Weathering the storm: TEMPEST and engagement with the national weather memory

Lead Research Organisation: University of Liverpool
Department Name: Sch of Histories, Lanuages and Cultures

Abstract

Knowledge of climate change has tended to remain in the scientific realm. Yet it is not only advances in science but local observations and experiences in nature and oral histories that can prove useful in helping to conceptualise and understand how weather and its variations affect and have affected people at the local level. Local, lay or 'experiential' weather is assuming new importance as a legitimate source of knowledge, and communication of climate change risk is thought to be more effective and appropriately targeted if it takes into account these relevant personal and vicarious experiences in the form of narrative, memories and anecdotes. One way to achieve a (re)engagement of people with climate is by inviting them to reflect on their local weather (past and present). Our proposed follow-on activity will be organised around the theme of weather memory and will capitalise on opportunities that have emerged from the original Care for the Future funded project. We will use the research material now gathered in the TEMPEST database (c. 18,000 event records) i) to develop the design of user interface on TEMPEST and produce a short tutorial/demonstration video, ii) to write a series of place-specific historical weather stories and collate these in the form of a research guide, iii) to support the development of a 'tour ready' version of 'The Storm Officer'. Each output is public-facing and will be widely circulated in print/ on line using existing project communication channels, those of the Archives and Records Association, and at the public events that lie at the heart of this follow-on activity. The overall aim is to demonstrate TEMPEST's utility among a range of users and to engage people with local weather memory and heritage. Through a formal partnership with the Archives and Records Association and return visits to a number of the Local Government Record Offices (LGROs) and National Collections from which we have drawn both materials and research advice, we hope to inform staff and archive users of our findings and to highlight the utility of their collections for weather history, identifying possible actions for future cataloguing and collecting practice and volunteer-led projects. The place-specific story guide will be available for the LGROs to use and will be designed to enable and encourage each archival repository to identify new connections with other collections and archival repositories within and across regions.
The research team will also work alongside poet and writer Matt Black and his creative team to develop a 'tour ready' version of 'The Storm Officer'. Matt's first play was inspired by the contents of the TEMPEST database and previewed in March 2017. Five new performances (all free to attend) will be staged during the period of the follow-on. The locations for the performances have been chosen to match those where rich documentary weather heritages have already been explored by the project team. Each will involve direct engagement with weather histories specific to the place of performance, drawing on the research material already collected by the researchers and now held in the TEMPEST database. Live performances will be enriched through researcher led pre-show workshops that will focus on the archival materials available for weather history in that particular place (using the place-specific weather stories and video as starting points), as well as recent experiences of extreme weather. Connections will also be made between the performance and the relevant LGRO and their resources, with staff and volunteers from the LGRO invited to participate in the workshop and attend the performance.
Each element of the Follow-on activity involves creative engagement with non-academic audiences and user communities to stimulate new pathways to impact for the original research, and will expand the utility of research output for a range of new audiences, adding significant value to previous activity.

Planned Impact

TEMPEST has wide utility for academics from a range of disciplines and practitioners (e.g. Environment Agency, Natural Resources Wales) but we anticipate that members of the general public with interests in weather will be the primary users. By engaging and exchanging knowledge with the NMLA, NLW, and LGROs we hope to publicise TEMPEST to a range of potential users (local and family history groups, volunteers and actual and online visitors). Through performances of 'The Storm Officer' we will broaden awareness of UK extreme weather history, reinvigorating collective and inter-generational memory and equipping the audience with the information needed to place current weather in appropriate temporal and geographical contexts. We anticipate this will also inspire further research, investigation and learning.
The proposed follow-on activities are being conducted in partnership with the Archives and Records Association (ARA), the professional body for archives and records managers. This partnership will allow us to reach the entirety of the Country Research Archive Network (CARN). The ARA will also support our planned workshops at selected LGROs (Derbyshire, Norfolk and Hereford) and the National Meteorological Library and Archive and the National Library of Wales. We will disseminate resources and information (the TEMPEST video and place-specific weather stories research guide) using the different communication channels of the ARA in order to engage with a broad audience. We will introduce the research to their membership through a short 'Opening Lines' piece within their monthly magazine which is distributed to all member organisations (May 2017). This details TEMPEST as a 'special repository' and outlines it's relevance to keepers of archives and records in the UK. A link to our publication in the Archives and Records journal provides further detail on our research to date. The ARA run regional training events for their members. We will attend one of these to raise awareness of our research and the potential of the holdings of LGROs for weather and environmental history more broadly, alongside discussion of cataloguing, collecting and project practice. ARA also jointly deliver the annual 'Explore Your Archive' campaign (www.exploreyourarchive.org) with the National Archives, which aims 'to increase public awareness of the essential role of archives in our society, to celebrate our network of collections and emphasise the skills and professionalism of the sector'. Weather is a connecting theme and one we will look to promote during the campaign through our work with individual local government records offices. The ARA acts as the secretariat for the All Party Parliamentary Group on Archives and History, an advocacy group for the archives sector, history and related issues, including history in education. This also promotes a history lecture series in Parliament to which the applicants hope to contribute.
Archival repositories local to each of the new performance venues (Derbyshire, Norfolk, and Hereford Local Government Record Offices, the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth, and the National Meteorological Library and Archive in Exeter) support the initiative, while through Matt Black we will work in conjunction with Live and Local and the Community Touring Scheme and Arts out West who will provide access to a range of venue possibilties to stage the play in locations close to those selected for the public workshops. Both these rural touring companies supported the previews of The Storm Officer in March 2017 and the follow-on activity develops these connections further. Other performance locations/networks have pledged support (Aberystwyth Arts). 'The Storm Officer' and supporting research workshops will be promoted by each venue and we will work to ensure the performances feature in local listings in paper and online. We will also work with our University Press Offices and the AHRC Press Office to publicise the events.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Title Commissioned play-"The Storm Officer" 
Description Inspired by the extreme weather database (TEMPEST), The Storm Officer is a rich journey, and an entertainment, which weaves together story, songs, strange characters, a thousand years of extreme weather and real experiences from the Cumbrian floods of December 2015. The performance has been specially commissioned by Georgina Endfield and Lucy Veale as part of their 'Weather Extremes' exhibition at the Weston Gallery. It has been written by Matt Black www.matt-black.co.uk. The Storm Officer will be performed for the first time on 17th March, 2017. Wild Stories and Songs of Extreme Weather written by Matt Black Fri 17 Mar 1.30pm-2.45pm Djanogly Theatre Admission Free 
Type Of Art Performance (Music, Dance, Drama, etc) 
Year Produced 2017 
Impact At the time of writing the performance has yet to take place. 
URL http://www.lakesidearts.org.uk/special-events/event/3399/the-storm-officer.html
 
Description This grant was a follow on funding grant and allowed us to focus on the sharing of our research and data gathered during our research with a broad general public. The original project 'Spaces of Experience and Horizons of Expectation': The Implications of Extreme Weather Events, Past, Present and Future was funded through the Care for the Future: Thinking Forward Through the Past's Environmental Change and Sustainability highlight notice. One of the principal outputs from the project was the TEMPEST (Tracking Extremes of Meteorological Phenomena Experienced in Space and Time) database - the first multi-regional digital weather history for the UK. Public access to this database was trialled at an exhibition co-curated by the applicants. This Follow On Funding project has alloeed us to broaden and enhance the level of public engagement with- and impact of TEMPEST. It will ensure that the legacy of the research conducted under the theme is secured, while offering an opportunity for safeguarding and embedding our database and its contents into national weather history. The Follow On activities explored in relation to weather, the values, beliefs and memories of individuals, communities and institutions, and specifically the role of narrative in understanding the extreme, unexpected, or unusual meteorological event. It did this through workshops that facilitated engagement with TEMPEST, the development of a guide to usign TEMPEST and a guide on finding weather information in archives and with the production and touring of a play- The Storm Officer.
The activities have been guided by a set of key questions about how we remember weather, why we remember certain kinds of weather, and what stories we tell about the weather. Our work has drawn on past weather experiences and memory collated in the TEMPEST database to help build community awareness of future extreme weather events. Community resilience lies at the heart of current management strategies for coping with weather extremes. Increased knowledge of local weather histories and the ability to draw on narratives of past coping strategies can also help communities to better understand the nature of future risk.

The Follow On project has helped us engage with a range of user groups with our translation of content from primary archival sources into digital forms that are now freely accessible online and we have worked with Local Government Record Offices (LGROs) regarding the future cataloguing (paper and digital) of material in their collections with weather content and the relative benefits and drawbacks of the translation of these materials into digital forms.
Exploitation Route TEMPEST is now a publicly available resource https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/geography/extreme-weather/search/
and is available for a range of users and stakeholders.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Communities and Social Services/Policy,Environment,Government, Democracy and Justice,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections

URL https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/geography/extreme-weather/search/
 
Description This project has resulted in the production of a revised version of the play The Storm Officer. This play has been developed as a result of project work on extreme weather in UK history. Archive work was conducted as part of a previoulsy funded AHRC project but the play has been developed as a result of the information collated and collected in the TEMPEST database. The current project involved working with colleagues in the creative arts to stage the play at a series of venues across England and Wales. a A guide on how to use the TEMPEST database and more generally how to use archival collections for investigating historical weather was also produced and shared with local records offices in England and Wales.
First Year Of Impact 2018
Sector Education,Environment,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections
Impact Types Cultural,Societal

 
Description Teaching resources for Royal Geographical Society with the Institute of British Geographers
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact The research conducted for the project has been used to inform a range of educational materials, lesson plans, animations, blogs and podcasts on Climate and Weather. This material has been produced by colleagues at the Royal Geographical Society with the Institute of British Geographers for a range of school level ageas and key stages.
URL https://www.rgs.org/schools/teaching-resources/extreme-weather-in-the-uk-past,-present-and-futur/
 
Title Deposit of data with Centre for Environmental Data Analysis 
Description TEMPEST (Tracking Extremes of Meteorological Phenomena Experienced in Space and Time) is the major output of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded project "Spaces of Experience and Horizons of Expectation: Extreme Weather in the UK, Past, Present and Future (which ran from 2013-2017)". . TEMPEST was designed as a freely accessible and user-friendly database resource on the UK's weather and climate history. TEMPEST is comprised of narrative accounts of extreme weather events of all types, extracted from documentary materials located in a range of archival repositories in the UK (consequentially, please see the quality statement note below concerning data issues). The information has been extracted from a wide range of documents, including letters, diaries, church records, school log-books and many others. The entries span more than 400 years - some as early as 1346 - of weather history and relate to places across the UK, though the data search was focused in five case-study regions: Central England, Southwest England, East Anglia, Wales, and Northwest Scotland. . Each event entry or narrative has been assigned to at least one weather type, is dated (at least to a year), and is geographically referenced (using digital coordinates). Many also contain material relating to the impacts of the weather event and responses to it. In addition to information on extreme weather events, TEMPEST contains details of the original documents, their authors, and the collections and repositories in which they are held. TEMPEST is searchable by all of these fields.. Users are advised to read the quality statement carefully with regards to possible issues in date and location accuracy and the way "extreme" events were documented. Additionally, users should be aware that the period covered by the dataset includes the change from the Julian to Gregorian calendar. In order to manage that change 11 days were omitted from the year 1752, i.e. the day after the 2 September 1752 was 14 September, in accordance with the Calendar Act of 1751. Until September 1752 the New Year began on 25 March (Lady Day) but dual dating was commonplace for many years before, adding a further layer of complication to events that took place from 1 January to 24 March, and making 1751 a short year running from 25 March to 31 December! Scotland had changed the start of the year to 1 January in 1600. Where clear, the Gregorian calendar date has been used, providing further details in the notes section.. . 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2017 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact We have made available a freely available set of over 18000 individual narrative accounts of extreme weather in a UK context dating back to the mid 14th century. This is available for a range of stakeholder uses among those interested in environmental risk and vulnerabilities as well as those interested in response to meteorological events and crises. 
URL http://catalogue.ceda.ac.uk/uuid/d2cfd2af036b4d788d8eddf8ddf86707
 
Description Distinguished Histoical Geographer Lecture 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact georgina Endfield has been invited to deliver the Historica Geography Speciality Group's 'Distingsuidhed HIstorical Geography Lecture' at the Annual Conference of the Associaton of American Geographers. Georgina will be talking about her work on Weather memory and place.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Performance of play, The Storm Officer 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A performance of The Storm Officer was held in The Market Theatre, Ledbury. The purpose is to communicate climate change risk and to consider the every lives that are affected by climate change.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/whats-on/ledbury-hfds/the-market-theatre/the-storm-officer-by-matt-bl...
 
Description Performance of play, The Storm Officer 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A performance of The Storm Officer was held at the Lakeside Theatre, Nottingham in front of c, 150 people. This is the play that emerged from and was supported through this project. The performance stimulated feedback and questions around climate change and risk.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.lakesidearts.org.uk/theatre/event/3774/the-storm-officer.html
 
Description Performance of play, The Storm Officer 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A performance of The Storm Officer was held at the Theatre in Chesterfield Library, Derbyshire. The play stimulated feedback and questions.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010
URL https://allevents.in/chesterfield/the-storm-officer-by-matt-black/1000046517087862#
 
Description Performance of play, The Storm Officer at the MInack Theater, Cornwall. 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A performance of The Storm Officer was held at the Minack Theater in Cornwall in October 2018. The evnt drew in a large audience. The event attracted questions and follow up about further performances but also interest from local tourism sector.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.saltycornwall.co.uk/events/the-storm-officer-at-the-minack-theatre-porthcurno/
 
Description Performance of play, The Storm Officer, Galeri in Canaerfon 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A performance of the play, The Storm Officer, was delivered at the Galeri in Canaerfon.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Performance of play, The Storm Officer, National Library of Wales 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A performance of The Storm Officer was delivered at the Drwm Theatre in the National Library of Wales.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2008,2018
URL https://allevents.in/aberystwyth/the-storm-officer-by-matt-black/1000046750084762#
 
Description Presentation for UKRI 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Georgina Endfield was invited by the AHRC to present at and participate in a UKRI- Met Office joint initiative to scope out opportunities around funding for the theme of Climate Resilience. Representatives from the EPSRC, NERC and ESRC communities were also invited to present. There is now a Strategic Priority Fund dedicated to this theme.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://nerc.ukri.org/research/funded/programmes/ukclimate/
 
Description Talk / seminar at St Andrews School of Geography and Sustainable Development 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Academic presentation on the Weathering the Storm project presented in a School seminar series.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Workshop at Herefordshire Archives and Records Centre 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Presentation and workshop on weather extremes in UK history and a discussion of the TEMPEST database.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Workshop on TEMPEST at the Derbyshire Records Office 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The PI understook planned and hosted a workshop on using archival materials for weather related research, with an introduction and guide to the TEMPEST database.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018