Sea Level and Coastal Change in Devon and Cornwall

Chesil Beach, February 2014. Image credit: Gerd Masselink

  • Sherwell Centre, University of Plymouth

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What does a warming world and rising sea level mean for coastal communities in Devon and Cornwall? 

This free event will explore the science and experiences behind sea level and coastal change in the South West. The public are invited to attend this evening of talks and get involved in an open discussion session on all aspects of life along a changing coastline.


  • 18:00: Welcome reception, drinks and nibbles
  • 18:30 Part 1: “Sea-level change and global warming: lessons from the past to inform our future” – Professor Roland Gehrels
  • 18:50 Part 2: “Coastal Changes, Creative Responses” – Professor Caitlin DeSilvey and Dr Natalia Eernstman
  • 19:10 Part 3: Open floor panel discussion session – chair: Professor Iain Stewart


This evening event is free to attend. Please register using the link above to secure your place.


For more information email Rob Barnett:

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Invited guest speakers

Biography: Professor Roland Gehrels

Professor Roland Gehrels from the University of York (University of Plymouth 1995-2013) is a Quaternary geologist, physical geographer and world-leading researcher in sea-level science with strong academic ties to the South West UK. 

His research couples geological field evidence with instrumental records of sea-level change, which document an acceleration in sea-level rise throughout the North Atlantic.

Biography: Justin Ridgewell

Justin Ridgewell is a Flood and Coastal Risk Management Advisor in the Environment Agency’s Partnership and Strategic Overview Team in Cornwall.

His academic background is in environmental, coastal and marine sciences and he has 15 years of practical and applied experience as a coastal specialist in flood and coastal erosion risk management. He is involved in developing guidance and policy for sustainable coastal communities.

Biography: Professor Caitlin DeSilvey

Professor Caitlin DeSilvey (University of Exeter, Penryn Campus) is a cultural geographer interested in cultural and social responses to environmental change, with a focus on themes of heritage, transformation and cultural adaptation. 

Her research seeks to build bridges between practice and theory, and between science and the arts, through extended collaboration and experimental methodologies.

Biography: Dr Natalia Eernstman

Dr Natalia Eernstman is an artist, educator and researcher, specialising in (community) learning through artful and performative means. 

She is a senior lecturer on the MA Creative Education: Making Learning at Plymouth College of Art and runs (research) projects in the field of creative education, participatory art practice and environmental art. She works in communities and with universities in the field of climate change and bridging (social) science and arts practice.

Biography: Professor Iain Stewart

Professor Iain Stewart is the Director of the Sustainable Earth Institute and Professor of Geoscience Communication at the University of Plymouth. 

His geoscience communication activities build on a 15-year partnership with BBC Science and his work in applying Earth Science to contemporary societal challenges was recognised in 2018 by a UNESCO Chair in ‘Geoscience and Society’.

Event photography and video
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