Climate Momentum Seed Funds

What does the world desperately need to solve the climate crisis?

We have the technology solutions. We will continue to improve them, make them more cost-effective and develop new technologies. What we need is for people to adopt them, on an individual, organizational and societal level!

The Climate Momentum Project is based upon a vision that through interdisciplinary leadership in storytelling, the arts, communication, and behavioral messaging, USC will help to catalyze people, organizations, and policymakers to adopt existing and future climate solutions. The Theory of Change and key elements of success are: Arts to open hearts and minds, Climate science to inform the message, and Social psychology to catalyze action.

The Climate Momentum Project logo.

Climate Momentum Seed Funds Awarded

The Climate Momentum Project congratulates the winners of its inaugural round of seed funds to catalyze USC interdisciplinary projects at the intersection of the arts, climate, behavior change and the adoption of climate solutions that already exist:

Tempest UnEarthed Dr. Matthew Coopilton and team

Conference of Fire — Associate Professor Michael Bodie and team

Climate Storytelling in the Performing Arts — Associate Professor Jennifer Lott and team

“These proposals come from a range of arts disciplines and collaborative teams including interactive media and games, theater and media arts, and dance and music, all of which speaks to USC’s depth and breadth in the arts,” said Mick Dalrymple, USC’s Chief Sustainability Officer. “And that’s before you even dive into USC’s expertise in climate communications. It will be exciting to watch these concepts develop into impactful projects while also catalyzing stronger and new interdisciplinary relationships and creative endeavors for the adoption of climate solutions.”

The proposals were evaluated by an expert jury that included:

  • Ellen Dux – Associate Director, USC Office of Sustainability
  • Meredith Milton – Creative Director, Rewrite the Future, Natural Resources Defense Council
  • Erica Rosenthal, Director of Research, Media Impact Project, USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center

The Proposal Teams and Proposals

The overall winning proposal came from Dr. Matthew Coopilton (formerly Hamilton), President’s Sustainability Solutions Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Interactive Media and Games Division, USC School of Cinematic Arts, with teammates Dr. TreaAndrea Russworm, Professor of Cinematic Arts and Microsoft Endowed Chair, Interactive Media and Games Division, USC School of Cinematic Arts; Dr. Gale Sinatra, Stephen H. Crocker Chair, Professor of Education and Psychology, Associate Dean for Research. USC Rossier School of Education; and Olivia Peace (USC MFA class of 2022), student Academy Award winning director and visual artist.


Also receiving seed funds is a proposal from Associate Prof. Michael Bodie, MFA, School of Cinematic Arts, Media Arts + Practice with teammates Prof. Paula Cizmar, School of Dramatic Arts; Prof. William Deverell, PhD, Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences, Department of History, Director, Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West; and Elizabeth A. Logan, JD, PhD, Co-Director, Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West, Executive Director, Los Angeles Service Academy


The third proposal awarded seed funds is from Jennifer Lott, Associate Professor, Kaufman School of Dance with teammates Jessica Dutton, Executive Director, Wrigley Institute for Environment & Sustainability; Diane Kim, Senior Scientist, Wrigley Institute for Environment & Sustainability; and Camae Ayewa (Dennis), Assistant Professor, Thornton School of Music

All three projects will present a progress update in a Climate Momentum Project event in the fall semester of 2024.

Questions? Reach out to Hannah Findling: hfindling@president.usc.edu