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Flooding the Field; the social

Thursday 25 February 2021, 14:00
Free online event

Join us for the first session of the Flooding the Field series where we will be exploring the 'social' in flood research.

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.

This first session will explore the various conceptualisations of the social in flood research, with a view to discussing the possible tensions as well as synergies that may emerge when working between disciplines. Our two speakers in this session are Franz Krause (University of Cologne) and Seb O'Connor (University of Leeds).

After each 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.

Franz Krause – University of Cologne

Hydrosocial flooding: making sense of water flows in anthropology and beyond

If flooding has become the most frequent and most destructive natural hazard globally, how can researchers, policy-makers and practitioners help people to “live with floods”? In order to address this challenge, Franz will share some insights that he learned in previous and current research on the role of water in social life, especially in a project on flood memories in southwest England and a project on life in volatile river deltas. Franz will highlight the idea of hydrosociality, which refers to the entanglements of social relations and water flows. This idea chimes with similar developments towards approximating hydrological and social dynamics, based in hydrology, which have formed the recent field of socio-hydrology. Franz will comment on his experiences, hopes and concerns regarding interdisciplinary water research, and suggest that pursuing incommensurable questions remains as crucial as collaborating for tackling real-world challenges.

Seb O’Connor – University of Leeds

Living well with water; re-thinking social values to work with water

There has been a transition from hard-engineering flood defence management keeping water out, to a more soft-engineering, flood risk management approach that accepts the inevitably of flooding to varying degrees. This shift does not just represent a new policy paradigm however but points to a much deeper ontological shift in understanding human-nature relationships. Talking from an interdisciplinary Ecological Economics perspective, Seb will explore what this shift means for valuation processes that guide decision-making, particularly focusing how we might rethink the concept of social values that is growing in popularity environmental management.

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,