Aberystwyth University: Senedd exhibition illustrates coastal impact of climate change

An exhibition depicting the impacts of climate change upon the fragile coastal heritage of Wales and Ireland has been launched at the Senedd in Cardiff.

The exhibition highlights the work of the EU-funded CHERISH (Climate, Heritage and Environments of Reefs, Islands and Headlands) project which brings together archaeologists, geographers and geologists in a cross-disciplinary study to examine the effects of climate change, storminess and extreme weather on coastal and maritime heritage in Wales and Ireland.

An exhibition of artwork by Dr Julian Ruddock, Lecturer in Fine Art at Aberystwyth University, and fellow artist Pete Monaghan is on display in the Oriel of the Senedd throughout June. Their work, developed alongside the scientific investigations represents the artists’ visual responses to and interpretations of the findings of the CHERISH project.

Professor Sarah Davies, Head of the Geography and Earth Sciences Department at Aberystwyth University, said:

“This exhibition is a great opportunity for us to highlight the importance of our work here in Aberystwyth together with the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales. Our work with Irish partners and coastal communities to investigate both the immediate and long-term impacts of climatic and environmental change is contributing to a deeper understanding of these dynamic coastal landscapes and the rates of change occurring at important coastal heritage sites. Very many thanks go to Julian and Pete for their fantastic artwork which is bringing these findings to a new audience.”



Minister for Climate Change, Julie James MS, who officially opened the exhibition, said:

“It was a pleasure to attend the opening of the exhibition. It’s very important that heritage sites and assets under threat from climate change are protected. This important project is bringing Wales and Ireland together to tackle some of our shared challenges around climate and environmental changes in our coastal regions.”



The art-science exhibition that stems from this collaboration comprises paintings, acrylic/collage on wood panels, and reinterpretations of science-derived images using digital photography and video.

Dr Julian Ruddock explained: “The pieces in the exhibition explore the remarkable coastal landscape and sites investigated by CHERISH. Some pieces reinterpret aerial photographs that reveal change in the landscapes over time. Others offer an artistic response to the immediate, subjective and felt experiences of place, weather and environment.

“Situated within the urgent context of a changing climate, the artworks explore the relevance of the coast in our collective past and raise awareness of both the natural beauty and the cultural heritage of these liminal, ancient sites of habitation, which are rapidly being lost to the sea.”

CHERISH is a 6-year project funded through the EU Ireland-Wales territorial co-operation programme. It is led by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales in partnership with the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences, Aberystwyth University; the Discovery Programme, Ireland; and Geological Survey of Ireland.

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