Transgression and Ephemerality

Marine Transgressions was an environmental humanities conference that took place on June 7-8th 2018 at the Create Centre, located on the banks of the river Avon by the entrance to the historic floating harbour in Bristol, UK. I presented a short film entitled ‘Detention Centre’ which explored my emotive response to marine aquariums. There were many wonderful presentations, and memorable work  included presentations by Mirjami Lantto (Rivering), Kelly P Bushell (The First Captive Whale in Britain), Sarah Hymas (Bookworks) and Lisa Blackmore ((De) Colonising Flow). Marine Transgressions was  a collaboration between the Environmental Humanities Research Centres of the University of Bristol and Bath Spa University.

24 hours later I began a 10 day immersive residency called Ephemeral River. This extraordinary experience included workshops across a range of disciplines, trips to Wistman’s Wood (Dartmoor) and the galleries of Newlyn, Penzance and St. Ives, hours and hours spent in and around the River Dart, and creative experiments alongside an international range of inspirational artists. The provocation was to make work in response to our lived experience with the ephemerality of the River Dart. We all made wildly different works, and across the course of the ten days made wide ranging collaborations and relationships. Alix Rothnie’s blog tells the story beautifully.

We surfaced from this unforgettable experience as participants in Liquidscapes, a three-day international gathering bringing together creative thinkers and doers to explore physically and figuratively our watery worlds and fluid states. Tristram Gooley (How to Read Water) and Amy Sharrocks (Against Dryness) opened the event, and many wonderful presentations, performances and interventions followed, including a performative photo-essay called Bank by Carolyn Black and Carol Laidler, Jess Allen: Drop in the Ocean, Sylvia Crawley: Writing the Mudscape: Lives at the Fringe of the Sea, Charlotte Price: Falling Tide, Rona Lee: Truthing Gap – artistic encounters with the scientific deep, and Hanien Conradie: The Voice of Water: Re-sounding a silenced River.

And all this wet wonderment was made doubly exquisite by a night paddle in a canoe in silence down the Dart, followed by a night sat in silence through till dawn on Summer Solstice Night as part of a group.  Lost for words, I sincerely thank those listed below for these life-changing experiences, but most of all I want to thank Richard Povall, again and again. And again.


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