Dr Giuseppe Veltri (Department of Media and Communication) has recently returned from a trip to Fudan University…
How did you first become interested in China?
I would say that it is equally due to my academic background and my personal history. I am a social psychologist by training but I have been working mostly on the interaction between culture and cognition in the domain of public understanding of science and risk perception. In this particular area (and I suspect in many others), 80–90% of the research has been conducted in Western countries. The idea of testing theories in non-Western settings has been always one of my aims. In addition, I do enjoy participating in international research networks and collaboration and I try to take advantage of any opportunity in doing that. Recently, I had the opportunity to work with a Chinese colleague and this collaboration is going very well.
You have recently returned from visiting Fudan University. Can you tell us a little of what you got up to while you were there?
Yes, I have visited Fudan University in Shanghai because of my collaboration with Prof Shaojing Sun. I was there to present the preliminary results of our (with also Dr Li Zhang from UEA) study on psychological representations of climate change in China funded by the Tyndall Center at Fudan University. This is one ‘leg’ of a wider project about climate change in China. During my visit, I also delivered a lecture about using online and big data for social scientific research. The latter topic is a common interest between myself and Prof Sun and we are already working on methods and projects that will use Chinese online data, mainly from social media.
What are you currently researching?
The current project is a public opinion research in which we are combining public opinion data (from a survey and one online experiment) and media data (mass media and online data coverage) on climate change in China. As far as I know, it is the first study of this scale and complexity. We aim to compare results with previous studies conducted in the West identifying similarities and differences in the culture and cognition configurations of climate change.
What are your immediate plans for the future?
We are writing two scientific papers based on this collaboration and drafting a follow up study. In addition, this collaboration allowed me to discover a wider range of other potential collaborations with Prof Sun that we are now discussing and planning. For this reason, I am will probably apply for a international research partnership scheme so that we can further develop our plans. In fact, we are also discussing about collaborating on the teaching front, for example potential joint degrees and/or students exchange. Fudan University is one of the top universities in China and they have a very international attitude and that makes them a great partner.