With the 2022 floods hitting close to home for many living and working in the coastal zones of Southern Queensland and Northern New South Wales, communities — and even famous pro surfers who reside within them — leapt into action to support one another.

In the aftermath, questions around what the future could hold for our coastal communities and much-loved beaches in a changing climate has inspired a collective of thought leaders to unite for a unique public panel event with a creative twist.

Altered Tides: Custodians of our Ocean, hosted by Griffith University’s Climate Action Beacon, will be held at the 2023 SWELL Sculpture Festival at Currumbin Beach as part of the SWELL Fringe lineup.

The evening panel and film event brings Indigenous knowledge, climate and coastal sciences, beach cultures and the arts together to support people and their communities in responding to climate changes.

Altered Tides co-creator Associate Professor Kerrie Foxwell-Norton said uniting this range of voices opens a space for creative and local voices to think about how we can address climate impacts.

“The ocean, surf and beaches are somewhere we love, part of our identity and how we live, whatever our style of recreation,” she said.

Altered Tides reflects on these relations, our custodianship with the ocean and some of the creative solutions we can explore in a changing climate.”

The Altered Tides: Creative Coastal Recreation in a Climate Changed Future events are a partnership between Griffith University, Gecko Environment Council and SWELL Sculpture Festival.

“We really want our communities who live by and love our beaches to get involved and help ignite conversations about being authentic custodians of our ocean in a changing climate,” said Sara Hicks from Gecko Environment Council.

“Climate impacts are not something happening in the distance; it’s happening to everyday people in everyday places now, so this event really aims to engage people and empower them to shine a light on their experiences and share their ideas about climate issues and our ocean.”

In 2023, the Altered Tides team are collaborating with Surfers for Climate and Surfrider Foundation.

Altered Tides is part of a series of events at SWELL and elsewhere under the banner of ‘Creative Solutions’, which seek creative thinking and/or creative arts to foster innovation in climate action.

Event details:

If you’re an ocean lover, beach goer, fisher, diver, or board rider, drop in to the free panel and film event or register here.

When | Monday 11th September

Time | 6pm — 8pm (6pm arrival for a 6.30pm start)

What | A casual evening by the beach, with an engaging panel of ocean goers, advocates, scientists and artists, audience interaction and film screening

Where | Fringe Pavilion, Wallace Nicoll Park, Currumbin Beach

Cost | FREE (just drop in or register)


Join the thought-provoking interactive discussion with the panel of inspiring speakers, including:

Naomi Edwards, MC, Griffith Alumnus and Coastal Advocate

David Brown, Surfrider Foundation Gold Coast

Lorena Woortmann, Oceanographer

Glenn Barry, First Nations educator and artist, SWELL Director

Nadine Schmoll, SWELL artist

Josh Kirkman, Surfers For Climate

Scott Gillies, City of Gold Coast

For more about Altered Tides and SWELL Sculpture Festival visit the event website: SWELL Fringe @ SWELL Sculpture Festival.

11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
UN Sustainable Development Goals 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

13: Climate Action
UN Sustainable Development Goals 13: Climate Action

14: Life Below Water
UN Sustainable Development Goals 14: Life Below Water

15: Life on Land
UN Sustainable Development Goals 15: Life on Land