£2.9m Eastern Arc project to explore coastal community challenges

Emily Collins

A multi-million pound Eastern Arc project will see University of Kent academics collaborate with regional institutions to explore the complex challenges facing our diverse UK coastal areas and develop resilience within them.

The £2.9 million ARISE project – Advancing Resilience and Innovation for a Sustainable Environment – is one of four projects to receive a total of £14.8 million from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Professor Catherine Richardson and Professor Jim Ang from the Institute of Cultural and Creative Industries at Kent will work with project leads at the University of Essex, and a range of other key stakeholders including the universities of East Anglia, Aberystwyth, Birkbeck, Manchester, Suffolk, as well as the Centre of Environment Fisheries and Aquaculture Science.

ARISE will focus on the east – the Kent, Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex coasts, which include communities from England’s highest and lowest levels of deprivation. This coastal region has more inequalities in health, wellbeing, life expectancy, earnings and education compared to nearby inland communities.

Professors Richardson and Ang will lead on creative engagement with these communities. At the end of the project, this will be used to inform a powerful and practical toolkit which local councils and other organisations can use to address the challenges facing our coast.

The aim of the project is to benefit policymakers, local communities, public managers, voluntary groups, researchers, landowners, businesses and residents along the entire UK coast.

Director of the Institute of Cultural and Creative Industries at Kent, Professor Catherine Richardson, said: ‘We’re excited to get started on this large and important project, bringing our expertise in finding new creative ways to work with our coastal communities, including immersive technologies, to think through sustainable futures with them.’

Director of Eastern Arc, Phil Ward, said: ‘Eastern Arc brings together our universities to work for the benefit of our region and the nation as a whole. Collaborating with other stakeholders within our region – local authorities, businesses, charities and other universities – offers a great opportunity to do even more, and ARISE is a great example of this.’

You can follow the work of ARISE on X (@ARISEResilience)LinkedIn and Facebook.