Our international research collaboration MAGIC (Multi-scale adaptations to global change and their impacts on vulnerability in coastal areas) held its annual meeting 4th-8th of May 2016.

After meetings in Languedoc-Rousillon in France in 2014 and in South Africa’s Garden Route in 2015, members of the MAGIC project were due to visit the last of three case study sites: the coast of Cornwall in the UK. During an interactive 4-day workshop at the Greenbank Hotel in Falmouth, the MAGIC team reviewed research progress in the countries involved, advanced on the planning of comparative analyses and on the compilation of final project outputs.

Besides field trips which enhanced our understanding of the coastal vulnerability issues in Cornwall, we explored the region on foot, bicycles and kayaks and received invaluable perspectives on peoples’ adaptations to global change as sources of coastal vulnerabilities. We learnt about unsustainable trajectories of ecological degradation, property development, community fragmentation and economic growth, mirroring issues identified in France and South Africa. We reflected that a lack of communication stifled learning and that narrow self-interest lies at the heart of poor decision-making in all the study cases involved.

The MAGIC team has developed an expertise in novel engagement strategies aimed at fostering knowledge co-creation, social learning and solidarity in coastal communities. One example of this is participatory role-playing games to better understand human decision-making in conditions of change and pressure. We concluded that these learning experiences are also the opportunity for future research and collaborations beyond MAGIC. Our team was highly satisfied with a productive and enriching experience in Cornwall, which was made even more memorable by a good team spirit, sunny spring weather and the sight of blossoming blue bells.