The systems, processes and infrastructure through which water is managed— particularly in drainage, waste water and drinking water schemes— are often incomprehensible and invisible to the general public, leading to gaps in knowledge about how water operates in our daily lives. This fosters ignorance, powerlessness and irresponsible practices, which are significant factors in escalating water-related environmental issues such as flooding, drought and pollution.
Living, Working, Playing with Water, is a pilot project devised and delivered by artist-researchers Minty Donald and Nick Millar, with Ursula Lang, which uses creative practices as a tool to address these gaps in knowledge — with a specific focus on sustainable drainage systems (SuDS).
The decision to focus on SuDS was taken in response to recognition, amongst professionals working in surface water management and related areas in Glasgow, that there was room for improvement in the ways in which SuDS were integrated into some, largely residential, developments— particularly in terms of residents’ perceptions of and interactions with SuDS. Given that SuDS are mandatory in all new developments in Scotland, it was felt that gathering intelligence and testing new approaches in relation to this issue could have specific benefits in improving the design, construction and integration of SuDS, as well as wider applications in addressing gaps in knowledge about water management infrastructure more generally.
The project focused specifically on the relationship between professional surface water management practices and public perceptions of water in three contrasting areas in Glasgow: Athlete’s Village, Dalmarnock; Sighthill and Easterhouse.
Living, Working, Playing with Water took place between August 2016 and March 2017. The project was undertaken in partnership with Glasgow City Council Development and Regeneration Services (GCC DRS) and the Metropolitan Glasgow Strategic Drainage Partnership (MGSDP).