Conference HULL 2024

Call for Papers

Down by the Water:  Interdisciplinary Studies of Dynamic Shorelines, Maritime Communities and their Boats


29 November 2024, Hull, UK

Green-blue regions have been preferrable spaces for human habitation for thousands of years. Despite the challenges associated with the dynamic processes of water, the proximity to seas, oceans, rivers, lakes, and wetlands, has offered favourable geographical and environmental conditions for maritime and coastal communities to thrive. This conference approaches green-blue regions and the communities that live around them as a point of inquiry, exploring how different coastal, estuarine and oceanic cultures worldwide mediate the relationship between humanity and water.

In this context we present maritime communities as people living at the shorelines of any aquatic environments (seas, oceans, rivers, and lakes) who have developed deep understandings, skills and lifeways specific to the places they live, defined in scholarship as ‘local’, ‘traditional’ or ‘indigenous knowledge’ and includes different material cultures, watercraft and methods of shipbuilding, beliefs, folklore traditions, and literature. For pre-modern and indigenous maritime communities this includes their attachment to water, their insular, coastal, lacustrine or riverine environment, as well as the availability of local material resources, and how these have directly influenced their tangible and intangible heritage as well as their social and economic organisation. Meanwhile, for maritime communities in the present, there is a growing need to understand how water continues to shape coastal identities, traditions and contemporary heritage – particularly since the decline of many maritime and shipbuilding industries around the world. These questions sit alongside debates and decisions surrounding the loss and preservation of existing cultural heritage and memory due to the impacts of climate change and coastal erosion.

We therefore invite you to submit your abstracts for the second in-person conference of Down by the Water ( that will take place at the University of Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire, UK, on the 29th of November 2024.

Topics could include but are not limited to studies of:

  • Local, traditional or indigenous knowledge associated with communities living on dynamic shorelines, islands or by any aquatic environments.
  • Tangible and intangible heritage linked to maritime identities.
  • Social meanings, rituals, and symbolism of aquatic environments.
  • Studies of mapping and mobilising local, traditional or indigenous knowledges.
  • Contemporary re-introduction of local, traditional or indigenous knowledge to address environmental issues and build climate resilience.
  • Significance of traditional boats in day-to-day lives and livelihoods of maritime communities.
  • Cultural or literary depictions of wooden ships and boats and their social significance.
  • Community engagement with maritime communities surrounding heritage and historic assets

We are particularly interested in interdisciplinary studies that combine methodologies and data from the humanities, social sciences, and environmental sciences.

Please submit an abstract (max. 150 words) with the title of your paper, your name and affiliation to Katerina Velentza at the email address: .

Organized with the generous support of the Society for Nautical Research.

Deadline for submissions: 30 June 2024