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Illustration by Jo Salter
The Water Cycle
The Residency

Following on from a residency in The Faculty of Engineering in The University of Sheffield Ruth became resident artist in The Pennine Water Group based in Civil Engineering. The group focuses on the social and engineering issues of urban water management. She spent sixth months following the academics and their work, which was often in partnership with water companies.

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The Video

A series of presentations in the style of a weather forecast by academics whose research focuses on urban water management. Using a large poster of a water cycle and a series of stick on cards, illustrated by Jo Salter, they describe issues surrounding water including flooding, governance, the maintenance of pipes, pollutants, farming & regulators.

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The Poster and Stick on Cards

The poster and stick on cards came out of a series of conversations with the academics about their specific areas of research and their position within the greater water cycle. From these mapping exercises, sketches and interviews I invited Jo Salter, an Illustrator, to turn them into a working large scale poster and series of small stick on images of a water cycle.

The poster and stick on cards have also been used as educational and outreach tool to look at the work of The Pennine Water Group and The Water Cycle.

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Installed in Hebden Bridge flooded Town Hall basement
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The Thinking

Conversations with researcher Dr Liz Sharp about the image of The Water Cycle left me struck by its simplicity and made me more aware about the disparity between how we think about the cycle and the complex reality. I set about creating a new water cycle image, one in which the current day social, economic, political & environmental interactions with water were also represented and discussed. The stick on cards are designed as a way to illustrate, a tool for conversation, or a way to forecast different future scenarios.

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Illustration by Jo Salter


Funded by EPSRC through Pennine Water Group, The University of Sheffield

Illustrations: Jo Salter 
Additional Camera and sound: Ian Nesbitt 

Special thanks to Jo Salter, Dr Liz Sharp, Dr Vanessa Speight, Professor Joby Boxhall, Dr Henriette Jensen, Dr Will Shepard, Paul Graham Raven, Dr James Shucksmith.

Thanks to all researchers and staff at Pennine Water Group.

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