• Church, Andrew (PI)
  • Ravenscroft, Neil (CoPI)
  • Orchard-Webb, Johanne (CoI)

Project Details


This research is part of a collaborative project, funded by AHRC, titled ‘Towards hydrocitizenship. Connecting communities with and through responses to interdependent, multiple water issues’. As the title suggests, the focus is researching within, and working with, a range of communities to address intersecting social and environmental challenges through an application of arts and humanities approaches (including performance and film making, history and heritage, interactive mapping, etc.).

The environmental focus is on interconnected water issues, which include such issues as flood risk, drought risk, supply and waste system security, access to water as an amenity and social (health) benefit, waterside planning issues, and water-based biodiversity/landscape assets. Given recent, extreme storm surge and flooding incidents in the UK, as well as other pressing water issues, this research is particularly timely. The social focus considers how communities are formed, and interconnected by, both environmental assets and risks, and consequent questions of social and ecological justice.

This three year project investigated, and made creative contributions to, the ways in which citizens and communities live with each other and their environment in relation to water in a range of UK neighbourhoods. The research asked a series of questions about what communities are, how they function, and the role of environmental (water) assets and issues in the coming together of communities, conflicts within and between communities, and progress to interconnected community and environmental resilience.

The core approaches within the project were arts and humanities disciplines and practices, (history, theatre studies, film making, narrative studies, cultural geography, landscape studies) which are integrated with a range of social science disciplines (planning, environmental geography, community studies) and methods (ethnography and participatory action research). The research process saw arts and social enterprise consultants, community partners, and other water/community stakeholders taking full part in the project in four case study areas in Wales and England (Borth; Bristol; Lee Valley, London; and Shipley).

The case study teams also exchanged and integrated skills, methods, experiences and findings into an overarching synthesis. This synthesis addressed the questions set out above and provide a reflexive analysis of how creative and participatory arts and humanities centred interdisciplinary research can be done effectively and with legacy.

Key findings

During the project’s three-year timeframe, the overall academic team of 15 researchers from nine universities will work with the arts practitioners and community groups to refine and advance participatory research practices and outputs. The exact form and direction of these activities will be the outcome of local, collaborative working. The interdisciplinary team will work across all case study sites in order to magnify impacts and ensure that the research is relevant in a range of disciplines and policy arenas.
Effective start/end date1/01/1331/12/16


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