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Dr Ewan Woodley

Dr Ewan Woodley

Associate Professor of Geography


 Amory c358a


Amory Building, University of Exeter, Rennes Drive, Exeter, EX4 4RJ , UK


Ewan is an Associate Professor of Geography at the University of Exeter.

He is an environmental social scientist specialising in the construction of climate change and environmental knowledges, with particular interests in the role of social learning.

Ewan has worked on a number of research projects funded through UKRI and external organisations. These are described on the ‘research’ tab.

Broad research specialisms:

  • Geographies of environment and sustainability
  • Social learning for climate and environmental change
  • Environmental education and The Climate Emergency


Advance HE Senior Fellow (SFHEA)

Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (FRGS)


Ewan developed an interest in climate science during his undergraduate degree at Swansea University and further pursued this passion through a NERC/CASE-funded PhD at the same institution. He was involved with the EU Millennium Climate Change Project, through which he worked closely with a range of international climate scientists. He progressed to a postdoctoral position at the NERC isotope Geosciences Laboratory (British Geological Survey, Nottingham) in 2010 where he was involved with a number of international research projects studying both climatic variability and contemporary environmental issues. In 2011, Ewan joined the Department of Geography at the University of Exeter as an Associate Lecturer.

Ewan has gained significant experience in education leadership, most recently as Director of Education and Student Experience for Geography (2020-2023), overseeing the strategic development and operational running of the department’s degree programmes and processes of student support. Ewan currently holds the following departmental and university-level roles:

  • Senior Academic Lead in Geography, line managing academic colleagues to support them in their job role and career development.
  • Chair of the University of Exeter Field Course Task and Finish Group. This cross-disciplinary and professional services group explores ways in which field course pedagogy can become more environmentally sustainable, inclusive and accessible within the context of Transformative Education.
  • Member of the University of Exeter Advocate Climate Taskforce (ACT).


BSc Geography (Wales)

PhD Geography (Wales)

Research group links

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Research interests

Ewan is a member of the Environment and Sustainability research group.

He is a geographer working at the nexus of the discipline with research and scholarship in environmental social science. His work focuses on the role of tacit and experiential knowledges in providing new, and often valuable, perspectives on environmental issues that are not always accessible through scientific practices alone.

Research themes

Social learning and environmental transformations

Ewan has developed a body of work exploring the value of social learning for better understanding environmental risk and resilience, largely associated with flood risk. This work includes projects funded by ESRC, PACCO-Interreg (EU) and Exmoor National Park authority.

  • 2024 - Developing robust understandings of intergenerational place attachment to enhance the management of large lowland estates at the periphery. ESRC Impact Accelerator Account with the National Trust.
  • 2021 - Assessing and Quantifying the economic and social benefits that can be derived from adaptive management of estuarine sites. Lower Otter Restoration Project (LORP). Promoting Adaptation to Changing Coasts (PACCo) in collaboration with East Devon Pebblebed Heaths Conservation Trust.
  • 2017 - Co-producing knowledges on the management of woody material and trees in the riparian zone of the River Barle and River Exe. Exmoor National Park Authority / Environment Agency-funded workshop. 
  • 2014 - Re-configuring Local Governance for Community Resilience: social learning for flood adaptation under a changing climate. ESRC standard grant.
  • 2014 - Co-producing Flood Knowledges: a catchment based approach. Exmoor National Park Authority.

Science-Art collaborations for climate change learning

Ewan was a member of the Climate Stories Project, a University of Exeter/Met Office collaboration working with a range of artists to explore the potential for climate scientists to broaden engagement with their science through artistic representations.

  • 2018 - NERC-funded project (Climate Stories) - NERC’s Engaging Environments programme

You can find out more here, and read about the academic evaluation of the research in Woodley et al. (2022).

Education and the climate emergency

Ewan is committed to advancing environmental education through research, teaching innovations and through HEI sector-wide debates. He has worked with the Field Studies Council for over ten years and this collaboration has included joint FSC-University of Exeter (UoE) PhD studentships and work at the academic-practitioner interface. He is passionate about transforming field course pedagogy in HEIs to enable move sustainable, inclusive and accessible learning opportunities for students. This work includes involvement in national level debates on field course pedagogy (through the Royal Geographical Society) and significant involvement within UoE. Ewan provides university leadership in this area as a member of the Advocate Climate Taskforce and Chair of the University’s Field Course Task and Finish Group.

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Journal articles

Lawson E, Farmani R, Woodley E, Butler D (In Press). A Resilient and Sustainable Water Sector: Barriers to the Operationalisation of Resilience. Sustainability
Treydte K, Liu L, Padrón RS, Martínez-Sancho E, Babst F, Frank DC, Gessler A, Kahmen A, Poulter B, Seneviratne SI, et al (2024). Recent human-induced atmospheric drying across Europe unprecedented in the last 400 years. Nature Geoscience, 17(1), 58-65. Abstract.
Woodley E, Barr S, Stott P, Thomet P, Flint S, Lovell F, O'Malley E, Plews D, Rapley C, Robbins C, et al (2022). Climate Stories: enabling and sustaining arts interventions in climate science communication. Geoscience Communication, 5(4), 339-354. Abstract.
Winks L, Ward M, Zilch J, Woodley E (2020). Residential marine field-course impacts on ocean literacy. Environmental Education Research, 26(7), 969-988.
Barr SW, Woodley E (2019). Enabling Communities for a changing climate: re-configuring spaces of hazard governance. Geoforum, 100, 116-127.
Woodley EJ (2019). Knowing your audience: exploring the latent attitudes and values of environmental stakeholders. Environmental Values, 28(6), 633-639.
Woodley EJ (2018). Re-Making Cities: an Introduction to Urban Metrofitting. ENVIRONMENTAL VALUES, 27(4), 456-458.  Author URL.
Woodley EJ (2017). Cheap and Clean: How Americans Think about Energy in the Age of Global Warming. ENVIRONMENTAL VALUES, 26(6), 785-787.  Author URL.
Woodley EJ (2016). City Futures in the Age of a Changing Climate. ENVIRONMENTAL VALUES, 25(1), 112-114.  Author URL.
Woodley EJ (2016). Displaced by Disaster: Recovery and Resilience in a Globalizing World. ENVIRONMENTAL VALUES, 25(2), 235-237.  Author URL.
Woodley EJ (2016). Environmental Aesthetics: Crossing Divides and Breaking Ground. ENVIRONMENT AND HISTORY, 22(1), 148-150.  Author URL.
Woodley EJ (2016). The Anthropocene Project: Virtue in the Age of Climate Change. ENVIRONMENTAL VALUES, 25(6), 751-753.  Author URL.
Roland TP, Daley TJ, Caseldine CJ, Charman DJ, Turney CSM, Amesbury MJ, Thompson GJ, Woodley EJ (2015). The 5.2 ka climate event: Evidence from stable isotope and multi-proxy palaeoecological peatland records in Ireland. Quaternary Science Reviews, 124, 209-223. Abstract.
Barr SW, Woodley E (2014). Are we resilient enough?. Exe Press, 35, 7-8.
Barr SW, Woodley E (2014). Climate Change: communicating the risks. Geography Review, 28(1), 34-37. Abstract.
Woodley EJ (2014). Engaged Environmental Citizenship. ENVIRONMENTAL VALUES, 23(5), 630-632.  Author URL.
Saurer M, Spahni R, Frank DC, Joos F, Leuenberger M, Loader NJ, Mccarroll D, Gagen M, Poulter B, Siegwolf RTW, et al (2014). Spatial variability and temporal trends in water-use efficiency of European forests. Global Change Biology, 20(12), 3700-3712. Abstract.
Woodley EJ (2013). <i>What We Know about Climate Change</i>, 2nd edition. ENVIRONMENTAL VALUES, 22(6), 800-802.  Author URL.
Woodley EJ (2013). Book Review: Plato's Revenge: Politics in the Age of Ecology. Environmental Values, 22(1), 128-130.
Woodley EJ (2013). Book Review: What We Know about Climate Change. Environmental Values, 22(6), 800-802.
Bodin PE, Gagen M, McCarroll D, Loader NJ, Jalkanen R, Robertson I, Switsur VR, Waterhouse JS, Woodley EJ, Young GHF, et al (2013). Comparing the performance of different stomatal conductance models using modelled and measured plant carbon isotope ratios (δ<sup>13</sup>C): Implications for assessing physiological forcing. Global Change Biology, 19(6), 1709-1719. Abstract.
Woodley EJ (2013). Plato's Revenge: Politics in the Age of Ecology. ENVIRONMENTAL VALUES, 22(1), 128-130.  Author URL.
Leng MJ, Wagner B, Boehm A, Panagiotopoulos K, Vane CH, Snelling A, Haidon C, Woodley E, Vogel H, Zanchetta G, et al (2013). Understanding past climatic and hydrological variability in the mediterranean from Lake Prespa sediment isotope and geochemical record over the last glacial cycle. Quaternary Science Reviews, 66, 123-136. Abstract.
Leng MJ, Wagner B, Anderson NJ, Bennike O, Woodley E, Kemp SJ (2012). Deglaciation and catchment ontogeny in coastal south-west greenland: Implications for terrestrial and aquatic carbon cycling. Journal of Quaternary Science, 27(6), 575-584. Abstract.
Woodley EJ, Loader NJ, McCarroll D, Young GHF, Robertson I, Heaton THE, Gagen MH (2012). Estimating uncertainty in pooled proxy series, including stable isotopes in tree rings. Chemical Geology, 243-248.
Woodley EJ, Loader NJ, McCarroll D, Young GHF, Robertson I, Heaton THE, Gagen MH (2012). Estimating uncertainty in pooled stable isotope time-series from tree-rings. Chemical Geology, 294-295, 243-248. Abstract.
Woodley EJ, Loader NJ, McCarroll D, Young GHF, Robertson I, Heaton THE, Gagen MH, Warham JO (2012). High-temperature pyrolysis/gas chromatography/isotope ratio mass spectrometry: simultaneous measurement of the stable isotopes of oxygen and carbon in cellulose. Rapid Commun Mass Spectrom, 26(2), 109-114. Abstract.  Author URL.
Fish T, Wilson R, Edwards C, Mills C, Crone A, Kirchhefer AJ, Linderholm L, Loader NJ, Woodley EJ (2010). Exploring for senescence signals in native Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) in the Scottish Highlands. Forest Ecology and Management(3), 321-330.


Barr SW, Woodley E (2014). Flooding and the River Barle Catchment. Exmoor National Park Authority,  Exeter, University of Exeter. Abstract.

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External Engagement and Impact

External examining of taught programmes

Geography, University of Gloucestershire (2021-present)

History of external roles held

2016-2022: Treasurer of the Planning and Environment Research Group of the Royal Geographical Society with the Institute of British Geographers

2017-2020: Reviews Editor of Environmental Values, an international peer-reviewed, multidisciplinary journal relating to environmental values, ethics and philosophy.

2016-2018: Geography Recorder (Secretary) to the British Science Association, responsible for national representation of the discipline at the annual British Science Festival.

2014-2016: Committee Member, WAM (Weather, Arts, and Music) Special Interest Group of the Royal Meteorological Society

2013-2016: Committee Member, Southwest Regional Committee of the Royal Geographical Society with the Institute of British Geographers 

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Roles & Responsibilities in Education

Ewan is an experienced educator in HE, holding a Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice and Senior Fellowship of Advance HE/HEA. He has mentored colleagues in developing their skills as effective educators and has supported individuals in their professional accreditation through Advance HE.

Ewan has experience of education leadership through being Geography Director of Education and Student Experience (2020-2023) and Geography BSc Programme Director (2018-2020). Prior to these roles, he held responsibility for overseeing department activities concerned with oversight of pastoral support for the degree programmes, student admissions, widening participation and flexible combined honours programmes.

Ewan has convened a wide range of undergraduate modules focusing on geographical concepts, research methods and independent student research, as well as optional modules on environment and sustainability, including field course teaching.

Teaching specialisms

GEO3325 – Environmental Futures Field Course (Freiburg): Ewan leads innovations in decarbonisation of field course pedagogy. This learning opportunity enables students to experience low carbon travel and to engage critically with debates on green cities, urban sustainable development and governance, and policy (im)mobilities.

GEO3227 – Weather: This long-running module enables students to engage with the latest debates in meteorology within the context of anthropogenic climate change. It reflects Ewan’s ongoing scholarly interest in weather and climate science.

GEO1316 – Concepts in Geography: Ewan introduces students to other ways of knowing about climate and environmental issues that move beyond scientific orthodoxy to explore the role of values. This teaching explores decolonisation debates and the emerging field of Critical Physical Geography (CPG).



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Supervision / Group

Postgraduate researchers

  • Harry Hilser
  • Paulina Luzecka
  • Rachel Manning
  • Harriet Sjerps-Jones
  • Lewis Winks

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Office Hours:

Office hours for Term 2 of the 2023-24 academic year:

Wednesday 11:30-12:30

Friday 14:30-15:30 (Week 2 moved to Monday: 11:30-12:30)

Office hours must be booked in advance. Please e-mail me to arrange a time slot. 

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