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“Shifting Tides and Sea Change”: Empowering Coastal Communities

01 Mar 2024
by Suzie Cahn, Shared Island Project Director, The Wheel
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The Shifting Tides Project will be a regular feature of the iCommunity newsletter as it seeks to pioneer cross-border and all-island collaboration between coastal communities. The project is based around Carlingford Lough, spanning both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Spearheaded by The Wheel and the Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action (NICVA), this initiative marks a significant step towards fostering deeper connections between communities and their local marine environments. 

In regions where industries such as small-scale fishing, sustainable aquaculture, and tourism depend heavily on marine ecosystems’ health, the Shifting Tides Project hopes to be an example of community empowerment. Recognizing the interconnectedness between human activities and the marine world, the Shifting Tides seeks to engage local stakeholders and community members in the stewardship of their coastal ecosystems through arts and citizen science. 

The project embodies the ethos of community ownership in effective climate action and marine management. Through collaboration, creativity, and education, the Shifting Tides Project aims to catalyze meaningful connections and foster a culture of environmental stewardship among coastal communities. 

Led by a diverse team of experts spanning art, heritage and marine science, the project promises to deliver impactful outcomes. Supported by The Wheel and NICVA, the team will initiate a series of site-specific performances collaboratively developed with coastal communities. Drawing on expertise in ecology, zoology, artistic expression, and more, these performances will serve as platforms for dialogue and understanding. 

Beyond performances, the project’s scope encompasses educational outreach programs, community citizen science workshops, shore surveying, foraging, oral heritage recordings, and scientific diving. These activities aim to deepen local understanding of marine ecosystems and inspire action and change. 

However, the Shifting Tides Project isn’t just about local impact—it’s about sharing knowledge and best practices with communities across the island of Ireland. Through collaboration with the iCommunity shared practices hub, the initiative will disseminate its findings and outputs through the iCommunity quarterly newsletter. This strategic approach ensures that lessons learned from this project can benefit and inspire communities far beyond Carlingford Lough, contributing to a more sustainable and interconnected future for all. 

For more information and to get involved, please contact Suzie Cahn. 

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