Learning to Live with Water: Flood histories, Environmental Change, Remembrance and Resilience

Lead Research Organisation: University of Gloucestershire
Department Name: Inst of Education and Public Services

Abstract

Floods and issues of 'living with environmental change' are high on research and political agendas - with community lead adaptation planning being a key element in UK flood risk management strategies after Pitt's Review of the 2007 floods.This requires communities who learn from past floods, have a strong sense of their flood histories and an awareness of risk, and know how to live with flooding. While there has been considerable research endeavour to establish what environmental and social sciences can bring to understanding flood histories and environmental change, there has been little research on what arts and humanities research can bring to research on flood histories, wet landscapes and their environmental change.
This research network therefore aims to establish distinctive, innovative and engaging arts and humanities research perspectives on watery and flooded landscapes and their environmental change through an excellent interdisciplinary and inter-professional network of international significance. The sub-aims involve a focus on the theoretical and conceptual underpinnings to research on wet landscapes, on researching the changing and potential role of different creative practices in materialising informal knowledge about flood histories, and on applying this research in new contexts of social learning and building community resilience in scenarios of changing flood risk. This network will be fuelled and sustained through an integrated programme of activities. The core activity will be three seminars that build from the 'formal' to 'informal' and culminate in an innovative Living Flood History Conference: 'Floods and Futures: Learning to live' that combines positioning new research explorations with performance and creative arts. Throughout the networking research programme, the project will also engage in explorations with the wider national and international community of researchers in the Arts and Humanities, through a weblog.
Network discussions start with a seminar exploring Flood histories and environmental change: theoretical and conceptual frameworks for watery landscapes and living with floods. This is designed to bring arts and humanities researchers in cultural geography, history and heritage together with those in other disciplines to explore understandings of wet and episodically flooded landscapes. The second workshop focuses on understandings of flood heritage and examines flood archives as a resource for exploring known pathways to resilience. The third workshop considers flood stories/narratives around flooding and how these can bring new understandings around social learning and resilience to flooding. The final AHRC network event will be a Living Flood Histories Conference: 'Learning to live: Floods and Futures'. This will focus on developing key research themes that have evolved from the first three workshops. It is anticipated that these will revolve around research explorations of sustainable wet landscapes: theoretical/conceptual underpinnings for research on flood histories and environmental change in the Arts and Humanities; researching changing ways in which floods memories, archives and mnemonic practices are experienced, remembered, materialised, formalised and enhanced; researching flood memory - developing social learning in communities for flood resilience; researching flooding and diversity - sustainable communities, intergenerational communication; and cultural diversity; researching flooding and creativity: exploring the creative strategies of individuals and communities for managing flooding and flood risk; and researching floods and connectivity: exploring the local to global connections between flood-risk communities. Research outputs include the launch of a Learning to Live: Floods and Futures network, a website; an edited interdisciplinary volume of research papers and a series of performances/artefacts that will be cascaded in flood risk communities.

Planned Impact

This research will benefit:
* researchers (national and international) working in the Arts and Humanities and workers in other disciplines that focus on flood histories, wet landscapes and their environmental change
* the development of interdisciplinary research Centre for the Study of Floods and Communities at UoG in new cross-disciplinary research-practice collaborations. This will draw in and benefit the academic networks of the Centre.
* practitioners in archives and storytelling and creative writing from communities which have recent experience of flooding and those that have only experienced flooding episodically and recently
* researchers and practitioners in flood science and environmental change, local flood risk management and building community resilience to changing flood patterns
* practitioners/ community members who can use the research to help facilitate social learning about changing flood risk within communities
* policy-makers in flood risk management at different scales who are responsible for social learning and building resilience (Environment Agency, Local Authorities, Parish Councils)
* the public sector including museums who can utilise the research in public/ community engagement and in supporting communities to remember new floods.
* the wider public who will have opportunity to engage with the resources on the web site and with the research forms and performances.

All groups will benefit in developing their knowledge and skills in how arts and humanities research can bring new perspectives and approaches to flood histories and environmental change. The impact of this research on flood histories will be high in theoretical, practice and policy terms, nationally and internationally. Theoretical explorations will significantly extend and develop understandings of wet landscapes. In policy terms, flooding is one of the major risks facing many communities in developed and developing societies. We feel that explorations around art and humanities approaches to researching wet landscapes, flood histories and environmental change will provide new insights into how communities remember and memorialise and learn from floods that can be used by communities and those responsible for social learning in flood risk areas. This can inform those who are developing new ways of 'communities remembering floods' in the 21st century to increase resilience. Watery senses of place and even individual and collective identities which incorporate recognition of flood risk and develop attitudes of coping/living with flood events will be a vital component of flood risk planning at the community level. This research network thus has the potential to make a significant contribution to flood policy discourses/practices. The beneficiaries will gain increased understanding of research in arts and humanities disciplines and advancement of knowledge of how these disciplines can contribute to debates around social learning in new flood risk settings. Hydrologists/ flood risk managers will benefit from being exposed to wider research perspectives. The dissemination strategy will ensure that all stakeholder groups have the opportunity to benefit from this research. Promotion of the research will involve dissemination for information, for change and for action. Stakeholder engagement and knowledge co-generation will be built and integrated throughout the research process. The project will produce a public facing website and a series of articles in non-academic publications such as national newspapers. The research will integrate links with external organisations with a stake in developing social learning and community resilience in flood risk contexts. The emphasis will be on on-going, interactive dialogue and interaction throughout the project, with representatives of key gatekeepers, local practitioners in local government,
 
Title Flood Memory App 
Description During DRY project, used catchment evidence to further develop a Flood Memory App in the Severn Catchment 
Type Of Art Artefact (including digital) 
Year Produced 2018 
Impact Continued beta testing of app with flood and drought prone communities for evidencing as an impact case study for REF 
URL https://flappy.warwick.ac.uk
 
Title Too Much of Water 
Description Too Much of Water is a one-man performance written and performed by Professor Steve Bottoms (Manchester University). It uses data gathered from interviews with flood victims, and other sources to recount the River Aire - Leeds floods on Boxing Day 2015. It creates a narrative around the experiences of 5 residents, before during and after the flood. It is performed live using a simple set and props. It has been performed at a number of settings including the Saltaire River Festival 2016. It has also been filmed in Bath Spa University TV studios and will be released in 2017 
Type Of Art Performance (Music, Dance, Drama, etc) 
Year Produced 2016 
Impact Agencies with reposibility for flood resillience (Environment Agency) are are aware of this output and have supported its producted and requested to view it 
 
Title Too Much of Water - Film 
Description This is a film version of the one man play Too Much of Water created in Bath Spa University TV studios and will be released in 2017. Too Much of Water is a one-man performance written and performed by Professor Steve Bottoms (Manchester University). It uses data gathered from interviews with flood victims, and other sources to recount the River Aire - Leeds floods on Boxing Day 2015. It creates a narrative around the experiences of 5 residents, before during and after the flood. It is performed live using a simple set and props. It has been performed at a number of settings including the Saltaire River Festival 2016. 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2017 
Impact TBC 
 
Description A report was written at the end of the award.
Exploitation Route The findings from this project (e.g. on the role of narratives) have fed into several other projects including AHRC Towards Hydrocitizenship; AHRC Before the flood (Multi-story water) and NERC DRY (Drought Risk and You).
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Environment,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections

 
Description The interdisciplinary thinking explored within this networking project has contributed to the development of other successful interdisciplinary/ inter-professional working within and beyond academia. The focus has been on exploring the contributions of the arts and humanities to both flood and drought risk management.
First Year Of Impact 2012
Sector Education,Environment
Impact Types Cultural,Societal

 
Description "Before the Flood": Interweaving situated performance and flood narratives for resilience building in hard-to-reach urban flood risk communities
Amount £100,000 (GBP)
Funding ID AH/K502789/1 
Organisation Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start  
 
Description "Before the Flood": Interweaving situated performance and flood narratives for resilience building in hard-to-reach urban flood risk communities
Amount £100,000 (GBP)
Funding ID AH/K502789/1 
Organisation Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 02/2011 
End 06/2013
 
Description Re-thinking, and re-connecting, communities with, and through, water issues.
Amount £25,781 (GBP)
Organisation Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2012 
End 07/2012
 
Description Re-thinking, and re-connecting, communities with, and through, water issues.
Amount £25,781 (GBP)
Organisation Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start  
 
Description Research Development Fund
Amount £5,000 (GBP)
Organisation University of Warwick 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2017 
End 07/2018
 
Description ACUMEN - Archives for Climate Uncertainty, Memory and Engagement 
Organisation University of the West of England
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution A collaboration between University of West of England, University of Warwick, Loughborough University, Mass Observation Archive, Modern Records Centre and variety of regional and professional archives to explore uncertainty evidence.
Collaborator Contribution Partners from the Afterlives of Protest network (Mass Observation Archive, Modern Records Centre) brought their expertise and knowledge of holding s to the development of a large AHRC grant submitted February 27th 2020.
Impact This is a multi-disciplinary collaboration. ACUMEN is exploring reconnecting communities with their cultural memories of everyday uncertainty. National repositories such as The National Archives, Mass Observation Archive (MOA), BBC Archives, BFI, MetLib, British Geological Survey (BGS) Archives and the Modern Records Centre will be mobilised to re-visit their roles and collections for evidence of climate uncertainty experience and adaptation. Regional and local collections (such as the Media Archive for Central England, Gloucestershire Heritage Hub, John Moore's Museum, Tewkesbury) and the informal archives of local flood action groups are being explored to creatively connect to address the need for communities to learn to live with uncertainty in place-specific ways.
Start Year 2019
 
Description Transformative Memory - Confronting the Past in Grand-Scale Socio-Economic Change 
Organisation Aarhus University
Country Denmark 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution This project seeks to move memory and heritage studies beyond an exclusive focus on "conflictual pasts" in the traditional sense, while not neglecting the importance of understanding collective responses to historical violence. We aim to bring together scholars to discuss memory from a holistic perspective of large-scale transformation processes. The following areas have been identified as starting points for framing discussions: Post-industrial communities Reconfiguration of welfare and social care systems Post-conflict divisions in society Changing political landscapes Environmental change
Collaborator Contribution Researchers of protest memory are contributing in terms of leadership, conference contributions and research meetings across Europe to develop a COST network bid for April 2020.
Impact Conference at Nottingham Trent University, 3-5 June 2020
Start Year 2019
 
Description Transformative Memory - Confronting the Past in Grand-Scale Socio-Economic Change 
Organisation Nottingham Trent University
Department School of Arts and Humanities
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution This project seeks to move memory and heritage studies beyond an exclusive focus on "conflictual pasts" in the traditional sense, while not neglecting the importance of understanding collective responses to historical violence. We aim to bring together scholars to discuss memory from a holistic perspective of large-scale transformation processes. The following areas have been identified as starting points for framing discussions: Post-industrial communities Reconfiguration of welfare and social care systems Post-conflict divisions in society Changing political landscapes Environmental change
Collaborator Contribution Researchers of protest memory are contributing in terms of leadership, conference contributions and research meetings across Europe to develop a COST network bid for April 2020.
Impact Conference at Nottingham Trent University, 3-5 June 2020
Start Year 2019
 
Description Transformative Memory - Confronting the Past in Grand-Scale Socio-Economic Change 
Organisation Paris West University Nanterre La Défense
Country France 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution This project seeks to move memory and heritage studies beyond an exclusive focus on "conflictual pasts" in the traditional sense, while not neglecting the importance of understanding collective responses to historical violence. We aim to bring together scholars to discuss memory from a holistic perspective of large-scale transformation processes. The following areas have been identified as starting points for framing discussions: Post-industrial communities Reconfiguration of welfare and social care systems Post-conflict divisions in society Changing political landscapes Environmental change
Collaborator Contribution Researchers of protest memory are contributing in terms of leadership, conference contributions and research meetings across Europe to develop a COST network bid for April 2020.
Impact Conference at Nottingham Trent University, 3-5 June 2020
Start Year 2019
 
Description Transformative Memory - Confronting the Past in Grand-Scale Socio-Economic Change 
Organisation University of Warsaw
Country Poland 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution This project seeks to move memory and heritage studies beyond an exclusive focus on "conflictual pasts" in the traditional sense, while not neglecting the importance of understanding collective responses to historical violence. We aim to bring together scholars to discuss memory from a holistic perspective of large-scale transformation processes. The following areas have been identified as starting points for framing discussions: Post-industrial communities Reconfiguration of welfare and social care systems Post-conflict divisions in society Changing political landscapes Environmental change
Collaborator Contribution Researchers of protest memory are contributing in terms of leadership, conference contributions and research meetings across Europe to develop a COST network bid for April 2020.
Impact Conference at Nottingham Trent University, 3-5 June 2020
Start Year 2019
 
Description 'Learning to live: floods and futures' 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation paper presentation
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This was the end of network conference.

This conference interwove multi-disciplinary presentations and performance. It built on three previous workshops within the AHRC Living Flood Histories network (full title: Learning to Live with Water: Flood histories, Environmental Change, Remembrance a
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description Invited Conference Panel 'Memory Studies Association' Madrid June 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Development of a new strand of research to the Arts and Humanities based on water and media. A key part of the Memory Studies International Conference June 2019
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.memorystudiesassociation.org/
 
Description Invited Talk: Liquid memory and water environment activism, Memory Studies Association Conference, Copenhagen, Dec 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact The paper offered examples of art/media/memory activism in Brazil and the UK on drought, flood and water management as interventions from the perspective of water itself and its ability to remember where it once was.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.memorystudiesassociation.org/copenhagen-conference-2017-program
 
Description Policy making discussions on the UK Bricks and Water flood policy 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Expert contribution to Policy Connect events

Sustainability priorities for the new Parliament
All-Party Parliamentary Climate Change Group, All Party Sustainable Resource Group, Carbon Connect, the Westminster Sustainable Business Forum and the Sustainable Resource Forum Feb 2020

Sustainable Drainage Systems and Green Infrastructure (10.03.20, 10.00-12.00) - This roundtable will explore methods for controlling surface water runoff, requirements for SuDS in new development and options for adoption and retrofit of SuDS at the property-level. Chaired by Baroness McIntosh of Pickering.

Property Flood Resilience for New and Existing Homes (25.03.20, 10.00-12.00) - This roundtable will review the forthcoming code of practice on property flood resilience and discuss best practice for flood resistance and resilience in vulnerable communities. Chaired by Ruth Jones MP (TBC)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.policyconnect.org.uk/research/bricks-water-plan-action-building-homes-and-managing-water...