Joana Avi-Lorie (BArch, MArch, MScR)

Thesis title: One for the Journey - How working with stories can help children cope with eco-anxiety


Joana is a writer, illustrator, and research student working at the intersection of culture and climate change resilience and adaptation. She is a PhD candidate at the School of Health in Social Sciences at the University of Edinburgh. She is interested in children’s mental health, creative wellbeing and learning, narrative therapy, dramaturgical conscience, community resilience and promoting climate resilience in children and young people.


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Higher Education

BArch University of Lisbon, 2011

MArch, University of Lisbon, 2011

MsCR Health Humanities and Arts, University of Edinburgh, 2022 - Distinction 



English Language and Literature, British Council, Certificate of Proficiency, 2008

TOEFL, 2021

IELTS Academic, 2022

Contemporary Chinese Beginners 1.2, Confucius Institute 2022


Other languages: Portuguese, French, Spanish, Japanese


Other Training and Qualifications

Enhancing Community-Based Mental Wellness and Resilience,  CE credited from the American Public Health Association (APHA), 2023

Collective Innovation to Fight Climate Change - Erasmus+ / KA204 - Strategic Partnerships for adult education, Belgium 2022

Once Upon Your Time - Erasmus+ / KA201 - Workshop on Artistic and Therapeutic Tools of Storytelling, Spain 2022

Full Disclosure PVG Membership, Disclosure Scotland

Responsibilities & affiliations

Member of Climate Psychology Alliance

Member of the Centre for Research on Families and Relationships 


Research summary

Health Humanities and Arts Methodologies

Developmental Psychology and Psychopathology

Psychology of Stories


Narrative therapy

Dramaturgical conscience

Eco-anxiety/Climate anxiety

Psychology of Space

Nature Education

Community-Based Mental Wellness and Resilience

Collective dreaming/Objective psyche

Children and Young People mental health 

Knowledge exchange

Through the PiXL Talks – Stretch Talk and Stretch Higher and The Seren Award I have engaged children with arts-based health research and arts-based eco-anxiety therapeutical methodologies. I have also been engaging children and young people with artistic and therapeutic storytelling tools through my workshop Journey to Your Inner Climate Hero, a hands-on fun workshop focused on climate resilience and climate justice.

Affiliated research centres

Project activity

Bedtime Eco-stories (MscR dissertation, 2022, Distinction) Exploring how reading and writing children's fiction has the potential to mitigate eco-anxiety and promote disaster resilience using creative non-fiction as a form of inquiry.

Butterfly Baby Clinic - Quiet Space - Eco-Friendly Stories - Team Leader (University of Edinburgh, 2022) Coordinating a team of psychology arts and music students and co-creating original eco-friendly stories for parents and babies - audiobooks, picture books, and video books.

The Boy with Silver Hair (Middle-Grade Fiction, 2023) This is a story about how a neurodiverse boy and a bird are trying to tell the adults that the world is in great danger. It’s a journey about climate change and mental health and awareness of our planet’s finite resources.

River Mouth (Creative Non-fiction, 2023) Story of a woman healing herself and her son from generational family trauma growing up in poverty-stricken rural Portugal under the Salazar dictatorship, intertwined with the generational human abuse of nature.

The Last Journey of Saorsa (short animated film, 2023) Animated short film project about the health of the oceans and our need to protect them. The journey of this old giant whale across the magic ocean will be the most incredible of her life. Currently longlisted for sharp shorts 2023.

One for the Journey (current PhD project) Exploring how stories can help children cope with eco-anxiety. The aim of this study is to explore the reading and writing of fiction by children themselves as a mitigator for eco-anxiety. The literature includes the study of eco-anxiety, arts-based research with children, eco-anxiety research with children, and narratological and psychological literature, especially the psychology of children’s fantasy stories. The proposed research questions, at the moment, are: “What effect does reading children’s fiction has on eco-anxiety in children?”, “Is there a measurable effect?”, “How do children experience it [the reading]? “Where does it take them?”. The two latter questions are connected to the ‘writing’ component of the study, which aims to investigate the connection that children make between story (what they have read), experience (their eco-anxiety), and reflection (how they can story their lives in a world affected by climate change). I am interested in producing a set of short stories, written and illustrated by the children through the course of the interviews/focus group that will constitute the research with them.


Conference details

University of Edinburgh Annual HiSS PGR Conference 2021 (Presentation, Bedtime eco-stories – MScR research project)

Scottish Graduate School of Social Science Shaping the Future 2021 (poster, Bedtime eco-stories – MScR research project)

PiXL Talks – Stretch Talk and Stretch Higher 2021, York UK (Bedtime eco-stories, research story)

The Seren Award, The Brilliant Club 2021 – Bedtimes eco-stories in the context of Health Humanities research

University of Edinburgh Annual HiSS PGR Conference 2022 (Presentation, Bedtime eco-stories – MScR research project)

Collective Innovation to Fight Climate Change - Erasmus+ / KA204 - Strategic Partnerships for adult education 2022, Brussels Belgium (Presentation, Stories and Climate Resilience)

Durham University Footprint Conference 2022, Durham UK (Presentation, Stories and Climate Resilience)

Global Council for Science and the Environment 2022 Virtual Annual Conference (poster, Bedtime eco-stories)

EAUC Scotland Conference - Step Change for Sustainability 2023, Glasgow UK (Presentation, Stories for Change – Widening Participation and The Power of Personal Narratives)

University of Edinburgh Annual HiSS PGR Conference 2023, Edinburgh UK (3 minutes presentation, One for the Journey PhD research project)