Water, Creativity and Meaning : Multidisciplinary understandings of human-water relationships book cover
1st Edition

Water, Creativity and Meaning
Multidisciplinary understandings of human-water relationships

ISBN 9781138087668
Published August 15, 2018 by Routledge
272 Pages - 38 Color Illustrations

SAVE ~ $31.00
was $155.00
USD $124.00

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

At a time of great turmoil and crisis, environmentally, socially and politically, water has emerged as a topic of huge global concern. Moreover, many argue that what is needed in order to change our relationship with the environment is a cultural paradigm shift. To this end, this volume brings together diverse approaches to exploring human relationships with the watery world and the other living things that rely upon it.

Through exploring multiple creative ways of engaging with water and people, the volume adds to the current zeitgeist of writing about water by expanding the discussion about this vital substance and how, as humans, we relate to it. Chapters focus on creative explorations and explorations of creativity in relation to developing these understandings, including concepts such as hydrocitizenship and responses to drought and flooding. Drawing on the in-depth research and experience of arts practitioners including participatory artists, as well as academics from a variety of fields including geography, anthropology, health studies and environmental humanities, the book provides a rich and multidisciplinary perspective on water and creative ways of engaging and understanding human–water relationships. 

It represents a valuable source and inspiration for academics, arts practitioners and those involved in environmental policy and governance.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Veronica Strang

Introduction Katherine Phillips and Liz Roberts

Part I: Fluid processes: creative research with water

  1. Water Power: Creativity and the Unlocking of Community Knowledge
  2. Lorraine Leeson

  3. This long river…
  4. Luci Gorell Barnes

  5. Sunless Waters of Forgetfulness (a geopoetic assemblage)
  6. Antony Lyons

  7. From Gallura to the Fens: Communities Performing Stories of Water
  8. Lyndsey Bakewell, Antonia Liguori and Michael Wilson

    Part II: Becoming water bodies

  9. Mapping a Blue Trace: An Intermittent Swimming Life
  10. Ronan Foley

  11. Creative compulsions: performing surfing as art
  12. Jon Anderson and Lyndsey Stoodley

  13. Waves as Emblemata for Knowledge
  14. John Hartley

    Part III: Water we know?

  15. Re-envisioning the Hydro Cycle: The Hydrosocial Spiral as a Participatory Toolbox for Water Education and Management
  16. Rebecca L. Farnum, Ruth Macdougall, and Charlie Thompson

  17. Fluid-Sound
  18. Rob St John

  19. And all at once the clouds descend, Shed tears that never seem to end. Looking from the Early Modern Age at Water in the Anthropocene
  20. Simon Meisch

    Part IV: When water disrupts: Water as agent and co-constitutor of place and culture

  21. ‘Water mafia’ politics and unruly informality in Delhi’s unauthorised colonies
  22. Matt Birkinshaw

  23. Encountering Water: Sensitivities and practices for moving beyond ‘Big Water’ interventions
  24. Claire Hoolohan and Alison L. Browne

  25. Thinking like Water Moves – Living with Climate Change in Tarawa, Kiribati
  26. Maria Louise Bønnelykke

  27. Narratives that Travel: Anxiety, Affect and Water Politics in the Deschutes Watershed of Central Oregon
  28. Kirsten Rudestam

  29. Conclusion

Liz Roberts and Katherine Phillips

Afterword: Interview with Matthew Gandy

View More



Liz Roberts is a cultural geographer currently working at the University of West of England, UK, on an RCUK project on digital storytelling and water scarcity (www.dryproject.co.uk).

Katherine Phillips is a social researcher at the University of West of England, UK, with interests in sustainable living, human–environment relations and the mainstreaming of radical alternatives.


"Water, Creativity and Meaning makes an insightful contribution to current understandings of human-environmental relationships. Centering on creative practices, it explores the intimate and interconnected engagements with water that people experience and embody at a personal and local level, showing how these generate important memories and meanings; enable the composition of individual and community identities; and encourage deep and affective relations with place." - From the Foreword, Veronica Strang, University of Durham, UK

"Beyond the empirical richness of the collection the most striking themes for me that emerge from the essays are a range of conceptual explorations at the leading edge of water research. I was very interested to see emerging interest in different forms of "attunement", attentiveness, and materiality, posing questions in terms of research methodology as well as the interpretation of different kinds of developments that span human and other-than-human realms." – From the Afterword, Matthew Gandy, Professor of Cultural and Historical Geography, University of Cambridge, UK

"This volume crosses disciplinary borders to combine history, literature, arts, anthropology, and traditional narratives of water. The result is a powerful critique of methodology and interpretation, offering productive ways of engaging with new ways of doing research on water. The hardcover book is beautifully designed with an evocative cover, and is pleasant to hold in one’s hands, adding a rare sensory component to its reading." - Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt, Water Alternatives