Global Network of Water Museums

During CCANW’s time at Dartington, following an earlier exhibition at Haldon, Clive was involved in advising the newly founded Global Network of Water Museums (WAMU-NET) on its involvement in the arts. This involved presentations in Venice, the Netherlands and Spain, and a proposal for a major exhibition.

Image: Director of Musée de l’Eau, Burkina Faso, addressing members of the Water Tribunal of Valencia on the Venetian lagoon.

CCANW’s interest in water issues grew from an exhibition at Haldon in 2009 Reflections on Water. This led to an unsuccessful proposal made in 2015 to Bath University for a programme on the theme of water to mark their 50th anniversary in 2017. A Water Culture programme was also offered, but not taken up, by the University of Plymouth in 2016.

Towards the end of 2016, Clive Adams had co-curated two artist residencies on Certosa Island in the Venetian Lagoon. He also delivered a paper on Biosphere and the Urban Forest at the Festival for the Earth at Ca’Foscari University of Venice organised by the artist Maria Rebecca Ballestra and been introduced to Eriberto Eulisse who was planning to establish the Global Network of Water Museums (WAMU-NET).

In the following May, Clive was invited by Eriberto to deliver a paper on Water Culture at the inaugural meeting of WAMU-NET at UNESCO in Venice. He returned to Venice in September to discuss the idea of a Water Museum of Venice and a major exhibition called Spirito d’Acqua and look at various options where it might be launched during the Biennale, including a warehouse on the north side of the Arsenale. Funding was naturally an important factor and a sponsorship proposal was developed, but soon it became apparent that we did not have the time or experience to take this idea further at this time.

Text of Water Culture presentation in Venice

Spirito d’Acqua sponsorship proposal

At the next meeting of WAMU-NET in the Netherlands in May 2018, Clive was able to give an introduction and invite several artists and curators to make their own presentations on The Arts Reflect on Water, including Basia Irland, Yasmine Ostendorf, Betsy Damon, Sue Spaid, Amy Sharrocks, Eve Mosher and Nancy Nowacek, and in June WAMU-NET was formerly adopted by UNESCO-IHP (International Hydrological Programme) at the 23rd meeting of the Intergovernmental Council in Paris (Resolution n.XXIII-5).

Left to right: curator Roel Arkesteijn, artist Basia Irland, Clive Adams, curator Yasmine Ostendorf and artist Betsy Damon.

At the next Festival for the Earth in Venice in December, Richard Povall organised that representatives from Ulsan National Institute of Arts and Technology (UNIST) gave a presentation on the Science Walden Project and Clive organised a meeting of artists and curators with Eriberto and others from WAMU-NET and University.

The next meeting of WAMU-NET took place in Valencia in June 2019, and Clive organised presentations on artist residencies by Spanish and other artists and curators in a session called Arts and Water: Engaging the Audience. He also delivered at paper at the Polytechnic University of Valencia and arranged for talks there by Betsy Damon and Amy Sharrocks. Largely because of Covid, collaboration slowed in the period 2020-21, but in 2022 Clive became one of the selection panel for the ambitious online exhibition I Remember Water presented in May. The funding of WAMU-NET was largely limited to subscriptions from members and only CCANW and Clive’s expenses were covered.

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