Working Waters with Megan Clinch

At the heart of ‘Working Waters’ and its follow up ‘Towards a Common Waters Policy’ sat a series of conversations aimed at understanding why flooding happened in the Calder and its Catchment, and who was responsible.

River Drawingsmall

The Research

The project spanned five years and at each turn, who we met and what we found shaped the direction the project took. Different tools, props, artworks and techniques were devised to enable these conversations as they were reflected and built upon before being returned with a new framing and foundation to think about an alternative. The work brought together research, data, knowledge and understanding.

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The Report

All participants were sent a film entitled ‘A Report’, that summarised the research. The Covid Pandemic meant that the process of reflecting the research back to the participants had to be done remotely, rather than through a series of live events and exhibitions as had been planned. 

The Model
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As the conversations continued and the research evolved, the issues and tensions participants raised were visualised and embodied in a series of miniature scenes in a piece entitled ‘Working Waters’. Small enough to hold in the palm of a  hand, they sat on a catchment base that showed the river and navigation. Designed with a war room strategic operations model in mind, this work consolidated the research journey into a form that Calder inhabitants could engage with.

At its most static ‘Working Waters’ enabled them to take the wide-ranging concerns people had around water, flooding and governance and share them with one another. However, when gatherings around the model were structured through a series of role play scenarios, it truly came to life. It offered people the opportunity to not only understand the complex picture, but also, create a world through which future actions could be imagined and debated. As the model toured the Calder (Hebden Bridge, Mirfield, and Castleford), Megan and Ruth developed their skill and thinking with regard to creating collaborative and equitable spaces for imagining environmental futures. This experience helped establish the foundations for the final work of the project, ‘Towards a Common Waters Policy'.

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