Water Governance Webinar Series

As part of the Water Governance webinar series, the Water Value Research group presents four events in May 2021. Often in conversation with ‘the arts’, these will explore some of the possibilities and challenges of knowing and governing waters as relational, affective and political vital phenomena.

Thursday 6th May 11 am-12.30pm BST

Anthropologists Amber Abrams (Future Water Institute, University of Cape Town) and Marieke Norton (University of Cape Town) and audio-visual artist Kathy Hinde will be sharing some of their experiences of working with water, arts and multiple water knowledges in the UK and South Africa.  More details and information here.


Rivers, Arts and Power

Thursday 13th May 11 am-12.30 pm BST, Book here

In April 2021, Vania Belén Suárez and Amy Sharrocks met on a street corner in Leeds for a conversation about water as part of The Ballad of Crown Point Bridge. By the banks of the River Aire, at the very point that it connects with the Leeds & Liverpool Canal and the Aire & Calder Navigation which bisect England, they began a conversation about water as a natural element which led them into the connections of water with migration, mobility among nation-states, border control and race.

Please join us to continue the conversation on water and discomfort, on care strategies and the gift economy, on sonic art as witness & testimony and on race, migration and social struggle – part of this webinar series at water@leeds.

Vania Belén Suárez (she/her) is a Race and Resistance Master’s student at the University of Leeds and multidisciplinary artist. Her academic interests include research about race struggle, Latin American feminism, decolonial movements, revolutions and abolition. When not focusing on her academia, she works on paintings, photography, performance, writing and efforts to decolonise music.

Amy Sharrocks (she/her) is an artist. Her work spans a decade of investigating people and water, noticing the ways this extraordinary substance seeps through our days, trying to think with water and work collectively to question our systems and re-imagine the offer of cities. Museum of Water began in 2013, has travelled to over 50 sites worldwide and been visited by over 65,000 people.

The Ballad of Crown Point Bridge is a sonic artwork created with the people and water of Leeds, which opens at Compass Festival 7th – 27th of June.


Ilkley Clean River Campaign

Thursday 20th May 11am-12.30pm BST, Book here

Last year, the Ilkley Clean River Group’s (ICRG) citizen-led campaign achieved a first for rivers in the UK – bathing water status for a stretch of the Wharfe, Yorkshire. As a key figure in the ICRG, Kathleen Roberts will share some of her experiences within this potentially transformative process.

Kathleen will be mainly talking about the Ilkley Clean River campaign but is happy to digress!

Kathleen Roberts is a founding member of Ilkley Clean River Group and has been campaigning against sewage discharges into the River Wharfe for the past five years. She is a former Wharfe Co-ordinator for the Riverfly Partnership, a national initiative hosted by the Freshwater Biological Association which trains volunteers to monitor invertebrate populations in order to help conserve habitats. She is also involved in iWharfe, a citizen science project led by Professor Rick Battarbee of the Environmental Change Research Centre at University College London intended to raise awareness about river water quality.


Healthier Human-River Relationships

Thursday 27th May 11 am – 12.30 pm BST, Book here

In recent years, research in various disciplines has demonstrated the importance of inclusive and transdisciplinary modes of water governance (if this is even the right word) for both human and non-human health and wellbeing.  Bringing this about in real world contexts of inequalities and competing interests can, however, be something else entirely! This challenge has encouraged scholars to experiment, to push their usual modes of engagement and thinking across disciplines and publics.

Social anthropologist Megan Clinch and artist Ruth Levene will share some of their experiences of working with a range of disciplines and communities on pressing water-related issues in the Calder River catchment (Yorkshire).  They will be in dialogue with heritage scholar Christian Ernsten, sharing aspects of his ‘River Love’ project which aims to make the River Meuse/Maas (France, Belgium, Netherlands) drinkable again.

Megan Clinch (Queen Mary University of London) is engaged in a number of research projects that explore how different forms of investigation, experimentality, evidence, and evaluation are understood and negotiated in the development of complex public health and primary care interventions. Drawing on her interest in the politics and practice of evidence, she is also currently working with Arts Catalyst as part of a co-inquiry based in the Calder Valley in Yorkshire that focuses on water governance in relation to health, wellbeing and the resilience of communities and ecologies.

Ruth Levene is an artist based in Sheffield, Yorkshire working in video, performance, events, digital drawings, walks, installations and participatory work. She is curious and concerned by the complex systems we live by, our relationship to the natural world and the environmental and ecological crisis. She is currently exploring policy making, water cycles, farming and walking infrastructure.

Christian Ernsten’s (University of Maastrict) research is situated at the intersection of the fields of heritage studies, urban studies and postcolonial studies. He specializes in the study of the heritage practices involved conservation and design of urban and natural landscapes, both locally and globally. Currently, he explores the interrelations between rivers’ cultural and natural heritage in the Maastricht and Cape Town regions, applying, amongst others, transdisciplinary research methodologies, such as embedded ethnographic research, walking as a form of embodied research, and photographic recordings.


For further information on these events please contact Joshua Cohen j.b.cohen@leeds.ac.uk

Image: The Ballad of Crown Point Bridge