Greenwich Maritime Centre Conference: “Society and the Sea”

July 2018

The Greenwich Maritime Centre (GMC) is pleased to announce its second international conference on the theme ‘Society and the Sea’, to be held on the 6th-7th September 2018 at the University of Greenwich. News stories about the ocean and the coasts regularly make the headlines yet paradoxically there are also concerns that sea-blindness is a problem and people are not aware of the fundamental importance of the ocean. The aim of the GMC is to engage multiple stakeholders in an exploration of the value of the ocean and how that can be recognised, communicated and harnessed to contribute to the health, wealth and wellbeing of society. This requires using perspectives and developing partnerships across academia and industry and engaging in creative conversation about the ocean, coasts and their values for sustainable development.

The GMC in partnership with National Maritime is convening an international conference that will bring together industry and academia to explore the value of the ocean, key challenges being faced and opportunities for future development of the blue economy. The conference is supported by the National Maritime Museum, Seafarers UK, Marine Conservation Society, Thames Estuary Partnership, Coastal and Marine Research Group (RGS), World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the Coastal Partnership Network.

Society and the Sea 2018 will incorporate INVESTINBLUE 2018 the showcase event for the UK maritime industry.

The new Marine Social Sciences Network will be launched at the GMC Society and the Sea 2018 conference in a keynote address by Dr Emma McKinley. The Network will facilitate knowledge exchange between diverse stakeholders and establish an active community of interdisciplinary researchers, policy makers and practitioners from across the marine and coastal sector, with a view to increasing awareness and understanding of the integral role that social sciences can have in management and decision making for our global seas and coastline. The Network will be a multidisciplinary community, facilitating collaboration and dialogue between both marine social and natural science, the arts and humanities. The conference will be an opportunity to learn more about the Network, to express an interest in being part of the community and feed into discussions about how the Network can support marine and coastal efforts in the coming years.

The conference will address the following themes but is not limited to them:

The Blue Economy: What is the potential from the ocean and the seas to develop the blue economy? Issues include: fisheries, tourism, Brexit, opportunities and innovation, coastal communities, participation, etc.

Maritime governance: What political and governance issues threaten the sustainable and equitable use of the ocean and seas, and what are the potential solutions? Issues include: power and politics, explorations of negotiations, conflicts, consensus building in maritime spaces, examples of maritime spatial planning, global / trans-national maritime issues, trade, etc.

Conservation and engagement: How can communities and society be meaningfully engaged and contribute to marine and coastal conservation and management? Issues might include community engagement in marine/coastal governance/management (including biodiversity, pollution, flooding, climate change, etc.); sustainable management approaches; use of local knowledge in governance; citizen science (e.g. fishers), community empowerment, etc.

Maritime environmental change: How is society experiencing and responding to a range of environmental changes associated with the ocean? Topics include global warming, ocean acidification, pollution, coastal erosion and sea level rise.

Maritime heritage and history: What is the role of history and heritage – both cultural and natural – for the relationship between society and the sea? Topics include heritage of fishing/coastal communities, tourism, museums & education.

Maritime perceptions and representations: How can people’s perceptions, constructions and representations of the sea influence its use and management? Topics include people’s relationships with the sea, personal/place identity, philosophies/constructions of the sea, representation in art and other media, etc.

Marine engineering: How is technology helping to harness new value from the ocean? How are cutting edge advances in ocean technology changing our engagement with the ocean? How is technology helping to deliver a more sustainable future for the ocean and coastal regions?

Maritime human health and wellbeing:How can the seas and coasts be managed to create co-benefits for ecosystem and human health? Topics include the importance of marine and coastal ecosystem services, including cultural, to human health and wellbeing (both positive and negative, and both mental and physical health); aspects of biodiversity, climate change, resilience, etc.

Small-scale fisheries: How can the social and cultural value of fisheries be understood? Topics include exploring ways of valuing fisheries, sense of place, cultural ecosystem services, wellbeing, tourism, etc.

The conference programme is available here, while conference fees and registration can be found here. Enquiries about the conference can be directed to

Category: |

Topmasts Newsletters


Topmasts Archive