Cultivating Research: Wet and Wild? Excess in the representation of Northern English waterscapes

The third Cultivating Research seminar of this semester will take place on Thursday 5th May, 5.30pm in the Ben Elton Room (SL01), Martin Harris Centre for Music and Drama, University of Manchester. 

In this joint session Drama colleagues Steve Bottoms and David Butler will present short, connecting papers relating to their current, place-specific research projects.

David will critique the blending of fact and fiction, fantasy and reality in popular representations of Cumbria and the Lake District. Flood plains around Thirlmere, Derwentwater and Bassenthwaite featured prominently on British screens in December 2015, both in news coverage of the Cumbrian floods, and in the climactic battle of Star Wars Episode VII, as X-Wings and TIE fighters engaged in CGI-enhanced dogfights over each of those bodies of water. Thirlmere, managed as a reservoir by United Utilities, is of particular relevance to Manchester as it supplies much of the city’s drinking water.

Steve will continue the theme by examining the impact of the Boxing Day floods of 2015 on parts of the Aire Valley, in West Yorkshire. Cameraphone footage in Shipley provided the nation with the entertaining spectacle of floating container vehicles smashing into bridges, while 12 miles downstream in Leeds the sudden inundation was reported in terms reminiscent of a zombie apocalypse. This presentation will draw on interviews with members of the affected communities and responsible agencies, to offer a performative exploration of what our future waterworld might begin to look like.


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