Climate adaptation project outputs showcased in Hull

The SPF UK Climate Resilience Programme hosted its Showcase event at the University of Hull in collaboration with the Met Office and UKRI on 10-11 October 2022. The event brought together leading practitioners and researchers from across the UK who have been working on climate change adaptation projects to showcase their work and results. National, regional and local policy makers as well as participating organisations attended. (Read Key Messages from the Showcase and Adam Walmesley’s blog, Exploring Place-based Approaches to Climate Adaptation.)

Session 1a: Creating rich climate change narratives for Hull and Yorkshire region

Colleagues from the Met Office ran a session to help local delegates understand how to construct locally tailored climate narratives for Hull. The narratives brought together physical climate metrics, socio-economic storylines and impact metrics combined with local vulnerability information. Flooding in a changing climate today is often associated with intense rainfall causing rivers to swell, or urban drainage to be overwhelmed. However, for many in the UK storm surges can prove to be a greater hazard with changing water levels happening in a matter of minutes. The associated Impacts on people, communities, and businesses can lead to displacements, school closures, food shortages, and disruption to health services. Projections show an increase in extent and occurrence of storm surges, leading to compound events. As a result, we need to start thinking beyond engineering solutions. The session was led by Dan Bernie, Met Office Work Package lead on Climate Hazard to Risk

Session 1b: What do you love about rain?

Researchers from the MAGIC project encouraged participants to consider how beginning community engagement with an exploration of people’s positive relationship with rain, opens the way to discuss more practical, personal, and problematic aspects of water management. Co-production as a process works with many partners to frame the problem and then identify solutions. Solutions to adaptation can be as simple as changing perceptions of a ‘problem’ to bring about change, for example, moving from talking about sustainable urban drainage to rain management. Rain management is a better term as the water is to be retained while in SUDS, the water is drained away. Having a common language, and a local champion can help build relationships to foster community engagement to bring about meaningful change. The session was led by Liz Sharp and Christine Sefton of MAGIC (Mobilising Adaptation – Governance of Infrastructure through Co-Production).

Session 2a: Understanding climate risks: What is happening in my backyard?

This session looked at how to access useful and usable information about future climate risks using the UK-CRI online tool. Highlighting changing climate risks can provide a tangible image to help people understand likely impacts. Whilst the UK benefits from probabilistic climate projections these don’t often refer to indicators of climate change but rather the change in particular variables. The climate risk indicator web interface allows users to choose a range of indicators relevant to their sector that would not be so easily accessible elsewhere. Further developments are required to support engagement with the tool, but even in its current format the ability for it to spark conversation leading to collaborations is clearly evident. The session was led by Nigel Arnell, Climate Risk Indicators (see also: uk-cri.org).

Session 2b: Creative Reflections

Using the same textile methods used during the project, the Risky Cities team, created a space for participants to reflect on what being a part of the UCRP meant to them. The session showed that art has power and is an effective communication tool to depict the impacts of climate change. It further enhances inclusivity through working together. Art also has the power for us to see and appreciate different perspectives of impacts which further informs us of the need to act now to save our future. Using art enhances communication and helps break the challenge of communicating complex scientific modules. Climate change adaptation is not just about numbers and science. The session was led by Kate Smith of Risky Cities.

Session 3a: Using Urban Climate Services for decision making in Hull

Building on their work on urban climate services, colleagues from the Met Office worked with participants to create climate narratives for Hull that can be used in local decision-making. Climate services are still an evolving concept and offers opportunity to examine the diversity of knowledge needed to adapt to climate change impacts. Whilst the Met Office, as one of the key agencies for UK climate change, has access to world leading scientists the need to engage all disciplines is still a fundamental driver to their work. Co-production of climate services provides an exciting opportunity for them to ensure the outputs are relevant to increase resilience to climate change at a range of scales for a range of people. The session was led by Claire Scannell of the Met Office work package, Urban Climate Service Pilots.

Session 3b: On the Edge – a co-created exploration of young people’s eco-anxiety in the face of climate uncertainty

Project leads from the Risky Cities project showed a screening of ‘On the Edge’. Following the screening participants could talk to the Director and academics about what it was like to bring together young people, researchers and creative practitioners to empower those voice not often heard. Young people experience understandable anxiety about the future whilst often feeling disempowered to bring about change. Arts-based practices, such as performance, can help them connect to feelings of despair and overwhelm, make sense of alarming information about the changing climate and explore their responses to this, thus gaining a sense of control.  This empowerment helps to build climate resilience where young people see themselves as part of the solution and not just victims. The session was led by Briony McDonagh of Risky Cities.

Future of wine production in the UK

There are opportunities with a changing climate and it is easy to argue that if they increase UK’s economic resilience they should be welcomed.  This session on how the UK wine industry might prosper with climate change sparked discussion about whether climate change should ever be presented as a good thing. With increasing global attention on the quality of wine produced in England and Wales this question becomes even more pressing. The session was linked to the CREWS-UK project, Characterising and Adapting to Climate Risks in the UK Wine Sector.

Who ya gonna call (in event of emergency)?

A new performance presentation explored the challenging question of whose responsible for climate change adaptation, by using a combination of storytelling and facilitated participation. Described as “An engaging and meticulously realised journey from beginning of climate anxiety, through the maze of responsibility”, Embedded Researcher Stephen Scott-Bottoms’ use of props and metaphor to tell the story created many memorable moments. The play is a powerful example of the role performance has in highlighting the many facets of decision making relevant to creating a socially informed and resilient UK and has since been been put on in Leeds, with another performance due on 9 November. Led by Stephen Scott-Bottoms, Whose Role is it to Act on Climate Resilience? Implementing Yorkshire’s Climate Action Plan with Leeds City Council.

Main image from Who Ya Gonna Call, by Catherine Homoky

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