University of Reading: Flood Science Showcase Encouages Public To Get Inspired By Nature

Budding poets are being invited to get their creativity flowing in a competition as part of a flood science exhibition by the University of Reading.

Scientists at the University will be revealing what goes into creating reliable flood forecasts to support global communities at their ‘What happens when there is too much water?’ exhibit at the online Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition 2021, running 8-12 July.

The scientists are hoping to inspire creative new poems about water, following their own collaborations with poet Dan Simpson, whose commissioned poem about flooding is performed by Reading scientists as part of the exhibit, and Experimental Words, a collaboration between lead scientist Professor Hannah Cloke and poet Maria Ferguson, released last month.

The competition will give a public platform for new poems about water and the natural world, with a prize of £100 on offer for the winner.

This adds to other interactive activities, including a flooding simulator game, cloud spotting guide, and explorations of science and how it is communicated.

Professor Hannah Cloke, a hydrologist at the University of Reading who is leading on the Floods Ahead exhibit, said: “Floods are costly, both economically and emotionally, and they are increasing in frequency and affecting more and more people as a result of climate change.

“As we face up to this growing hazard, we hope the variety of activities on offer at the Summer Science Exhibition will help people understand flooding as an issue and how we can better prepare for it.

“An important part of increasing understanding is finding new ways of communicating science to new audiences. Our interdisciplinary approach, combining creative writing with environmental science, will allow more people to engage with this important topic.”

Poems submitted to the competition could focus on rivers, rain, flooding or water in another natural setting. They should be submitted in either the Up to Year 9 or Year 10-13 category via the exhibition website before the deadline of Friday 3 September.

The winner will have their poem presented at the University’s Climate Education Summit, taking place on 15 September. The virtual event is bringing together scientists, teachers, young people and policymakers to address challenges and shortfalls in the current teaching of climate change in schools.

They will be judged by Professor Cloke and professional poet Dan Simpson, who created the poem performed by Reading scientists for the exhibition.

As well as the poem, other activities planned for the exhibit include:

A fully-booked virtual poetry workshop

A lightning lecture on how flood forecasts are produced, delivered by Professor Cloke, streamed on the Royal Society’s YouTube channel.

Reading natural hazard researchers taking part in interviews and overseeing a message board.

Case studies of real flooding events and forecasting being made available.

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