Week of watery walks, films, chat: WaterWeek3, Pevensey Levels, 14-19th March 2016

14-19th March 2016

WATERWEEK 3 is an event inspired by UNDERWATEREDGE a walking exploration of the Pevensey Levels by local artists Charlotte Still and Clare Whistler. They invite you to join them for walks and films.


Over the six days there will be walks from the source of the Ash at Penhurst, to where it joins Wallers Haven then crosses the Pevensey Levels to the sea at Normans Bay.

Mon and Fri walks are part of Wealden Walks led by historian and Wealden drainageexpert Graham Kean. Each evening at 7.30pm there will be free showings of water-themed films and guests at the different venues along the way

Walks every day and films in the evenings at different venues, following the route of Wallers Haven across the Pevensey Levels East Sussex to the sea at Normans Bay.

More information on FaceBook event page

Water-Worlds programme at the RGS

Film screening 1.

Wednesday 13.10 to 14.25. Newman building, LTF.

Sea – Gareth Polmeer
AmaRona Lee
Limulus – Karen Kramer
RGS/AC OA formerly Ocean ApocalypseMichael Mulvihill
Dropped in the OceanJess Allen & Bronwyn Preece
Alchemical WatersRuth Le Gear
The Free SeaHanna Husberg & Laura McLean

PIDGE Theatre ‘performance lecture’

Thursday 13.10 – 14.25. Newman building, LTA.

Still or Sparkling? Jess Burford & Sapphire Urwick

Water-Worlds 1: art practices and wet ecologies (session of performative papers & discussion)

Friday 9.00 to 10.40. Queens building LT4.1&2.

Watermeets Minty Donald
Drop in the OceanJess Allen
Underwateredge: Walking the historic shoreline of the Pevensey Levels – Charlotte Still & Clare Whistler
Waterline – Carol Laidler & Pat Jamieson
Wandering Shards – Susan Trangmar

Water-Worlds 2: panel discussion

Friday 11.10 to 12.50. Queens building LT4.1&2.

Bringing together all the threads from the Wet Geographies sessions throughout the week.
Chaired by Prof Phil Steinberg, Durham University.

Film screening 2.

Friday 13.10 to 14.25. Newman building, LTF.

Sea – Gareth Polmeer
Limulus – Karen Kramer
The Captain’s Bird TableRona Lee
RGS/AC OA formerly Ocean ApocalypseMichael Mulvihill
Dropped in the OceanJess Allen & Bronwyn Preece
THEYEmma Critchley
Alchemical WatersRuth Le Gear

Art Exhibition

Throughout the week in the Forum

There’s a Hole in the Bottom of the Sea: Ash Wednesday, 1962 – Lynn Imperatore

Linked sessions exploring watery worlds…

Wet Geographies 1 (Under the Sea: Geographies of the Deep). Wednesday 11.10 to 12.50

Wet Geographies 2 (Water in the Anthropocene)
Session 1 Wednesday 14.40 to 16.20
Session 2 Wednesday 16.50 to 18.30

And if you’d like more watery discussions there’s the discussion forum event & reception:
The Many Faces of Flooding: Policy, Science, and Art
Wednesday 18:45-20:00, Forum Auditorium

A World Without Rivers

A World Without Rivers?

Rivers don’t always flow into the sea, it seems (hydrocitizens)…

“All of the world’s rivers and lakes combined make up less than 3% of the planetary land…Some of the world’s largest rivers – the Colorado and Rio Grande of North America, the Yellow of China, the Brahmaputra and Ganges of Asia – have been drained of their waters, primarily to irrigate farmlands but also to support the growth of cities and industries. These rivers regularly dry completely before reaching the sea. They are joined in their anthropogenic desiccation by thousands of smaller rivers, now gone in whole or in part”

Invite to ‘Fractured Earth’ ; performance-lecture-painting-as-installation event

This event is in two parts:

The first part of the evening starts at 6.30, finishing about 7.30. It will take the form of a performative unfolding of practice/talk followed by discussion. Places are limited for this part of the evening to 16 – so please book via Eventbrite (free). Please visit EventBrite to book a place for the (free) performance-lecture.

Then from 7.30 to late you are invited to a viewing & gathering to celebrate getting to the final stages of my PhD… Open to all, no booking needed. Donations please for drinks (or bring your own!).

This work moves across and between site, performance and drawing/painting practice, often mediated through digital technology. The event is presented as part of an ongoing research process, rather than an exhibition of finished work; it is the result of my PhD at the University of Exeter.

Ophelia (performance to camera, 2015)
Ophelia (performance to camera, 2015)

Please feel free to invite friends who may be interested.

” ~ An unnamed stream runs a mile off the moor – following a line of deep-time seismic fracture in the Lands End granite – until it joins the Atlantic at Porthglaze Cove. On 5th April 2009, a localised storm came in out of nowhere straight off the Atlantic. In the space of two hours, this trickle of a stream swelled into a raging torrent, resulting in the collapse of a bridge and tragic loss of life.

Fractured Earth is an art practice-based research project; it forms the basis of Veronica Vickery’s PhD research within the geography department at the University of Exeter. She has been looking at how an artist’s practice can work with an understanding of landscape as always in being in eventful — and sometimes violently eventful — process, beyond the framed imaged and beyond static framings of landscape.

Veronica has worked with a series of sited interactions and studio-based art processes to consider these eventful meetings of water and soil, rock and stream, land and sea, deep-in-time Earth processes and in-the moment traumatic landscape events such as the flash flood at Poniou.

How does an artist relate to these eventful and deeply material events, sited within a play of distant and spectral others? How do these often violent events within the non-human world spill out in their affects – insisting that we understand land-water-scapes as being deeply political – and therefore insisting we conceive of artist practice such as this as inherently political in motivation and affect? In its eventfulness, art has the potential to confront anthropogenic dilemmas of human subjectivity by attending to ‘the radically unhinged experiences that occur when human conceptions of time beat up against earth processes, sometimes in a flash at other times over millennia’
(Clark, Nigel. Inhuman Nature: sociable life on a dynamic planet. Sage Publications. 2011:201.).”

FaceBook event page

Crisis in the Meditteranean – missing from our discussions last week? How are artists responding?

More to come later on the wonderfully rich contributions from artists, panel members (chaired by Phil Steinberg) and actively involved audience to our Water-Worlds sessions and events at the Royal Geographical Society’s conference in Exeter last week – thank you everyone.

But firstly, as Phil pointed out, the current shocking refugee crisis was largely missing from the presentations (largely I expect because it takes artists time to make work in response to events).

To set things in motion a bit, here’s a really good post from the
HydroCitizen’s facebook page picking up on an article from

In this photo taken Thursday, July 9, 2009, Ashur Mohammed, 60, checks his land in Latifiyah, about 30 kilometers (20 miles) south of Baghdad, Iraq. Below-average rainfall and insufficient water in the Euphrates and Tigris rivers _ something the Iraqis have blamed on dams in neighboring Turkey and Syria _ have left Iraq bone-dry for a second straight year.(AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)
In this photo taken Thursday, July 9, 2009, Ashur Mohammed, 60, checks his land in Latifiyah, about 30 kilometers (20 miles) south of Baghdad, Iraq. Below-average rainfall and insufficient water in the Euphrates and Tigris rivers _ something the Iraqis have blamed on dams in neighboring Turkey and Syria _ have left Iraq bone-dry for a second straight year.(AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)

‘For a more complex and balanced analysis of the link between the extreme water crisis (related to climate change) in Syria, and the present situation:

“So, is there a link between climate change and ISIS?

The short answer is somewhere between “sort of” and “maybe”. Here is how the argument goes. Climate change has lead to more drought. Syria encountered a prolonged drought over the last decade. And there is good evidence that the severity of the Syrian drought was increased by human caused climate change. Rural agricultural livelihood were degraded and people could no longer support themselves. Many moved into Syria’s cities in the hope of finding work. This is a common pattern of internal migration linked to climate change.

Many of the new arrivals found themselves living in appalling slum-like conditions. Anger grew at the regime’s many failings and human rights abuses. Including the failure to deal properly with the drought. Anger and a larger number of people living in urban poverty provided the conditions for the start of an uprising against the regime.

It seems fair to link climate change, the Syrian drought and the initial uprising. (Read our analysis of the research behind these connections).

The uprising began as a secular movement hoping to topple the Syrian regime. But rapidly descended into a sectarian war. What began as a popular uprising demanding democracy, was replaced by a battle between extremist groups and the Assad regime. The path from the uprising into sectarian civil war had little to do with climate change.” ‘

Gordon Dalton, Sometimes I Just Want To Go Home, acrylic on canvas, 2015 (artist website)
Gordon Dalton, Sometimes I Just Want To Go Home, acrylic on canvas, 2015 (artist website)

See also this article ‘The New Sponsor of Terrorism: Climate Change‘ from Jon Solzt in the Huffinton Post.

How as artists are we going to respond to this in our work?

Wet Geographies panels at upcoming RGS meeting

A hitchhiker’s guide to Wet Geographies at the RGS from Phil Steinberg!

There will be a veritable cascade of ‘Wet Geography’ panels at next week’s Royal Geographical Society meeting in Exeter. Over the course of three days, participants will be exploring our watery world from (at least) three different perspectives.

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The many faces of flooding: Policy, science, and art

A public panel debate and exhibition

The many faces of flooding

This panel debate will explore how we can effectively and fairly build resilience to future flood events?

The panel will each provide a unique perspective on the 2013/14 winter floods and comment on UK adaptation to future floods.

To be held during the Royal Geographical Society’s annual conference, but open to all. Please register for this public event through the project’s Eventbrite page (if you are not registered to attend the conference).

Alumni Auditorium, The Forum, University of Exeter Streatham campus. Wednesday 2 September 2015: 18:45 to 20:00

Chaired by Neil Adger, Professor of Human Geography, University of Exeter.


Daniel Johns, Head of Adaptation, Committee on Climate Change
Sarah Curtis, Professor of Health and Risk at Durham University
David Wilkes, Associate Director at Arup UK
Steve Guilbert, Devon Maritime Forum Coordinator at Devon County Council
Nick Haigh, Head of Water and Floods Analysis, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Sarah Diacono, Somerset Rivers Authority, Somerset County Council (tbc)
To find out more about panel members please see the project’s biographies page.


The panel debate will be preceded and followed by an exhibition of work from two artists commissioned to reflect on and respond to research into the 2013/14 winter floods.

A short film by Emma Critchley will be screened as part of the event, and a photographic exhibition by David Mansell-Moullin will be displayed during the drinks reception.

The art work is in response to research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)  Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) led by Dr Catherine Butler.

Please contact the event organisers for more information: Dr Catherine Butler (c.butler@exeter.ac.uk) and Dr Kate Walker-Springett (k.walker-springett@exeter.ac.uk) or visit www.geography.exeter.ac.uk/winterfloods/event/.




Up and running!

I visited the Performance Centre at Falmouth University today to source a stage-light and microphones for PIDGE Theatre’s performance at the RGS conference two weeks today: “Still or Sparkling”.

It was so good to be working with things again, to be doing, after all the months of emailing and project managing. I hadn’t realised just how much I have missed it, how vital actually doing is to my sanity!

So lighting sorted, microphones too – thank you Falmouth’s Chris and Paul.

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