Test Sites: Calder Valley

Ruth Levene, Hidden Waters, video still (2015)

Test Sites is Arts Catalyst’s series of inquiries into matters of concern connected with environmental change – such as flooding, pollution, and species loss – and their impact on local culture and the health and wellbeing of our ecosystems and ourselves. At each site, we are inviting local people and groups to be part of art-led co-inquiries, working with artists, scientists, and other experts.

In the Calder valley, we are working with artist Ruth Levene, in partnership with the Canal and River Trust, to research water governance in relation to human health and wellbeing and the resilience of communities and ecologies.

In Summer 2017, we are making two initial research journeys by narrowboat along the Calder/Hebble navigation, meeting local people, river/canal users, and experts with interests in water, the history of the river and canal, and water governance. In June, the team traveled from Sowerby Bridge downstream through Brighouse to Mirfield, meeting and talking with a variety of people along our journey.

From the 10th-15th July 2017, we plan to travel upstream to Mytholmroyd. We are keen to meet with people living or working in the Calder area - both on and off the boat - with the following expertise (whether professional or expertise-by-experience): water governance, hydrology, geology, history of the waters (river, canal, and tributaries), modelling and mapping the catchment, canoeing, fishing, tree planting, volunteering. If you would like to connect with us during our research journeys to share your knowledge of the Calder catchment and its waters, please email Nicola Triscott at director@artscatalyst.org

The project will gather pace during 2018 and 2019 with creative activities, roundtables, story gathering and citizen science research leading to the creation of site-specific artworks, events, and alternative archives of knowledge about the Calder catchment.