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Touring exhibition explores Hull’s flood history, highlighting ways communities can adapt to increased flood risk

Visitors to some of Hull’s top attractions and venues will have the opportunity to experience Hull’s watery histories brought to life in textiles and sound, through a touring exhibition created as part of the University of Hull’s Risky Cities project.

The Risky Cities project uses innovative arts and humanities approaches to build climate awareness and help communities become more flood resilient, today and for the future.

The project has gathered Hull-based stories of flooding and use them in community-based arts and heritage interventions as well as large-scale cultural productions developed in collaboration with project partners, Absolutely Cultured and the National Youth Theatre.

The new Follow the Thread exhibition showcases community responses to stories identified by the Risky Cities project from the city of Hull’s archives. These stories explore adapting to, and thriving alongside, water and flooding. Two communities in Boothferry and Cottingham have worked with community arts providers Thread and Press and Life and Loom to make creative textiles pieces, drawing together history, crafts and visions of our watery past, present and futures.

 

"Follow the Thread is a great example of how the Risky Cities project is using arts and humanities approaches to explore climate awareness and build flood resilience in our local communities." Professor Briony McDonagh, Professor of Environmental Humanities at the University of Hull’s Energy and Environment Institute

As well as free-embroidered and hand-woven textiles pieces, the exhibition also features a specially commissioned immersive soundscape by The Broken Orchestra using ‘found sounds’, local people’s flood memories and recordings of Hull’s rivers and tides.

Dr Kate Smith, Knowledge Exchange Fellow in Floods and Society at the University of Hull’s Energy and Environment Institute, took part in the community sessions, and worked closely with the participants. Dr Smith said: “The free workshops have been well-attended, and it has been a pleasure to share stories and crafting time with faces that have become familiar over the past month. We’ve explored Hull’s relationship with water, bringing to life some of the amazing content in the city’s medieval archives with stories, objects and (of course) lots of maps.

“Along the way people have shared their own experiences – shocking, scary, funny and moving – of what living with water and flooding in Hull has meant to them, and they’ve used these stories as the starting point for a growing collection of artistic responses using a range of textile techniques. Everybody who has joined us for these workshops was invited to share their work as part of the touring exhibition, which launched at this year’s Freedom Festival.”

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The exhibition ran from Wednesday 31 Aug to Sunday 4 Sept as part of the Freedom Festival and then tours to The Deep, Cottingham Civic Hall, the HU4 Community Hub, Hull Minster, and the University of Hull Library, where the exhibition culminates from Wednesday 31 September to Saturday 1 October.

More information about the exhibition, dates and venues may be found on the Risky Cities website.

The Follow the Thread exhibition is part of the Risky Cities project, led by Professor Briony McDonagh, Professor of Environmental Humanities at the University of Hull’s Energy and Environment Institute, said: “Follow the Thread is a great example of how the Risky Cities project is using arts and humanities approaches to explore climate awareness and build flood resilience in our local communities.

“In running workshops where participants can explore histories of our flood-prone city, as well as drawing on their own experiences of living with water and flood, we can open up conversations about how people and communities can live better with water in the future.”

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