The everyday and environmental change: connecting research projects
Our new research project, Environmental Change, Everyday lives and Small Island States, funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC), builds on and extends our current project, Everyday Lives and Environmental Change, funded by the ESRC-DFID.
The ESRC-DFID project looks at a range of environmental changes taking place on an ongoing, daily basis in the Maldives, including the washing up of waste onto the shoreline, changes in the built environment, and coastal and beach erosion. The new ARC project takes the notion of everyday life and applies it to one of the most significant impacts of climate change, that of sea level rise. Sea level rise is an issue around which there has been considerable debate at the global and national levels. However, there has been very little attention paid to how rising sea levels impact the everyday lives, activities and aspirations of people in affected communities. This project attempts to address this theoretical and empirical research gap. The ARC project also expands the geographical scope of the ESRC-DFID work to Fiji and to other islands in the Maldives.
The ARC project will further develop the impact outcomes of the ESRC-DFID project. The latter resulted in the production of an exhibition at the Maldivian National Art Gallery in April 2019 in which people’s photographs depicting different forms of environmental change that were affecting their daily lives were displayed. The new project will build on this work by developing visual ‘story maps’ with island communities to explore the relationship between changes in their everyday lives and in their physical environment. The idea is to co-create novel, more effective ways of bringing these impacts to decisionmakers based in the national capitals in Fiji and the Maldives and to support affected communities in publicising their concerns.