Outreach

More than Maps workshops

Developed by Dr Sien van der Plank, Miss Yanna Fidai, Miss Marie Schlenker, Dr Heather Brown, Prof Jadu Dash, Prof Emma Tompkins, and Prof Jack Corbett


The More than Maps public engagement initiative aims to share replicable and open-access skills in mapping and social science analysis, to empower students and young professionals in research supporting climate change adaptation.


Summary

“Managing Seaweed through More than Maps” is a workshop series that fosters transferable skills among young people. The workshop develops skills in mapping and social sciences to address climate change adaptation.

The workshops explore seaweed management as a case of adaptation, through:

  1. Introducing research on environmental challenges facing small islands and developing states.
  2. Teaching basic coding skills using open source Google Earth Engine
  3. Sharing theory and application of stakeholder analysis in environmental management.

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Background

The seaweed species Sargassum has been washing up on beaches across the Caribbean and West Africa in large quantities since 2011, affecting fisheries, tourism and other sectors. The SARTRAC research consortium (University of Southampton, University of York, University of Ghana and University of the West Indies) aims to identify what opportunities exist to exploit or manage Sargassum in such a way as to create equitable resilience across societies affected. A central principle of the project is skills transfer and capacity building: the More than Maps workshops targets audiences in the UK and internationally who may benefit from open access software and methods, introducing young audiences (16-30yrs) to the benefits of interdisciplinary research and working, and increasing their confidence in multiple methods.

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Target audiences

A-level students:

The advanced nature of the workshops means they are best suited for senior students. Geography A-level students will find the workshops especially interesting, providing possible ideas for EPQs and projects, and case studies of hazard management and climate change adaptation.

Young professionals working in environmental management, climate change adaptation, or related areas:

Each of the workshops introduces a new area of research or methodological approach, and is therefore appropriate for young professionals working in a relevant environmental or climate sector wishing to expand their skillset. For example, a policy specialist with an interest in how hazard maps are produced, or a GIS specialist with an interest in how to identify stakeholders in a specific context.

Learning outcomes for all participants include:

  • To describe why social science methods are important for climate change adaptation
  • To apply a commonly used social science research method to a climate change adaptation case study
  • To have a basic understanding of seaweed algal blooms as a case study for climate change adaptation and hazard mitigation.
  • To use JavaScript in a free open-access platform to identify seaweed blooms in satellite imagery.

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Format and delivery

Workshops are developed and delivered by postgraduate research students, early career researchers and professors.

The A-level Geography workshops series is composed of three 1.5-hour workshops:

  1. Why do politicians need science in environmental management?
  2. What is environmental mapping and why do we use it?
  3. How can studying people help with solving environmental problems?

The public-practitioner workshops series is composed of three 1.5-hour workshops:

  1. The importance of evidence-based policy in adapting to environmental change
  2. The role for mapping in adapting to environmental change
  3. The value of social sciences in adapting to environmental change

The workshops can be run in one day or across three days, for up to 30 participants. The workshops require each participant to have a laptop with reliable internet access. In light of COVID-19 regulations, workshops have been run 100% remotely to date, using online platforms such as Teams or Blackboard Collaborate – both are free and do not require any downloads.

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Feedback from previous workshops

Student participant –

I thoroughly enjoyed the sessions, I liked how they were split into two sections as it was great to understand how the two sides – more mathematical, and more social, fit together in working out how to help solve this problem… I found this really interesting as I had never done anything like it before.

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For further information

To be the first to hear about upcoming workshops, follow @SARTRAC1 on Twitter.

For more information or to arrange workshops for your organisation or college, contact Dr Sien van der Plank at sien.vanderplank@soton.ac.uk

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