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Media, Memory and Water Heritage

Summer 2020 - Coventry Creates initiative funds the Walk with Water 2 project with photographer artist Jo Gane along the same stretch of the River Sherbourne at Spon End, Jo Gane collaborated with Jo Garde-Hansen and Jana Fried to create calotype images of low patterns and objects/animals in the water. The new artist-led opportunity extends previous research by showcasing the hidden river to a local audience of hard to reach young people through experimental photography, digital media to reveal unseen elements of the river’s flow.

2019-2020, Garde-Hansen collaborated with Dr Jana Fried of Coventry University's Centre for Agro-ecology, Water and Resilience on the Walk with Water 1 Project as part of Coventry's City of Culture. The project was a collaboration with Talking Birds theatre of place company and engaged the public in a walking tour and workshop at Spon End and along the River Sherborne.

2017-2018, Garde-Hansen collaborated with Prof Danilo Rothberg from the State University of Sao Paulo, Brazil on the Narratives of Water project funded by fapesp, exploring flood risk management in Sao Paulo state and the role of media organisations and other sectors in decision-making through the River Basin Committees.

2014-2018, Drought Risk and You Project. The DRY project was founded in April 2014, with an aim to develop an easy-to-use, evidence-based resource to inform decision-making for drought risk management in the UK over a four year period. The project spans seven catchment areas in England, Wales and Scotland to reflect different hydrological, socio-economic and cultural contexts in the UK. It takes a unique approach because it draws together information from multiple perspectives on drought science, stakeholder engagement, citizen science and narrative storytelling to better understand drought risks, while other studies have focused on mathematical modelling of drought risk. A key part of this is using different types of data together to build a better picture of drought risk in the UK. In this project, ‘data’ can mean statistics derived from a hydrological model to stories, media and images collected from a river catchment area.

2014-2015, Joanne Garde-Hansen continued the ESRC funded research with an Impact Acceleration Account project. Collaborating with Prof Rob Procter (Computer Science), Dr Arkaitz Zubiaga (Computer Science) and PhD student Nataliya Tkachenko, Garde-Hansen developed a Flood Memory App, with the input from the Environment Agency and community stakeholders in Gloucestershire as beta testers. The app was used in teaching projects with the Environment Agency on the MA Global Media and Communication.

2013-2014, the project led directly to follow on funding from the ESRC Knowledge Exchange Opportunity. Garde-Hansen worked with McEwen and Jones, alongside the Environment Agency, on a project entitled Sustainable Flood Memory - trialling digital storytelling as a form of adaptive learning and knowledge exchange for resilience in at risk communities. During this period in particular the mediatization of flooding was pivotal to how communities mobilised support and remained resilient, not simply in terms of traditional media frames of 'biblical' deluge but through the interactive and social use of online networks such as Twitter and Facebook. When the project first started after the 2007 floods, such networks had not been mobilised in this way. Our future research will continue to focus upon how social media is being used to create flood heritage.

2010-2013, Dr Joanne Garde-Hansen was co-investigator of the ESRC funded Sustainable flood memories and the development of community resilience to flood.jpgfuture flood risk. Awarded £242,263, the project's principal investigator was Prof Lindsey McEwen (University of the West of England) and the second co-investigator was Prof Owain Jones (Bath Spa University). The project explored the nature of flood memory and its relationship to the development of local knowledge for increased community resilience to local flood risk. Garde-Hansen's focus was upon the use of media for recording flood events and remembering those events through digital and social creativity and networks. The project worked with communities and organisations in the lower Severn valley in the aftermath of the July 2007 floods. In particular, it reflected upon:

• how communities remember and archive flood experiences

• how these memories are materialised, assimilated, embedded and protected in contemporary communities and culture

• how sustainable flood memories might have a particular role in developing community resilience to residual risk

• how communities themselves and organisations charged with flood resilience planning can engage with, and support, development of sustainable flood memories

The public engagement partners in the project were diverse - involving community, those responsible for local flood risk management, alongside representatives from archives and broadcast media.