Funder: Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)

Project Leader: Dr Owain Jones, Bath Spa University

Other UWE Bristol researchers: Dr Katherine Jones

Research partners/collaborators

  • Dr Owain Jones, Bath Spa University
  • Dr Michael Buser, UWE Bristol
  • Professor Stephen Bottoms, The University of Manchester
  • Ms Maggie Roe, Newcastle University
  • Professor Andrew Church, University of Brighton
  • Professor Graeme Evans, Middlesex University
  • Professor Lindsey McEwen, UWE Bristol
  • Dr Alexandra Plows, Bangor University
  • Professor Peter Coates, University of Bristol
  • Ms Sara Jones, Aberystwyth University


The project will address multiple interrelated water issues in a range of settings centred around community and governance practices in the contexts of local cultures, economies and climate change.

We will interrogate a series of questions about communities, citizenship, rights and conflict, and consider how social and environmental challenges can be addressed through synergistic, innovative, multidisciplinary and multi-agency working.

We see hydrocitizenship as an important and underpinning subset of ecological citizenship (Smith 2000; Dobson 2005). Interconnected water issues offer very powerful/vivid exemplars of connections within communities (for example, shared flood risk, shared water assets), and connections between (human and non-human) communities (for example, upstreamdownstream communities in catchments, supply and waste systems).

Our developing notion of hydrocitizenship will seek to re-envision ideas and practices of citizenship and community in ways which reveal the material/ecological basis of life more clearly, and which generate tangible and significant environmental and social benefits (individual and community wellbeing, enhanced governance processes).

A matrix of activities will take place across four study areas in England and wales (Borth, Wales; Bristol; Lee Valley, London; and Shipley, Yorkshire). The overall academic team of 15 researchers from nine universities will work with selected arts practitioners and community groups to conduct a series of participatory research project elements which will include performance, film, and narrative.

The exact form and direction of the activities will be the outcome of the preparatory co-working conducted with arts consultants and community partners. The interdisciplinary academic research linked to these elements will not only bring approaches and methods from related social science disciplines but aloes allow the research to be relevant in a range of disciplines and policy arenas.

Key outputs

Some of the outputs of specific work initiatives will be determined by the co-working process with Project Consultants (artist/professional facilitators) and Project Partners (community groups) in the four study areas. It is anticipated that these will include practical interventions in local landscapes, new community-environment orientated art works, and critical reflections on the nature of citizenship and community as re-imagined from water-centric socio-ecological perspectives. Academic outputs will include journal articles, presentations and a co-authored book.

Project resources

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