In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • Dramatizing the Anthropocene through Social MediaThe Spatiotemporal Coordinates of Hydrocitizens
  • Tom Payne (bio), Owain Jones (bio), Andy Rowland (bio), Shelagh Hourahane (bio), Alex Plows (bio), Maggie Roe (bio), Gwilym Morus-Baird (bio), Jane Lloyd Francis (bio), Jenny Hall (bio), Ariana Jordao (bio), Sara Penrhyn Jones (bio), Tom Gunn (bio), Iain Biggs (bio), Nick Jones (bio), Antony Lyons (bio), and Hywel Griffiths (bio)
  • Dramatis Personae

  • Owain Jones

  • Andy Rowland

  • Shelagh Hourahane

  • Alex Plows

  • Maggie Roe

  • Gwilym Morus-Baird

  • Jane Lloyd Francis

  • Jenny Hall

  • Ariana Jordao

  • Sara Penrhyn Jones

  • Tom Gunn

  • Iain Biggs

  • Nick Jones

  • Antony Lyons

  • Hywel Griffiths [End Page 100]


The morning after, the beach at Borth is a graveyard, a petrified forest thundered out of the sand by the storm, drowned by the sea six thousand years ago when the Earth was flat, the horizon the edge of the world.1

A transdisciplinary approach affords the orchestration of multipartner responses to key issues related to water and the natural environment. In the project Towards Hydrocitizenship (TH), water provides the haptic, optic, and conceptual stimulus for collaboratively reflecting on what geographer Mark Whitehead refers to as our “environmental impacts and responsibilities” within the broader context of the Anthropocene.2 Water-related issues often have complex social, cultural, and economic components that require active attempts at transdisciplinarity, or the negotiation of the “boundaries between academia and professional practice.”3 Drawing on participatory arts methods, TH emphasizes “dialogue, collaboration and negotiation, rather than specific data collecting methods.”4 In keeping with transdisciplinary research within the humanities, TH does not seek to bridge disciplinary divides; instead, attention is focused on the “full and vibrant” space between “nourishing the middle ground” and placing value on “professional, citizen, and amateur contributions to knowledge.”5 This paper argues that the precondition of transdisciplinary research of this kind is access to formats that enable dialogue and open, inclusive, and collaborative processes. With this in mind, I have created Hydrocitizens, an online community in which members can share process, multimedia documentation, and emerging interests and concerns.6

Motivated by the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze and his 1967 lecture “The Method of Dramatization,” this paper proposes the dramatic form as a means of drawing from the web forum and blog Hydrocitizens to produce a polyvocal account of the Cymerau Launch in June 2015.7 This event took place on the beach in Borth in Mid Wales as a way of publicly announcing Map Dŵr (Water Map), a yearlong program of creative activity in the Cymerau (meaning “Confluence” in English) case study area occurring between September 2015 and August 2016.8 During this time, thirteen individual artists and artist groups have been [End Page 101] commissioned to create “participatory art activities to test new ways of working together to address contemporary water issues,” with the broad aim of undertaking a cultural mapping of the locality and, through this generative process, improving “communication between neighbors, people with conflicting interests, and between policy makers and the communities that they serve.”9

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Fig. 1.

Screenshot of the Hydrocitizens home page;

By providing a context for TH and the Hydrocitizens community, as well a method for the creative approach to utilizing it in order to provide an alternative reading of place and event, the first part of this essay reflects approaches within the digital humanities that emphasize the development of methodology and technology.10 The second part makes use of that technology and puts that method into action by weaving together the voices of artists, academics, and community partners with my own, as a way of articulating the launch and revealing some of the emerging water-related concerns in Borth. Furthermore, this essay responds to Whitehead’s assertion that understanding the Anthropocene requires attention to the contemporary places and spaces in which it is located. How, he asks, are its effects “being experienced differently in different locations?”11 The multiple sites under investigation in TH are acknowledgment that water-related issues and concerns are experienced differently in different parts of the UK. And yet there are crossovers and opportunities for shared learning when there is an intimate focus on experiences...


Additional Information

pp. 100-134
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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