Glasgow City Council is concerned about making the city and its inhabitants more resilient to climate change and launched a challenge in 2017 at the European Climate Change Adaptation conference. This is how River Change was born: a true collaboration between science and art to create a sculpture that will support scientists to engage with Glaswegians and discuss how we can limit and anticipate climate change.
At Heriot-Watt we are investigating the impact of climate change on the water cycle, and particularly on hydrological hazards such as droughts and floods.
For society to become more resilient to climate change, we believe it is crucial we communicate our research outputs to wide and diverse audiences across society.
By collaborating with designers Bespoke Atelier, we aim to engage with the public and raise awareness of climate change impact and how we could anticipate these impacts in our daily life in the workplace and at home.
Together, Heriot-Watt and Bespoke atelier have created a portable sculpture made of light bamboo and locally woven fabric from the Isle of Bute. The textile panels were screen printed in Bespoke Atelier Glasgow’s studio with patterns inspired by the scientific results from Heriot-Watt.
When members of the public walk in the structure they are surrounded by fabric hand printed with bold graphic patterns. These show the water levels of a river before climate change. As they walk in, the patterns will change due to climate change impacts. Over their heads, the rainfall will be symbolised by strips of fabric which intensify due to climate change. On the floor, the soil and river state evolves according to the rain pattern. The final area of the artwork shows these patterns changing thanks to adaptation solutions.
With this project, the audience can experience the impact of climate change on the water cycle, being directly emerged in a fabric river, and have the opportunity to discuss with scientific experts. They will take home with them key messages within the shape of a tote bag designed by Bespoke Atelier and offering some alternatives for a more resilient life.