The landscape is a Rubik’s cube and climate change is a rip current – How local landscape narratives influence adaptation to coastal erosion in Cornwall (UK)

by Vera Köpsel

In the autumn of 2015, my interviewee John* and I were standing on a rise at the Atlantic coast of Cornwall (UK) and facing the stormy weather. Storms are common in Cornwall, yet the high frequency of extreme events has begun irritating the locals. John yelled over the crashing waves, “Do you see the steps over there? They used to lead down to the beach, but they were washed away by the waves. Now there are only fifty centimeters to the cliff edge. Not long and the access road will erode into the sea.”

Eroded beach access, Godrevy, Cornwall. (C) Vera Köpsel

Continue reading “The landscape is a Rubik’s cube and climate change is a rip current – How local landscape narratives influence adaptation to coastal erosion in Cornwall (UK)”

CFP: Narratives and Practices of Environmental Justice: Kiel, June 2019

From 6-9th June 2019, the Institute for Geography, Kiel University and Kiel Marine Science will host  a workshop of the Enjust Network for Environmental Justice. Deadline for abstracts 31.10.2018. For full details, follow the link below:

Call_for_Papers_Enjust_Workshop_June_2019

Landscape Imaginaries between Aesthetics and Ecology

by Cormac Walsh

On September 20th, the Institute for Geography, University of Hamburg will host a panel discussion on “Landscape Imaginaries between Aesthetics and Ecology” with Marco Brodde (Danish Wadden Sea National Park) and Dr. Martin Stock (Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea National Park).

Landscape_Imaginaries_20.09.2018-1

Continue reading “Landscape Imaginaries between Aesthetics and Ecology”

Exploring Cultural Geographies of Coastal Change

by Cormac Walsh & Martin Döring

Coasts are gaining increased attention worldwide as sites of dramatic and disruptive environmental change. Coastal settlements and ecosystems are particularly vulnerable to climate change and sea level rise (Moser et al 2012). Exploitation of marine resources also contributes to coastal change, resulting in subsidence or loss of land at coastal locations, including at Louisiana and the Dutch Wadden Sea (Wernick 2014, Neslen 2017). Despite the evident interweaving of the natural and the social, the ecological, and the political at the coast, coastal geography has long been firmly positioned within the domain of physical geography with comparatively little input from human geographers. Indeed within the social sciences more generally, coastal and marine spaces have tended to be marginalised in favour of land-based narratives of societal development (e.g. Gillis 2012, Peters et al. 2018).

Image_Wadden_Sea_Walsh.jpg

© Cormac Walsh, Wadden Sea coast, Northern Germany, looking towards Nordstrandischmoor (Hallig island).

Continue reading “Exploring Cultural Geographies of Coastal Change”

Marine Coastal Cultures Panel at KDM Social Sciences and Humanities meeting in Kiel

by Friederike Gesing

The Marine Coastal Cultures Network convened a thematic session at a two-day workshop organized by the Strategy Group Marine Social Science and Humanities within the German Marine Research Consortium (KDM) on May 24-25, 2018 at Kiel University. The workshop was hosted by the research group „Social Dynamics in Marine and Coastal Areas“ (Kiel University, Institute of Geography). The full program can be found here. As an introduction to our session, Cormac Walsh took up the opportunity to introduce the group to the MCC network and blog (this website), present the brand new virtual bookshelf and invite participants to contribute. Continue reading “Marine Coastal Cultures Panel at KDM Social Sciences and Humanities meeting in Kiel”

Between Nature and Culture, Land and Sea: Spatial Practices at the Coast: A Conference Report

by Cormac Walsh

The fiftieth anniversary Conference of Irish Geographers, took place at Maynooth University, (close to Dublin, in County Kildare) from 10-12thMay 2018. In response to a call for papers for a themed session with the title: Between Nature and Culture, Land and Sea: Spatial Practices at the Coast, Ruth Brennan (Centre for Environmental Humanities, Trinity College Dublin) and I convened a double session with eight papers[1]presented to a lively audience on the last day of the conference. We were particularly interested in papers which viewed coasts and coastlines as boundary spaces and explored ways in which natural and cultural values are contested and negotiated at the coast. With this thematic focus, the session built on recent work on cultural geographies of coastal change (e.g. Walsh & Döring 2018) and was informed by a broader concern to bring together perspectives from cultural geography and the environmental humanities.

 The first paper, by Frances Rylands and colleagues from the interdisciplinary Cultural Values of Coastlines project at University College Dublin explored the concept of emotional ecologies as a means of incorporating cultural values in policy-making at the coast. Her paper addressed the question of how nature-culture relations can be narrated at the coast, working with through practices of story-telling and story-mapping. Drawing on the Lorimer’s Wildlife in the Anthropocene (2015), she spoke of the non-human charisma of seals and their role as digital personalities in the communication of particular images of nature at the coast. Her paper highlighted the importance of developing and articulating an ethic of care in relation to the marine environment and the potential role of story-telling in articulating otherwise intangible and difficult to grasp emotional responses and cultural values.

Seal photo

A charismatic seal, Glengarriff Bay, Ireland. Photo: (c) C. Walsh

Continue reading “Between Nature and Culture, Land and Sea: Spatial Practices at the Coast: A Conference Report”

Tidal Cultures: An Introduction

by Owain Jones
The Tidal Cultures blog was started as part of a UK – Dutch research project conducted from 2012-2015. This was the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK) Humanities Research Networking and Exchange Scheme; “Between the Tides”:  Comparative arts and humanities approaches to living with(in) intertidal landscapes in UK & the Netherlands. Learning from those who live and work with complexity, change and fragility’: Dr Owain Jones; Countryside and Community Institute; and  Dr. Bettina van Hoven, Department of Cultural Geography, Faculty of Spatial Sciences, University of Groningen.

severn bridge004v2

Severn Bridge, circa 1979 (c) Owain Jones.

Continue reading “Tidal Cultures: An Introduction”