In 2019, the theme of Public CoLab was Water and the City and it was facilitated by Dr. Nuala Flood in collaboration with Dr. Tristan Sturm. With the help of subject experts from academia, the public sector and charitable organisations, the 73 students explored how water has influenced the development of the built environment in Belfast and how it continues to shape our relationship with the city. As part of this process, the students examined and mapped the water networks associated with their own domestic water supply. They examined the way heavy metals, such as lead, are embodied and embedded within the built environment in Belfast via this water supply. They also interrogated the notion of water scarcity in Belfast, while simultaneously imagining flooding futures in vulnerable locations. The historical water infrastructure was mapped and surveyed, before reflecting on water as a place making device through documenting oral histories and through film.
All of the work was captured in the Belfast Waterzine, see the images below. The publication aims to encourage people to think more about the local water supply as a scarce resource and it is intricately interwoven with out lived experience of the city.
This project was kindly supported by the Culture and Society Research Cluster at the School of the Natural and Built Environment QUB.