The city of Swansea has an art piece by Jeremy Deller that proclaims, ‘More poetry is needed.’ This statement piece invites residents and visitors to consider the benefit, even need for more poetry in our increasingly fragmented world. Swansea has a strong history of poetry and spoken word, with many active poetry groups meeting regularly across the city. The Freshwater Interdisciplinary Research and Engagement (FIRE) lab at Swansea University wanted to draw on this passion for words and storytelling through a community event at Copper Bar on Friday April 26, to explore the question, ‘What is Water?’ We take inspiration from geographer Jamie Linton’s (2010) influential text, ‘What is Water?: The History of a Modern Abstraction’ which he begins by asserting, ‘Water is what we make of it’ (page 3).
For this event, we invite storytellers of all sorts to join us in exploring the complex relationships between people and water. Through poetry, discussion, and interactive activities we will reflect on and share about our own relationships with water. We will begin the night with an open mic session where community members can read their contributions (poems, short stories, songs, reflections, etc.). We will assemble these stories post-event into a ‘What is Water?’ pamphlet—free to event participants. Our guest speaker for the evening is an Australian geographer, Dr. Emily O’Gorman who will discuss her research on water cultures in Wiradjuri country, Australia. Following Dr. O’Gorman’s presentation, we will open a wider dialogue about our relationships with water as a group during an interactive creative session. We look forward to seeing you from 18:30 on April 26 at Copper Bar, Swansea.