Climate Science and Creativity with Quay Words writer-in-residence Ellen Wiles

  • Exeter Custom House
  • April 27
  • 18:30 - 19:30
  • £4/ £3 concessions
Event Website

Join us at Custom House for a lively conversation event between a team of three creative writers and a team of three scientists, all based in Devon, and all actively working to address the climate crisis in different ways through their work. Ellen Wiles, Quay Words’ Spring Writer in Residence, on a theme of ‘Science’, will speak about her new residency project exploring Devon’s riverscapes, and the role of beavers, in the context of climate change. She will invite the other participants, Prof. Richard Brazier, Prof. Lizzie Kendon, Dr Sam Bridgewater, Dr John Wedgwood- Clarke and Dr Ben Smith to talk about their recent and evolving work. The panel will then discuss the wider connections and differences between creativity and science, and how new experiments might enable these often-divided worlds and to collaborate to create new projects that have a meaningful impact among diverse audiences and local communities. There will be the opportunity for the audience to ask questions.

· Professor Richard Brazier is a leading expert in earth surface processes, hydrology, flood management, beaver reintroduction projects, and other nature-based climate adaptation and mitigation work, evidenced in many major publications. He is the Co-Director of the major new Centre for Resilience in Environment, Water and Waste (CREWW) at the University of Exeter, established to undertake research into some of the most pressing environmental challenges in our time.


· Professor Lizzie Kendon is a Met Office Scientific Manager and Science Fellow, and Professor in Faculty of Science at the University of Bristol. She is an expert in extreme rainfall processes and is an innovator in predictive modelling, and is often invited to speak for broadcast about extreme flooding events and future climate impacts, for instance on Panorama in 2021.


· Dr Sam Bridgewater is Wildlife and Conservation Manager for Clinton Devon Estates, a role that includes leading a major climate adaptation scheme that will transform a riverscape, The Lower Otter Restoration Project, and overseeing beaver management, as well as managing The Pebbled Heaths: a new National Nature Reserve. He has a PhD in botany and extensive experience as a scientist working on plants and human cultures.


· Dr John Wedgwood Clarke is a poet, Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Exeter, and the University’s Academic Director for Arts and Culture (Devon Campuses). His new poem and AHRC-funded Leadership Fellowship project: ‘Red River: Listening to a Polluted River’, was recently filmed as a BBC a documentary. His 2017 poetry collection, Landfill, explores the poetics of rubbish and marine ecology.


· Dr Ben Smith is a poet, novelist, and Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Exeter. His debut novel, Doggerland (4th Estate, 2019), a Guardian book of the year, uses the lens of speculative fiction to engage with pressing contemporary issues such as renewable energy, ocean waste, climate change and the scale-effects of the Anthropocene. He is on the steering committee of the Royal Society’s ‘UK Future Earth Early Career Network’.

You can pick up a copy of Ellen’s novel, The Invisible Crowd from The Bookery in Crediton, here.

You can also ‘save a seat’ here to watch the live stream of this event from home, free of charge.

About Ellen Wiles

Ellen Wiles is a novelist, anthropologist, curator, and Lecturer in Creative Writing at Exeter University. She is the author of three books: The Invisible Crowd (2017), a novel, and two non-fiction books about literary culture, Saffron Shadows (2015) and Live Literature (2021). Ellen has worked as a human rights barrister and as a musician, and her interests in literary activism, sound, and walking, have led her to develop a new project to create literary soundwalks in collaboration with scientists exploring matters of ecology and climate change. Her website is

This event will be in-person at Exeter Custom House. We have increased capacity at Quay Words events, so you may be sitting next to someone who is not in your household. We are still taking precautions to ensure our audiences are protected from Covid 19. For this reason we ask that you please consider wearing a mask when not seated and moving around the building. We will be keeping windows open to ensure good ventilation in the building so you may want to bring an extra layer. Please do not attend Quay Words events if you have symptoms of Covid-19 or are feeling unwell.

This event is going to be filmed for live broadcast on Crowdcast. You may appear on screen. Please only book if you are happy with this.

Tickets are limited and available on a first come-first served basis. Please only book if you intend to be part of the invited audience on 27th April 2022 . Please provide your full name, email address and phone number when booking. We can accommodate free tickets for carers or personal assistants if needed. Please email us on after booking to let us know if you would like to book one of these tickets.

Book with confidence, any changes in guidance that prevent the event from going ahead in person will result in a refund of the ticket price and the event will take place digitally.