Keele professor to explore the role of storytelling for marine-environmental recuperation
Professor Lydia Martens has been awarded a major research fellowship to embark on a three-year interdisciplinary study to examine how storytelling can be used to promote environmental awareness and connect humans with nature.
The research will explore the connection between people living near the Scottish Minch – an area of sea between the mainland and Western Isles – and their nearby marine environments, and how this is expressed through storytelling.
Also investigated will be the potential of storytelling for communicating the importance of marine environmental decline and for imagining possibilities for future recovery.
Working with marine scientists in the UK and across the North-Atlantic region, as well as local communities located around the Scottish Minch, Professor Martens will explore ‘more than human’ ways of life, connection and kinship, chronicling her findings in a book and a short film which she will co-create with young people.
Professor Martens, from Keele's School of Social, Political and Global Studies (SPGS) said: “The Minch is a lived environment with distinct local identities and cultures, and the people living on its shores have a long tradition of storytelling informed by their situated connection with the sea, each other, fish and fishing, and marine animals. Even so, with changes in livelihoods and intergenerational relations, this marine connection is transforming. In addition, many marine conservation organisations are now active in the area, telling stories of marine environmental decline whilst arguing for the need of marine environmental protection.
“In the face of these changes, my research asks what the future holds for situated marine stewardship and local storytelling, and how storytelling has a role to play in future environmental recovery.”
The research has been funded by a Major Research Fellowship from the Leverhulme Trust.
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