Into the Mud

‘Into the Mud’ was a one-day workshop held on the banks of the Severn Estuary, in June 2015 , part of the AHRC’s Conected Communities Festival. The workshop established a temporary manufacturing base on Severn Beach, from which a diverse group of participants worked, collectively and individually, with mud to create objects in response to the littoral environment.

On the banks of the River Severn participants were encouraged to get their hands dirty and engage creatively with the river mud. The workshop aimed to get people thinking about the connections between the city and its rivers; water use and daily life; mud as a valued feature of the river; and liminal, tidal zones as repositories of historical artefacts and places to think about water and land.

Participants made water channel sections using a technique called a running mould traditionally used to make decorative architectural plaster cornices, whereby you drag a metal profile smoothly over wet plaster to create a shape. We used this method to shape the mud.

Note: Ceramic industries have a long history along the river Severn, major manufacturers such as Coalport China Works and Jackfield Tiles were situated along the river as well as brickworks and claypipe makers. Access to water assisted the manufacturing process but also allowed for the easy transportation of material and goods.

The Power and the Water: Connecting Pasts and Futures’ is a 3-year project exploring the environmental connectivities that have emerged in Britain since Industrialisation. It has three research strands: river systems, and
interconnected bio-physical, energetic, commercial and cultural flows
(University of Bristol); energy systems, and the interconnections between sites of generation, transmission and consumption (University of Cambridge); and subterranean heritage, specifically the lead mining soughs of Derbyshire
(University of Nottingham).
‘The Power and the Water’ is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council under the ‘Care for the Future’ theme.
‘Towards Hydrocitizenship’ is a 3-year project investigating the ways in which citizens and communities live with each other and their environment in relation to water in a range of UK neighbourhoods. The research asks a series of questions about what communities are, how they function, and the role of environmental (water) assets and issues in the coming together of communities, conflicts within and between communities, and progress to interconnected community and environmental resilience. ‘Towards Hydrocitizenship’ is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council under the ‘Connected Communities’ theme.

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