Image courtesy of USGS


Launched in 2021 and led by Allison Carruth, Blue Lab is an environmental research, storytelling and art group. Our multidisciplinary team investigates and creates original stories and creative projects about lived experiences of large-scale environmental challenges—from climate change and green energy to multispecies justice and food and water futures.

In this work, we bridge the tools of art and science, research and creative practice, historical knowledge and speculative imagination. Our animating question is how different people make sense of real-time environmental change (and in some cases catastrophic loss) in relationship to intergenerational memories of and future aspirations for the places they love, value and call home. As part of the lab's ongoing Climate Stories Incubator (CSI), we are currently working on projects centered in California, New Jersey, the mid-Atlantic coastline, British Columbia, the Philippines, the Puna region of Latin America and Paiute and Shoshone lands in northern Nevada.

Our core members have expertise in a wide range of fields, including American studies, anthropology, environmental arts, environmental humanities, geoscience, hydrology, Latin American history, multispecies justice, poetry and poetics, photography and theater. We partner with artists, editors, producers, journalists and filmmakers as well as community groups, media outlets and environmental organizations.


The lab currently receives support from the Princeton University programs and centers listed below and from the American Council of Learned Societies. To learn more about how to support our work, please contact the lab director and principal investigator, Allison Carruth.

What We Do

Climate stories incubator

Blue Lab's central activity is the Climate Stories Incubator (CSI). A key premise for the CSI is that predominant ways of communicating climate change tend to foreground either computational modeling or apocalyptic storytelling. These approaches move some groups, but fall flat with others, partly by excluding diverse experiences, knowledge and ideas. In response, the CSI develops research-driven stories about lived experiences of climate change for people as well as for other species. CSI projects also provide insights into how different communities make sense of and respond to not only observable climate change but also competing visions and forms of climate action.

Research + publication

Alongside our multimedia storytelling projects, the lab investigates how and when dominant forms of science communication and environmental narrative have broad impact, and who they fail to represent or engage and why. We conduct this research with particular attention to the histories, epistemologies and values that shape contemporary conflicts around science, nature and climate change. To provide a forum for this type of environmental research and for allied creative projects, the lab plans to publish a digital journal beginning in 2024.


Working with co-sponsors, the lab supports and convenes screenings, exhibits, workshops and symposia. The lab also hosts environmental researchers, journalists, writers and artists. In 2022-2023, the lab is hosting artist/educators Sarah Rothberg and Marina Zurkow (co-creators of "Investing in Futures") and co-sponsoring the Ecotheories Colloquium. We also support and collaborate with the Media + Environment journal, published by University of California Press and co-edited by Alenda Chang, Adrian Ivakhiv and Janet Walker.