Get Flood Ready!

The Lancaster team’s latest digital game – Get Flood Ready! – is designed for younger (primary-aged) children. Like Flood Snakes & Ladders, the game takes players on a journey through the experience of flooding and recovery but this game focuses much more on increasing flood awareness and preparedness.

The game can be played individually, in groups of 2-4 or as a whole class.

To access the game or to download an Android version, visit our Flood Snakes & Ladders website.

screenshot of Get Flood Ready! game

Please reference as: Flooding – a social impact archive, Lancaster University

How to Catch a River

How to Catch a River was a project that focused on stories about flooding, developed as part of Claire Dean’s role as writer-in-residence for Ensemble, a Lancaster University project on digital technologies and environmental change. During the research, Claire developed three very different kinds of flood stories…

The River Library

The River Library is a set of three books designed to inspire storymaking. Each book contains a miniature 3D model of a river.

People are invited to throw story dice into the books and to use these as prompts to help them tell their own stories of rivers and flooding.The symbols on the story dice include people and animals, landscapes, characters from folklore, and objects that might help in a flood. The more dice someone throws the more chance there is of a big flood, but they could also get more elements to use in their story. People are then invited to share the story they’ve made using stamps and ink to record it.They take one copy home and another becomes part of the story collection in The River Library.

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The River Library was part of Ensemble’s Flow event for Manchester Science Festival 2017. It was enjoyed by people of all ages and 95 stories were created and shared on the day.



The Tide Jar

glass kilner jar with moonlight image of boat sailing on the waves

The Tide Jar

The Tide Jar is a story lantern that only lights up in the early evening when there is a full or new moon. This is when spring tides bring higher water levels and a greater chance of flooding to properties beside tidal rivers. Paper cut-out silhouettes tell a simple story of a child who lives beside a river growing to adulthood. The passage of time is shown in this way because lunar tides follow an eighteen-year cycle. In the child’s home, signs of flooding and recovery are visible over time.

The lantern is intended to provide a gentle nudge to someone living by a river to pay attention to where the water level is, without being a constantly visible reminder of past distress. In this way it becomes an object that can be used for ‘active remembering’, inspired by the research of Lindsey McEwen et al (2017) into sustainable flood memories.

We Are Riverish

We are Riverish is a story that won’t last. Printed on water-soluble paper the story is made to dissolve in water and is inspired by the fact that over time many libraries and people’s book collections have been lost to flooding (including, very nearly, the researcher’s own).

We often think books will last forever and don’t consider the possibility of them being damaged by floods. This is a story that knows flooding is always a possibility. It exists to be read, remembered and returned to the river with the rain.

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As part of her PhD in Design and Computing Making Wonder Tales: an Exploration of Material Writing Practice for Ecological Storymaking at Lancaster University, Claire Dean explored different ways of making stories and working with technologies to share them.

Funded by the Digital Economy programme (RCUK Grant EP/G037582/1), which supports the HighWire Centre for Doctoral Training.

Claire Dean is now a writer, researcher and lecturer in Creative Writing at Edge Hill University.


Flood Suitcase

Flood Recovery

two painted cardboard suitcases

Designing the Flood Suitcase

The Flood Suitcase is a workshop programme designed to support flood-affected children and young people and build more resilient schools and communities. The programme was developed from the creative methods used during the Children, Young People and Flooding Project and are designed to support children to talk about their experiences of flooding in a safe space.

Lancaster researchers piloted the Flood Suitcase programme with children and parents in Cumbria affected by the flooding caused by Storm Desmond in December 2015. A group of 18 primary school children and five parents took part in two creative workshops during the 2016 summer term. The group walked and took photos around the local flood-affected area and the workshops drew on drama games and exercises, sandplay and 3D modelling to help the children tell their story of the floods and share their experiences with others.

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At the end of the workshops, the group was given its own ‘Flood Suitcase’ to keep in school, which the children had co-designed. This suitcase is a place to store photographs and other items which evoke memories of the flood and the recovery process. It also provides a focus for discussing flooding in school and opening a dialogue about community flood awareness and resilience building.

The Flood Suitcase pilot project ended with evaluation sessions with the children, parents and staff. A number of the children talked about how the workshops had been both fun and helpful and they had lots of ideas about how to continue using the school’s Flood Suitcase!

Following this pilot, the research team ran the Flood Suitcase project in 2017 at St. Michael’s on Wyre C.E. Primary School in Lancashire and wrote a short case study about this. During both projects, the team worked alongside staff from the children’s charity, Barnardo’s, training them in the use of the Flood Suitcase.

colage of resources including book Memories o the Flood, photographs and the Flood Suitcase

Some of the resources the children saved in their school Flood Suitcase


Barnardo’s have since run the Flood Suitcase programme successfully in three primary schools in Cumbria. The children who took part in this work with Barnardo’s reported that the project had helped them to better understand flooding and what action to take when there is the risk of a flood. Many said how much they had enjoyed the work and that they wanted to learn more about flooding.

The workshop facilitator’s Flood Suitcase

If you are interested in the Flood Suitcase workshop programme for your school or youth group, please contact us at:


Please reference as: Flooding – a social impact archive, Lancaster University

Flood Snakes & Ladders

Flood snakes & ladders board with 30 squares alternately coloured in blue & aqua, white dice with black dots, a red and a yellow avatar displayed as 'wellington boots' for team playersA major output of Lancaster University’s research into the social effects of flooding is the Flood Snakes & Ladders game, which takes participants on a flood journey from a child’s perspective. The game uses real data from two of our research projects (quotes, photographs, drawings and 3D models) to explore what it is like to experience and recover from flooding. It can be played either online (1-4 players) or ‘live’ in a workshop setting.

Go to our dedicated Flood Snakes & Ladders website for more information and to play the game:

(Transcript of sound bite)

Flood Snakes & Ladders is a versatile training tool that highlights the different ways that social research data can be used to engage with the policy and practice of flood risk reduction, preparedness and emergency management. It can be used in a variety of situations such as:

  • With emergency planners – to highlight the issues that they might wish to think about when planning recovery
  • With policymakers – to help them experience how their policies are played out on the ground
  • With public and private sector practitioners involved in disaster recovery – for example, insurers, loss adjusters, damage management professionals, local government workers, teachers, health professionals – to highlight good and bad practice and stimulate debate on the best ways to manage recovery
  • With students – to help them explore the disaster recovery process, to illustrate the potential consequences of climate change and as the basis for exploring issues of flood preparedness and response
  • The game also makes an excellent ‘ice-breaker’ for courses dealing with a wide range of subjects – from hazard and disaster management to emergency planning and understanding the social impacts of climate change. While flooding is the case study used, the game shines a light on issues generic to disaster preparedness, experience and recovery

drawing of family with quote in bubble above their heads. The quotes says "at 4 o'clock in the morning my step mom went downstairs and shouted us down. my bedroom was downstairs it got totally flooded".

Please reference as: Flooding – a social impact archive, Lancaster University

Useful Links

Lancaster University research into the social effects of flooding:

Hull Floods Project (2007-2009). Officially known as: Flood, Vulnerability and Urban Resilience: A real-time study of local recovery following the floods of June 2007 in Hull

Hull Children’s Flood Project (2007-2011). Officially known as: Children, Flood and Urban Resilience: Understanding children and young people’s experience and agency in the flood recovery process

Children, Young People and Flooding: Recovery and Resilience (2014-2016)

CUIDAR: Cultures of Disaster Resilience among Children and Young People (2015-2018). European wide project, aiming to enhance the resilience of children, young people and urban societies to disasters and enable disaster responders to meet children and young people’s needs more effectively.

Flood education resources:

The Lancaster Children, Young People and Flooding project website features an extensive range of educational resources for teachers, families and flood risk authorities connected to flood preparation, awareness raising and resilience building.

External links and innovative approaches to ‘flooding and society’: