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Flooding the Field; the science

Thursday 11 March 2021, 13:30
Online event

Join us for the third session of the Flooding the Field series where we will be exploring the science of flooding.

Flooding the Field is a short series of talks organised by a PhD research network called Floods; Living with water in the past, present and future.

For this session, we are joined by speakers Gemma Curto (University of Sheffield) and Alex Jardine (University of York).

After the talk there will be a chance for a Q & A before a final open participatory discussion that will aim to draw out some of the tensions and overlaps in ideas that have been discussed.

Gemma Curto - University of Sheffield

Floods have long captured the literary and popular imagination. The current climate crisis highlights one of its symptoms, floods, which are one of the natural disasters humans are most familiar with. Vulnerability of populations has been invoked to stand in for the breakdown of our society and its environmental crisis; contemporary flood stories add a new layer to old stories of floods, which focus not only on how floods discuss climate change but also interrogate more traditional forms of narrative (e.g. Clark 2015).

This paper will discuss how the combination of words and images disrupt temporal progressions, where biocentric (Lanza 2007; Clark 2011; Herman 2018) narratives decentre human agency and lifespans allowing the reader to ‘fill in the gaps’. I am going to read the graphic novels Map of Days (Robert Hunter 2013) and Here (Richard McGuire 2014) though the lens of biocentrism in the event of floods. Through a close reading of contemporary flood narratives individual voices open up a space for thinking about multiple interpretations of the same phenomenon, where interdisciplinary collaboration is a starting point for encompassing plural representations of floodings.

Alex Jardine - University of York

Tracing coastal storms

The impacts of coastal storms and severe weather have been identified as one of the greatest risks posed to the UK population (Lewis et al. 2011; Wadey et al. 2014). As forecasted rises in sea level and increases in atmospheric storminess are predicted to increase the vulnerability of coastal populations throughout Western Britain it is key that the wider implications of climatic change are considered (Lowe et al. 2018; Palmer et al. 2018). This interdisciplinary research utilises sedimentological and written archival evidence to analyse how storm magnitude and frequency has changed between 1799-2019 in Western Britain and assess how the socio-environmental implications of storms have evolved throughout this time. In this way the research aims to highlight the diverse consequences of flooding and enhance the awareness of the range of societal flooding implications over time and space.

Booking information

This event is free and all are welcome.

Please book here via Eventbrite.

About the series

The purpose of this series is to create a wider community of researchers with an interest in fluvial and coastal flooding. The focus of each of the sessions will be to discuss both tensions and synergies between disciplines with the aim of understanding how interdisciplinarity can help us to think differently about practicing flood research in the future.

In the final, fourth week, we welcome participants to join us for an interactive mapping session that explores both the tensions and the synergies that will have surfaced over the series and beyond. It is our hope that this mapping exercise will highlight how we might collaborate as interdisciplinary flood researchers in the future.

Find out more about the Flooding the Field series and network here.


Waterscapes. Jace Harrison Crowley, CG Artist,