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‘Learning to Live with Water: Flood Histories, Environmental Change, Remembrance and Resilience’

Next Friday (26th November) I will be giving a short presentation on my MuBu project at the first workshop of the AHRC Learning to Live with Water network. The workshop is titled ‘ Floods and environmental change: conceptual frameworks for watery landscapes and living with floods’, and will be held at the University of the West of England, Bristol. My talk will focus on museum objects and displays focussed on floods in the region considering how museums could help communities to become more resilient and to share their local knowledges of flooding, and on the threat flooding poses to museums.

Visit the network blog.


Community Climate Action Conference, Nottinghamshire

On Saturday 13th November I attended ‘Living for Tomorrow’, Nottinghamshire’s Community Climate Action Conference, held at Forever Green, Ransom Wood, near Mansfield. I learnt about the event which was part of ‘Changing Climate Weeks 2′ through The Wrapper (Climate East Midlands’ quarterly newsletter). The day was a chance for community groups working on climate action to get together and learn from each other about how best to engage their communities, and to get new ideas both from other community groups and professional service providers.

The main thing that I took away from the conference was that there are lots more community groups engaged in climate action in Nottinghamshire than I imagined! ‘Transition Towns’ and ‘Greening’ groups were particularly well represented, and schemes involved everything from eco-homes, community allotments and markets, cotton shopping bags, skills exchanges, cycling campaigns, lightbulb libraries and reducing household energy consumption.

Community engagement was a key theme for the conference, and I came away thinking about how museums could potentially help in this role. Barbara Breakwell from the ‘Greening Ruddington’ campaign did tell me that they had made use of Ruddington Village Museum in their particular campaign, using collection items like mangles and other household equipment to show the children of the village how washing was done without electric power, and how candles were the main form of lighting. This history of changing energy types proved to be a successful tool in the campaign generating cross-generational interest.

So far I’ve been focussing my community engagement upon specialist interest groups within the East Midlands region with an interest in recording the weather, or weather-related phenomena, the climate action groups are something quite different, focussed on actions rather than observations. I will be looking out for more community group activities and hope to engage them in my project, possibly through the Living for Tomorrow publication.