-level change. Journal of Social Issues
Devine-Wright P, Whitmarsh L, Gaterslaben B, O’Neill S, Hartley S, Burningham K, Sovacool B, Barr S, Anable J (In Press). Placing people at the heart of climate action. PLOS Climate
O'Neill S (2022). Defining a visual metonym: a hauntological study of polar bear imagery in climate communication. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers
Treen K, Williams H, O’Neill S, Coan TG (2022). Discussion of Climate Change on Reddit: Polarized Discourse or Deliberative Debate?. Environmental Communication, 1-19.
Lee K, O'Neill S, Blackwood L, Barnett J (2022). Perspectives of UK adolescents on the youth climate strikes. NATURE CLIMATE CHANGE, 12(6), 528-+. Author URL.
O'Neill S, Pidcock R (2021). Introducing the Topical Collection: 'Climate change communication and the IPCC'. CLIMATIC CHANGE, 169(3-4). Author URL.
Hayes S, O'Neill S (2021). The Greta effect: Visualising climate protest in UK media and the Getty images collections. Global Environmental Change, 71, 102392-102392.
Mortreux C, O'Neill S, Barnett J (2020). Between adaptive capacity and action: new insights into climate change adaptation at the household scale. Environmental Research Letters, 15(7). Abstract.
Treen KMD, Williams HTP, O'Neill SJ (2020). Online misinformation about climate change. WIREs Climate Change, 11(5).
Lee K, Gjersoe N, O'Neill S, Barnett J (2020). Youth perceptions of climate change: a narrative synthesis. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change, 11(3). Abstract.
O’Neill S (2019). More than meets the eye: a longitudinal analysis of climate change imagery in the print media. Climatic Change, 163(1), 9-26. Abstract.
Handmer J, Van der Merwe M, O'Neill S (2019). The risk of dying in bushfires: a comparative analysis of fatalities and survivors. Progress in Disaster Science, 1 Abstract.
O'Neill SJ, Graham S (2016). (En)visioning place-based adaptation to sea-level rise. Geo: Geography and Environment, 3(2), e00028-e00028.
Handmer J, O'Neill S (2016). Examining bushfire policy in action: Preparedness and behaviour in the 2009 Black Saturday fires. Environmental Science and Policy, 63, 55-62. Abstract.
O'Neill S, Williams HP, Kurz T, Wiersma B, Boykoff M (2015). Dominant frames in legacy and social media coverage of the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report. Nature Climate Change, 5, 380-385. Abstract.
O'Neill SJ, Smith N (2014). Climate change and visual imagery. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change, 5(1), 73-87. Abstract.
Guy S, Kashima Y, Walker I, O'Neill S (2014). Investigating the effects of knowledge and ideology on climate change beliefs. European Journal of Social Psychology, 44(5), 421-429. Abstract.
Guy S, Kashima Y, Walker I, O'Neill S (2013). Comparing the atmosphere to a bathtub: Effectiveness of analogy for reasoning about accumulation. Climatic Change, 121(4), 579-594. Abstract.
O'Neill SJ (2013). Image matters: Climate change imagery in US, UK and Australian newspapers. Geoforum, 49, 10-19. Abstract.
Barnett J, O'Neill SJ (2013). Minimising the risk of maladaptation: a framework for analysis. , 87-93. Abstract.
O'Neill SJ, Boykoff M, Niemeyer S, Day SA (2013). On the use of imagery for climate change engagement. Global Environmental Change, 23(2), 413-421. Abstract.
Whitmarsh L, O'Neill S, Lorenzoni I (2013). Public engagement with climate change: What do we know and where do we go from here?. International Journal of Media and Cultural Politics, 9(1), 7-25. Abstract.
Barnett J, O’Neill S, Waller S, Rogers S (2013). Reducing the risk of maladaptation in response to sea-level rise and urban water scarcity. , 37-49.
Barnett J, O'Neill S (2012). Islands, resettlement and adaptation. Nature Climate Change 2, 8-10.
O'Neill S, Handmer J (2012). Responding to bushfire risk: the need for transformative adaptation. Environmental Research Letters(7). Abstract.
Hulme M, O'Neill SJ, Dessai S (2011). Climate change. Is weather event attribution necessary for adaptation funding?. Science, 334(6057), 764-765. Author URL.
Whitmarsh L, O'Neill S, Lorenzoni I (2011). Commentary. Environment and Planning A, 43(2), 258-261.
Whitmarsh L, Seyfang G, O'Neill S (2011). Public engagement with carbon and climate change: to what extent is the public 'carbon capable'?. Global Environmental Change, 21(1), 56-65. Abstract.
O'Neill SJ, Boykoff M (2010). Climate denier, skeptic, or contrarian?. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 107(39).
O'Neill SJ, Hulme M, Turnpenny J, Screen JA (2010). Disciplines, geography, and gender in the framing of climate change. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 91(8), 997-1002. Abstract.
Whitmarsh L, O'Neill S (2010). Green identity, green living? the role of pro-environmental self-identity in determining consistency across diverse pro-environmental behaviours. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 30(3), 305-314. Abstract.
Barnett J, O'Neill S (2010). Maladaptation. Global Environmental Change, 211-213.
O'Neill S, Nicholson-Cole S (2009). "fear won't do it": Promoting positive engagement with climate change through visual and iconic representations. Science Communication, 30(3), 355-379. Abstract.
O'Neill SJ, Hulme M (2009). An iconic approach for representing climate change. Global Environmental Change, 19(4), 402-410. Abstract.
O'Neill S, Nicholson-Cole S (2009). Fear won't do it: promoting positive engagement with climate change through imagery and icons. Science Communication, 355-379.
Ockwell D, Whitmarsh L, O'Neill S (2009). Reorienting climate change communication for effective mitigation: Forcing people to be green or fostering grass-roots engagement?. Science Communication, 30(3), 305-327. Abstract.
O'Neill SJ, Osborn TJ, Hulme M, Lorenzoni I, Watkinson AR (2008). Using expert knowledge to assess uncertainties in future polar bear populations under climate change. Journal of Applied Ecology, 45(6), 1649-1659. Abstract.

Chapters

Ockwell D, O’Neill S, Whitmarsh L (2013). Behavioural insights. In  (Ed) Routledge Handbook of Climate Change and Society.
O'Neill S, Boykoff M (2012). The role of new media in engaging the public with climate change. In  (Ed) Engaging the Public with Climate Change: Behaviour Change and Communication, 233-251.
O'Neill S, Boykoff M (2011). The role of new media in engaging individuals with climate change. In Whitmarsh L, O'Neill S, Lorenzoni I (Eds.) Engaging the public with climate change: Communication and behaviour change, London: Earthscan, 233-251.  Abstract.
Ockwell D, O'Neill S, Whitmarsh L (2010). Behavioural insights: motivating individual emissions cuts through communication. In Lever-Tracy C (Ed) Routledge Handbook of Climate Change and Society, Routledge, 341-350.  Abstract.
Rabinovich A, Morton TA, Duke C (2010). Collective self and individual choice: the role of social comparisons in promoting public engagement with climate change. In Whitmarsh L, O'Neill S (Eds.) Engaging the public with climate change: Communication and behaviour change, Earthscan.
Whitmarsh L, O'Neill S, Seyfang G, Lorenzoni I (2009). Carbon capability. In Stibbe A (Ed) The handbook of sustainability literacy, UK: Green Books, 124-129.  Abstract.

Conferences

O'Neill S, Whitmarsh L (2009). Encouraging climate change engagement through affective connections.

Reports

Butler C, Walker-Springett K, Adger WN, Evans L, O'Neill S (2016). Social and Political Dynamics of Flood Risk, Recovery and Response.A Report of the Findings of the Winter Floods Project. Exeter, University of Exeter.
Handmer J, O'Neill S, Killalea D (2010). Review of fatalities in the February 7th 2009 bushfires: a report prepared for the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission. Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission, Centre for Risk and Community Safety, RMIT University and Bushfire CRC. Abstract.

Publications by year


In Press

Whitmarsh L, O'Neill S, Lorenzoni I (In Press). Climate change or social change? Debate within, amongst and beyond disciplines. Environment and Planning A(43), 258-261. Abstract.
Kurz T, Prosser A, Rabinovich A, O'Neill S (In Press). Could vegans and lycra cyclists be bad for the planet? Theorising the role of Moralised Minority Practice Identities in processes of societal-level change. Journal of Social Issues
Devine-Wright P, Whitmarsh L, Gaterslaben B, O’Neill S, Hartley S, Burningham K, Sovacool B, Barr S, Anable J (In Press). Placing people at the heart of climate action. PLOS Climate
O'Neill S, Hayes S, Strauß N, Doutreix M-N, Steentjes K, Ettinger J, Westood N, Painter J (In Press). Visual portrayals of fun in the sun misrepresent heatwave risks in European newspapers.  Abstract.

2022

O'Neill S (2022). Defining a visual metonym: a hauntological study of polar bear imagery in climate communication. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers
Treen K, Williams H, O’Neill S, Coan TG (2022). Discussion of Climate Change on Reddit: Polarized Discourse or Deliberative Debate?. Environmental Communication, 1-19.
Lee K, O'Neill S, Blackwood L, Barnett J (2022). Perspectives of UK adolescents on the youth climate strikes. NATURE CLIMATE CHANGE, 12(6), 528-+. Author URL.

2021

Manktelow C (2021). Inside the Forecast Factory: the Communication of UK Met Office's 3-Month Outlook.  Abstract.
O'Neill S, Pidcock R (2021). Introducing the Topical Collection: 'Climate change communication and the IPCC'. CLIMATIC CHANGE, 169(3-4). Author URL.
Hayes S, O'Neill S (2021). The Greta effect: Visualising climate protest in UK media and the Getty images collections. Global Environmental Change, 71, 102392-102392.
Lee K, O'Neill S, Blackwood L, Barnett J (2021). “The right to have a say”: UK adolescent strikers and non-strikers’ perspectives on the youth climate strikes.

2020

Mortreux C, O'Neill S, Barnett J (2020). Between adaptive capacity and action: new insights into climate change adaptation at the household scale. Environmental Research Letters, 15(7). Abstract.
Treen KMD, Williams HTP, O'Neill SJ (2020). Online misinformation about climate change. WIREs Climate Change, 11(5).
Lee K, Gjersoe N, O'Neill S, Barnett J (2020). Youth perceptions of climate change: a narrative synthesis. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change, 11(3). Abstract.

2019

O'Neill S (2019). Longitudinal print imagery raw newspaper metadata.
O’Neill S (2019). More than meets the eye: a longitudinal analysis of climate change imagery in the print media. Climatic Change, 163(1), 9-26. Abstract.
Handmer J, Van der Merwe M, O'Neill S (2019). The risk of dying in bushfires: a comparative analysis of fatalities and survivors. Progress in Disaster Science, 1 Abstract.

2016

O'Neill SJ, Graham S (2016). (En)visioning place-based adaptation to sea-level rise. Geo: Geography and Environment, 3(2), e00028-e00028.
Handmer J, O'Neill S (2016). Examining bushfire policy in action: Preparedness and behaviour in the 2009 Black Saturday fires. Environmental Science and Policy, 63, 55-62. Abstract.
Butler C, Walker-Springett K, Adger WN, Evans L, O'Neill S (2016). Social and Political Dynamics of Flood Risk, Recovery and Response.A Report of the Findings of the Winter Floods Project. Exeter, University of Exeter.

2015

O'Neill S, Williams HP, Kurz T, Wiersma B, Boykoff M (2015). Dominant frames in legacy and social media coverage of the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report. Nature Climate Change, 5, 380-385. Abstract.

2014

O'Neill SJ, Smith N (2014). Climate change and visual imagery. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change, 5(1), 73-87. Abstract.
Guy S, Kashima Y, Walker I, O'Neill S (2014). Investigating the effects of knowledge and ideology on climate change beliefs. European Journal of Social Psychology, 44(5), 421-429. Abstract.

2013

Ockwell D, O’Neill S, Whitmarsh L (2013). Behavioural insights. In  (Ed) Routledge Handbook of Climate Change and Society.
Guy S, Kashima Y, Walker I, O'Neill S (2013). Comparing the atmosphere to a bathtub: Effectiveness of analogy for reasoning about accumulation. Climatic Change, 121(4), 579-594. Abstract.
O'Neill SJ (2013). Image matters: Climate change imagery in US, UK and Australian newspapers. Geoforum, 49, 10-19. Abstract.
Barnett J, O'Neill SJ (2013). Minimising the risk of maladaptation: a framework for analysis. , 87-93. Abstract.
O'Neill SJ, Boykoff M, Niemeyer S, Day SA (2013). On the use of imagery for climate change engagement. Global Environmental Change, 23(2), 413-421. Abstract.
Whitmarsh L, O'Neill S, Lorenzoni I (2013). Public engagement with climate change: What do we know and where do we go from here?. International Journal of Media and Cultural Politics, 9(1), 7-25. Abstract.
Barnett J, O’Neill S, Waller S, Rogers S (2013). Reducing the risk of maladaptation in response to sea-level rise and urban water scarcity. , 37-49.

2012

Whitmarsh L, O'Neill S, Lorenzoni I (2012). Engaging the public with climate change: Behaviour change and communication. Abstract.
Whitmarsh L, O'Neill S (2012). Introduction: Opportunities for and barriers to engaging individuals with climate change.
Barnett J, O'Neill S (2012). Islands, resettlement and adaptation. Nature Climate Change 2, 8-10.
O'Neill S, Handmer J (2012). Responding to bushfire risk: the need for transformative adaptation. Environmental Research Letters(7). Abstract.
O'Neill S, Boykoff M (2012). The role of new media in engaging the public with climate change. In  (Ed) Engaging the Public with Climate Change: Behaviour Change and Communication, 233-251.

2011

Hulme M, O'Neill SJ, Dessai S (2011). Climate change. Is weather event attribution necessary for adaptation funding?. Science, 334(6057), 764-765. Author URL.
Whitmarsh L, O'Neill S, Lorenzoni I (2011). Commentary. Environment and Planning A, 43(2), 258-261.
Whitmarsh L, O'Neill S, Lorenzoni I (2011). Engaging the public with climate change: Communication and beahviour change., Earthscan / James & James. Abstract.
Whitmarsh L, Seyfang G, O'Neill S (2011). Public engagement with carbon and climate change: to what extent is the public 'carbon capable'?. Global Environmental Change, 21(1), 56-65. Abstract.
O'Neill S, Boykoff M (2011). The role of new media in engaging individuals with climate change. In Whitmarsh L, O'Neill S, Lorenzoni I (Eds.) Engaging the public with climate change: Communication and behaviour change, London: Earthscan, 233-251.  Abstract.

2010

Ockwell D, O'Neill S, Whitmarsh L (2010). Behavioural insights: motivating individual emissions cuts through communication. In Lever-Tracy C (Ed) Routledge Handbook of Climate Change and Society, Routledge, 341-350.  Abstract.
O'Neill SJ, Boykoff M (2010). Climate denier, skeptic, or contrarian?. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 107(39).
Rabinovich A, Morton TA, Duke C (2010). Collective self and individual choice: the role of social comparisons in promoting public engagement with climate change. In Whitmarsh L, O'Neill S (Eds.) Engaging the public with climate change: Communication and behaviour change, Earthscan.
O'Neill SJ, Hulme M, Turnpenny J, Screen JA (2010). Disciplines, geography, and gender in the framing of climate change. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 91(8), 997-1002. Abstract.
Whitmarsh L, O'Neill S (2010). Green identity, green living? the role of pro-environmental self-identity in determining consistency across diverse pro-environmental behaviours. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 30(3), 305-314. Abstract.
Barnett J, O'Neill S (2010). Maladaptation. Global Environmental Change, 211-213.
Handmer J, O'Neill S, Killalea D (2010). Review of fatalities in the February 7th 2009 bushfires: a report prepared for the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission. Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission, Centre for Risk and Community Safety, RMIT University and Bushfire CRC. Abstract.

2009

O'Neill S, Nicholson-Cole S (2009). "fear won't do it": Promoting positive engagement with climate change through visual and iconic representations. Science Communication, 30(3), 355-379. Abstract.
O'Neill SJ, Hulme M (2009). An iconic approach for representing climate change. Global Environmental Change, 19(4), 402-410. Abstract.
Whitmarsh L, O'Neill S, Seyfang G, Lorenzoni I (2009). Carbon capability. In Stibbe A (Ed) The handbook of sustainability literacy, UK: Green Books, 124-129.  Abstract.
O'Neill S, Whitmarsh L (2009). Encouraging climate change engagement through affective connections.
O'Neill S, Nicholson-Cole S (2009). Fear won't do it: promoting positive engagement with climate change through imagery and icons. Science Communication, 355-379.
Ockwell D, Whitmarsh L, O'Neill S (2009). Reorienting climate change communication for effective mitigation: Forcing people to be green or fostering grass-roots engagement?. Science Communication, 30(3), 305-327. Abstract.

2008

O'Neill SJ, Osborn TJ, Hulme M, Lorenzoni I, Watkinson AR (2008). Using expert knowledge to assess uncertainties in future polar bear populations under climate change. Journal of Applied Ecology, 45(6), 1649-1659. Abstract.

Refresh publications

External Engagement and Impact

Significant Impact

Commissioned by the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission in 2010 to analyse emergency response following the 2009 Australian bushfires, and this influenced subsequent policy change in Victoria.

Teaching

Undergraduate

  • GEO2317   Climate change: science and society
  • GEO3134   Making carbon public: risk, climate and the politics of energy
  • GEO2310   Human geography practice
  • GEO1110   Investigating Human Geographies

 

Modules

2021/22

Information not currently available


Supervision / Group

Postdoctoral researchers

Postgraduate researchers

  • Sophie Guy Psychology, University of Melbourne, Australia; co-supervision with Yoshihisa Kashima and Iain Walker
  • Colette Mortreux Geography, University of Melbourne, Australia; co-supervision with Jon Barnett
  • Bouke Wiersma Geography, University of Exeter; co-supervision with Patrick Devine-Wright

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