ACCESS - Advancing Capacity for Climate  and Environment Social Science
ACCESS - Advancing Capacity for Climate  and Environment Social Science
Leadership College Fellows at the first retreat at Dartington Hall

Leadership College 2023

The theme topic of the first retreat was ‘Health, Wellbeing and the Environment’.

Keynote speakers included Dr Richard Hixson, an NHS Consultant discussing the role of the NHS in leading for environmental change; and Prof Kathryn Bowen, University of Melbourne and IPCC ‘Health’ chapter Lead Author on her interdisciplinary and inter-sector career in climate change and health. Fellows also took part in leadership coaching with Ellie Highwood, reflecting on the challenges and opportunities they face as emerging leaders in the environmental social sciences.


Richard Hixson talking at the Leadership College

A wide-ranging session led by College Fellows working in the theme topic area showcased the strength and expertise of these emerging leaders. This session included Fellow Becki Jepson, Nifty Sustainability CIC, discussing Nifty’s work challenging health inequalities and viewing sustainability holistically, through mixed ability sport; Ruth Lamont with an overview of social science work in environment and health at Natural England, including through social prescribing; Sarah Bell reflecting on her research investigating the intersection of disability, wellbeing and environment at ECEHH, Exeter University; and Laura DeVito, UWE discussing her ESRC Policy Fellowship working at the Welsh Government.



Lewis Winks leading a talk and walk at the Leadership college in the gardens

An interactive WalkShop around the Dartington estate took a critical social science lens to explore issues of land access, wellbeing and outdoor accessibility. It was led by College Fellow Lewis Winks, from the Lestari Environmental Education Consultancy and the Right2Roam campaign.



Sue Williams and Rebecca Lovell leading a sensory outdoor experience in the gardens at Dartington HallFinally, torrential rain did not stop play for a interactive, outdoors session led by ACCESS Leadership Team member Sue Williams, Natural Resources Wales; and Becca Lovell, ECEHH, Exeter University. Their fantastic session primed attendees with research on attention restoration theory, before an immersive session attending to different sensory experiences (sound, smell, touch, taste; as well as sight) in the Dartington Hall gardens. Who knew emerging magnolia petals tasted so good?



College Fellows are already looking to meet together in-between their annual retreats, planning Flex Fund applications, and looking to link up their interdisciplinary expertise across sectors, disciplines and topic areas.

The ACCESS Leadership Team are looking forward to working alongside, and learning from, this fantastic cohort of emerging leaders as they continue to take part in the Leadership College over the next few years.


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