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An interactive exhibition exploring how to live when sea levels rise 

In July 2018 seven families took part in ‘Retreat’, a creative residency to imagine and design how to live when lives are radically affected by climate change. They came together as climate refugees fleeing their flooded homes to gather in a holding camp, where they had to reinvent ways to meet their basic needs and figure out how provide things they had taken for granted.

BOATBARROW exhibited the result of their collective making: a self-sufficient, amphibious igloo that now serves as a mobile exhibition space and catalyst for creative adaptation. 

“Highly memorable and intuitively informative, this is something that sits alongside the finest books on climate change narrative and shines a light on the priority of community engagement as we look strategically to a changing world.” Retreat Participant

The work was created by Natalia Eernstman, Sian and Drew Pilley and a group of 22 adults and 16 children. It linked to an extended, evolving ESI Creative Exchange collaboration between Natalia Eernstman and ESI cultural geographer Caitlin DeSilvey exploring creative responses to climate change and sea-level rise.

The exhibition was funded by Feast Cornwall:

The Creative Exchange Programme facilitates collaboration between creative practitioners, the ESI and researchers on our Cornwall Campuses who share an interest in issues of environment and sustainability. We aim to develop the region’s creative industries, inspire research and stimulate opportunities for public engagement and collaborative learning.

Project supported by



Plymouth College of Art