Upcoming Events at Amy Sharrocks’ Museum of Water

Cultural Institute at King’s has joined forces with three other flagship arts organisations to present a series of events, installations, talks and screenings to run alongside Amy Sharrocks’ new live installation, ‘Museum of Water’.


1385377_387576214706970_519687383_nSharrocks’ artwork comprises over 300 samples of publicly donated water, collected over two years from a host of local and far-reaching locations. The installation is designed to prompt people to think more carefully about their relationship to this vital liquid.

The Cultural Institute at King’s is delighted to add its academic expertise to the events programme, incorporating contributions across several departments, including input from historians, scientists, geographers and literary specialists.

Events will include:

  • Access to the National Trust’s ‘Roman Baths’ site situated on the Strand Campus.  The Roman Bath, 5 Strand Lane is a spring-fed brick cistern under the back-building of No. 33 Surrey Street.  Reputed since the 1830s to be a Roman relic, it was in fact originally the cistern for an early seventeenth-century fountain in Somerset House, and was converted for use as a cold bath, after 150 years of neglect, in the 1770s. (open daily from 6th – 29th June)
  • ‘River Deep Family Workshop’ (Sat 7th June, 12-3pm) in which participants can create  3-D models of sea creatures inspired by the watery sculptures around Somerset House.
  • A series of water-themed talks and workshops by King’s College London academics and associates (details listed below)
  • Midsummer Water Day on 21st June, 12 – 6pm, at King’s College London Strand Campus & Somerset House

‘Midsummer Water Day’ will bring together a range of artists and academics to offer a full day’s programme of activities for all ages in venues around King’s College London and Somerset House. The programme includes talks, events, installations, screenings, family workshops and singing and then hear more from artists and academics who create work that relates to water, who can offer an insight into the politics and history of water, and who can get you and your family experimenting, playing and reflecting on water.

Literary Highlights:

Spoken Word Room – Curated and hosted by live literature producers Penned in the Margins a special programme of water themed live performance poetry running throughout the afternoon.

Old Water Words – a selection of readings of Old English poems about water with translations, and a soundpiece (recital) of Anglo-Saxon water words, collected via the internet from the international community of medievalists.

Poet Alice Oswald has written a water poem exclusively for this event. 100 people will be offered a ‘sip’ of water from her Dartmoor pool, and in exchange they will be given a print of her poem.

Musical Highlights:

Chris Watson:  Sound Installation

Leading wildlife and natural sound recordist Chris Watson will present his latest installation The Translucent Border, which follows the transformation of water from solid glacial fresh water ice to liquid seawater, recorded in the Antarctic.

The Big Water Sing

Inspirational choir director Ali Orbaum leads a singing workshop teaching water inspired songs leading to a special public performance. The music will be taught by ear so no previous experience or knowledge is required. Ali is a vocalist, arranger and teacher who has been running successful choirs and workshops around the country for the past 17 years. Musical Director of Sing for Water West, she also directs Bristol’s acclaimed Gasworks Choir and co-founded the award winning acappella group Naked Voices.

N.B Workshops will be held throughout the day but must be booked via the website. Performance: 6pm in Somerset House courtyard

Dr Noel Lobley – “The Sound and Music in Water”

In this illustrated talk ethnomusicologist and sound curator Dr Noel Lobley will explore some of the ways that diverse communities communicate the sound and music in water. Dr Noel Lobley is a sound curator and ethnomusicologist who is currently working at the Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford, where he is developing the music and sound collections through a series of curated experiential sound events.

Midsummer Water Day Talks:

Professor Michael Trapp ‘Somerset House Fountains Old and New’

The 55 fountain-jets that now play in the courtyard of Somerset House are the modern successors of two much earlier fountains in the old Somerset House. Michael Trapp Professor of Greek Literature & Thought at King’s will talk about the history and fortunes of these fountains back in time and discover their surviving traces, on the Somerset House site and further afield.

Londoner Caitlin Davies, writer, teacher, journalist, and general fair-weather swimmer, will talk about ‘Why we love and fear the Thames: a history of swimming our river’.  The River Thames has been a favourite bathing spot for centuries, but it was the Victorian era that saw the birth of organised river racing. The talk looks at swimmers’ relationship with the Thames, drawing on original research from a new book, Downstream: a history of swimming the Thames, to be published by Aurum in April 2015.

The Swimming Manifesto: Just what is so great about jumping in?

From 12-6pm on the River Terrace of Somerset House, The Swimming Manifesto will be part speaker’s corner, part stream of consciousness, part campaign for greater awareness and better swimming conditions… part attempt to put into words and share the extraordinarily essential and occasionally transcendental feeling of swimming. Excerpts of The Swimmers’ Manifesto will also be published online.

Speakers are invited to come to The River Terrace at Kings College and Somerset House to have their say. This event is free to watch, take part in, and open to everyone.

Dates: 6 – 29 June 2014
Full programme can be found at : www.kcl.ac.uk/cultural

Museum of Water Website: www.museumofwater.co.uk