street scene in oxford with flooding in a residential area

'Spaces of Experience and Horizons of Expectation': Extreme weather in the UK, past, present and future

This is a three year study funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). The research uses historical records and oral history approaches to explore how people have understood, been affected by and have responded to climate variability and extreme events through time.

Specifically we are exploring how and why particular events become inscribed into the cultural fabric of communities and how they have contributed to community change in historical and cultural contexts.

Key aims and objectives

The project will use case study based archival research and oral history interviews in order to:

  1. Develop a set of local and regional climate histories in order to identify periods of unusual weather and extreme events.
  2. Investigate the scale of impact and the nature of human responses to these events and the way in which time and place specific contexts may have influenced both impact and response.
  3. Examine how individual and community responses to climate variability, including the recording and recollection of events, have changed over the course of recent centuries and are still changing.
  4. Explore how social memory of and adaptations to past events may have influenced perceptions of relative resilience and vulnerability.