Understanding our responses to environmental change

Welcome to my website!
I am Professor of Social Science at the University of Exeter in southwest UK. I am fascinated by how people and communities respond to change – how they perceive and understand change, embrace and resist change, and have different capacities to deal with change. Much of my work focuses on social responses to environmental change, but I try to understand this within the context of other changes – in culture, economy, technology and knowledge.

Find out more about me, my book, the projects I’m currently working on and the people I work with.


  • A Decade of Resilience Research – in six ‘Ps’
    08 September 2017

    My keynote talk at the recent Resilience 2017 conference gave a brief overview of last decade of research on resilience in social ecological systems. It highlighted the areas where the field has expanded to at the interdisciplinary interface with social sciences, and then posed some urgent challenges for SES resilience researchers. You can watch my… Read More

  • The Drama of the Resilience
    26 April 2017

    Our latest paper is titled ‘The drama of resilience: learning, doing and sharing for sustainability’ and is newly published in the journal Ecology and Society – you can access it here. The paper explores the use of participatory and community theatre to understand how different people in different places deal with change, and how they… Read More

  • Launching the MAGIC Pathfinder puzzle
    15 March 2017

    On Monday 6th March we proudly launched our decision support tool, the MAGIC Pathfinder puzzle, to a small and select group of our project participants at ESI in Penryn Cornwall. The very beautiful puzzle, fashioned from oak, is a product from our MAGIC project which has been investigating coastal adaptation and maladaptation. Through the course… Read More

  • Learning about social ecological trade-offs
    07 February 2017

    Diego Galafassi from Stockolm Resilience Centre led us through a really interesting reflective process to analyse how people’s understanding changed and what they learnt about trade-offs in the workshops we had conducted in our earlier ESPA project ;Participatory modelling of wellbeing trade-offs in coastal Kenya’ (other wise know as Pmowtick see here ). The photo shows… Read More

  • Miss You Already……
    21 October 2016

    One year ago we hosted our colleagues from S.A.F.E. Pwani in Kenya, and we enjoyed a wonderful production and series of workshops with GoldenTree Productions in Cornwall. On a beautiful autumn day we went to Porthleven in Cornwall together and took part in a promenade production, called Weather the Storm, which explored emotional responses to… Read More

  • Resilience 2014 déjà vu, and Resilience 2017 Hallå!
    21 October 2016

    Resilience 2014 was an extraordinary gathering of a science and policy community. We basked in glorious sunshine of Montpellier, enjoyed the finest hospitality of the Languedoc and explored a host of resilience and development related topics. The conference had a terrific buzz and energy, fierce debates, and much good cheer and collegiality. A clear community… Read More

  • Researching impacts of El Nino at the Kenyan Coast
    22 September 2016

    Our SPACES project has received a supplementary grant to work alongside another ESPA-funded project – CESEA  – in identifying how people and ecosystems in southern Kenya have been affected by this year’s El Nino event. In April communities in Vanga, one of our study sites, are recovering from a catastrophic flood. The Floodlines website reports that… Read More

  • Links in a chain
    Getting to grips with Ecosystem Services: wellbeing links in Social Ecological Systems
    02 August 2016

    We’ve published a new paper in Ecology and Society from our SPACES project. A new paper, led by Tim Daw and co-authored with our international research team, outlines the conceptual framework developed in our SPACES research. In this we use the heuristic of an ecosystem wellbeing chain to empirically test how ecosystems might affect –… Read More

  • Resilience, Development and Global Change – NEW book published!
    22 January 2016

    My new book: Resilience, Development and Global Change, has been published by Routledge. You can see further details here. I became interested in resilience because as a concept it brought a perspective on understanding change that accounts for uncertainty and non-linearity, which better reflects the realities of rapidly changing world. It provided a way of… Read More

  • Kenya to Cornwall – exploring community resilience to climate change.
    16 November 2015

    As part of our AXA Outlook project: You, Me and our Resilience, we were excited and fortunate to host an immensely rewarding visit of 8 actors from S.A.F.E Kenya, along with Founder and Director Nick Reding, to Cornwall in late September. We had planned a busy itinerary for our S.A.F.E Kenya visitors who arrived in… Read More

  • Weather the Storm
    04 October 2015

    Two really significant events recently in our AXA-funded project “You, me and our Resilience’. Our collaborators from SAFE Pwani visited Cornwall, and the production by GoldenTree coincided on Sunday 27 September in Porthleven. Both the companies have been exploring how people can respond to severe weather in the context of other coastal changes. In Kenya… Read More

  • Does conservation may make local communities more vulnerable to climate and other environmental changes?
    08 June 2015

    A new paper in Global Environmental Change, co-authored with Isabel Ruiz-Mallén and other team members from the Institute of Science and Technology at the Universitat Autònomia de Barcelona in Spain, examines how conservation regulations influence the vulnerability of local communities and their opportunities and capacities for adaptation. The paper reports findings from the EU-funded international… Read More