Between 2015-2016 Joanne Garde-Hansen of Warwick University collaborated with Dr Carlos Falci of UFMG exploring digital hydro-citizenship between the UK and Brazil.
This is a well made match; Brazil offers the UK a vast ecology of digital media techniques to help tell and spread stories quickly across a nation – particularly to the marginalised. The UK offers organised, co-ordinated and national policies of water and its management, but perhaps lacks the speed and integrated communication network to implement these policies at local and community levels. Thus we can learn from each other how to best use digital and social media to connect people to issues of water – both in superfluous and scarcity situations.
During the course of the last two years and in order to maximise the scope and learning potentials of this project, Jo and Carlos have met with Professor Polignano of Projeto Manuelzão, as well as key creatives at Oi Kabum, NitroImagens and Museu da Pessoa.
The focus of their work has been to develop research proposals that inform water memory exchange between UK and Brazilian initiatives. Cross-pollinating community storytelling about floods, rivers and droughts may offer new ways of exploring urban water memory in both countries and contribute to the Narratives of Water project with colleagues in Sao Paulo.
Storytelling about water raises many questions – primarily about the (trans) formation of ‘community’ in ‘collecting’, ‘recollecting’ and ‘circulating’ memories. What has happened in the past informs aspirations for how it can be addressed and overcome in the future.
Inevitably, our research considers two key questions:
- Can cultural narratives, stories and memories reinvigorate community engagement with (urban) water – is there a story that can rally a community like nothing before?
- By whom are the marginal, peripheral, hidden, faded, lost memories of water incorporated – where do the stories go and who holds the key to them?
At the heart of our collaboration is an exchange of ideas and practices of media and memory, with a particular focus on what contribution will radical Brazilian ideas and media practices of memory make on a conformist society such as the UK?