Congratulations to the five selected artists:
Their artworks will create a trail of temporary outside installations/sculptures related to key historical flood sites in the past 200 years. Amongst these, we will be marking the 50th anniversary of the Great Flood of 1968.
The artworks will be presented and designed with a view of their accessibility for all. A website will be available soon. This will be used as an interactive guide and to collect research information, including community stories.
River is the Venue (RiV) is an exciting partnership project with the 44AD artspace, Art at the Heart of the RUH and research academics at the University of Bath.
Funded through the University of Bath Public Engagement Unit, the focus of this project is to communicate the historic links between the flooding on the River Avon through a unique combination of Art and Technology.
The RiV project aims to:
Engage local communities
Establish Collaborative activities
Create a unique accessible art trail along the River Avon
Exhibit the artworks and share the project's story
River is the Venue (RiV) is a unique, inclusive project that combines water science, art and information technologies. Funded by the Public Engagement Unit of the University of Bath and led by a team of researchers, and art professionals, the RiV project has contributed a fresh and exciting perspective on the water heritage of the historic City of Bath.
The RiV project has enabled local artists to communicate the flood history of the River Avon of the City of Bath through art installations, a sound piece, puppetry performance and participatory art workshops for communities in Bath. This range of evidence-based, flood-inspired artworks and workshops have succeeded in engaging local communities with the water history and in raising their awareness on flood risk and protection. The project’s outputs are an excellent example of a non-institutional and accessible artspace. The novel outlook on the flood history of the River Avon revitalises the essence of the river as an asset for the City of Bath and as a core element of its social history.
The research underpinning and informing the RiV project is conducted as part of an ongoing project of the Architecture & Civil Engineering (ACE) Department of the University of Bath, funded by The Leverhulme Trust. The project “Mobilising Britain’s historical flood information in support of contemporary flood risk assessments: the city of Bath” aims to investigate and assess the utility of documentary evidence (e.g. newspaper articles, policy briefings, photographs, schematics) of past flood events within modern flood risk assessments. A thorough archive search has resulted in the recollection of data on the spatial distribution of past flood events and in the reconstruction of the flood policy history of the City of Bath. The findings feed into the development of models representing historical changes in the river’s hydraulics and of novel advanced statistical models.
Thanks to the unique character and team-composition of the RiV project, a number of new collaborations have emerged across disciplinary and institutional boundaries. The Bath Record Office: Archives and Local Stories of the Bath & North East Somerset Council has been a valuable resource for the researchers and art professionals involved in the project. During a series of workshops, a wide range of local stakeholders, audiences and communities has been exposed to fascinating elements of the water history of the River Avon. The project’s framework and its outputs are designed to reach out to non-conventional audiences, including people with disabilities and impairments.
The RiV project combines unique expertise and experiences to deliver a unique output: an inclusive artspace inspired by the flood history of the City of Bath.
Outline of Public Artworks for People with Disabilities
River is the Venue: Outline of Public Art Works for People with Disabilities
Traditionally, public artworks were commissioned to represent leading soldiers, aristocrats, politicians, and religious leaders. Other artworks were commissioned to communicate to and inspire the public about religious passages or cultural stories.
But, rather than making the public feel closer to these figures, public artworks were often placed up high, out of reach of their viewers. They were designed to make the public feel a sense of reverence rather than inclusion.
During the last century, the subject of public artworks has changed to become closer to the public imagination: they included less elevated issues and ideas; they were respectful of fallen foot soldiers; they communicated a broader range of beliefs; they represented a broader spectrum of humanity and religious ideals. The philosophy of commissioning art also changed to engender less reverence, to develop more debate or communicate a feeling or a message.
And yet, despite these changes, public artworks still often inadvertently excluded viewers, mainly because these viewers were physically, intellectually or socially unable to access these artworks.
The aim of RiV is to look at public artwork commissions in a different way. As well as making the subject of the artwork or the message more socially inclusive, the commissions for RiV are designed to make the medium of public artworks closer to the public. The different artworks represent the flooding of Bath by the River Avon through different senses – visual, aural, tactile, smells. And, the messages they communicate are been designed to be interactive through performance and participation.
To achieve this aim, RiV is moving beyond commissioning a single piece of artwork to raise awareness of flooding in Bath. We have commissioned a broad range of artistic works, based on numerous medias, from sculptural pieces to music and puppet theatre. We have also commissioned a series of workshops that allows members of the local community to participate in creating an artwork, engendering a sense of ownership.
Through bringing the artworks physically, intellectually and culturally into the community of Bath, we hope to engender a greater feeling of inclusion amongst all the local community.