Towards hydrocitizenship. Connecting communities with and through responses to interdependent, multiple water issues

The project aimed to address intersecting social and environmental challenges through a range of interconnected water issues. The environmental focus will include issues as flood and drought risk, supply and waste system security, access to water as amenity and social (health) benefit, and water based biodiversity/landscape assets.

The social focus was to consider how communities are formed, and interconnected by, both environmental assets and risks, and consequent questions of social and ecological justice.

The project will run for 3 years as from March 2014 and the research will involve reviews of current work being undertaken elsewhere in a range of disciplines and international contexts as well as four large scale case-studies of community-water issues.

The case studies are in Bristol, Lee Valley (London), Borth and Tal-y-bont (Mid Wales)and Shipley (Bradford) and each one is being conducted by a local team which includes members of the core academic team with artists, community activists and selected community partners which range from small community groups to larger organisations charged with aspects of regeneration and community resilience.

This interdisciplinary project presents an exciting opportunity, bringing together people from different disciplines, such as performance studies, film-making, history and cultural geography, to work together to communicate environmental education and connect communities with and through responses to interdependent, multiple water issues such as flooding and supply security.

The participating academic investigators/institutions are: Owain Jones ((now former) CCRI, University of Gloucestershire); Lindsey McEwen and Michael Buser (University of the West of England, Bristol); Stephen Bottoms (University of Manchester); Andrew Church (University of Brighton); Peter Coates (University of Bristol); Graeme Evans (University of Middlesex); Sara Penrhyn Jones (University of Aberystwyth); Alex Plows (University of Bangor); Maggie Roe (University of Newcastle).

Participating artists/art collectives/social activists are; Borth, Creu-Ad (Shelagh Hourahane); Bristol, Nova (Antony Lyons and Iain Biggs); Lee Valley, Simon Read and Lorraine Leeson; Shipley, Canal Connections (Trevor Roberts).

Participating community partners are, Borth, Ecodyfi; Bristol, Brislington Community Partnership and Friends of the New Cut (FRANc); Lee Valley, London Legacy Development Corporation and Lee Valley Regional Park Authority; Shipley, Kirkgate Centre Community Centre.