June 13, 2024 | 3:00pm EST / 12:00pm PST

Climate, Architecture, and Storytelling

Online Workshop

June 13, 2024

3:00–4:30pm EST / 12:00-1:30pm PST

Climate, Architecture, and Storytelling

Storytelling is one of the most resonant forms of communication but for architects and many other professionals, it’s not technique that was taught in the classroom or that is demanded in the workplace. Yet, excellent storytelling can compel others to tune in and buy in. Through this program, participants will hear from field leaders across disciplines who have found ways to tell stories at the intersection of climate and architecture that have gained notice and prompted change. Moderated by Allison Agsten, Director, Center for Climate Journalism and Communication at USC.


Allison Agsten  |  Moderator
Allison Agsten is the inaugural director of USC Annenberg’s Center for Climate Journalism and Communication. In her role, she develops strategic priorities and conceptualizes initiatives to bolster public understanding of climate change. Current projects include the energy transition podcast series, Electric Futures, of which she serves as executive producer, and a report on the state of climate communications in the U.S., of which she is the primary author. She was recently named one of COP28 UAE’s 50 inaugural global Actionists in recognition of her contributions to the field of climate communication.

In addition to her appointment at the Annenberg School, Agsten serves as the USC Wrigley Institute for Environment and Sustainability’s first curator. In that position, she facilitates expression at the intersection of art and climate, including a series of Getty Pacific Standard Time convenings conceived by artist Carolina Caycedo to bring together Latin American community leaders to exchange organizing principles and practices related to the energy transition.

Previously, Agsten has worked in journalism, communications, and public engagement capacities including as a producer at CNN, Director of Communications at LACMA, and Curator of Public Engagement at the Hammer Museum. Agsten holds a BA from UCLA and an MPA from the Harvard Kennedy School.

Rosanna Xia  |  Speaker
Rosanna Xia is an environmental reporter for the Los Angeles Times, where she specializes in stories about the coast and ocean. She was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2020 for explanatory reporting, and her work has been anthologized in the Best American Science and Nature Writing series. Her first book, California Against the Sea, debuts on September 26, 2023. 

Arathi Govind  |  Speaker
Arathi Govind serves as a Program & Evaluation Officer at The Redford Center, a nonprofit advancing environmental solutions through the power of stories that move. In her role, she researches, tracks, and runs workshops on film impact, leads grant partnerships with Black Public Media, National Resource Defense Council, and the National Environmental Education Foundation, and tracks the work of peer environmental storytelling organizations. She holds a BA in Environmental Studies from Scripps College and a PhD in Ethnomusicology from University of California, Berkeley. 

Alisa Petrosova  |  Speaker
Alisa Petrosova is an interdisciplinary artist, writer and narrative strategist. She specializes in the intersection of climate, culture, film & television and believes in the power of storytelling and community to transform our world and collective future for a more just, healthier and beautiful world.

She works at Good Energy where she leads the climate research and consulting programs. She holds an MA in Climate & Society from the Climate School at Columbia University where she now teaches and a Bachelors in Fine Art from the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. 

She speaks on the topic of climate and culture change on panels at institutions like Conde Nast, The Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences, and NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering. Alisa lives and works in Brooklyn, New York, where she hosts Big Love Supper Club with her partner that brings climate storytelling to their dinner table.

Joshua Dawson  |  Speaker
Joshua Dawson is an India-born, Los Angeles-based film director known for incorporating the built environment as an essential character in his films. In his body of work, termed “Speculative Climate Futures,” he combines CGI and live-action to explore water politics, resource extraction, and the impact of climate change on low-income communities of color. Dawson got his Master’s degree in Advanced Architectural Studies from the University of Southern California. He also trained under Pritzker Prize-winning architect Balkrishna Doshi as well as Hollywood production designer Alex McDowell, founder of the World Building Institute at USC.

His short films have premiered at festivals worldwide and have been showcased on platforms like Canal 180, the National Museum of Australia, and Vice Motherboard. He also won the Jury Prize for Best Science Fiction Film at the Oscar-qualifying Cinequest Film Festival and a Core77 Design Award. His upcoming project, Bradbaori, has been selected for the London-based Future of Film Incubator. Beyond his directorial role, Dawson extends his expertise as a World Builder and Conceptual Design consultant to Hollywood and international productions.