The Psychology of Change: Is The Wet Fish Over-rated?

We are living in very strange times and much needs to change for the better - we know this. However, slapping someone round the chops with a wet fish because "they just don't get it" is an over-rated technique for making change happen. Especially when that change involves understanding, and connecting with, the contrary hot mess that is the human mind. So what if when we're working our butts off to change our collective response to climatic change, to migration and refugees, to living more sustainability, to living low impact lives and running ethical businesses - what if we actually put some effort into understanding why some other people find this stuff SO hard to engage with?

If you're trying to deliver change and want to find a way to understand other people's resistance to the change you feel in your bones is utterly crucial for a better world for us all - this day will help.


Professor Paul Hoggett is the Emeritus Professor of Social Policy at UWE, Bristol where he was co-founder of the Centre for Psycho-Social Studies. He is a psychoanalytic psychotherapist and has been involved in training and consultancy to public and voluntary organisations for many years. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books, including (1992) Partisans in an Uncertain World: the Psychoanalysis of Engagement (London: Free Association Books) and (2009) Politics, Identity & Emotion (Boulder, Col: Paradigm). He was co-founder and is currently Chair of the Climate Psychology Alliance which seeks to bring insights from depth psychologies to our understanding of collective paralysis in the face of dangerous climate change.

Rosie Robison   is Senior Research Fellow at the Global Sustainability Institute with particular expertise in consumption and change. Rosie researches how sustainable lifestyles - the ways we consume energy, food, goods, and travel experiences - fit within society. Her work explores personal journeys of change towards lower consumption, and tools to facilitate change, from the latest apps to mindfulness. Having led a number of interdisciplinary networks, she looks at how different communities can work together, as well as how they can constructively disagree.

Professor Clare Saunders is Professor in Environmental Politics whose areas of research expertise are social movements and protest, climate and energy politics, and social networks. She's involved with several interdisciplinary projects, ranging from exploring why protesters take to the streets, to investigating whether local energy saving initiatives can help householders reduce their energy demand. She measures the extent to which a variety of organisations, including industry lobby groups, influence climate change policies.

Sound intriguing? As an introduction to the Cafe Disruptif programme, we're running this day in a welcome collaboration with the splendid Environment and Sustainability Institute at Tremough Campus in Falmouth and Permanently Brilliant and we want to mix things up a bit....on purpose. We'll look at how we all look at the environment, at social issues and at economic presumptions and by the end of the day have a much better idea of why we  - and others - behave as we do - ie stick our fingers in our ears -  in the face of the huge change we need to undertake to make the world a survivable place for us all. We're all working hard to make change happen - why don't we find out how to make it a little more possible?